Stephan Schulzer von Müggenburg ( 1802 - 1892)

Stephan Schulzer von Müggenburg (1802-1892) was a Hungarian-Croatian army officer and mycologist. He was born into abject poverty in a dilapidated castle at the periphery of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His mother died in his early childhood. He was brought up by, and received a Spartan home-education from, his well educated but very strict father, a retired army officer of Saxonian descent, who died when Schulzer was fifteen. Schulzer spent the following three years in a military academy-like company of cadets in Olomouc (Olmütz). After enlisting he spent seven years as Cadet (officer in training) and the following six as Fähnrich (officer candidate). Having finally attained the rank of a second lieutenant he became a captain within the following ten years. In 1821 he participated in the Piedmont campaign. In fighting a fire he lost the use of both hands and was retired from active duty two years later. However he volunteered to establish and manage a military hospital where he fell victim to a disease which left him deaf and vision impaired. He was married and had two daughters. A chance encounter with a popular mushroom manual in 1831 awakened his intellectual curiosity. He taught himself natural history and sufficient Greek and Latin and within a relatively short time he evolved from a gifted amateur mycologist to one appreciated by his more academic peers. In the interim he regained most of the use of his hands and some hearing. He published extensively in the mycological literature of his time.

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