David Young: Acquiring the Friedrich Tippmann Collection


Friedrich F. Tippmann

Portrait of Friedrich TippmannFriedrich F. Tippmann was born in 1894 in Futak, Hungary. His father, Norbert Tippmann, was Chief Forester in the service of Duke Chotek. His mother, Martha Köllner Tippmann taught before her marriage. Tippmann grew up in the Forester's House near Futak with his brothers and sisters. He went to school in Futak and then to high school in Nagyvarad (Großwardein in German), where he first developed an interest in the sciences. He studied electrical engineering and chemical engineering at the Technical University in Darmstadt. After graduation, he worked in the cement industry in Hungary, Slovakia, and Germany. While working in Hausen-Brug, Switzerland, Tippmann became interested in the magnesium industry. He served in World War I as first chief lieutenant and as a pilot for the experimental air corps in Fischamend.

Tippmann married Elisabeth Csillik, a teacher from Slovakia, and they had a daughter named Elisabeth. He often travelled for work within Europe and to Latin America, where his facility for languages came in handy—he spoke German, Hungarian, Serbocroation, English, French, and had a working knowledge of Latin. He took slides, wrote daily entries in diaries about his travels, and presented lectures.

Tippmann bookplateEntomology emerged as Tippmann's passion, however, when he first started collecting insects in Futak. During his travels, he visited local natural history museums and other entomologists to study their specimen collections. He also sought out antiquarian bookstores to collect literature on insects. His devotion to entomology and attention to detail as a collector is reminiscent of the great Victorian natural history enthusiasts. He was one of the last entomologists able to build such an impressive library. What he bought from insect collectors and from well-known entomologists proved truly amazing. Priceless rarities, which sometimes were the sole known example, and some unidentified insect specimens turned out to be species which had never been described.

Photograph of Tippmann's libraryIt took six cabinets with sixty drawers, which reached from floor to ceiling and occupied the majority of the largest room in his five-room apartment, to house Tippmann's insect collection. He kept his extensive 7,000-volume private library in a separate room. Beetles especially interested Tippmann. The insect collection encompassed more than 100,000 individual longicorns [beetles] out of about 3,000 genera, and more than 1,500 species from all regions of the world. The collection was the largest specialized collection of the family Cerambycidae that ever existed.

Tippmann's interest in the broader subject of natural history led him to develop an uncommonly rich knowledge of ethnography, mineralogy, botany, and general zoology. After he sold his insect collection to the Smithsonian and his rare book collection to the NC State library, he began to study mushrooms. He became so well versed in mushrooms, that his library became one of the largest in Vienna relating to the topic and contained thousands of his color photos. Tippmann died at age of eighty on August 5, 1974, in Vienna.

Source: Zeitschrift der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Österreichischer Entomologen, v.30 (1978-79) 137-140. Translated by Linda McCormick.


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