Friedrich Wilhelm von Guericke

Personal data
Friedrich Wilhelm von Guericke
Born June 14, 1709
Died October 09, 1777
at Milow an der Havel

In 1764 he was Lord High Steward at Anhalt-Dessau. According to Boswell, von Guericke had formerly been tutor to Leopold Friedrich Franz (1740-1817), the reigning prince of Anhalt-Dessau from 1758.

He is probably the F. W. von Guericke who was born June 14, 1709, son to Leberecht von Guericke and Katharina von Schierstedt, and great-grandson to the more famous inventor and politician Otto von Guericke (1602-1686), who discovered vacuum. If this is the case, he died at Milow an der Havel on October 9, 1777.1

Life with Boswell

Although it is obvious that they had met earlier during Boswell's stay at Dessau, Boswell only mentions him in his journal for October 1, 1764, when Guericke “sent me his album amicorum, which was very splendid”. In it, Boswell wrote

“Never has a foreigner relished his travels more than I. I travel as a philosopher. I am not so rude as Diogenes, but I am, like him, in search of men: beings worthy to uphold the dignity of human nature. Among such beings I make bold to name Monsieur de Guericke. Remember, Sir, a good Scots gentleman who has the honour to be, with the highest regard, your most humble and most obedient servant, BOSWELL OF AUCHINLECK”

Later that day, Guericke thanked Boswell for what he had written, and proceeded to show him an even better comment, this by the Prince of Courland (probably the deposed duke Karl Christian Joseph). It turned out, that Guericke admired the handwriting more than the actual text, and, to quote Boswell “a writing-master would make the best figure in his album amicorum”.