Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

1752 (Gotha, Germany) – 1840 (Göttingen)

Blumenbach effectively invented anthropology and (with Vicq d’Azyr) comparative anatomy; some later followers ignored his increasingly enlightened ideas about racial classification. As a student he was employed by Heyne (his future brother-in-law) to organise his natural history collection. Haller was a mentor, Goethe and Kant friends (Blumenbach refuted Kant’s ideas of European superiority), as were Lichtenberg and Forster (who together published important work of his). He taught Humboldt, Sömmering and Lawrence; Coleridge also met him and attended his lectures. Banks, another friend, sent him skulls for his collection.