Short Portrait: Artur and Else Byhan

Artur and Else Byhan
Artur and Else Byhan

Artur Byhan (* 1872 + 1942) studied with Gustav Weigand (Romance Languages) and later was the first curator for Eurasia at the Hamburg Museum for Völkerkunde. He was a specialist on Northern, Central and Western Asia, on the Caucasus, Northern and Eastern Russia, and Finland. He collected artefacts for the museum in Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia and Sardinia. He retired in 1938.

At the second meeting of GAA (1936 Leipzig), Byhan was elected Deputy Chairman of the society.

Amongst his publications were Die Polarvölker (1909), Illustrierte Völkerkunde: In zwei Bänden. Europa und seine Randgebiete, Vol. 2 (1926), Beitrag zur Volkskunde der Gagausen (1933), La civilisation caucasienne (1936)

Artur Byhan, who died in the early 1940s, was survived by his second wife, Else Byhan, nee Krohn, much younger than him and also well qualified in Eurasian Studies. After his death she applied for the position of her deceased husband at the Hamburg Museum, but was rejected and Wilhelm Bierhenke became curator for Eurasia. She moved from Hamburg to Kleinheubach/Main (where she was visited by Ulla Johansen) and later to Melbeck/Lüneburg. Else Byhans allowance (144.000 DM) was given as a donation for Applied Botanical Studies to the University of Hamburg in 1992.

 [More information on these anthropologists is welcome]


(text by Dieter Haller; photo source:,47706718-buch)