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Introduction

In an obituary, read during a commemorative session of the Göttingen Academy, the physician and historian Karl Friedrich Heinrich Marx (1796-1877) expressed his view of Blumenbach's significance as follows:

 

For more than half a century the most important events of this University are bound up with his memory and his name; and the development of one of the greatest and most important branches of science is essentially involved with his undertakings, his accomplishments, and the efforts he made to advance it.
He stood at last like a solitary column from out the ranks of those who had shared his struggles and his enterprises, and had trodden in the same path, or as an old-world pyramid, a stimulating example to us juniors, how nature will sometimes stamp her crowning seal on high mental powers, by adding to them the firmness and long continuance of the outer form.

      

From: "Zum Andenken an Johann Friedrich Blumenbach: eine Gedächtniss-Rede gehalten in der Sitzung der Königlichen Societät der Wissenschaften den 8. Februar 1840." English translation in: The anthropological treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach ... . Ed. by Thomas Bendyshe. London 1865.