On Hoff’s collection

Hoff’s desmid collection was bought by the Botanical Museum, University of Copenhagen in 1887 for 160 DKK (Goos 1889). It comprised ca. 600 slides, fixed samples, drawings and manuscripts of material from Bornholm collected by Richard Theodor Hoff during a period of ca. 15 years. A few slides are based on material from Norway and Sweden collected by Carl Frederik Otto Nordstedt, at that time the world-leading desmidiologist. Nordstedt was asked to go through the collection by the University of Copenhagen and this resulted in a publication on the desmids of Bornholm (Nordstedt 1888).

C.F.O. Nordstedt

According to Nordstedt the collections only contained ca. 500 slides, a non-specified number of bottles and tubes and Hoff’s identification sheets or cards. Nordstedt made notes on several of the cards, particular on species where he disagreed with Hoff’s identification.

Today the collection is placed at the algal-herbarium at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, but only comprises 400 slides plus Hoff’s identification cards. It has not been possible to localise the missing slides, bottles, drawings and manuscripts except for 10 slides now located at the Botanical Museum in Lund. Seven of these slides were actually made by Nordstedt but using Hoff’s material.

All slides and identification cards have now been digitized. The Hoff cards have been assembled into a pdf-file with species ordered alphabetically. Furthermore cards with reference to slides have been linked to these specific slides, i.e. search on a particular species should return the relevant card and slides.

Unfortunately, many slides are in very poor condition due to desiccation of the mounting medium. In some slides it is still possible to localise specimens and even verify the species, but in others this is not possible.

We do not have much information about R. T. Hoff, who was born in Vejle 7 October 1824 and died in Rønne (Bornholm) 13 February 1887. He studied theology and history at the University of Copenhagen and finished his studies in 1852. In 1853 he became high school teacher in Rønne, teaching Latin and German until his death. Besides botany, Hoff had interests in politics and was a member of Rønne city council in the period 1870-1876 (source: http://brindt.dk/erik_brindt/13700.htm)