The Collection of Princess Therese von Bayern (1850-1925)

The Collection of Princess Therese von Bayern (1850-1925)

Section Ichthyology - Collections

Princess Therese von Bayern showed an early interest in natural science, however women were not admitted at Universities in Bavaria until 1903. She owes her extensive knowledge to her private studies in Geology, Ethnology Botany and Zoology. At the age of 21 she started to travel European Countries and soon was capable to speak and write 12 different languages. During her expedition like journeys she travelled incognito, preferred a spartanic life-style and admitted not more than three personnel attendants. In 1892 Therese von Bayern was appointed a honorary member of the Geographical Society and of the Academy of Sciences, five years later she was awarded with an honorary doctorate at the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Munich – an exception for a female autodidact to this time.

During her 6 month lasting South America Expedition in 1898, Therese von Bayern compiled a comprising zoological, botanical and ethnological collections she brought back to Munich. The fish collection included 228 specimens from 91 fish species, from which Steindachner (1900 & 1902) described 8 new species. The zoological bequests of Therese von Bayern were disposed by her will to the Zoologische Staatssammlung München (BALSS, 1926), including also the fishes from her earlier Mexico Expedition in 1893. Steindachner received few doublets from the Collection Therese von Bayern, which were exchanged, as far as traceable in NMW files, from Th. v. Bayern herself after Steindachner finished his work on her fish collection. As far as available from Steindachner (1900 & 1902) the collections of Th. v. Bayern from her Mexico and South America Expeditions included 139 species. However, the actual number of specimens and actual size of the complete Colletion Therese von Bayern at the time of deposition in ZSM is unknown. For detailed information on locations and dates of the three South-America Expeditions of Princess Therese von Bayern the reader is referred to Huber (1998).