Frits Heide (1883-?)

Science writer, teacher, graduated from Jonstrup College of Education 1904, botanical studies from 1907, editor of Tidsskrift for Historisk Botanik [Journal of Historical Botany] 1918-21 and Alrune [Mandrake] 1935-36.

In 1909, Frits Heide revised J.P. Jacobsen’s translations of the Origin of Species (1871-72) and Descent of Man (1874-75) for a collective anniversary edition issued by the major publishing house Gyldendal. Heide, who later in 1909 translated the Autobiography into Danish, earned his living as a popular science writer while studying at the University of Copenhagen. He never obtained a full degree in botany. Instead he worked as a private teacher and around 1920 as a consultant for the Dutch government on Java, while editing, translating and writing extensively on natural history in both professional and popular periodicals from 1909 to the 1930s. He edited and revised an abridged 1913 edition of the Origin of Species. It was still based on Jacobsen’s original translation. In 1935 Heide finally published his own translation of Origin. In his slim volume on the history of botany Blomsternes Hemmelighed: Gamle og nye Tiders Teorier om Planternes Køn og Befrugtning [The Secret of Flowers: Old and New Thoughts on the Sex and Fertilization of Plants] (Copenhagen: Johs. Marckers Forlag, 1911) Heide’s admiration for Darwin became clear, when he celebrated him as ‘the Messiah figure of all natural sciences.

Hans Henrik Hjermitslev

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