Transcript from the expedition diary of Friedrich Sellow (sample)
In November 1821 Sellow had been in Brazil for seven years. Numerous research trips, for example with Maximilian von Wied-Neuwied (1782-1867) and Ignaz Maria von Olfers (1798-1872), had already been undertaken. Diary entries for this time are sporadic. The first definitive note in Sellow’s own hand begins with the trip to Montevideo. At the beginning of September he left Rio de Janeiro unaccompanied and sailed to the capital of the then Brazilian province of Cisplatina where he remained for the next few months. He collected primarily in the Montevideo region and undertook smaller excursions. He sent three cases of minerals back to Berlin, one case with preserved plant material, one with seeds, one with living plants, and four cases and a barrel with insects, birds, mammals, fish, snakes, intestinal worms, and anatomical preparations.
The following three transcript pages from diary number 2 cover the start of this journey. Typical for Sellow’s documentation are sketches supplemented by marginal notes. The drawings include the emblem of Rio, the famous Pão de Açúcar which we know as Sugarloaf Mountain.
Begining of diary No. 2: 2-5 November 1821
Reise nach Montevideo, Aufenthalt daselbst, Reise nach Minas
1 Sellow always introduces a new diary entry with the date, the hour and the measured temperature of both air and water. In this case it is 7:30pm on the 2nd of November, the air temperature is 68° Fahrenheit (20°C), and the water temperature is 70°F (21°C). In general Sellow measures with two thermometers (labelled 'a' and 'b').
2 At 710 meters above sea level, the Corcovado is the highest mountain in area immediately surrounding Rio de Janeiro. Since 1922, it bears the landmark of the city, the statue of Christ.
3 Pão de Açúcar = Sugarloaf Mountain.
4 Jacob Crommelin (1791-1836): Executive of the Dutch consulate in Rio de Janeiro.
5 h. = hour.
6 Uropigius = "rear part".
Transcription by Ulrich Moritz and Carsten Eckert