Pfeiffer, Ida Laura
vienna volumes extent
PFEIFFER, IDA LAURA (1797-1858), traveller, was born at Vienna, the daughter of a merchant named _Beyer, 14th October 1797. Ida was the only sister of six brothers, and in her youth acquired masculine habits. Her training was Spartan, and accustomed her to the endurance of hard-ships and deprivations. On 1st May 1820 she married Dr Pfeiffer, a prosperous advocate of Lemberg, twenty-four years older than herself. Through over-zeal in denouncing abuses her husband incurred official persecution, and in a few years after his marriage was reduced to the greatest poverty. Ida, living mostly apart from her husband, underwent great drudgery, but, through her own exertions, manao.cd to educate her two sons. After being relieved of tbhis responsibility she resolved to indulge her intense longing to travel, and, with the most limited means, succeeded in making a series of journeys which, in extent, are probably unparalleled in the case of any other woman. In 1842 Madame Pfeiffer visited Egypt .and Palestine, and, with considerable hesitation, published an account of her journey in three small volumes, Reise einer Wienerin das Heilige Land, in 1815'. In the same year she set out again, this time to Scandinavia and Iceland, describing her tour in two volumes, Reise nach, dent Skandinarischen Korden, und der Inset Island (Pesth, 1846). In 1846 she started on her first journey round the world, visiting Brazil, Chili, and other countries of South America,, Tahiti, China, India, Persia, Asia Minor, and Greece, and reaching home in 1848. The results were published in three volumes at Vienna in 1850, under the title Eine Frauenfahrt um die Welt. For her next and most extensive journey she re-ceived the support of the Austrian Government to the small extent of S.,150. Starting in 1851, she went by London to South Africa, her purpose being to penetrate into the interior ; but, this proving impracticable, she pro-ceeded to the "Malay Archipelago, spending eighteen months in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. After a visit to Australia, Madame Pfeiffer proceeded to California, Oregon, Peru, Ecuador, New Granada, the Missiones Territory, and north again to the American lakes, reaching home in 1854. Her narrative, Meine zweite Weltreise, was published in four volumes at Vienna in 1856. In "11-fay of the same year Ida, set out to explore Madagascar, where at first she was cordially received by the queen. Unfortunately, she un-wittingly allowed herself to be involved in the plot of a Frenchman to overthrow the government, and, with brutal treatment, was expelled from the country. After being de-tained hy her sufferings in Mauritius for some months, Ida returned by England to Vienna, where she died 27th October 1858. The Reise mach, Madagascar was issued in 1861, with a, biography by her son.
All Madame Pfeiffer's narratives have been translated into English as well as other languages, and have maintained a steady popularity up to the present tiine. Although Ida Pfeiffer can hardly be said to have broken up new ground in her travels, she certainly (lid much to increase our knowledge of countries about which our in-formation was most meagre. Moreover, her scientific collections - for she was as good a collector as observer - were of considerable extent, and great value and novelty, and were regarded as important aequisitions by the-Vienna museum. She was made an honorary member of the Berlin and Paris Geographical Societies, and received from the king of Prussia the gold medal of science and art. Her travels altogether covered 150,000 miles by sea and 20,000 by land. Ida Pfeiffer was short in stature, and latterly slightly bent ; her manners were simple, unassuming, and womanly.