Eugen Teuber Papers

Mss.Ms.Coll.57

Date: 1910-1994 1912-1914 | Size: 0.5 Linear feet

Abstract

As a young graduate student at the University of Berlin in 1912, Eugen Teuber (1889-1958) was hired to help establish the Anthropoiden Station auf Teneriffa (Tenerife Primate Station) for the Prussian Academy of Sciences, the first field station devoted to behavioral research on primates. As its first director, Teuber played a crucial role in setting up the facilities and acclimating the chimpanzees to their new environment, and he was a co-participant in the first trials of Wolfgang Köhler's famous experiments to evaluate the intelligence of apes.

The papers of Eugen Teuber document the founding and earliest years of the Anthropoiden Station auf Teneriffa. A small (0.5 linear feet), tightly focused collection, it contains a series of official documents relating to the establishment of the Station, approximately 20 letters between Teuber and officials in Berlin, including Wilhelm Waldeyer and Max Rothmann, some research notes, and over 100 photographs of the chimpanzees and facilities. The collection includes Teuber's notes on the first trial of Wolfgang Köhler's famous "fruit basket" experiment in December 1913.

Background note

As a young graduate student at the University of Berlin in 1912, Eugen Teuber (1889-1958) was hired to help establish the Anthropoiden Station auf Teneriffa (Tenerife Primate Station) for the Prussian Academy of Sciences, the first field station devoted to behavioral research on primates. As its first director, Teuber played a crucial role in setting up the facilities and acclimating the chimpanzees to their new environment, and he was a co-participant in the first trials of Wolfgang Köhler's famous experiments to evaluate the intelligence of apes.

Born and raised in Berlin, Teuber was educated at the Collège Français before entering the University of Leipzig to study under Wilhelm Wundt. Influenced by Wundt's psychology, Teuber enrolled at the University of Berlin to pursue a doctorate. In the midst of his studies, the neurophysiologist Max Rothmann proposed establishing a research station under the auspices of the Prussian Academy of Sciences not only as a means of supplying experimental animals for neuroanatomical research, but as a place to study the behavior of higher primates in an environment relatively similar to their natural habitat. Although his first request for support in 1910 was declined, Rothmann persevered and obtained approval his station on reapplication in 1912, securing funding from both the Academy and from private sources, including the Plaut and Selenka Foundations and the recently-established Albert Samson Foundation, chaired by the eminent anatomist Wilhelm Waldeyer. The difficulties of working on mainland Africa persuaded Rothmann to locate his facilities in the Canary Islands, comparatively near the German colony of Cameroon (a source for his experimental subjects).

At the suggestion of the psychologist Carl Stumpf from the Academy, Rothmann considered the young Wolfgang Köhler, Max Wertheimer, and David Katz for the position of director at the Station, but he initially favored Oskar Pfungst, the experimental psychologist known for his work debunking Kluge Hans, the calculating horse. In November 1912, however, Pfungst declined the position, and with the first shipments of chimpanzees slated to arrive soon at Tenerife -- some having already been held in captivity for several months -- the need for a replacement became critical. Under the circumstances, Waldeyer suggested that Eugen Teuber, then only 23, might be suitable for the position, and despite Stumpf's reservations about Teuber's inexperience in animal psychology, Teuber agreed to a one year contract on Dec. 17, 1912.

On Januayr 8, 1913, Teuber and his wife Rose (who also acted as assistant) landed at Tenerife, carrying with them a set of architectural plans for the new facility. Drawn in Berlin by the architect Erich Levy, but never implemented, the plans would have resulted in a building that more resembled a Schwartzwald chalet than a research station, however other needs more pressing than construction soon took precedence. Discovering that the seven chimps who had recently arrived (Sultan, Rana, Chica, Grande, Konsul, Tercera, and Tchego) were suffering from colds, and that one had died, Teuber moved quickly to improve their conditions and nurse them back to health. A ordered the construction of a large, open-air pen enclosed by high netting in which the apes could run about, while work proceeded on an ape house with four sleeping chambers and a long runway for exercise. Although it was small, the attached laboratory had up to date facilities for photography and sound recording.

Although much of Teuber's time was occupied with the details of care and feeding of the animals and construction of the station itself, Teuber also engaged in observations on chimpanzee behavior and, at the suggestion of Rothmann, he took notes their physical development. Teuber was particularly interested in the spontaneous behaviors exhibited the young male, Sultan, who often took the lead in their boisterous play, but he also made important observations on chimp communication and emotional expression, including vocalizations, facial expressions, gestures, and "dances." Using both the camera and sound recordings to document his work, Teuber concluded that chimp vocalizations were expressions of affect rather than a true language, though at one point, he considered the possibility that chimps might be able to learn sign language (likely, he thought), and he and Rothmann considered whether chimps could be taught to recognize vocal or visual signs as representatives of "certain objects," such as foods (not probable).

When Rothmann toured the station in August 1913, he found things in excellent order and reported positively on the health of the animals, the state of the buildings, and Teuber's diligent care. When Köhler arrived in December 1913 to take over control of the Station, the laboratory was already fully functional. Under Köhler, the priorities of research at the station shifted dramatically, moving away from the project of finding a substitute for language to performing "language-free" experiments of goal-oriented behavior to reveal "insight" or thought. Teuber and his wife remained in Tenerife for a few weeks to help Köhler find his bearings and to ease the transition for the chimpanzees, and they were co-participants in the first version of Köhler's famous fruit basket experiment on Dec. 31, 1913, the first conclusive demonstration of ape intelligence.

The Teubers left for Berlin in mid-January 1914, only ten months before the start of the First World War. During the war Eugen Teuber served as a communications officer on the Eastern front, after which he completed his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Rostock in 1921 with a dissertation on the artistic philosophy of Jean-Baptiste Dubos. Rather than entering academia, however, Teuber signed on as scientific director for Adrema, a business machine company. He was transferred to Denmark in 1938 to serve as director of exports, and he and his wife both became Danish citizens.

Köhler remained at the Anthropoiden Station throughout the War, but when the owner of the property on which the Station was located sold out to a British firm in 1918, Köhler was forced to relocate. The Station closed permanently in October 1920, five months after Köhler returned to Germany to become Director of the Psychological Institute at the University of Berlin.

Scope and content

The papers of Eugen Teuber document the founding and earliest years of the Anthropoiden Station auf Teneriffa (Tenerife Primate Station), the pioneering research station established by the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1912. A small (0.5 linear feet), tightly focused collection, it contains a series of official documents relating to the establishment of the Station, approximately 20 letters between Teuber and officials in Berlin, including Wilhelm Waldeyer and Max Rothmann, some research notes, and over 100 photographs of the chimpanzees and facilities. The collection includes Teuber's notes on the first trial of Wolfgang Köhler's famous "fruit basket" experiment in December 1913.

The visual documentation in the collection is outstanding, with 58 different images (97 developing-out or printing-out prints, 5 lantern slides, and 22 negatives) depicting Teuber, the chimpanzees, and the Station itself. These provide a good sense of the physical appearance of the ape quarters, and hint at some of Teuber's research priorities, with several views of chimps standing upright, socializing, or reaching for treats of cocoa or other foods. The collection also includes a draft and published version of a paper written by Teuber's daughter-in-law, Marianne L. Teuber, "The Founding of the Primate Station, Tenerife, Canary Islands" (1994).

Collection Information

Provenance

Gift of Marianne L. Teuber, 1988.

Preferred citation

Cite as: Eugen Teuber Papers, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Recatalogued by rsc, 2002.

Related material

The APS also houses the papers of Wolgang Koehler, Teuber's successor at the Tenerife Primate Station.

Bibliography

Teuber, Marianne L., "The founding of the primate station, Tenerife, Canary Islands," American Journal of Psychology 107 (1994): 551-581.

Indexing Terms


Corporate Name(s)

  • Anthropoiden Station auf Teneriffa

Genre(s)

  • Lantern slides
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Köhler, Wolfgang,1887-1967.
  • Teuber, Eugen,1889-1958.
  • Waldeyer-Hartz, Wilhelm von, 1

Subject(s)

  • Animal psychology.
  • Chimpanzees.
  • Primatology


Detailed Inventory

Eugen Teuber Papers
1910-19940.5 linear feetbox 1
Dexler, H..
Betrachtungen uber den dermaligen Stand des Krallissmus
1914Pr. Ms (incomplete), pp.3-28

On Clever Hans (Kluge Hans)

In Memoriam Otto Rothmann
1914Silk ribbon

Printed memorial silk ribbon for Otto Rothmann (son of Max Rothmann) killed in the war.

Tenerife Primate Station..
Records
19143 folders
Tenerife Primate Station..
Arbeitsplan
1913TMs, 2p.folder 1

Program of observations to be made o the chimpanzees.

Tenerife Primate Station..
Der Kaufpreis för Land...
1913 Jan. 22TMs, 2p.folder 1
Tenerife Primate Station..
Die Untersuchung der Chimpansen
1913TMs, 4p.folder 1

Program of observations to be made o the chimpanzees, with marginal notes by Teuber.

Tenerife Primate Station..
Vertrag [with Eugen Teuber]
1913TD, 3p.folder 1
Tenerife Primate Station..
Accounts
1913-19148 itemsfolder 2

Accounts periodically submitted for building materials, fruit, cocoa, bread, and rice for the animals; straw and blankets; apparatus; motion picture camera; phonograph; stopwatch; salaries for the caretaker and construction worker.

Tenerife Primate Station..
Miscellaneous records
19134 itemsfolder 3

Includes Verzeichnes der Böcher der Anthropoiden-Station and 3 items on construction of pens for the primates

Tenerife Primate Station [Eric.
Blueprints
19131 item

Elevation and floorplan for scientific laboratories drawn by Erich Levy, Berlin.

Levy, Erich.
Agreement with Eugen Teuber
1912 Dec. 20TDS, 1p. (5 copies)

Agreement with architect

Teuber, Eugen.
Correspondence
19122 items
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1912 Dec. 8ALS, 1p.
Russak, Hugo.
To Eugen Teuber
1912 Dec. 12TLS, 1p.
Teuber, Eugen.
Correspondence
191310 items
Teuber, Eugen.
To Wilhelm Waldeyer?
1913 Feb. 8ALS, 4p. (inc.)
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 Feb. 11TLS, 1p.

"Cimpanzee corpse" prepared by George Perez has arrived in good condition at the Anatomical Institute.

Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 May 6ALS, 1p.
Teuber, Eugen.
To Wilhelm Waldeyer?
1913 Apr. 1ALS, 3p. (inc.)
Rothmann, Max.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 May 15ALS, 7p.
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 June 17ALS, 3p.
Lander.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 July 4(?)Tgm, 1p.
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 Nov. 26ALS, 4p.
Ahlers, Jakob.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 Dec. 15TLS, 2p.

German Consul regarding travel arrangements for return trip to Germany for the Teubers.

Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1913 Dec. 17ALS, 2p.
Teuber, Eugen.
Correspondence
19144 items
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1914 Feb. 1ALS, 2p.

Acknowledges Teuber's gift of books and inquires about what Köhler might need. Mentions that Teuber has been praised by Köhler for his outstanding and exemplary administration of the Station (see also the letter May 11, 1914).

Teuber, Eugen.
To Herr Hertzer
1914 Mar. 12ALS, 2p. (inc.)
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1914 May 11TLS, 1p.
Waldeyer, Wilhelm.
To Eugen Teuber
1914 May 12ALS, 1p.
Teuber, Eugen.
Correspondence
n.d.4 items
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 1
19136 items
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber and chimpanzee Terzera
19136 copiesfolder 1
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 2
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
"Chimpanzee walking upright" [reaching for cocoa]
19134 copiesfolder 2:1a-b
Teuber, Eugen.
"Chimpanzee walking upright" [reversed]
19132 copiesfolder 2:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee walking upright
19131 printfolder 2:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee walking upright
19134 copiesfolder 2:2a-b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee reaching for food
19134 copiesfolder 2:2c-d
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 3
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees standing
19131 printfolder 3:1a
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees standing
19131 printfolder 3:1b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee reaching for food
19131 printfolder 3:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee with arm extended, begging for cocoa
19131 printfolder 3:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee standing
19131 printfolder 3:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee standing, arm extended
19132 printsfolder 3:2b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee reaching into open window
19133 printsfolder 3:2c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee standing upright
19131 printfolder 3:2d
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 4
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Young chimpanzee standing, arm extended
19131 printfolder 4:1a
Teuber, Eugen.
Young chimpanzee standing, arm extended
19131 printfolder 4:1b
Teuber, Eugen.
Young chimpanzee standing, arm extended
19131 printfolder 4:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzee swinging on pole
19132 printsfolder 4:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Close-up of chimpanzee
19137 printsfolder 4:2a-d
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 5
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee standing, arm extended
19133 printsfolder 5:1a-b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee in motion
19131 printfolder 5:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee looking out window
19131 printfolder 5:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Close-up of chimpanzee
19131 printfolder 5:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Close-up of chimpanzee in cage chin held up
19131 printfolder 5:2b
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber holding chimpanzee
19131 printfolder 5:2c
Teuber, Eugen.
Underside of chimpanzee foot
19131 printfolder 5:2d

See 11c.

Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 6
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzees on a ladder
19137 printsfolder 6:1a-d
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzees destroying the banana tree
19131 printfolder 6:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Sultan, below, Rana in top, trying to destroy a banana tree
1913 May1 printfolder 6:2b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee walking on knuckles
19131 printfolder 6:2c
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 7
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Three chimpanzees in cage
19131 printfolder 7:1a
Teuber, Eugen.
Three chimpanzees in cage
19131 printfolder 7:1b
Teuber, Eugen.
Three chimpanzees in open pen
19133 printsfolder 7:1c-d
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees in open air runway by pens
19131 printfolder 7:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee sitting on crate in open air runway by pens
19131 printfolder 7:2b
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees in open air runway by pens
19133 printsfolder 7:2c-d
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 8
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Man holding young chimpanzee by the arms
19131 printfolder 8:1a
Teuber, Eugen.
Man standing next to young chimpanzee
19131 printfolder 8:1b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzees by their pens
19131 printfolder 8:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee at food troughs
19131 printfolder 8:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with young chimpanzee in pen
19132 printsfolder 8:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with young chimpanzee in open air runway
19131 printfolder 8:2b

See 11a.

Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with two young chimpanzees
19131 printfolder 8:2c
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 9
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees in cage
19131 printfolder 9:1a
Teuber, Eugen.
Two chimpanzees in cage
19131 printfolder 9:1b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzees in cage
19132 printsfolder 9:1c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee in cage
19131 printfolder 9:1d
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with chimpanzee in cage
19131 printfolder 9:2a
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with chimpanzee in cage
19131 printfolder 9:2b
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee in cage
19131 printfolder 9:2c
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with chimpanzee in cage
19131 printfolder 9:2d
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 10
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Young chimpanzee on crate
19131 printfolder 10a
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with two chimpanzees
19131 printfolder 10b
Teuber, Eugen.
Portrait of two women [proof]
19131 printfolder 10c
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs, Folder 11
1913 

Folder 11 includes the highest quality selection of prints that are duplicated elsewhere.

Teuber, Eugen.
Eugen Teuber with Tchego
19131 printfolder 11a
Teuber, Eugen.
In the runway of the primate house
19131 printfolder 11b

See also 7.2c.

Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee foot
19131 printfolder 11c
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee walking upright
19131 printfolder 11

See also 2.1c

Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzees on ladder
19131 printfolder 11e

See also 6.1a.

Teuber, Eugen.
In the runway of the primate house
19132 printsfolder 11

See also 3.2c

Teuber, Eugen.
Rose and Eugen Teuber with Consul, caretaker in background
19131 printfolder 11g
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs (negatives)
1913 folder 12
Teuber, Eugen.
Photographs (glass plates and lantern slides)
1913 
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimp (Sultan) with arm extended, begging for cocoa
1913Lantern slidefolder 13
Teuber, Eugen.
Anthropoiden Station
1913Lantern slidefolder 14
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimp (Sultan) with arm extended
1913Lantern slidefolder 15
Teuber, Eugen.
Teuber with two chimpanzees (slide broken)
1913Lantern slidefolder 16
Teuber, Eugen.
Chimpanzee sitting on crate in runway
1913Lantern slidefolder 17
Teuber, Eugen.
Research notes: Intelligenz Handlungen
1913 Dec. 31AMs, 5p.

Köhler's fruit basket experiment, including observations on chimp Sultan.

Teuber, Eugen.
Research notes: Missie
1913AMs, 8p.

Observations on chimp Missie (Perhaps formerly called Tercera).

Teuber, Eugen.
Research notes: Über Nachahmung
1913AMs, 2p.

Introductory remarks on imitation

Teuber, Eugen.
Misc. notes
1913-191415 items
Teuber, Marianne L..
The founding of the Primate Station, Tenerife, Canary Islands
1988TMs, 29p.

Final draft

Teuber, Marianne L..
The founding of the Primate Station, Tenerife, Canary Islands
1994Pr. Ms., 30p. (2 copies)

Published in American Journal of Psychology 107 (1994): 551-581

Magazines: La Alhambra
19101 item

Issue of La Alhambra 13, 303 (1910)

Magazines: Berliner Tageblatt
1913 Aug. 91 item
Magazines: Die Gartenlaube
1911 

Misc. issues