Sue Young Histories

Carl Bernhard Trinius 1778 - 1844

March 10, 2009

Carl Bernhard TriniusCarl (Karl) Bernhard Trinius 1778 - 1844 MD (photo used courtesy of Gilbert von Studnitz) was a German orthodox physician, poet and botanist, who converted to homeopathy in 1826 (approximately).

Trinius founded the Botanical Museum in St. Petersburg and was a physician and teacher of Tsar Alexander II and Tsar Nicholas I.

Bernhard Trinuis was the nephew of Samuel Hahnemann, and he was an orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy.

I am indebted to Gilbert von Studnitz, great great grandson of Michael von Bulmerincq for the *following information from his family archives:

*Carl Bernhard von Trinius was awarded the Order of St.
StanislausOrder of St. Stanislaus, as well as the II Class of the Order_of_St._AnnaOrder of St. Anna.

*The actual insignia Michael von Bulmerincq wore he received from his father in law, Carl Bernhard von Trinius, who gave him the Order of St. Vladimir IV Class that he himself had received personally from Tsar Alexander I, who had taken it off his own chest to award to Carl Bernhard von Trinius.

Trinius was born on 7 März 1778 in Eisleben. He was the son of evangelical pastor Trinius Johann Anton (1772-1784) and Charlotte Hahnemann (1752-1812), a sister of the famous founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann.

His father died young, and so his mother married the teacher Dr. Müller from Eisleben. After graduating from high school in Eisleben, Trinius studied medicine between 1792-1802, first in Jena, then in Halle, where he continued his interest in botany, and then in Leipzig. He received his doctorate in 1802.

After graduating Trinius moved into the German Russian Baltic provinces, and then to Russia to work, and in Dorpat he received an immediate place on the farm in Gawen Kurland. Soon after he apparently moved into the city Hasenpoth in Latvia, where he met the poet Ulrich von Schlippenbach (1774-1826) and the writer Mirbach.

In 1804, he married Josepha Boriskovski (1775-1857). They had a daughter Amalie (1805-91) who married Surgeon Major General Dr. Michael von Bulmerincq in 1831.

In 1808, Trinius had his practice in Hasenpoth and had became the personal physician to Antoinette, Duchess of Württemberg. Until the death of the Duchess in 1824, he took many tripsthroughout Germany and Russia and he met many famous and outstanding people. Trinius accompanied the duchess between 1811-1815 to St. Petersburg, where he was friends with Ernst Moritz Arndt. Between 1816-1822 Trinius lived in Wizebsk (Belarus).

In 1822 Trinius returned to St. Petersburg, and became a full member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences. When the Duchess died in 1824, he was appointed as the imperial physician.  Trinius now settled in St. Petersburg, and between 1829-1833, Trinius instructed Tsar Alexander II in the natural sciences.

In 1830, Trinius devoted his medical practice to the study of homeopathy He corresponded with his uncle, Samuel Hahnemann, and from 1836, he travelled abroad frequently on behalf of the Imperial Academy of the botanical collections.

After several strokes, 1837 in Munich and 1838 in Dresden, he died in 1844 in St. Petersburg of dropsy in the bosom of his family.

Trinius wrote 34 botanical treatises, and published many botanical manuscripts. Shortly before his death bequeathed his Herbarium of Carl Bernhard von Trinius, a botanical collection of plants from 4000 to 5000 documents that are still of fundamental scientific importance, and housed in the Botanical Museum of St. Petersburg.

These include many notes and detailed drawings, which were prepared by Trinius. In 1994, in a joint project between the Komarov Botanical Institute and the Smithsonian Institute (USA), was begun to create a digital catalog. In 1995, the Trinius collection was published on microfiche.

Bernhard Trinius wrote a few poems, which were published in magazines and pocket books, amnd after his death, two of his friends created a collection of his poems. The botanist Georg Franz Hoffmann named in honor of Trinius the plant genus fiber umbrella of the Umbelliferae family as Trinia.

Of interest:

Carl Bernhard Trinius is sometimes listed as “von Trinius”…strictly speaking this is incorrect, as Trinius received hereditary Russian nobility, which does not convey use of the “von”, as German nobility generally does.