This "information" corner holds informative items for the researcher, different from mere "lists",
which won't be deleted (contrary to "news" items), and which don't wait
for an answer (contrary to the items in the "Q&A" section).
An Index to the Woodstock Letters is now available via the website of the Missouri Province of the Midwest Jesuit Archives.
The Jesuits in the United States circulated Woodstock Letters among its members and institutions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The publication, in short, offers detailed first-hand accounts of events, ideas, and persons through the decades (1872 to 1969). As a primary source of historical and theological information, it chronicles central movements and characters upon whom turned the changes in religious history. The journal numbers almost 50,000 pages and occupies 12.5 feet of shelf space. Approximately 45 libraries list the serial in their print collections; in addition, several institutions have microfilm or microfiche editions.
Jesuit timelines for sale (October 26, 2012)
Fr. Robert Hermans S.J. has coordinated the production of two timelines of which there are still copies for sale. Both are usable recto-verso. The price per timeline is €4.00, postage for the parcels will be calculated according to region and weight.
TIMELINE 1 (82 x 32 cm, laminated) [code TL1_HistSJ]
(b) the exact name and fulladdress (street, number, city, postal code, country) where the timelines need to be sent.
2) Fr. Hermans will send you a return mail, indicating the exact sum in Euro to be transferred to the Jesuit bank account: number of copies x €4.00, increased with the sum of the postage for your particular parcel, calculated according to region and number of copies.
If you need more copies, ask for the exact postage cost.
This return mail from Fr. Hermans will also indicate a unique codenummer for your order, which needs to figure on the money transfer document.
3) You send the money to the bank account indicated.
No cheques will be accepted, only bank transfers or wire transfers into the bank account.
4) Once the money has been received, the parcel will be dispatched.
Back issues AHSI (March 09, 2012)
We have the following back issues of the AHSI journal, ready to be sent (at cost of transportation) to any university or religious library in need to fill gaps in their holdings.
vol 1-20 (1933-1951)
vol 21-30 (1952-1961)
index 21-30 (2 fasc.)
vol 31 (#61) - 50 (#100)
Swiss broadcast on Jesuit missions in Paraguay (January 03, 2012)
Prof. Dr. René Krüger talks about the Jesuit Guarani missions in Paraguay in a broadcast on the Swiss Radio (SR DRS) on November 13, 2011. [German only]
Link to hear programme (Also downloadable as MP3; 25,1 Mb)
Shortened catalographic records (December 19, 2011)
Since December 2011, some 350 jesuitica items (books, volumes) have been inserted in the Libis-database without due mention of the author etc. This is the result of a fast-track operation meant to speed up catalography of hitherto uncatalogued books. A second operation will link the books with a (Jesuit) author as soon as possible. Later on, full catalography of these items will be undertaken. If you are unable to click on to the full content in the Libis-database, and you need more information about a particular book, just send us an email message.
AHSI on-line (November 03, 2011)
Online volumes Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu.
See the different sites for terms and conditions. Both providers have different packages and collections of journals available to cater to everybody’s need and purse.
PAO (Chadwyck) allows for determining whether a given book or article was ever incorporated in a Polgár bibliographic supplement.
Plagiarism (November 03, 2011)
On August 23rd 2011, the editors of the book Jesuit Books in the Low Countries 1540-1773: A Selection from the Maurits Sabbe Library, were informed that serious plagiarism had been detected in the article by M.W. F. Stone, “Peter Wadding S.J., Disputatio theologica de praedestinatione et gratia (1621)”, which appears on pp. 44-47 of the book. Extensive passages in this article were taken from J. Blom and F. Blom, “Wadding, Peter (1583-1644)”, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 56: Usk-Wallich, ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), pp. 650a-651a (without due citation of the original source.)
It goes without saying that the editors strongly disapprove of such practices, which represent a serious assault on intellectual integrity. They condemn any violation of the author’s rights (J. Blom and F. Blom) and the copyright of the publisher (Oxford University Press), and distance themselves from these practices. They apologize for not having detected this prior to the publication of the volume.
Archives South-Belgian-Luxemburg province (November 03, 2011)
Archives, scripta and photo collection of South-Belgian-Luxemburg Jesuit province find a place at KADOC, Leuven
KADOC takes care of the archives of the Jesuit province ‘South-Belgium and Luxemburg’ (Jésuites de la Province belge méridionale et du Luxembourg, BML). Separated in 1935, the archives are now back together (not mixed!) with the archives of the Flemish Province. The Flemish archive holds the files from the unitary province from the restart in 1832 till 1935. The South-Belgian archives start in 1935, but equally hold files of French-speaking houses from the 19th century.
The BML archives (450 running meter!) are a treasure house.
During the following months, efforts will be made to make the collection searchable online. Together with the jesuit collection of books at the Maurits Sabbe Library (Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences) the amount of Jesuit sources and resources make Leuven the place to be to study the Jesuits after the restoration of the Society.
Castiglione website (August 22, 2011)
As part of the project “A WORLD OF BRIGHTNESS,” Panarea pictures is proud to announce new discoveries based on the latest research and presented on its multimedia website.
Among the new discoveries, new icons found ni the paintings of Giuseppe Castiglione.
On this website, we present the life and work of GIUSEPPE CASTIGLIONE during his term with China's Qing dynasty (1655-1911), focusing on his relationship with and influence on the imperial court. We hope you will enloy the virtual museum of his paintings as well as unique views never seen before. You can explore our latest discoveries that CASTIGLIONE Iinserted in teh paintings currently on display at the PALACE MJUSEUM Iin BEIJING, CHINA.
KADOC archives concerning Pieter Jan De Smet SJ (1801-1873) (February 09, 2011)
Archives fr. Pieter De Smet SJ in KADOC, Leuven (since end 2010)
Among the well-known Belgians figures, no doubt, the Jesuit Pieter Jan De Smet (Dendermonde, 30 January 1801-Saint-Louis, 23 May 1873). He gained fame as a missionary among the native peoples of Northern America. Archives of and about De Smet are being kept and studied at several universities.
Paul de Smet d’Olbecke, a far relative of father De Smet and residing in Chili, has been collecting documents and artifacts relative to his most famous family member. He recently donated all papers to KADOC (K.U.Leuven) and the artifacts to the Antwerp museum MAS.
Master thesis dedicated to the De Smet archives: Yannick Van Loon, Archief van de Vlaamse Jezuïeten. Inventaris van het conglomeraatsarchief met betrekking tot Pieter Jan De Smet S.J. en de Noord-Amerikaanse jezuïetenmissies (1811-2007). Brussel, 2012. 185 p. [Manama Archival sciences, promotor: Prof. Dr. Gustaaf Janssens]
The Leuven Jesuitica Conference, 3-5 December 2009 and beyond... (May 06, 2010)
Write-up about conference (M. Whitehead) in AHSI (January 2010)
Three days to remember... and to cherish
3-5 December 2009
Jesuitica CONFERENCE -- Leuven, Faculty of Theology
The eight main lectures, all dealing with one particular aspect of that Jesuit identity and its impact,with references to the Low Countries,
were handled by the following distinguished professors/researchers:
Paul Begheyn S.J. (Netherlands Institute of Jesuit Studies, Amsterdam)
Ralph Dekoninck (UCL) Rob Faesen S.J. (K.U.Leuven)
Luce Giard (Paris; University of California, San Diego)
Harro Höpfl (Essex Business School, Colchester)
Jan Roegiers (K.U.Leuven)
Nicolas Standaert S.J. (K.U.Leuven)
Geert Vanpaemel (K.U.Leuven)
Four presentations of exemplary foreign research projects were offered by
Uwe Glüsenkamp (Johannes Gutenberg Universität, Mainz)
Robert A. Maryks (City University of New York)
Carlos Coupeau S.J. (Pontificia Univ. Gregoriana, Rome) Klaus Schatz S.J. (Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt a/M)
Eighteen presentations of recent research into the Low Countries Jesuits and methodological issues
were presented in parallel sessions on Friday afternoon by
Paul Begheyn S.J. (ANSI, Nijmegen)
Theo Clemens (Ruusbroecgenootschap, Univ. Antwerp)
Wim Decock (K.U.Leuven)
Annick Delfosse (Ulg, Liège) Bernard Deprez/Jan Verkoyen (K.U.Leuven)
Paul Dijstelberge (Univ. van Amsterdam)
Joep van Gennip (Radboud Univ., Nijmegen)
Noel Golvers (Ferd. Verbiest Institute, K.U.Leuven)
Agnes Guiderdoni (GEMCA, UCL)
Diederik Lanoye (STCV, Antwerp)
Bart Op de Beeck (KBR, Brussels)
Goran Proot (Univ. Antwerp)
Lien Roggen (K.U.Leuven)
Anne Spica (Univ. P. Verlaine, Metz)
Nicolas Standaert S.J. (K.U.Leuven)
Gerrit Vanden Bosch (Dioc. Arch, Mechelen) Maurice Whitehead (Univ. Swansea)
Panel discussion: New ways of opening up S.J. archives in Low Countries
Paul Begheyn S.J. (ANSI), Hendrik Callewier (KULAK), Jo Luyten (KADOC/ABSE),
Michel Hermans S.J. (Archives BML), Noël Golvers (K.U.Leuven)
and Eddy Put (K.U.Leuven) as moderator
Rob Faesen S.J. (K.U.Leuven; Univ. Antwerp)
Theo Clemens (Ruusbroecgenootschap, Univ. Antwerp)
Paul Begheyn S.J. (Netherlands Institute of Jesuit Studies / Dutch Jesuit Archives.)
Rob Faesen, Leo Kenis, The Jesuits of the Low Countries: Identity and Impact (1540-1773). Leuven-Paris-Walpole: Peeters, 2012.
(detailed contents: see Research pages)
Joint Jesuit archives of Canadian Jesuit Provinces (March 29, 2010)
The two Jesuit Provinces of Canada celebrated the opening of their new joint Jesuit Archive on September 22-23 in Montreal. The archive is witness to the activities of Jesuits who worked in Canada and its missions since Jesuits arrived in Canada in 1611. It includes rare books, artwork, documents, and publications relating to Canadian Jesuit and early Canadian history.
The archives of both English and French Canada were joined in one location to better serve historians and researchers.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Kerber from Berlin, who has several publications on the Italian Jesuit architect and painter Andrea Pozzo (1642-1709) has an updated new version of his bibliography ready. A computer outprint of ca. 270 pages can be obtained at the price of € 49.00 (mailing incl.) by sending a mail to him.
This bibliography contains all known archival items, all publications (editions, translations) of Pozzo; as well as some 2,300 titles of publications about Pozzo. All of these are systematically ordened. Included also is an index to authors and editors. Artists influenced by Pozzo are also included.
Jesuit Archives in the Low Countries (May 25, 2009)
The archivesof the French-speaking Belgian and Luxembourg Jesuits (BML-Belgique Méridionale et Luxembourg) are equally accessible at the KADOC documentation centre, Leuven and managed by Jo Luyten.
The archives of the Dutch Province are kept in Nijmegen, and a new description of its contents is being undertaken under the guidance of Fr. Paul Begheyn. S.J.
Jesuits in Asia goes digital (February 05, 2009)
Good news was announced in Lisbon for all those researching on Jesuits in Asia. The ARSI has from now on a digitalized full copy of the collection Jesuitas na Ásia (49-IV-49 to 49-VI-9) from Biblioteca da Ajuda – Lisbon, and two volumes of the printed catalogues. The Centro de Documentação do Museu do Oriente, in Lisbon, received from the ARSI a copy of all the available digitalized materials from the collections Japonica Sinica (1-200) and Goa Malabarica (1-76b), and the pertinent indexes. The Centro intends to develop a project that will facilitate the organization and consultation of those materials accordingly the nature of the Jesuit “Portuguese Mission” in Asia. (Nov. 08)
2008-02-21 R.I.P. Herman Morlion S.J. (October 25, 2008)
Fr. Herman Morlion S.J. (°1925) passed away on Febr. 21, 2008.
He has been the chief librarian at the Jesuit House of Studies in Heverlee (Leuven, Belgium) from 1967 until 1997. Next to being a librarian, Father Morlion has also been a philosophy professor at the Philosophical and Theological College of the Jesuits. He was equally active in the prison ministry.
As a librarian he took to heart the transfer of the theological collection of his library to the newly built Theology Faculty library (now the Maurits Sabbe Library). Until 1995/96 he remained in charge, for our library, of the acquisition of new books and serials for account of the Jesuits.
He served as president on the board of the VRB (Religious-scientific libarians) from 1977 till 1986, and of the Conseil International des Associations des Bibliothèques de Théologie (now BETH) from 1979 till 1989.
'His' library became one of the cornerstones of the present Maurits Sabbe Library (Faculty of Theology, KUL).
May he rest in peace.
Rome, Jesuit Historical Institute and Archives (October 25, 2008)
Father General has decided to integrate the Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus and the Archives of the Society of Jesus into one unit. As of July 1st the roster of persons and duties includes Fr. Giovanni Sale, Director; Fr. James Pratt, Administrative Director and Prefect of the Library; and Fr. Robert Danieluk, Director of the Archives. Fr. José Antonio Yoldi is the Associate Archivist and Fr. Thomas McCoog is Director of Publications. Emeriti are Fr. Francisco de Borja Medina and Fr. Láslo Szilas. Corresponding Members include Fathers Martin M. Morales, Marek Inglot, and Antoni Üçerler.
The remains of Fr. Leonardo Lessius SJ (1554-1623) were transfered to the St. Michael's church in Leuven, where they once belonged. A commemorative programme was held on September 30, 2007, attended by a sizeable number of people. An illustrated brochure -- limited and numbered, in Dutch -- retelling the life of Fr. Lessius and the story of the remains and equally containing the sixteenth century processional jesuit-centered songs that were heard at the celebration, was printed at Peeters Press.
The St. Michael's church featured in the regional papers recently, on account of the discovery of an ancient crypt (dated 1652) which was incorporated and rearranged upon building the present church. The human remains that were found seemingly mostly belong to the Jesuits that once lived in the nearby house.
For sale: PIBA (2 vol.) and other jesuitica volumes ... (September 12, 2007)
The Jesuits of the Northern-Belgian Province still have some copies for sale:
3) ALOSTI in Flandria anno M°CCCC°LXXIII°. Anastatic reprint of three volumes printed by Dirk Martens: Pseudo-Augustinus, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, Dionysius van Rijkel, with commentary by K. Heireman sj 10 €
4) PONCELET Alfred, Nécrologe de la province Flandro-Belgica, Wetteren 1931 10 €
5) PONCELET Alfred, Histoire de la Compagnie de Jésus dans les anciens Pays-Bas, 2 vol., Bruxelles, 1928. SOLD OUT
6) HENRICUS GANDAVENSIS, Anastatic reprint of his Quodlibeta, F°, 2 vol. 50 €
Georg Joseph Kamel S.J. died on May 2, 1706 in Manila. His death anniversary last year did not go unnoticed in his hometown Brno (Czech Republic). Brno hosted an exhibition of Camellias "Kamélie exotická" in the Etnographic Museum mid-March.
Another exhibition (March-June 2006) focused on the life of Kamel (1661-1706).
A memorial service was held at the chateau Rajec nad Svitavou (south Moravia).
Kamel, as a missionary in the Philippines, devoted himself to explore local fauna and flora and he kept his observation results. One manuscript is kept at the 'jesuitica' collection in Leuven (see catalogue).
An international conference (June 8-10) in Brno (Pharmaceutical department VFU, Palackého 1/3) discussed Kamel's achievements as a botanist.
[A Czech summary of the talks is available on demand, the proceedings will not be published.]
The Public Czech Television has premiered a documentary film (56 min.) about Kamel, entitled "Georgius Josephus Camelius" last december 21, 2006.
Some have labelled Kamel the most significant pharmacist of the 17the century, whose work still benefits pharmacy.
Jesuitica from Berchmanianum, Nijmegen moved to Leuven (September 01, 2007)
Last Fall, the jesuitica collection formerly housed in the Berchmanianum, Nijmegen (the Netherlands) was transferred to the Maurits Sabbe Library in Leuven, Belgium to be joined to the existing jesuitica collection.
Most items are catalogued under the Picarta system (the Netherlands) with holding reference "Berchmanianum". Until further notice, these books can still be researched via that catalogue. Works that so far were not disclosed electronically will be taken up in the Libis Catalogue (KULeuven) as soon as possible.
One precious curiosum out of this collection is this Breviarium Romanum, 1610, used all life by father Leonardus Lessius SJ (1554-1623).
SJ Literature from Ignatiuskolleg, Valkenburg (June 21, 2007)
DFG supports cataloguing of Jesuit literature from the former Ignatiuskolleg / Valkenburg at the Library of the Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt / Main
In a project funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) a special collection of 2.400 volumes of Jesuitica from the library of the former Ignatiuskolleg / Valkenburg (Netherlands) has been catalogued in the Hesse Union Catalogue (HeBIS) and thus made bibliographically accessible to research. Project ended November 2007.
The collection contains the shelfmarks Vbg Chi: Jesuit Biographies and shelfmarks Vbg Ci: Jesuit History, subdivided into General Jesuit History (Vbg Ci), Constitutions and Law of the Society of Jesus (Vbg Cic), German Jesuit History (Vbg Cid), Jesuit Mission (Vbg Cim) and Polemic Writings for and against the Society of Jesus (Vbg Cip).
The collection contains writings from the 16th to the first half of the 20th century, most of them dating from the 19th century.
The Valkenburg collection of Jesuitica provides documentary evidence for the history of the Jesuit Order at the time of Kulturkampf and their prohibition by the laws of the German Empire against the Jesuits in 1872. Thus this collection complements the extensive collection of literature on the Jesuits in the Library of Sankt Georgen at Frankfurt / Main. Access to this collection via this link.
Bibliothek der Phil.-Theol. Hochschule Sankt Georgen
Offenbacher Landstraße 224
D-60599 Frankfurt am Main firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesuitica via Google.books (June 05, 2007)
Google.books is in the process of scanning a tremendous amount of old books, some of which might be of particular interest to jesuitica researchers. If you are in search of a particular volume or an author, try your luck...
From Google's help file: The easiest way to get a link to a specific title or author in Google Book Search is to visit the "Advanced Search" page and enter what you're searching for in the appropriate field (title, author, ISBN, date, etc). After clicking "Google Search," you'll be taken to a results page. Just copy and paste the URL from your browser -- the link will show the same results.
You can also create links for your site in the following ways:
For subject or word searches, use: http://books.google.com/books?q=[query] (don't include the brackets). Replace query by the word you're looking for
Finding all jesuitica items in K.U.Leuven database (May 22, 2007)
Following to this weblink, you should end up with an updated net result of entered books etc. marked "jesuitica". Not all of these books will appear at this moment on the jesuitica database, since harvesting only happens a few times a year.
Full text jesuitica items on this site (May 21, 2007)
Since the insertion of multiple full text jesuitica items, we've been using some additional features on the site's pages to avoid confusion.
Normally, when also belonging to our holdings, a full-text book is added on the page of the author, together with the description of the book [e.g. Bougeant, Guillaume-Hyacinthe. Amusement philosophique ..., 1739].
In case the book is not part of our holdings yet (or not yet entered into the database), the full text books (serials, periodicals) available and traced are put in one of the existing categories (J, M, P) and the title or author's name is preceded by an asterisk (*) [e.g. J-*Crétineau, Sj in England and Ireland, 1863 (full text); M-*Bourdaloue, Exhortations et instructions chrétiennes, T.1, 1758 (full text); P-*Lettres édifiantes (1756) (full text)].
In some sections of the site, a title is preceded by a double asterisk (**), which means this reference will be sorted on top of the page, thus avoiding that this information gets lost among the remainder of references. It is meant to be considered some kind of meta-reference to be handled in a prioritarian way, as it points beyond a single full-text item [e.g. J-**Zentrales Verzeichnis Digitalisierter Drucke]. Since June 2010, a triple asterisk (***) has been used to indicate 'search engines and their likes,' useful for tracing jesuitica items across different platforms [e.g. P-***Dialnet (search engine)].
The single asterisk is also used in other sections (like e.g. L) to obtain a hierarchy in referenced links [e.g. L-*BCNI 1500-1727 digitized].
Before being ingested in the jesuitica website, newly entered items in the database are readily visible on the University library website (Libisng).
Choose 'jesuitica' in the first pop up window, and make your choice (month, year) for the acquisitions of the period you want to check into. By reversing the ascending/descending order, you can have the oldest books on top.
New guide to the "Archives of the Provincia Flandro-Belgica" (April 19, 2007)
Just published, a guide to the archives of the Jesuit Provincia Belgia (later: Flandro-Belgica), containing some letters of famous jesuits like Lessius, Scribani and originals and transcripts of annual letters, reports and letters of missionaries to East and West such as by A. Vagnone, N. Trigault, I. Hartoghvelt. F. Verbiest, Ph. Couplet, A. Thomas, F. Noël, J. Van der Beken and many others. Even if this inventory is written in Dutch, place and name indexes [according to PIBA conventions] make it easy to consult. The collection should be distinguished from the Jesuit documents in the Royal Library in Brussels.
In 2002 these archives were transferred to the State Archives in Antwerp and a full inventory of the 4.200 documents (70 meters in length) was made.
CALLEWIER, Hendrik. Inventaris van het archief van de Nederduitse Provincie der Jezuïeten (Provincia Belgica, vervolgens Provincia Flandro-Belgica) en van het archief van het professenhuis te Antwerpen (1388) 1564-1773
Brussel, Rijksarchief, 2006, 598 p. + 12 ill.
Series: Inventarissen - Inventaires
Rijksarchief te Antwerpen 59
To order: write, fax or mail
Algemeen Rijksarchief - Publicatiedienst
Fax : +32 (0)2 513 76 81
E-mail : email@example.com
Don't forget to mention the publication number: 4521
F. Verbiest Memorie (Typus eclipsis lunae, 1671) (March 22, 2007)
Typus eclipsis lunae, Anno Christi 1671, Imperatoris Cam Hy decimo, die XVto lunae IIae, id est, die XXVto Martij; ad Meridianum Pekinensem; nec non imago adumbrata diuersorum digitorum in horizonte obscuratorum, in singulis Imperij Sinensis prouincijs, tempore quo luna in singulis oritur. auctore P. Ferdinando Verbiest, Societ.is Jesu, in Regia Pekinensi, Astronomiae praefecto.
Rice-paper on scroll, 240 cm long, 28,3 cm wide.
Housed at the Maurits Sabbe Library, Leuven: P IG 112 K VERB. 1671 (formerly at the Jesuit Library, Heverlee)
Verbiest, being responsible for the calendar, needed to compute the lunar eclipses for the next year, for each of the seventeen Chinese provinces. The emperor wanted to have these data six months in advance, so all regions of the empire could be notified in time. This scroll show the phases of the lunar eclipse of March 25, 1671, in seventeen drawings, one for each province.
The legend is both in Chinese and Manchu.
How to look for jesuitica in the Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique?
Retrieving anything jesuit, via a combined search of the following
via the classification scheme:
go for classification
* 126.96.36.199 [Histoire générale et spéciale couvrant diverses périodes: Autres Ordres, clercs réguliers, sociétés de prêtres]
* 188.8.131.52 [Temps Modernes (c.1500-c.1800): Autres Ordres, clercs réguliers, sociétés de prêtres]
* and 184.108.40.206 [19e et 20e siècles (c.1800-....): Autres Ordres, clercs réguliers, sociétés de prêtres]
via the alphabetical 'Index des personnages et des matières': look for the (sur)name of a particular Jesuit
and the search term (sigle) SJ
Go to the Brepolis site to see the conditions for online viewing of past issues.
Georg Kamel S.J. and the "camellia". Upon seeing a manuscript ... (March 22, 2007)
As an amateur botanist I've been growing camellias for years. As I am preparing a publication on the Belgian camellia cultivars, I was led to the Jesuitica collection at the K.U.Leuven. I combed through the folio leaves of Kamel's manuscript on Philippine plants in search for a glimpse of the camellia, or the tea plant ... and I found a drawing of the 'Tschia' (folio nr. 234). This discovery leads me to post this note as an invitation to further discussion and possible discoveries.
Chinese manuscripts of the 3th century C.E. hold a description of the camellia, originally native to East-Asia, i.e. the vast mainland of Asia and the islands nearby (from Nepal to China, Korea, Japan and Southern Vietnam).
The camellia belongs to the family of the Theaceae (tea family). Camellia sinensis is the plant whose leaves we're nowadays using to make our customary cup of tea. The first camellias were shipped to Europe, in the presupposition they were tea plants, which would allow the existing monopoly within the tea trade to be broken. The ornamental value of the plant was only later discovered, although the plant as such had been known for ages.
The tea plant was first described by the Dutch botanist Jacob Bontius (1592-1631) in his Historiae naturalis et medicae Indiae orientalis ... Libri VI (1642). Bontius was living in Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) and got his information from general Jacobus Spex, who had been stationed for a few years in Japan. In Europe, the oldest known drawing of the plant datesfrom 1658. Willem Piso published the text of Bontius in his De Indiae utriusque re naturali et media (1658) which he expanded and to which he added an illustration.
Andreas Cleyer (1634 - 1697/98), a German at the service of the Dutch East India Company provided us with the first clear description and drawing of "Tsumacky", the Japanese name for Camellia .
The German physician Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716) serving with the Dutch East India Company, travelled all over China and Japan. He lived on the island Deshima /Nagasaki between 1690 and 1692. In his publication"Amoenitates Exoticarum Politico-Physici-Medicarum" (1712) a thorough description of the Camellia japonica and the Camellia Sasanqua appears for the first time.
The Swedish botanist Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus 1707-1778) named this plant Camellia, honouring thus the Jesuit missionary and pharmacist Georg Joseph Kamel (1661- 1706), whose name he latinized as Camellus. The taxonomy still used today was adopted by von Linné in his Species Plantarum (1753).
In the Kamel manuscript we only find a drawing of a single leaf with a few fruits, clearly the tea plant (thea sinensis – single flower). This is understandable since the manuscript is mainly concerned with medicinal plants, which the Camellia japonica is not. A lot of literature adds the name 'Japanese rose' on account of the form of its flower. In the northern hemisphere several cultivars (cultivated selections) hail from this same land of the rising sun.
Most literature so far has assumed Kamel never saw the camellia. This looks highly improbable. After all, he made a drawing of the plant, as is seen in this manuscript housed in Leuven. Most probably the Chinese or Japanese took this plant to the Philippines. Although he did not discover the plant, I'd venture to state that he knew the plant. A statement backed by Prof. Dr. Klaus Peper in his on-line article Georg Joseph Kamel: Apothecarius, medicus, botanicus (1997). Unfortunately enough I have no access to the texts of John Ray that go with the drawings of Kamel. They might have shed some additional light. Page from John Ray's book
According to Sommervogel (Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, book 2, col. 580) John Ray (British clergyman and botanist, 1625-1705) used the data from Kamel, but never published the drawings. A leaflet, pasted into the manuscript, by Ant. Laurent de Jussieu contains the concordances with the corresponding European names of the plants.
Whether the drawings of the Leuven manuscript are originals or copies has been a question of much discussion during the past century, as is testified to in the correspondence kept with the manuscript. As of now, three drawings (83, 175 and 185) are deemed to be original, whilst the others are copies.
The manuscript came into the possession of French botanist Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836), and was bought by the Belgian count Alfred de Limminghe (Gentinnes) on February 6, 1858 at the sale of the possessions of the former. De Limminghe presented the manuscript as a gift to the Jesuit college in Leuven.