Obituaries about Rasmus Malling-Hansen

This last portrait of Malling-Hansen from June 1890 was made in a large number of copies, and can be found several places. This copy, with his signature, once belonged to his daughter, Emma. Photo: Private
This old picture shows Malling-Hansen's grave at Garnisons churchyard, before the stone was moved to The Institute in 1947. The medallion on the stone was made by the same man who made the sculpture of Malling-Hansen, Ludvig Brandstrup. Photo: Private

 

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen was a publicly known person when he suddenly and unexpectedly died in 1890. The grief was shared not only by his family and his closest friends, but also by a large number of people, because Malling-Hansen had met numerous persons during his lifetime, and they all loved him and respected him for his engagement and his bright mind. He was well known for his great effort for the deaf-mutes, for his inventions and dicoveries, and for the way he treated everybody, high or low, with an open mind and a warm heart. 

In this section we will print transcripts of the known obituaries written after Malling-Hansen's death - in Danish and in English.

 

 

Et oversiktsbilde over Borgergade, der Malling-Hansen kom spaserende oppover ca kl 22.30 27. september 1890 fra et møte i frimurerlosjen. Da han var kommet nesten til enden av Borgergade(nærmest), falt han om, og de som kom løpende til kunne bare konstantere at han allerede var død. Legen fikk ham bragt inn i det huset som ses nærmest til venstre, som lå i det som den gangen het Leopardlængen. Det gikk beskjed til Instituttet og portneren derfra kom for å bringe ham den siste turen hjem til Det Kongelieg Døvstummeinstitutt. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab


Obituary in the Daily Newspaper “Politiken” September 28, 1890

This is the physician summoned, Hoter Axel Breuning Storm, 1849-1923, who could only verify that Malling-Hansen was already dead. Photo: The Royal Library.

Malling Hansen.[1]

 

Last evening at 22:30 some people passing by in Borgergade noticed that a well-dressed gentleman lost his balance and fell to the ground. A young couple in conversation on the other side of the street rushed to help and found him dead.

 

The physicist summoned, Dr Breuning Storm, could only confirm that death had occurred and arranged for the body to be carried into the house of boatswain’s mate Knudsen, living at the corner of Borgergade and Leopardlængen. Already before that, a gentleman passing by had recognized the deceased. It was Malling Hansen, the inventor of the writing ball and the author of “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat”.

 

When the identity of the body had been confirmed though a business card found in the breast pocket, the local police station sent an officer to the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, where he conveyed the message about her husband’s death to Mrs Malling-Hansen in the most tender and considerate way possible. One may imagine her sudden devastation. The porter of the institute then followed the officer back to Borgergade and, accompanied by two police officers, he brought the body back home in a carriage[2].

 

“Nordisk Konversationsleksikon”[3] has the following regarding Malling-Hansen:

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen was born September 5, 1835 near Maribo and attended Jonstrup Teacher Training College, from where he graduated in 1854. He passed Artium[4] in 1858 and began studying theology while simultaneously being appointed to a teaching position at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig, heading this institute as from 1863, but dismissed in 1864 as a consequence of the war; as from 1864 principal of and priest at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen. Investigations regarding the relationship between the speed of the spoken word as compared to the speed of writing, as well as that of the hand sign language of the deaf-mutes, led him in 1870 to the invention of the writing ball; his “dry print” or “xerography”, demonstrated together with the writing ball at the international exhibition in Vienna in 1873 was a precursor for other similar copying methods, attaining their culmination in the so called hectography. Initially with the aim of achieving guidance for the development of a new dietary regulation for the pupils of the institute for the deaf-mute, he initiated in 1882 daily weighing and measuring of the children of the institute, continued over a long period of time and also extended to other schools and institutions; exceedingly important and interesting results from this have been presented in “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat”, in which he demonstrates that children’s increase in terms of weight and height  is submitted to periodical variations (oscillations) with a maximum period for height increase from April until the end of July, a maximum weight increase from August until December; during the maximum period for height increase the weight increase is at its lowest point – the children even undergo considerable weight losses during this period; conversely, the height increase comes almost to a standstill during the subsequent large weight increase.

 

This unexpected demise will attract wide attention, for Malling-Hansen was the kind of man who only had friends, and friends everywhere, and he belonged to those who do not forget their old friends. This was born out in a beautiful way when he, the old Jonstrup alumnus, a couple of months ago led a happy, celebrating group of teachers returning to the old building. On that day the sun was shining brightly on fields and forests, and when Malling-Hansen mounted the flowered speaker’s platform, accompanied by shouts of applause from his old mates, he spread his arms and exclaimed: “If only this beautiful day would last forever!” No one in the large group of people, now widespread all over the country, had a hunch that at this very occasion they were seeing the dear, happy old friend for the last time.

 

Malling-Hansen was an outstanding member of our freemason lodge[5]. Here, as well as everywhere his demise was announced late last evening, the message caused much commiseration. He is one of those who will be sorely missed and mourned by young as well as old, and in particular by the unfortunate children for whom he was not only an educator but also a father and a friend. The mutes, lacking words by which to express their mourning, will gather, inconsolable, around the tomb of their dear teacher.

 

 


[1] SA: Initially in this article the name of the deceased is given as Malling Hansen, without a hyphen. Later on the author writes the name with the hyphen included. Malling-Hansen himself began to use the hyphen around 1882-1883.

[2] SA: The Politiken obituary is, compared to other similar texts, the most detailed one in terms of informing about the circumstances of Malling-Hansen’s death.

[3] JMC: “Nordisk Conversationsleksikon”, volume 1-6, probably quoted from the third edition published 1884-1890, one of the earliest Danish encyclopedias.

[4] JMC: At the time the name of the exam for gaining entry to university studies.

[5] SA: The phrasing suggests that one of Malling-Hansen’s masonic brothers has written this obituary. However, we do not know who it was.


An old picture of the entrance to the freemason lodge in Klerkegade, inaugurated in 1863. In 1877 Malling-Hansen became a member of “Frederik and Zorobabel of the Crowned Hope”. Malling-Hansen walked from Klerkegade shortly before 22:30 PM on the 27th of September 1890. Photo: The Royal Library.
On this map of Nyboder as it appeared around 1890 we can easily pick out the route Malling-Hansen followed from the freemason lodge in Klerkegade, turning left along Borgergade. He had walked only a few blocks along Borgergade when he staggered and died. The physician ordered that his body be taken into the house of boatswain’s mate Knudsen, who lived on the corner of Borgergade/Leopardlængen.
A photo from 1912 from the corner of Borgergade/Fredericiagade which Malling-Hansen passed on his way along Borgergade. Photo: The Royal Library.
An old engraving of the freemason lodge in Klerkegade. Copyright: The Royal Library.
On this map of Copenhagen 1890 we have drawn up the route Malling-Hansen followed in the evening of the 27th of September 1890. The red line shows the way he walked from the freemason lodge along Borgergade and almost reaching Leopardlængen, at which point he staggered and was later brought into a house on the corner of Borgergade/Leopardlængen, home of boatswain’s mate Knudsen. The blue line shows the way he would have followed in order to reach his home in Citadelsvej, later on renamed Kastelsvej, which is also its present name. The map was made for the program of the 6th Nordic Teachers’ Meeting, organized in Copenhagen in August 1890, where Malling-Hansen gave a lecture about the education of the deaf-mute (For an enlargement, click on the picture).

If you would like to follow Malling-Hansen’s last walk in a detailed aerial photo, please click on the link below. The starting point is the freemason lodge in Klerkegade. As you will see from the aerial photo most of the streets are still there, however in 1897 the three short stretches: Tulipangade, Elephantgade and Leopardlængen were combined and renamed Suensonsgade, which is also its present name.

 

 

http://www.degulesider.dk/vbw/kort/resultat.do?maptype=photo&level=0&x=725466.83355&y=6177002.3341999985&PartnerID=kortlink

 

 

In this old picture you can see where Malling-Hansen was walking the very last meters. The red arrow shows how he was walking along Borgergade towards Store Kongensgade. As he was approaching the intersection, he fell down, dead from a cardiac arrest, and the physician summoned had the body brought into the apartment situated at the intersection of Leopardlængen/Store Kongensgade. The house is marked by a red cross. Photo: The Royal Library.
In 1897 the three short streets: Tulipangade, Elephantgade and Leopardlængen were conjoined into one street, called Suensonsgade, its present name. The above picture was taken from Suensonsgade facing Borgergade. The house to the left is in all probability the house where Malling-Hansen’s body was put. Photo: The Royal Library.
Perhaps Malling-Hansen had planned to walk to Store Kongensgade and from there catch a horse-drawn tramcar to Citadelsvej? Photo of the horsedrawn tram at Sankt Annæ square around 1865.
The Institute for the Deaf-Mute had the address of Citadelsvej, later on changed to Kastelsvej. The above drawing is from ca 1870. Copyright: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
The caretaker, P.C. Sørensen, who brought Malling-Hansen's corps back to the institute. Employed since July 1, 1884. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
This is what it looks like today in the exact location where he fell down and died in 1890. He had just been walking along Borgergade, when his heart beat for the very last time. Bypassers immediately rushed to the spot, and he was taken into the nearest house on the left hand side, at the time on the intersection between Borgergade and Leopardlængen. Today the address is Suensonsgade. Photo: Sverre Avnskog.

Nekrolog i Politiken, 28. september 1890

Dette er legen som ble tilkalt, og som bare kunne konstatere at Malling-Hansen allerede var død, Hoter Axel Breuning Storm, 1849-1923. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek

Malling Hansen. [1]

 

Igaar Aftes Kl. 10 ½ bemærkede nogle i Borgergade tilfældig Forbigaaende, at en velklædt Herre vaklede og styrtede om. Da et Par unge Mennesker, der stod og passiarede paa den anden Side af Gaden, ilede til, fandt de at han var død.

 

Den tilkaldte Læge, Dr. Breuning Storm, kunde kun konstatere, at Døden havde fundet Sted og foranstaltede Liget baaret ind hos en Underbaadsmand Knudsen, der bor paa Hjørnet af Borgergade og Leopardlængen. Allerede forinden havde en tilstedekommen Herre genkendt den Afdøde. Det var Malling Hansen, Skrivekuglens Opfinder og Forfatteren til ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme”.

 

Nyboders Politi lod, da Ligets Identitet var godtgjort ved et i Brystlommen forfunden Visitkort, en Betjent køre ud paa Døvstummeinstitutet, hvor han paa den mest varsomme Maade overbragte Fru Malling-Hansen Budskapet om hendes Mands Død. Man kan let tænke sig til hendes pludselige Fortvivlelse. Institutets Portner fulgte derpaa med ind til Borgergade, og bragte, ledsaget af to Betjente, Liget med sig hjem i en Vogn. [2]

 

Nordisk Konversationsleksikon indeholder følgende om Malling-Hansen:

 

Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen fødtes den 5te Septbr. 1835 ved Maribo og besøgte Jonstrup Seminarium, hvorfra han dimitteredes 1854, men tog Artium 1858 og begyndte det teolog. Studium samtidig med, at han blev Lærer ved det kgl. Døvstumme-Institut i Kbhvn.; 1862 blev han ansat som Lærer ved Døvstumme-Institutet i Slesvig og i 1863 dets Forstander, men som følge af Krigen afskediget 1864; side 1865 er han Forstander for og Præst ved Døvstumme-Institutet i Kbhvn. Undersøgelser angaaende Forholdet mellem Talehurtigheden og Hurtigheden af Taledelenes Fremstilling ved Hjælp af af Skrift og gennem de Døvstummes Haandalfabet ledede ham 1870 til Opfindelsen af Skrivekuglen; hans ”Tørtryk” eller Ekserografi, fremstillet tillige med Skrivekuglen paa den intern. Udstilling i Wien 1873,[3] var Forgænger for andre lignende Kopieringsmetoder, der naaede deres største Fuldkommenhed i den saakaldte Hektografi. Fra først af for at vinde Vejledning til Tilvejebringelsen af et nyt Bespisningsreglement for Eleverne paa Døvstumme-Institutet paabegyndte han 1882 daglige Vejninger og Højdemaalinger af Institutets Børn, senere uafbrudt fortsatte og udvidede ogsaa til andre Anstalter; de særdeles vigtige og interessante Resultater heraf foreligger navnlig i ”Perioder i Børns Vækst og i Solens Varme”, hvori han paaviser, at der i Børns Vægtforøgelse og Højdevækst er en særlig periodisk Vaiation med en Maksimumstid for Højdevæksten fra April til Udgangen af Juli, en Maksimumstid for Vægtforøgelsen fra Avgust til ind i December; i Højdevækstens Maksimumstid har Vægtforøgelsen sin Minimumstid, ja Bøenene lider endog i denne Tid betydelige Vægttab; omvendt er der omtrent Stilstand i Højdevæxten under den paafølgende store Vægtforøgelsen.

 

Dette uventede Dødsfald vil vække Opsigt i vide Kredse, thi Malling-Hansen var af dem, der kun havde Venner, og Venner overalt, og en af dem, der ikke glemte sine gamle Venner. Derom havde man et smukt Vidnesbyrd, da han, den gamle Jonstrupper, for et Par Maaneder siden i Spidsen for en glædestraalende Lærerskare gæstede den gamle Borg. Den Dag straalede Solen over Mark og Skov, og da Malling-Hansen under sine gamle Kammeraters Bifaldsraab besteg den blomstersmykte Talerstol, raabte han, idet han udbredte sine Arme: ”Gid denne smukke Dag kunde vare ved til evig Tid”. Ingen i den store Forsamling, der nu er adspredt Landet rundt, anede da, at de ved denne Leilighed saa den kære, livsglade fordums Kammerat for sidste Gang.

 

Malling-Hansen var et fremragende Medlem af vor Frimurerloge. [4] Her, som overalt, hvor hans Død sent iaftes blev bekendt, vakte Budskapet derom stor Deltagelse. Han er en af dem der vil bli savnet og begrædt af Store som af Smaa, især af de Ulykkelige, for hvem han ikke blot var Opdrager, men en Fader og Ven. De Stumme, der mangler Ord for deres Sorg, vil især utrøstelige samles om den kære Lærers Grav.

 

 

Fotnoter:

 

[1] SA: I begynnelsen av artikkelen omtales den avdøde ved navnet Malling Hansen, uten bindestrek. Underveis i nekrologen går forfatteren over til å skrive navnet med bindestrek. Selv begynte Malling-Hansen å bruke bindestrek ca 1882/83.

[2] SA: Nekrologen i Politiken er den som mest detaljert forteller om omstendighetene ved Malling-Hansens død.

[3] SA: Dette at en av Malling-Hansens andre store oppfinnelser; verdens første tørrtrykkmetode - Xerografien - også ble presentert ved verdensutstillingen i Wien i 1873, er en helt ny opplysning for oss, såvidt jeg kjenner til. Jeg har i hvert fall ikke tidligere lest om det i noen av kildene!

[4] SA: Denne formuleringen kan meget vel tolkes dithen at det er en av Malling-Hansens losjebrødre som har skrevet denne nekrologen. Men hvem, vet vi ikke.

 

 

Et gammelt bilde av inngangspartiet til Frimurerlosjen i Klerkegade, som ble innviet i 1863. Malling-Hansen ble medlem i 1877 i "Frederik og Zorobabel til det kronede Haab". Fra Klerkegade gikk Malling-Hansen til fots litt før 22.30 den 27. september 1890. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
På dette kartet over Nyboder, slik det så ut i ca 1890, kan man lett følge den ruten Malling-Hansen fulgte fra Frimurerlosjen i Klerkegade, og til venstra opp Borgergade. Han hadde ikke rukket å gå mange kvartalene oppover Borgergade før han falt om og døde. Hans lik ble av legen beordret bragt inn i huset til en Underbaadsmand Knudsen som bodde på hjørnet Borgergade/Leopardlængen
Foto fra 1912 fra hjørnet Borgergade/Fredericiagade, som Malling-Hansen passerte på veien oppover Borgergade. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Gammel gravering av Frimurerlosjen i Klerkegade. Copyright: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Her kan man se inntegnet på et kart over København fra 1890 den ruten Malling-Hansen fulgte om kvelden den 27. september 1890. Den røde linjen viser den veien han rakk å gå fra Frimurerlosjen, oppover Borgergade og nesten til Leopardlængen, der han falt om og senere ble bragt inn i et hus på hjørnet av Borgergade/Leopardlængen hos Underbaadsmand Knudsen. Den blå linjen viser den veien han ville ha fulgt videre for å komme til sitt hjem i Citadelsvej, som senere skriftet navn til Kastelsvej, som den heter i dag. Kartet ble laget til programmet for det 6. Nordiske Lærermøtet, som ble holdt i København i august 1890, og hvor Malling-Hansen holdt et foredrag om døvstummeundervisningen. (For å se en forstørrelse, klikk på bildet)

Har du lyst til å følge Malling-Hansen's siste rute på et detaljert luftfoto, kan du klikke på linket under. Startstedet er Frimurerlosjen i Klerkegade. Som det fremgår av flyfotoet, eksisterer de aller fleste gatene ennå - Men i 1897 ble de tre korte gatestumpene, Tulipangade, Elephantgade og Leopardlængen slått sammen til Suensonsgade, som den også heter i dag.

 

http://www.degulesider.dk/vbw/kort/resultat.do?maptype=photo&level=0&x=725466.83355&y=6177002.3341999985&PartnerID=kortlink

 

 

 

På dette gamle bildet kan man se hvor Malling-Hansen gikk de siste metrene. Den røde pilen viser hvor han kom gående oppover Borgergade, mot Store Kongens gade. Da han nærmet seg krysset, falt han død om, av hjerteslag, og legen som kom til stedet fikk liket bragt inn i den leiligheten som lå akkurat i krysset Læopardlængen/Store Kongens gade. Huset er merket av med et rødt kryss. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
I 1897 ble de tre korte gatestumpene, Tulipangade, Elephantgade og Leopardlængen slått sammen til Suensonsgade, som den fremdeles heter. Bildet ovenfor er fortografert fra Suensonsgade i retning nedover Borgergade. Huset til venstre er etter all sannsynlighet det huset der Malling-Hansens lik ble båret inn. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Kanskje hadde Malling-Hansen tenkt å spasere opp til Store Kongens gade, for der å ta en hestesporvogn opp til Citadelsvej? Foto av hestesporvognen ved Sankt Annæ plads fra ca 1865
Døvstummeinstituttet hadde adresse Citadelsvej, som senere skiftet navn til Kastelsvej. Tegningen over er fra ca 1870. Copyright: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Dette er portneren som bragte Malling-Hansens døde legeme tilbake til Instituttet: P. C. Sørensen, ansatt siden 1. juli 1884. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Slik ser det ut dag, der Malling-Hansen falt død om i 1890. Han var nettopp kommet gående oppover Borgergade, da hans hjerte slo sine siste slag. Folk kom straks til stedet, og han ble bragt inn i det nærmeste huset til venstre, som den gangen lå i krysset Borgergade/Leopardlængen. I dag er adressen Suensonsgade. Foto: Sverre Avnskog

Obituary in ”Tidsskrift för Döfstumskolan” no.6, 1890.

The funeral service for Rasmus Malling-Hansen took place at St Jacob’s Church. Copyright: The Historical Society of the Deaf.

Translation, comments  and footnotes by Jørgen Malling Christensen(JMC). Additional footnotes by Sverre Avnskog (SA).

 

An important Rasmus Malling-Hansen Obituary.

 

Obituaries represent a very useful and relevant kind of documentation, because the form is short and sharp, and the authors have to summarise the personality, character traits and main achievements of the diseased in a very limited space.

 

An excellent example of a well-written obituary is the following text, penned by one of the teachers of the institute, Ole Christian Jensen. He was employed as a teacher in 1878, and hence he had worked with and under RMH for 12 years. Jensen obviously possessed a deep knowledge and experience of RMHs personality, and his text shows a high level of intellligence and understanding, paired with a somewhat convoluted and old fashioned way of expression, yet easy enough to grasp in the Danish original. I would say that this short text is one of the most insightful and penetrating analyses of Malling-Hansen’s personality that we have.  

 

Obituary in ”Tidsskrift för Döfstumskolan” (Journal for the Education of the Deaf-Mute”) no.6, 1890.

 

By O. C. Jensen[1], teacher of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Copenhagen.

 

H. R. J. Malling-Hansen.

 

For the readers of “Journal for the Education of the Deaf-Mute” the writer of these lines assumes that some words about pastor Malling-Hansen would be welcome, - now that he has ended his very active life.

 

Pastor Malling-Hansen was walking from the Freemason Lodge towards the Institute on Saturday evening, September 27, when all of a sudden he collapsed in the street between 10 and 11 PM.  Soon people gathered around him, but when they lifted him up he was already dead. During the past spring he had been very ill and bedridden for 2 months. Only slowly did he recover and gain some strength after the long period of illness, and in order to recover completely he travelled with his wife to the area around Fredensborg[2]. Recreation during one month here, in lovely scenic surroundings, did also have the desired effect: He returned to the Institute in a happy frame of mind and eager to get back to work. However, his appearance was quite different from what it used to be, and to a remarkable degree marked by peace – bringing to mind the appearance of a man who has reached an advanced age and feels that the end of his life is near.  He resumed his teaching service, but it became obvious that his mind was occupied by fear that his days were numbered, when he learned on September 16 that the medical doctor of the Institute since many years back, Professor Lehman[3], had collapsed suddenly while visiting his brother. Because the symptoms of weakness, since long time felt by Dr Lehmann himself, pastor Malling-Hansen knew were identical to his own. Hence, the information about Dr Lehmann made such an impression on him, that he could only rarely escape it. He participated in Professor Lehmann’s funeral, but he was severely touched by it, and only five days after this event, he himself was called to the other side. His demise will be felt for a very long time here at the institute, because as a teacher and principal his conduct was brilliant and he was a very attractive and charismatic person.

 

When teaching he was mild and calm, clear and deep. He had what can be called a strong pedagogical instinct, a solid compass within his personality allowing him to obtain maximum results, as well as a well grounded conviction about being in complete harmony with everything required by a healthy and natural method of teaching.  This instinct was probably rooted in serious pedagogical research, but also influenced by his childhood conditions as well as his natural genetic gifts. He was, after all, the son of a primary school teacher from Lolland[4], and following the early death of his father he had lived in the household of teacher close to his former home, Rasmus Malling[5]; further on, by means of the help and support of Count Knuth of Knuthenborg Manor[6] he spent 3 years at the teacher training college of Jonstrup[7] - hence, he had always been in the vicinity of school children and well acquainted with the teaching profession. This is probably also why he held children so dear and close to his heart, something that became particularly evident when he approached a child while poking fun and jesting, leaving the high position of his desk in the classroom and sort of stepped down unto the floor and in his facial expression and smile, in the way he looked at them and spoke, put himself at the same level as the pupils, - well, from all of the above it will be evident that he possessed all the qualities of a true, real teacher with an open eye for how good and efficient education of the child ought to be delivered.

 


The obituary in “Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” was by O.C. Jensen, a teacher of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Copenhagen.
The medical doctor attached to the Institute who died just a few days before RMH, Georg Carl Heinrich Lehmann, 1815-1890. Photo: The Royal Library.
The obituary in “Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” no. 6, 1890.

The fact that he had scored the grade ”excellent” when graduating from the teacher training college and after that, by the assistance of the upper mentioned count Knuth, had initiated his ”Artium” (GCE grade A/high-school certificate), graduated, and 7 years after that had obtained his degree in divinity – of all of these achievements he never made any fuss; even less did he boast of his mechanical talent or his scientific analytic gifts or of the remarkable results that he was able to achieve. Whenever he spoke in his quality of the principal of the Institute, one was always reminded of the Teacher, the Personality that he was; and if we possibly reflect that he perhaps all too seldom communicated with the various class teachers, then probably his demanding scientific projects were one of the reasons behind this, but also – something we felt at all times – that he was afraid that by posing too much as the principal in his behaviour he might interfere too much with the daily teaching activities, as well as the independent development of each and every teacher. Concerning the latter aspect, he preferred – probably more than reasonable was – that every individual was supposed to grow and mature by him/her-self just like the seeds in the ground and the fruit of the orchard, even if this might take occur only after prolonged periods of fumbling and insecurity; because he abhorred the idea of “making imprints of himself” onto the young teachers. Hence, he did not at all appreciate any manifestations of servility, but he did very much appreciate real, true and natural civility.  His resistance to all kinds of hypocrisy as well as all kinds of exaggerations, which always repelled him and produced severe censure – all of this led him in fact to an almost bizarre and, at least, too extreme standpoint in relation to jubilee celebrations e similar festivities to the degree that he even saw only phoneyness in that kind of gatherings. Things he had previously experienced at such occasions had increased his dislike, but when he – influenced by this – declined any kind of festivity and celebration on the occasion of his own 25 year jubilee as principal on September 4 this year, - well, even left Copenhagen on that day – then we must also keep in mind the words he once uttered: “I could have accomplished so much more than I have done, and therefore there is not full justification to celebrate and congratulate me.”

 

Although he was a deep thinker and very analytic, yet he was neither dry nor cold.  Although he had vast and deep knowledge it did not particularly affect the way he spoke; his way of speaking was not markedly erudite, rather it was natural, common-place, marked by constant inner analysis, displaying his feelings, a certain personal atmosphere and something rooted in his childhood of spiritual, instinctual  perception.  Hence he always spoke calmly, not making use of strong words, and this is why his style is so easily understandable, so remarkably simple, so extremely clear and instructive, to the extent that his great gift of expression sort of “falls back” and is covered by that which he explains, so that whatever he puts forward seems to be imbued with a quiet, positive impression as if uttered by a peasant having a lucky moment.  This is the reason why he was so useful, so productive to follow, whenever his task was to act as a spokesman for his own proposals, as well as for those of other people, in a meeting or negotiation. Hence, the ministry responsible for the education of the deaf-mute as well as the Director never needed to wonder what should be left out and what should be carried out. And the fact that it was so easy to read his organisational overviews such as “Proposal for an Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Jutland” (1880) and “Organizational Measures for the Education of the Deaf-Mute”(1889), was, to a large extent, due to his pleasure in working with such tasks during the summer period, his joy in producing and writing.[8]


The Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Copenhagen. Drawing from 1898. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.

What has been achieved in terms of the conditions of the deaf-mute in Denmark since 1865, when pastor Malling-Hansen was appointed principal of the Institute in Copenhagen, has been described in an article in the Nordic journal “Tidsskrift för Döfstumskolan” No 4 & 5, 1881, as well as by Fr. Bech, MA[9] in the same journal no 1, 1886.  Presumably, as times goes by additional information about this cause will appear, however it would probably not be presumptuous at this point to repeat what was published in “Illustreret Tidende” of Sunday October 12 this year:

 

“When in a commission report of October 1889 it is said that “all of the institutes for the deaf-mute have been organized as parts of a system, within which each and every deaf-mute person is referred to a particular institution, whose form of education is adapted to the degree of his/her physical disability and his/her mental ability”, and that “such a systematic organization of the teaching of the deaf-mute is found only in Denmark”, this extraordinary result is primarily due to Malling-Hansen.  Because the cause of the deaf-mute was and remained at all times his alpha and omega, the leitmotif of his life, the centre of his attention; all other interests that captured his mind, his mechanical and graphic inventions as well as his scientific studies were rooted in the plight of the deaf-mute and emanated from his devotion to them. Even the genesis of the writing ball goes back to the hand alphabet of of the deaf-mute, and the scientific work, famous all over Europe: “Periods in Children’s Growth and Solar Heat” has its origin in a practical and rather prosaic investigation about the best possible diet for the children of the Institute. Hence, this was the ground, from which he got his strength, the core around which his thoughts were circling, admittedly sometimes far out in the periphery, but always with the connection to the centre kept intact.”[10]

 

In relation to the above mentioned, we shall not, in this context, talk about his analytic gifts and scientific aspirations. Only this: That he, just like anyone else presenting something new, more than once was made to feel and experience, in spite of considerable co-operativeness from government authorities and parliament, that novel ideas are frequently met with doubt and scepticism. However, surely the future will show that he with his investigations has opened the gates to something utterly remarkable and logical. What he has achieved will remain as incontrovertible memories of him, and these will merge with his noble and tireless efforts to better the economic conditions of the teaching staff, - well, in this cause he was a pioneer at every given opportunity and was therefore such a faithful and laudable expression of the willingness, which is also at hand at the Danish Ministry of Education and with the superior of the ministerial section for the education of the deaf-mute.

 

As mentioned, he did have flaws, frequently prey to sudden mood swings and was also easily influenced by distrust of other people’s honesty;  but while he might be said to have been  - in the words of Oehlenschläger[11] in his play “Palnatoke” – “a son of Askur with flaws”, and while he did wear, as the psalmist Kingo[12] expresses it: “the flesh and clothes of Adam”, yet his richly endowed talent, has excellent skills,  spiritual and attractive personality, plain and natural character, his urge for charity deeds and deeply felt compassion with his fellow beings, his magnanimity and kindness to his friends – all of these qualities will prevail much stronger as his legacy, for he truly wished no injustice to anyone! Therefore he is well worth being remembered with gratitude, - and by the present day deaf-mutes, who loved him dearly, by them he will be remembered longer than anyone else.

 

Pastor Malling-Hansen was born on September 5, 1835 near Maribo, Lolland. In 1854 he graduated from Jonstrup Teacher Training College. He took his high-school certificate  in 1858 and when initiating his divinity studies he simultaneously  was employed as a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen. In 1862 he was transferred to be a teacher at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig town and in 1863 appointed principal of this institute. As a consequence of the outbreak of war with Germany he was dismissed from this position in 1864 and the following year (1865) he was appointed pastor and principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Copenhagen.  He received the Order of the Knight of the Vasa and of the Order of the Knight of the Dannebrog, as well as the Decoration for Meritorious Services in gold and was from the exposition in Copenhagen in 1872 and from the world expositions in Vienna and Paris awarded gold medals for his re-known writing ball. His death occurred on September 27, 1890.

 

JMC: The prose part of the obituary is here followed by a poem, also penned by the author of the obituary. The text comments on RMH’s life and death and is a beautiful, poetical expression of the above prose text. It is not meaningful to translate it into English, because the entire poetical expression will be lost without the appropriate rhymes.

 

                                                           O.C. Jensen.

 

 

 


[1] JMC: The author of the obituary was Ole Christian Jensen, teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute as from May 12, 1878. Jensen was also the writer and composer of a cantata, performed on the occasion of the visit of the Danish Royal family to the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute at Fredericia on July 2, 1882. 
In connection with the letter from RMH to Johan Keller dated May 12, 1879 (see our list of letters from/to RMH) there is a photo showing teacher O.C. Jensen together with his grieving colleagues after RMH’s funeral.
Jensen was also the librarian of the institute in Copenhagen. He died in 1909.

[2] JMC: It is likely that RMH and his wife were staying at the convalescent home of Ulriksdal, a centrally placed institution close by a forest and lakes (address: Kongevejen 2, Fredensborg)

[3] JMC: Georg Carl Heinrich Lehmann, 1815-1890, Danish medical doctor and ofthalmologist, married to Claudine Hansine Mackeprang (1819-1911). Lehmann was attached to the Royal Institute for the Blind as institutional medical doctor as from 1872 and as from 1874 in the same capacity at the Royal Institute for the deaf-mute. He had an older brother, the very well known politician Orla Lehmann, 1810-1870, and Wilhelm Lehmann, 1817-1894. The latter was a high ranking Danish officer, married to Adelaide Marie Antoine David, 1832-1932. Their home was in Espergærde.

[4] SA: His father was Johan Frederik Hansen and had recently been appointed head teacher at Havlykke when he died suddenly from tyfoid fever in 1839, only 29 years old.  Malling-Hansen was then only 4 years old. His mother was  Juliane Marie Hansen, 1809-1885.

[5] SA:  Actually, Rasmus Malling was RMH’s foster father – as he had also been the foster father of the mother, Juliane Marie Hansen.

[6] SA: Count Frederik Marcus Knuth, 1813-1856, who, among other tasks, was also Danich minister for foreign affairs.

[7] SA: RMH graduated from Jonstrup in 1854 with the grade “udmærket duelig”, i.e. excellent.

[8] SA: For many years Malling-Hansen was a pioneer, urging and acting to organize education of the deaf-mutes in Denmark in accordance with one overall plan. His untiring work initially in 1867 led to a division of the deaf-mute into different groups in accordance with their abilities and to the advantage that they were taught at the institute, which was best geared to provide the best possible education for them. I 1880 this basis was developed further by the establishment of yet another institute, in Fredericia, and in 1890 his ideas were fully implemented when the proposals formulated by him in the Commission of 1888 by and large was approved by parliament, and the institute in Nyborg was established, while the government also took over the Keller institutions which until then had been privately run.

[9] SA: Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945,was a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute from 1882 and in 1890 he married RMH’s daugther Zarah, 1870-1910. Subsequently he was appointed principal of the School for the Deaf-Mute in Fredericia and was very active for the cause of the deaf-mute, among other things as president for many years of the association for the deaf-mute and as the editor  of several journals for deaf-mute, among them “Smaablade for Døvstumme” and ”Effata”.

[10] SA: The obituary in “Illustreret Tidende” was written by an old friend of RMH, Carl Alfred Bruun, 1846-1899, who, among other things, was the owner of a writing ball. JMC: Carl Afred Bruun was for many years part of the editorial board of one of the most important daily newspapers in Denmark, “Berlingske Tidende”.

[11] SA: Adam Gottlieb Oehlenschläger (1779-1850) was a Danish poet and playwrighter. Among many other works, Oehlenschläger has written one of the two national hymns of Denmark: ”Der er et yndigt land” as well as the classic poem ”Guldhornene”.

[12] SA: Thomas Hansen Kingo, 1634-1703, Danish psalmist and bishop of Fyen (Funen).


RMH’s son-in-law, Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945, wrote many articles about his father-in-law. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
The journalist Carl Alfred Bruun, 1846-1898, was a close friend of RMH. He was also the owner of a writing ball. Photo: The Royal Library.
RMH’s financial benefactor, the count of Knuthenborg, Frederik Marcus Knuth, 1813-1856.

RMH was buried at Garnison Cemetery. As you can see from this old map, it was situated close by the Institute. Copyright: The Historical Society of the Deaf.
The entry to the Garnison Cemetery as it appears today. Photo: The Historical Society of the Deaf.

Nekrolog i Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan N:o 6, 1890

Skrevet af O. C. Jensen, lærer ved det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i København

H. R. I. Malling-Hansen

 

For Læsere af ”Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” har Undertegnede tänkt, at nogle Ord om Pastor Malling-Hansen vilde være kjærkomne, - nu da han har endt sit meget virksomme Liv.

 

     Pastor Malling-Hansen var på Vej fra Frimurerlogen til Institutet, da han pludselig Lördag Aften, den 27:de Septbr, mellem 10 og 11 segnede om på Gaden. Der kom vel hurtig Folk tilstede, men da han löftedes op, var han alt död. Ved Forårstid havde han været meget syg og i 2 Måneder ligget til Sengs. Kun langsomt tog hans Kræfter til efter det lange Sygeleje, og for end bedre at blive ganske rask rejste han derfor med sin Hustru ud til Egnen ved Fredensborg. En Måneds Ophold her i en herlig Natur havde også den forönskede Virkning: han vendte tilbage til Institutet med glad Sind og foröget Arbejdslyst. Dog var hans Udseende et ganske andet end för og dertil i en mærkelig Grad præget af Fred som dens, der er nået en höj Alder og stadig föler sig Livets Afslutning nær. Atter begyndte han at undervise, men af Frygten for, at Dagene var talte, opfyldte hans Sind, gav sig tydeligt tilkjende, da han den 16:de Septbr modtog Underretning om, at Institutets mangeårige Læge, Prof. Lehman pludselig var segnet om under et Besög hos en Broder. De Svaghedssymptomer, Prof. Lehmann længe havde bemærket sig, vidste nemlig Pastor Malling-Hansen var også hans, og hin Underretning gjorde derfor et så sterkt Indtryk, at han kun til sine Tider kunde frigjöre sig for det. Ved Prof. Lehmanns Jordefærd var han med, men da meget betaget, og kun 5 Dage efter denne var det at han selv kaldtes herfra. Savnet af hans Bortgang vil her på Institutet sent fortage sig, fordi han som Lærer og Forstander var så fremragende i sin Adfærd og som Menneske uvilkårlig tiltrak.

 

     Som Lærer var han mild og rolig, klar og insigtsduld. Han besad, man kunde kalde det, et betydeligt pædagogisk Instinkt, en sikker Vejviser hos sig selv til at træffe det bedst Mulige og en dybt begrundet Vished om at være i fuld Overensstemmelse med Alt, hvad en sund og naturlig Undervisningsmåde fordrer. Dette Instinkt hadde sikkert sin Rod i et alvorligt pædagogisk Studium, men ligeså vist Tilhold i tilrettelagte Barndomsvilkår som i særlig gunstige Naturbetingelser. Han var jo sön af en lollandsk Landsbylærer[1], havde efter sin Faders tidlige död været i Huset hos en anden Lærer i Hjemmets Nærhed, Rasmus Malling[2], og endvidere, ved Hjælp og Stötte af Greve Knuth til Knuthenborg[3], opholdt sig 3 År på Jonstrup Seminarium[4] og havde således altid været Skolebörn og Lærergjerning på nært Hold. Derfor var han vel også en så ægte Börneven, som han var, hvad især viste sig, når han henvendte sig spögende til et eller andet Barn og da ligesom trådte ned på selve Gulvet fra det daglig Givnes Forhöjning og der i Udtryk og Smil, i Blik og i Tale stillede sig på lige menneskeligt Trin med Eleverne, - ja deraf vil det være fremlysende, at han havde Alt på sin Side i Henseende til den Opgave at være en sand, en virkelig Lærernatur med åbent Øje for, hvorledes god Börneundervisning helst bör være.

 

 

Nekrologen i "Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan" var skrevet av lærer ved Døvstummeinstituttet i København, O. C. Jensen. Dessverre har vi ikke noen opplysninger om ham
Legen ved Instituttet som døde bare noen dager før RMH, Georg Carl Heinrich Lehmann, 1815-1890. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
Nekrologen i "Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan" N:o 6, 1890

 

 

     At han ved Afgangen fra Seminariet havde opnået Karakteren ”Udmerket duelig”, derefter, ved yderligere Stötte af ovennævnte Greve Knuth, havde givet sig til at læse til Artium, var bleven Student og 7 År derpå theologisk Candidat, - deraf gjorde han sig aldrig i nogen Måde til, endnu mindre af sit mekaniske Talent og sin videnskabelige Granskerevne eller af de mærkelige Resultater, hvortil det forundtes ham at nå. Altid var det Læreren og Mennesket, man blev mindet om, når han i Egenskab af Institutets Forstander udtalte sig, og vil man med det Samme med dette i Tanke anmærke, at han mangen en Gang for-sjeldent henvendte sig til de respektive Klasselærere, så var vel hans videnskabelige Optagethed en af Grundene dertil men ogsaa, hvad der ved en hver Lejlighed var kjendeligt, det nemlig, at han lå inde med ligefrem Frygt for ved Forstanderoptræden at skulle komme til at træde hindrende i Vejen såvel for den daglige Undervisnings gode Gang som for den enkelte Lærers selvstændige Udvikling. Hvad det Sidste angår, så han helst, og sikkert mere end rigtigt var, at man modnedes som af sig selv ligesom Markens Sæd og Havens Frugt, selv om dette först ville kunde finne Sted efter længere Tids Famlen og Usikkerhed; thi at danne Aftryk af sig selv i Et og Alt hos unge Lærere, - det afskyede han. Han satte derfor heller ikke mindste Pris på Udslag af Underdanighed, men derimod megen på virkelig, sand og naturlig Höflighed. Hans tagen Afstand fra alle Grader af Unatur som fra al Slags Overdrivelser, der altid frastödte ham og stemte til streng Kritik, - dette förte ham for-övrig til et næsten sært, ialfald til et altfor vidt gående Standpunkt overfor Jubilæer og lignende Festligheder, så han endogså hovedsagelig kun så Humbug i den Art Sam,menkomster. Hvad han ved slige Lejligheder havde oplevet, havde foröget hans Uvillie, men når han derfor ledet heraf frabed sig enhver Festlighed og Lykönskning ved sit eget 25-årige Forstanderjubilæum den 4:de Septbr dette År, ja endogså tog bort fra Kjöbenhavn den Dag, så må dog også de Ord erindres, han ved given Lejlighed henkastede: ”Jeg kunde have udfört meget Mere end jeg har, og til at jubilere for mig er Grunden derfor ikke fuldt ud tilstede.”

 

     Skjöndt meget tænkende og særlig reflektionsbegavet var han dog hverken tör eller kold. Heller ikke havde det Kundskabserhvervede afsat hos ham noget vist Lærdt, som trængte frem, når han talte, - nej, det menneskeligt Naturlige, præget af idelig indre Anskuen, hvori Fölelse, Stemning og en fra Barndommens Dage fortsat åndig, umiddelbar Sandsning rådede, var det, der altid beherskede ham. Derfor talte han helst rolig, uden Brug af stærke Ord, og derfor er hans Stil så fattelig, så mærkelig jævn, til det yderste så klar og vejlysende, at hans store Fremstillingsevne ligesom trækker sig tilbage og dækkes under det, han förer frem, så at det, han gjör gjældende, synes med sit stilfærdigt velgjörende Indtryk at være formet af en Almuesmand i en heldig Stund. Deraf kom, at han som Tolk for, hvad han selv bragte i Forslag, som for hvad Andre i Fællesforhandling havde påvist, var så nytterig, så frugtbar at fölge. Aldrig behövede derfor Dövstummesagenes Overordnede Ministerium og Direktör at lede efter, hvad der helst burde undlades eller helst burde efterkommes. Og når det var så let overkommeligt at gjennemlæse hans organisatoriske Fremstillinger som ”Dövstummeinstitut i Jylland” (1880) og ”Foranstaltninger til Dövstummes Undervisning” (1889), så havde endvidere sin store Andel heri den, man kunde sige, sommermilde Produktionsglæde, hine Skrifter gjennomströmmedes af.[5]

 

Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstituttet i København. Tegning fra 1898. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab

 

 

Hvad der i Danmarks Dövstummeforhold siden 1865, da Pastor Malling-Hansen blev Forstander for Institutet i Kjöbenhavn, er udrettet, derom er der af ham selv talt i en Opsats i ”Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” N:4 & 5, 1881, samt af cand. mag. Fr. Bech[6] i samme Tidsskrift N:o 1, 1886. Siden hen i Tiden vil vel yderligere Oplysning om denne Sag fremkomme, men dog vil det neppe nu være foregribende at gjentage, hvad der står udtalt i ”Illustreret Tidende” for Söndag den 12:te October dette År:

 

     ”Naar det i en Komissionsbetænkning af Oktober 1889 hedder, at "alle Landets Døvstummeanstalter er indordnede som Led i et System, inden for hvilket  hver døvstum henvises til en særegen Anstalt, hvis Undervisning er afpasset efter Graden i hans legemlige Fejl og hans aandelige Standpunkt," og at "en saadan systematisk Ordning af Døvstummeundervisningen endnu ikke findes andre Steder end i Danmark," skyldes dette fortrinlige Resultat i første Række Malling-Hansen. Døvstumme-sagen var nemlig og vedblev at være hans Alfa og Omega, den røde Tråd i hans Liv, Centrum for hans Tanke; alle andre Interesser, hvoraf han blev greben, hans mekaniske og grafiske Opfindelser saa vel som hans videnskabelige Studier havde i Virkeligheden deres Rod hos de døvstumme og var saa at sige udgaaede af hans Omsorg for dem. Endog Skrivekuglens Genesis viser tilbage til de døvstummes Haandalfabet, og det videnskabelige, i hele Europa berømte Værk: "Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme" har sin Oprindelse i en praktisk og ganske prosaisk Undersøgelse om det bedste Bespisningsreglement for Børnene i Institutet. Dette var saaledes den Jordbund, fra hvilken han hentede sin Styrke, den Kjærne, om hvilken hans Tanker kredsede, vistnok undertiden langt ude i Periferien, men altid med Forbindelsen indefter mod Centrum.”[7]

 

     I Henhold til det ovenfor Anförte skal der ikke her tales om hans Granskerbegavelse og videnskabelige Higen. Kun dette, at han som enhver der fremförer noget Nyt, mere end en Gang fik at mærke tilgavns, trods stor Imödekommen på Finantsloven af Regjering og Rigsdag, at det Ny oftest modtages med Vantro. Fremtiden vil dog sikkert vise, at han med sine Undersögelser har åbnet Dören for noget meget Mærkeligt og Fölgerigt. Hvad han har udrettet, vil stå som uomstödelige Minder om ham, og i disse vil indflette sig hans ædle og utrættelige Bestræbelser for at stille Lærerpersonalet ökonomisk gunstigt, ja i denne Sag gik han foran med Iver ved enhver Lejlighed og var derfor i alle måder et tro og smukt Udtryk for den redebonne Velvillie, der også i så Henseende er tilstede hos det danske Kultusministerium og Dövstummesagens nærmeste Overordnede.

 

     Han havde som sagt Fejl, var ikke sjeldent undergivet bratte Stemninger og kunde også påvirkes af Mistro til Menneskers Ærlighed; men var han som Oehlenschläger[8] siger i ”Palnatoke”, ”en Askurs Sön med Fejl”, og havde han, som Psalmedigteren Kingo[9] udtrykker sig ”Adams kjöd og Klæder paa”, så vil dog hans rige Begavelse, hans store Dygtighed, hans åndelige, tiltrækkende Væsen, hans Jævnhed og Naturlighed, hans Godgjörenhedstrang og dybe Menneskefåolelse, hans Höjsind og Vennesælhed langt overskygge dem, så vist han i Sandhed ikke ville Uret mod Nogen! Derfor er han vel værd at mindes med Taknemlighed, - ja af de nulevende Dövstumme, der ligefrem yndede ham, af dem vil han sidst af Alle blive glemt.

 

     Pastor Malling-Hansen var födt den 5:te Septembr. 1835 ved Maribo paa Lolland. 1854 dimitteredes han fra Jonstrup Seminarium. Examen Artium tog han 1858 og samtidig med, at han begyndte sit theologiske Studium, blev han ansat som Lærer ved Kgl. Dövst.-Inst. I Kjbh. 1862 blev han Lærer ved Dövst.-Inst. I Slesvig og 1863 Forstander for dette Inst. Paa Grund af den udbrudt Krig med Tyskland afskedigedes han fra dette Embede 1864 og blev derpaa Aaret efter (1865) Forstander og Præst ved Kgl. Dövst.-Inst. I Kjöbenhavn. Han var dekoreret med Ridderkorset af Vasaordenen og af Dannebrogsordenen samt med Fortjenestemedaillen i Guld, og havde fra Udstillingen i Köbenhavn 1872 og fra Verdensudstillingerne i Wien og Paris erholdt Guldmedaille for sin vidt bekjendte ”Skrivekugle”. Hans död indtraf d. 27:de Septbr. 1890.

 

 

RMHs svigersønn, Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945, skrev en lang rekke artikler om sin svigerfar. Foto: Døvehistorisk selskab
Journalisten Carl Alfred Bruun, 1846-1899 var en god venn av RMH. Han var innehaver av en skrivekugle. Fot: Det Kongelige Bibliotek
RMHs økonomiske velgjører, Lensgreven av Knuthenborg, Frederik Marcus Knuth, 1813-1856.
Bisettelsen av Rasmus Malling-Hansen foregikk fra St. Jacobs kirke. Copyright: Døvehistorisk Selskab

 

 

Da hvert langsomt Fodtrin gjaldt

Hjemmets Tag bag Havens Blade,

da han vakled, sank og faldt

i den stille, mørke Gade

Vandrebud fra Jorden fik,

Haanden ind mod Brystet førte -

Gud kun saae hans sidste Blik

og hans Hvisken hørte.

 

 

Aar for Aar til Talsmand sat,

for de Døve og de Stumme

stræbte han til Dødens Nat

deres Ve og Vel at rumme.

Altid gik han foran dem

for at rydde bort hver Hindring,

altid fandt de i hans Hjem

Støtte, Hjælp og Lindring.

 

 

Aar for Aar med Granskeraand

higed han i Daad og Drømme

gjennem Hverdagslivs Baand

mod det Gaadefuldes Strømme,

for at bringe for en Dag

fra vor Sol, Naturens Moder!

Lovene for Pulsens Slag,

Væxtens Perioder.

 

 

Har som Alle han gjort Feil,

under for sin Svaghed bukket,

hvor hans Vei var haard og steil

eller Porten til den lukket,

rækkes ham dog i hans Død

Haand til Fred for alle Tider,

dækkes dog af Aftenrød

nu hans Skyggesider.

 

 

Alle Kranse, Venner gav,

visner vel, hvor han er jordet,

men de vil dog paa hans Grav

give Mindet om ham Ordet

for at sige: Han har stridt,

han har virket, han har gavnet!

for at sige mildt og blidt:

Han er daglig savnet.

 

 

 

                                                                                                     O. C. Jensen.

 

 

 

Fotnoter:

 

[1] SA: Faren het Johan Frederik Hansen og var nylig blitt enelærer i Havlykke da han døde brått av tyfus i 1839, bare 29 år gammel. Malling-Hansen var da kun 4 år. Moren var Juliane Hansen(1809-1885).

[2] SA: Rasmus Malling var i virkeligheten RMHs fosterfar, som han også hadde vært det for moren, Juliane Hansen.

[3] SA: Lensgreve Frederik Marcus Knuth, 1813-1856, som bl. a. var dansk utenriksminister.

[4] SA: RMH tok eksamen ved Jonstrup i 1854 med karakteren ”Udmerket duelig”.

[5] SA: Malling-Hansen var i alle år pådriver for å organisere døvstummeundervisningen i Danmark etter en felles overordnet plan. Hans utrettelige arbeid førte først i 1867 til en deling av de døvstumme i ulike grupper etter deres evner, og til at de fikk undervisning på det instituttet som kunne gi dem den best tilpassede undervisningen. I 1880 ble dette grunnlaget ført videre ved opprettelsen av et nytt institutt i Fredericia, og i 1890 ble hans tanker fullendt idet de forslagene han hadde ført i pennen for Kommisjonen av 1888 i det store og hele ble godkjent i Riksforsamlingen, og instituttet i Nyborg ble opprettet, samtidig som staten overtok De Kellerske Anstalter, som inntil da hadde vært private.

[6] SA: Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945, var lærer ved Døvstummeinstituttet fra 1882, og ble i 1890 gift med RMHs datter, Zarah, 1870-1910. Han ble senere forstander ved Døvstummeskolen i Fredericia, og var meget aktiv for døvstummesaken, bla a som mangeårig formann for døvstummeforeningen og redaktør av flere tidsskrifter for døvstumme, bla a ”Smaablade for Døvstumme” og ”Effata”.

[7] SA: Nekrologen i ”Illustreret Tidende var skrevet av en gammel kjenning av RMH, Carl Alfred Bruun, 1846-1899, som blant annet eide en skrivekugle selv.

[8] SA: Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (født 1779, død 1850) var en dansk dikter og skuespillforfatter. Oehlenschläger har blant andre skrevet Danmarks folkelige nasjonalsang, Der er et yndigt land og Guldhornene.

[9] SA: Thomas Hansen Kingo, 1634-1703, dansk salmedikter og biskop i Fyen.

 

 

RMH ble gravlagt på Garnisons kirkegaard. Som man kan se av dette gamle kartet, lå det ikke langt unna Instituttet. Copyright: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Slik ser inngangen til Garnisons kirkegaard ut i dag. Foto: Døvehistorisk Selskab

Nekrolog i Dagbladet, 29. september 1890

Malling-Hansen, slik han så ut i 1888. Detalj fra et maleri av Malthe Engelstedt. Copyright: Privat

Malling-Hansen.

 

     Forstanderen for Døvstummeinstitutet i Kjøbenhavn, den geniale Opfinder af ”Skrivekuglen”, den fine Iagttager af Periodiciteten i Børns Vægt, Pastor Malling-Hansen, er i Lørdags Aftes pludselig afgaaet ved Døden.

 

     Mange og tilsynelatende forskjellige vare denne Mands Beskjæftigelser og Interesser, men der var dog en naturlig indre Sammenhæng mellem dem alle. Hans daglige Gjerning paa Døvstummeinstitutet, som han røgtede med en Kjærlighed og Alvor, der vil gjøre Savnet af ham først og fremmest føleligt paa dette Sted, bragte ham til at stille sig videre Opgaver, og hans sandfulde Natur, hans skarpe Forskerøje, ledte ham da fra dette Udgangspunkt til interessante Iagttagelser.

 

     Hans Rasmus Johan Malling Hansen var født den 5te September 1835 ved Maribo. Han anbragtes paa Jonstrup Seminarium, og med hvilken Kjærlighed han omfattede dette Sted, hvor Grundlaget til hans Uddannelse blev lagt, derom vidner hans Optræden ved Seminariets Hundredaarsfest i Sommer. Nogle Aar, efterat han havde forladt Seminariet, tog han Artium, og samtidig med, at han blev Lærer ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Kjøbenhavn, tog han fat paa det theologiske Studium. Efter dettes Tilendebringelse blev han ansat først som Lærer, senere som Forstander ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Slesvig, men blev afskediget som Følge af Krigen, hvorpaa han i 1865 ansattes som Forstander og Præst ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Hovedstaden. Her var det, at Undersøgelser over Forholdet mellem Talens Hurtighed og Gjengivelsen deraf i Skrifttegn, Undersøgelser, der stode i en naturlig Forbindelse med hans Gjerning ved Institutet, førte ham til Fremstillingen af hans første Skrivemaskine, paa hvilken han udtog Patent den 12te Marts 1870. Gjennem et aarelangt Arbejde forbedrede og simplificerede Malling-Hansen sin Opfindelse efterhaanden betydeligt, og den vandt ogsaa rundt om, hvor den blev udstillet og bekjendt, megen Anerkjennelse og Beundring for det Sindrige i Tanken, men udstrakt praktisk Anvendelse fandt den destoværre aldrig; den kunde ikke tage Konkurrencen op med de amerikanske Skrivemaskiner, der nu mere og mere anvendes.

 

     Malling-Hansen var en altfor frisk og kraftig Natur til at lade sig bøje heraf. Hans Virksomhed ved Institutet gav ham et nyt Udgangspunkt for en Iagttagelsesrække, der har vakt ikke mindre Opsigt og Beundring end Skrivekuglen. Et nyt Spisereglement, der skulde indføres paa Døvstummeinstitutet, foranledigede ham til at lade foretage daglige Vejninger og Højdemaalinger af Eleverne, og fra disse og andre Iagttagelsesrækker, som han efterhaanden tilvejebragte, kom han da til sine mærkelige Slutninger med Hensyn til Periodiciteten i Børns Vægt og Forholdet mellem denne og Solvarmen. Om vi mindes ret, var det paa den internationale Lægekongres i Kjøbenhavn i 1884, at Malling-Hansen fremsatte sine Iagttagelser, for hvilke han senere har gjort udførlig Rede for i et Skrift.

 

     Malling-Hansens pludselige Død endnu i hans kraftigste Alder afbrød disse Undersøgelser, der sikkert vilde have ført til betydningsfulde Resultater, og bliver allerede derved et Tab, som vil føles ikke mindst ved de Institut, hvis Forstander han var, og som endelig ogsaa vil deles af alle de mange Venner, som den livsglade, kraftige og begavede Mand har efterladt sig.

 

 

Obituary in the Daily Newspaper “Dagbladet” of 29 September 1890

Detail from a paintning by Malthe Engelstedt from 1888

Principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, the brilliant inventor of the “writing ball”, sharp observer of the periodicity in the weight of children, Reverend Malling-Hansen died suddenly on Saturday evening.

 

This man’s interests and tasks might have appeared manifold and diverse, and yet there was a natural coherence and affinity between all of them. His daily tasks at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, tended with a loving care and seriousness which will surely make him particularly missed there, goaded him on to further challenges, and his truthful character combined with a keen eye for research led him from this point of departure onto interesting observations.

 

Hans Rasmus Johan Malling Hansen[1] was born September 5, 1835 near Maribo. He enrolled at Jonstrup Teacher Education College, and his great love and affection for this place, where the foundations for his further education were laid, was demonstrated by his conduct in connection with the centenary celebrations of the college this past summer[2]. A couple of years after having graduated from the college, he passed the examination that gave entry to university studies, and simultaneously with his employment as a teacher at the Copenhagen Institute for the Deaf-Mute he also began his theological studies at university. Having completed the studies[3] he was employed as a teacher and later on principal at the Schleswig Institute for the Deaf-Mute. However, as a consequence of the war he was discharged, followed by his employment in 1865 as principal and priest at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in the capital city. It was here that his investigations into comparisons between the spoken language and sign language – investigations logically connected with his assignments at the institute – led him to the manufacturing of his first typewriter on which he acquired a patent on March 12, 1870[4]. Throughout many years Malling-Hansen improved and simplified his invention considerably, and wherever it was demonstrated and made known it did gain much recognition and admiration for its ingenuous design. However, unfortunately its practical use remained limited; it was not able to compete with the American typewriters, which by this time became increasingly common.

 

Malling-Hansen was of a far too vigorous and dynamic nature to be daunted by this.  His work at the institute provided him with a new starting point for a series of observations that have provoked at least as much attention and admiration as the writing ball. A new dietary regulation which was being introduced at the institute caused him to carry out daily weighing and measuring of the pupils, and deriving from these and other series of observations produced over a period of time he then came up with his remarkable conclusions in terms of the periodicity in the weight of children and concerning the relationship between such oscillations and solar heat. If memory serves us right, it was at the international medical congress in Copenhagen in 1884 that Malling-Hansen presented his observations, which he later on elaborated extensively in a publication.

 

Malling-Hansen’s sudden death, still in the prime of his life, interrupted these investigations which surely would have led to important results, and is hence a loss that will be felt not least at the institute, which he led, but also by all the many friends left behind by this buoyant, robust and talented man.

 

English translation by

Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

 


[1] JMC: The correct order is: Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen

[2] JMC: RMH was chairman of the organizing committee for the Jonstrup centenary celebrations which took place August 4, 1890, and he also gave the keynote speech – see the chapter on Jonstrup.

[3] JMC: Factual mistake: RMH continued his theological studies on and off for several years until finally graduating from university in 1865.

[4] JMC: The actual date of his first Danish patent was January 25, 1870, with supplementary patents on the same machine dated 31 of January and 28 of February of that year.

En gammel annonse for skrivekuglen. Malling-Hansen inngikk på 1870-tallet kompaniskap med vennen Erik Ritzau, grunnleggeren av Ritzaus Bureau. Copyright: Privat
Perioder i Børns Væxt og i Solens Varme fra 1886 - Malling-Hansens hovedverk, der han presenterte resulatetene av sine veinings- og høydemålingsundersøkelser. Copyright: Privat

Obituary in ”Nationaltidende” September 29, 1890

Engelke Wiberg, photo from 1929.
Johanne Agerskov, photo from 1920

Transcription, footnotes and translation by Jørgen Malling Christensen (JMC). Additional footnotes by Sverre Avnskog (SA).

 

Among the papers and documents left by Malling-Hansen’s daughters Engelke Wiberg and Johanne Agerskov we have found a handwritten extract of an obituary published in the daily ”Nationaltidende” [1], written by Mr. Jarris[2]. One of our many outstanding research tasks is to find and transcribe the complete obituary, but in the meantime we present the handwritten extract as transcribed by Engelke and with our footnotes and comments. Engelke’s transcription is registered as no. 11_11_13 in the collection of documents left by Engelke and Johanne.

 

 - - - He invented the first writing ball which was capable of writing quicker than the pen, and for this he was rewarded with the Medal of Meritorious Services in gold and the Austrian gold medal  “Litteris et Artibus”, as well as several medals awarded in connection with exhibitions. He worked continuously to bring it to perfection. Another task of his, probably of much deeper and far-reaching importance, were his investigations concerning periodicity of the growth in height and weight of children’s bodies. These investigations caught a lot of attention at home and abroad and generated much recognition as well as generous financial financial support[3]. It also created quite a stir when he believed himself able to substantiate that the oscillations in terms of weight and height were connected to cosmic phenomena. While domestically objections were raised against this combination, in this aspect his investigations were rated very highly abroad, and in particular French medical doctors worked with his calculations and tables. More than once, some of the great physicians of France have stressed the importance of his work.[4]- - - In 1880 he was honoured with the title of Knight of the Dannebrog.

 

 


[1] JMC: Nationaltidende was a conservative Danish newspaper, published by ”De Ferslewske Blade” 1876-1961 and appearing daily in two editions, morning and evening. It was owned by Jean Christian Ferslews, 1836-1910, a wealthy Danish industrialist and publisher. He also published other newspapers, ”Dagstelegrafen” and ”Aftenposten”. His business conglomerate included a printing company, bookbinding and lithographic services, stationery, a factory for paper and pulp, and production of cellulose.

[2] JMC: Samuel Jarris was a stenographer at the Danish parliament  - ”Folketinget” -  and editor of the Danish magazine ”Gabelsberger Stenografen”. SA: Jarris published an article about Malling-Hansen in this magazine in 1924, probably also written by him. See our website.

[3] JMC: RMH applied for, and received, financial support from the “Reiersen Fund” for further development of the writing ball (1870). For his scientific investigations, Malling-Hansen received support from “The Carlsberg Fund”  in 1882 and 1885; we also have evidence that he was supported, for the same purpose,  by government funds – probably from the Ministry of Education (“Kultusministeriet”), but we have not, as yet, uncovered any details as to when and how much.

[4] JMC:  This is a very interesting and important comment! And it urges us to undertake yet another research task: that of finding out and documenting which French scientists and institutions took an interest in and were influenced by Malling-Hansen’s research and to document the marks he may have left in French scientific circles. For instance there may be French investigations of the physical growth of children and adolescents, following in the footsteps of the Malling-Hansen tradition – similarly to the Swedish physician, heart specialist and scientist Gustav Nylin, 1892-1961, who carried out an excellent research project at schools in a Stockholm suburb at the end of the 1920s. He followed closely in Malling-Hansen’s footsteps in terms of range, focus and methods (but adding some components) and was able to reach similar results as Malling-Hansen. This important piece of research became Nylin’s doctoral thesis, and he remained a well-known and highly recognized scientist throughout his career and should be regarded as a scientific disciple of Malling-Hansen. For additional information about Gustav Nylin and his research, see our website.
SA: Actually, it is a rather surprising information when Jarris claims that Malling-Hansen’s research was particularly well noted in France.  When Malling-Hansen himself referred to positive reactions abroad, he almost exclusively  mentioned German scientists. As of today (2015) in fact we don’t know of a single mention of Malling-Hansen’s research in French, - only in German, English and Dutch.  See also our documentation in the section: “Periods in the Growth of Children”.


Nekrolog i Nationaltidende

Engelke Wiberg fotografert i 1929
Johanne Agerskov på et foto fra 1920

Rasmus Malling-Hansen Nekrolog i Nationaltidende den 29 september 1890

Blandt de efterladte papirer fra Malling-Hansens døtre Engelke Wiberg og Johanne Agerskov har vi fundet et håndskrevet uddrag af en nekrolog i Nationaltidende, skrevet af Hr. Jarris[1]. En af vore mange forskningsopgaver er at finde og transkribere den fuldstændige nekrolog, men indtil videre bringer vi her det håndskrevne uddrag, nedskrevet af Engelke. Det har registreringsnummer 11_11_13 i dokumentsamlingen efter Engelke og Johanne.
Transkription, fodnoter og kommentarer af Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

Nationaltidende, 29.Septbr 1890

 


Uddrag af en kort Nekrolog:  - - -  Han opfandt den første skrivekugle, som kunde skrive hurtigere end Pennen og den skaffede ham Fortjenstmedaljen i Guld og den Østrigske Guldmedalje Litteris  et Artibus samt flere udstillingsmedaljer. Han arbejdede stadig paa at fuldkommengøre den. Et andet Arbejde som højst sandsynlig har en mere vidtrækkende Betydning var hans Undersøgelser om Periodiciteten i det opvoksende menneskelige Legemes Vægt og Højde. Disse Undersøgelser vakte den største Opmærksomhed baade i Indlandet og Udlandet og skaffede ham megen Anerkendelse samt rundelig Pengeunderstøttelse[2]. Stor Opsigt vakte det ogsaa, da han mente at kunne godtgøre, at Vægt- og Højdesvingningerne stod i Forbindelse med kosmiske Fænomener. Mens der herhjemme blev nedlagt Indsigelser mod denne Kombination, blev der i Udlandet tillagt hans Undersøgelser i denne Retning den største Betydning, og særlig franske Læger syslede med hans Beregninger og Tabeller. Mere end en Gang havde Frankrigs store Læger fremdraget Betydningen af hans Arbejde[3]…I 1880 udn.t. R.af Dbg.

                                                                                             

                                                                                                               Jarris

 


[1] JMC: Samuel Jarris var rigsdagsstenograf og redaktør for det danske tidsskrift Gabelsberger Stenografen.

SA: Jarris publiserte en artikkel om Malling-Hansen i dette tidsskriftet i 1924. Sannsynligvis var artikkelen også skrevet av ham.

[2] JMC: Vi har adskillige skriftlige vidnesmål om at RMH modtog økonomisk støtte fra staten og fra Carlsbergfondet for denne forskning, men vi har endnu ikke fundet andre dokumentære beviser på at han fik sådan støtte, og vi ved heller ikke hvor store beløb det handlede om.

[3] JMC: Dette er en yderst interessant og vigtig kommentar! Vi har her en forskningsopgave foran os: at finde og dokumentere hvilke franske forskere og institutioner som tog indtryk af Malling-Hansens forskning og at dokumentere de spor han åbenbart satte i franske videnskabelige kredse. Der kan for eksempel findes franske undersøgelser af børn og unges vækst, som følger Malling-Hansens tradition – såsom Gustav Nylin gjorde det så udmærket da han i slutningen af 1920erne gik direkte i Malling-Hansens fodspor og med ugangspunkt i RMHs arbejde gennemførte et stort og vellykket forskningsprojekt i Stockholm. Dette blev hans doktorsafhandling, og han forblev en kendt og agtet forsker i resten af livet og kan ses som en videnskabelig discipel af Malling-Hansen. Yderligere information om Gustav Nylin: se egen artikkel.

SA: Det er gentlig en meget overraskende opplysning når Jarris hevder at Malling-Hansens forskning ble spesielt godt merke til i Frankrike. Når Malling-Hansen selv refererte til positive reaksjoner i utlandet, var det nesten utelukkende tyske forskere han henviste til. Pr i dag (2012) kjenner vi faktisk ikke til en eneste omtale av Malling-Hansens forskning på fransk, utelukkende på tysk og engelsk. Se vårt kapittel "Periods in the Growth of Children".

 

Nekrolog i Dansk Lærerforenings blad

Malling-Hansen in 1887. Photo: Private

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

 

født 5te September 1835, død 27de September 1890

 

 

Det er endnu ikke 2 Maaneder siden, at en stor Kreds af Danmarks Folkeskolelærere saa ham staa forrest i deres Rækker, hørte ham med Varme og Veltalenhed tolke de følelser, der rørte sig hos hver og en af de Hundreder, der da var samlede til en Mindefest i Anledning af Hundredaaret for Lærerseminariernes Oprettelse i vort Land. Bevæget skal han have ytret: En dejlig Dag. Matte vi ønske, at den kunde vare evig! Han blev af de mange den første, der gik til Hvile.

 

Det er endnu kun faa Dage siden, at han virkede med Liv og Sjæl i sin Gerning - i den Anstalt, hvis kløgtige, kærlige og utrættelige Leder han lige fra sin Ungdoms Tid havde været, og i sit Studerekammer, hvor hans Tanke syslede med videnskabelige Opgaver, til hvis Løsning han i de senere Aar havde leveret betydelige Bidrag, med Opgaver, der vidne baade om den kløgtige Tanke og om den Energi, hvormed Malling-Hansen altid uden at trættes forfulgte sit Maal. Han fik Forfald midt under Arbejdet, endnu i sin kraftige Alder - andre ville maaske høste hvor han har saaet.

 

Malling-Hansen kan i mange Henseender siges have været en lykkelig Mand. Ualmindelig udrustet, baade i Henseende til Aand og Legeme, frejdig og livsglad i Ungdommen, vandt han tidlig alles Hjærter. I en forholdsvis meget ung Alder opnaaede han en betydelig og ansvarsfuld Stilling, som han dog viste sig fuldt ud i Stand til at røgte. Og i et lykkeligt Familieliv saa han tidlig en blomstrende Børneflok vokse op omkring sig. En genial Opfindelse, hvis Fuldkommengørelse han stadig syslede med, gjorde hans Navn hæderlig bekendt langt ud over Fødelandets Grænser. Men Sorg og Bekymring gik dog ingenlunde hans Dør forbi. Hans første Hustru, hans Ungdoms Elskede, blev taget bort fra ham og 7 smaa Børn efter 11 Aars Ægteskab, og som Opfinder gik det ham ikke bedre, end mange før ham: han led saa store Skuffelser, at kun et Sind, saa spændigt som hans, en Tillid så urokkelig som hans kunde sætte ham i Stand til at bære dem. Sin egentlige Livsgerning - de døvstumme Børns Opdragelse - viede han dog altid sine bedste Kræfter, og der fandt ham utvivlsomt sin bedste Trøst og Styrke, naar andet, hvortil han havde sat sin Hu, glippede. Han var vist alligevel, menneskelig talt, en lykkelig Mand, maaske ikke mindst deri, at Døden bortrev ham saa brat, inden han ret mærkede,at Dagen var begyndt at hælde.

 

Hans Rasmus Johan Malling-Hansen var en Skolelærersøn fra Hunseby ved Maribo og var født den 5te September 1835. Faderen, Johan Frederik Hansen, døde fra flere smaa Børn 4 Aar efter hans Fødsel. Efter sin Konfirmation blev han sat i Malerlære, men ved Understøttelse fra Grevskabet Knuthenborg kom han i 1852 paa Jonstrup Seminarium, hvor han uagtet sin unge Alder viste sig forberedt til Mellemklassen og allerede 2 Aar efter blev dimitteret med Udmærkelse. Et Aar efter sin Dimission var han Hjælpelærer i Maglemer ved Sakskøbing, og tog derpaa til København for at studere. Han blev Student 1858; men da han væsentlig var henvist til eget Erhverv, søgte han og fik i Begyndelsen af 1859 Plads som Lærer ved Døvstummeinstituttet i København, hvor han i sin Fritid studerede Theologi. I Slutningen af 1861 fratraadte han denne Plads og kom ind paa Regensen; men allerede 1 Aar efter afbrødes hans Studier ved, at han blev kaldet til Døvstumme-Instituttet i Slesvig, hvor han, efter i nogle Maaneder at have været Lærer, blev Forstander den 23de April 1863. Ved Fjendens Indtrængen Aaret efter blev han fordreven fra dette Embede; han tog nu atter i København fat paa sine afbrudte Studeringer og blev teologisk Kandidat i Sommeren 1865. Kort i Forvejen var Forstanderen for Institutet i København Provst Hejberg bleven kaldet til Præst i Kjeldby paa Møen, og Malling Hansen blev nu straks efter sin Eksamen udnævnt til hans Efterfølger som Præst og Forstander. Et Par Maaneder senere ægtede han sin Formands Datter, Katrine Georgia Hejberg.

 

Om hans 30aarige Virksomhed som Skolemand i den abnorme Skole skal jeg kun udtale, at han ikke alene har været stillet, men ogsaa i den lange Aarræke i Virkeligheden har s t a a e t i første Række blandt denne Skoles Mænd. Da nye Døvstumme-Opdragelsesanstalter for en Del Aar siden skulde grundlægges, benyttede Regeringen hans dygtige Medhjælp; han har ved Rejser søgt at lære andre Landes Forhold paa dette Omraade at kende, og han har oftere ved Møder - senest for to Maaneder siden ved det sjette nordiske Skolemøde - talt om Døvstumme-Undervisningen med den store Indsigt, som han besad.

 

Forskellige Udmærkelser var blevne ham til Del, saaledes Dannebrogsordenens Ridderkors og en svensk Orden.

 

Forskellige Medailler og andre Anerkendelser, han havde faaet, skyldtes hans Virksomhed som Opfinder af "Skrivekuglen". Han høstede megen Ære for dette højst sindrige Værk, der dog langtfra har bragt ham nogen materiel Fordel. I sin nuværende Skikkelse synes Skrivekuglen at være overordentlig praktisk, og den bruges sikkert meget. Hvad enten den i Konkurrencen på Verdensmarkedet endelig vinder Overtaget eller ikke, vil den altid være et slaaende Vidnesbyrd om Genialiteten hos den Mand, der har opfundet den. Malling-Hansens foran berørte nyere Undersøgelser og Studier var af en ganske anden Natur. Hans Ledelse af Institutets Økonomi havde ført ham til hyppige Vejninger af Børnene, og dette ledte ham efterhaanden til en Række Iagttagelser over disses Tilvækst i Højde og Tyngde. Han kom derefter til at søge efter Lovene for disse Fænomener,  og mente at have fundet dem i Solvarmen. Paa Lægekongressen i København fremlagde han sine Iagttagelser, der vakte stor Opsigt hos Lægevidenskabens Ypperste; fremmede Læger fortsætter nu Undersøgelserne efter de givne Anvisninger, og mange mene, at der af samme vil komme store Resultater for Videnskaben.

 

Folkeskolen stod Malling-Hansen sin meste Tid fjærn, men for mange af sine gamle Kammerater bevarede han et oprigtigt Venskab. Dette kendtes ikke mindst, da han i Foraaret med Varme greb Tanken om at fejre Jonstrup Seminariums Stiftelsesfest, i hvilken han som ledende Komitémedlen tog saa væsentlig Del. Han traadte afvigte Sommer ind i Danmarks Lærerforening. For ti Aar siden fik han i sin 2den Hustru Anna Katrine Maria Steenstrup atter en trofast Livsledsagerinde, og hans Børn staa derfor ved hans Bortgang, og idet de skulle forlade deres dejlige Barndomshjem, ikke uden den kærligste Raadgiver og Støtte.

 

 

Chr. Bröchner-Larsen[1]

 

      

 

 


[1] Ifølge opslag på Google levede han fra 1829 til 1891 og var 'Skolemand'.

Maglemer school, where Malling-Hansen worked one year as a teacher, after he had finished his education at the Jonstrup seminar for teachers in 1854. Photo: Otto Hemmingsen

Obituary from the journal of the Danish Teachers’ Union (“Dansk Lærerforening”)

Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

 

born September 5 1835, died  on September  27, 1890

 

 

  Not yet two months have passed since a large group of Denmark’s school teachers saw him standing in the front rank among them, hearing him eloquently and fervently give expression to the feelings stirred in each and every one of the hundreds of teachers, gathered for a commemoration on the occasion of the centenary of the establishment of the teacher training colleges in our country. Deeply moved, he is said to have uttered these words: “A wonderful day! Might it last forever!” He was to become the first of all the people gathered there to pass away.   Only a few days ago he dedicated himself life and soul to his calling – in the institution, whose sagacious, loving and tireless leader he had been ever since his youth, as well as in his study, where he worked with scientific research problems, for the solution of which he has contributed substantially these last few years, with tasks that testify to his bright intellect as well as the energy with which the indefatigable Malling-Hansen always pursued his aim. He was ripped away in the midst of his work, still in a vigorous phase of his life – others perhaps will reap where he has sown.   In many regards Malling-Hansen can be considered a happy man. Extraordinarily well endowed both spiritually and physically, dauntless and cheerful in his youth, he won everyone’s heart from an early age. At a still relatively young age he obtained an important and responsible post, proving himself perfectly capable. And in a happy family circle he witnessed, from early on, a thriving throng of children growing up. A brilliant invention that he continuously seeked to improve made his name honourably renowned far beyond the borders of his native country. However, also grief and anxiety would knock on his door. His first wife, the love of his youth, was ripped away from him and 7 small children after 11 years of marriage, and as an inventor he did not fare better than so many others before him: He suffered such great disappointments that only a mind as flexible as his and a confidence as unshakable as his could make it possible for him to bear them. However, he always devoted his primary efforts to the Calling of his life – the education of deaf-mute children, and in that sphere he undoubtedly found his best comfort and strength, when other aspirations to which he had set his mind failed. In summary, he was probably a happy man, not least due to the fact that Death ripped him away so abrubtly, before he sensed that his day was waning.  Hans Rasmus Johan Malling-Hansen was the son of a teacher from Hunseby by Maribo, and was born on September 5, 1835. The father, Johan Frederik Hansen, died four years after his birth, leaving several small children behind. After his confirmation he was apprenticed to a house painter, but by means of support from the count estate of Knuthenborg he was able to enrol in 1852 at the Jonstrup teacher training college, where he – in spite of his young age – proved himself prepared to start at the medium level and already after 2 years graduated with distinction. For a year after his graduation he was assistant teacher at Maglemer by Sakskøbing, and following that he went to Copenhagen in order to continue his studies. He passed his A - levels in 1858[1]; since he had to earn a living in 1859 he applied for and got the position of teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, while also studying theology in his spare time. By the end of 1861 he resigned from his post and was admitted to the Teacher Training College Regensen for theological studies; however, already after 1 year his studies were interrupted, when he was called to the Institute for the Deaf-Mute Schleswig where, after having taught for a few months, he became principal on April 23, 1863. When the Germans occupied the territory the following year, he was driven away from this post; he then resumed his unfinished theological studies in Copenhagen and graduated in the summer of 1865. Shortly before that, the principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, dean Hejberg was called to be vicar at Kjeldby, Møen, and Malling Hansen was now – immediately after having graduated - appointed as his successor as dean and principal. A couple of months later he married his predecessor’s daugther, Katrine Georgia Hejberg.  About his 30 years of work as an educationalist within special education I only wish to state that not only was he put at the forefront of the men of this school, but he certainly fulfilled this role during all these many years. Some years ago when new institutes for the deaf-mutes were to be established, the Government made good use of his assistance; through travels abroad he endeavoured to learn about the conditions of other countries in this field, and he has often at gatherings – lately, just two months ago at the sixth Nordic School Conference – spoken about the teaching of the deaf-mute with that great knowledge and insight that he possessed.   He was awarded several distinctions and decorations, among them a Swedish decoration and the Knights Cross of the Order of the Dannebrog.  Various of the medals and other types of recognitions that he received were due to his accomplishment as an inventor of the “Writing Ball”. He won much honour from this very ingenuous piece of work, although it fell far short of bringing him any material advantages. In its present shape the Writing Ball seems to be extremely useful, and it is certainly used widely. Whether it eventually gains the upper hand in the world market or not, it will for ever be a striking testimony of the genius of the man who invented it. Malling-Hansen’s newer investigations and research, referred to above, was of a completely separate nature. His management of the economy of the Institute had made him carry out frequent weighings of the children, and this eventually this led him to a series of observations regarding their growth in height and weight. He subsequently started searching for the natural laws governing these phenomena, and he was of the opinion that the main factor was to be found in the solar heat. At the medical congress in Copenhagen he presented his observations, causing great attention among the most outstanding representatives of medical science; foreign medical doctors are now proceeding the research in accordance with the instructions provided, and many are of the opinion that this will produce extraordinary results for science.

 

  Throughout most of his career, the primary school was not at the center of Malling-Hansen’s attention, but in relation to many of his old colleagues of the college he maintained a sincere friendship. This was felt in particular when he last Spring fervently seized on the idea of organising the commemorattion of the establishment of the Jonstrup teacher training college, and in which he as a leading member of the committe took such an important part. Last summer he joined the Danish Teachers’ Union. Ten years ago he acquired yet again a faithful life partner, marrying his second wife, Anna Katrine Maria Steenstrup. Hence, at his departure, and given that his children will have to leave their lovely childhood home, they still have the most loving support and adviser.

 

 

 

Chr. Bröchner-Larsen[2]

 

 


[1] JMC:For a present day reader it may appear odd that he was taking his A-levels (equivalent of the upper secondary school leaving examination/high-school certificate) after having gone through teacher training. However at the time, in Denmark, this was probably commonplace. As far as I know, candidates for the most basic teacher training merely needed to have successfully passed 9 years of schooling.

[2] According to Google he lived from 1829 until 1891 and was an educationalist

Translated into English language by Jørgen Malling Christensen


Chr. Brøckner-Larsen(1829-1891), dansk skolemann, skrev nekrologen over Malling-Hansen i Dansk lærerforenings blad. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København
Nekrologen i Illustreret Tidende ble skrevet av Carl Alfred Bruun(1846-1899). Fra et brev skrevet til Malling-Hansens bror, Jørgen Hansen, i 1890 av redaktør av Lolland-Falsters Stiftstidende, Hans Jørgen Jacobsen, 1833-1914, som var en god venn av C. A. Bruun, vet vi at sitnevnte var eier av en skrivekugle. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København

Nekrolog i Illustreret Tidende

Kjøbenhavn den 12. Oktober 1890[1]

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

Det lille Lands smaa Forhold og Skepsis, den indskrænkede Plads herhjemme, Følelsen af at sidde inde i den lille Vig, medens de store Bølger gaar udenfor, tyngede denne Mand. Som saa mange andre begyndte han med Frejdigt Mod og saa i sin livlige Fantasi alle Hindringer ryddede af Vejen, men Tiden gik, og han lærte det samme som Skytten Bryde[2] om Ærens Tornevej. Han trode at kunne gaa frem med Stormskridt, men erfarede, at Vejen skal maales med Sneglefjed; han saa i Tankerne Statuen rejst, men naade kun at frembringe en Torso. Der manglede vel ikke Solskin i hans Liv, og det kan ikke siges, at han stødte paa haardnakket Modstand, men han fandt ofte Ligegyldighed, hvor han havde ventet at finde Varme, Tilbageholdenhed, hvor han havde haabet paa fuld Tilslutning. Man trode ikke helt paa ham, man hørte ham kun halvt, man vilde kun vove lidt paa ham. Hans energiske Vilje og rastløse Iver blev dog ingensinde kuet herved, thi han fandt bestandig ny Udveje og ny Drivfjedre i sin Aands Dybder, men der kom dog efterhaanden et træt Udtryk over ham. Bestemt paa at indtage hidtil uopdyrkede Felter til videnskabelig Behandling, indsamlede han Erfaringer i Tusendvis, bearbejdede uendelige Talrækker, læste og skrev, søgte og fandt, blev snart skuffet, snart belønnet ved at se Fligen af Sandhedens Klædebon og holdt trofast ud, indtil han segnede. Han vilde trænge frem som Opdager i mørke Egne og bryde en af de mægtigste Slaaer, der lukke for Naturens hemmelighedsfulde Porte; han ønskede sig overmenneskelige Kræfter for at udføre det store Værk. Han gik rank og oprejst til det sidste, tilsyneladende uberørt af Livets Kampe og Skuffelser, men han var bleven mindre tillidsfuld, mere alvorlig.

  

Malling-Hansen blev ikke gammel, kun 55 Aar. Han stammede fra Smaakaarsfolk, en Lærerfamilie i Hunseby paa Lolland, men kom, da Faderen døde[3] fra ham i hans tidlige Alder, i Huset hos Skolelærer Rasmus[4] Malling i Hunseby, en mærkelig dannet og dygtig Mand. Hos denne sin Plejefader modtog han de første Indtryk fra den store Verden udenfor, og Lysten til at blive til noget, gjøre sig bemærket og komme frem vaagnede i ham. Den opvakte og livlige Dreng, blev imidlertid, da han havde naaet en passende Alder, sat i Malerlære i Maribo - thi der var ikke Raad til at holde ham til Bogen - og han maatte saaledes foreløbig sige sine ungdommelige Drømme Farvel.  Da viste der sig pludselig en deus ex machina for ham i Skikkelse af Grev Knuth til Knuthenborg, som havde hørt den flinke, videbegjærlige Skolelærersøn omtale og nu tilbød at holde ham paa Jonstrup Seminarium. Malling-Hansen levede paa dette Institut, som han al Tid omtalte med Taknemmelighed og Kjærlighed, i tre Aar og forlod det med Karakteren "Udmærket duelig"; derpaa begav han sig, atter ved den godgjørende Greves Hjælp, til Kjøbenhavn for at studere. Han blev Student med første Karakter i 1858 og kastede sig derpaa over Teologien, men omstændighederne medførte, at han først syv Aar senere blev teologisk Kandidat.

 

Sagen var, at Tilfældet eller Skæbnen - hvad man nu vil - allerede i 1859 havde sat ham ind i den Virkekreds, han skulde vie sine Kræfter, og fra hvilken han skulle modtage sine Impulser. Han blev Lærer ved Døvstummeinstitutet i Kjøbenhavn og satte alle sine Evner ind paa denne Gjerning, der interesserede ham levende, ja opfyldte ham helt. Her var en Opgave funden, som kunde blive et Livs Maal, Udgangspunkt for en nyttig og velsignelsesrig Virksomhed. Teologien blev trængt til Side, men ikke glemt; tvært imod følte han bestandig, at han maatte have Embedsexamen, koste, hvad det koste vilde, og det er karakteristisk for ham, at han midt under sin Lærervirksomhed for de døvstumme havde tilstrækkelig Energi til at opgive sin Plads, for at studere videre. Han holdt sit indtog paa Regensen[5], behersket  af en Slags horror vacui[6], som mangen ung Mand maatte ønske sig Mage til, og skjønt man atter rev ham bort og gjorde ham til Forstander for Døvstummeinstituet i Slesvig, holdt han fast ved sin plan. Krigen og de tyske Magthavere jog ham til Kjøbenhavn i 1864; men Aaret efter tog han teologisk Embedsexamen netop i de samme Dage, han blev Forstander for det kongelige Døvstummeinstitut her i byen.

 

Den store Offentlighed ved ifølge Sagens Natur saa godt som intet om Malling-Hansens Fortjenester af Døvstummesagen i Danmark. De ligger ikke aabne for alles Blikke, og kun en snæver Kreds af Fagmænd forstaar at vurdere dem. Takket være ham blev de Kellerske Anstalter allerede i 1867 optagne som Led i Døvstummeundervisningen her hjemme. Talemetoden blev indført, det ny Døv-stummeinstitut oprettet i Fredericia (efter Talemetoden) og det gamle ufuldkomne Tegnsprog afløst af Haandalfabetet paa Døvstummeinstituttet i Kjøbenhavn. Naar det i en Komissionsbetænkning af Oktober 1889 hedder, at "alle Landets Døvstummeanstalter er indordnede som Led i et System, inden for hvilket  hver døvstum henvises til en særegen Anstalt, hvis Undervisning er afpasset efter Graden i hans legemlige Fejl og hans aandelige Standpunkt," og at "en saadan systematisk Ordning af Døvstummeundervisningen endnu ikke findes andre Steder end i Danmark," skyldes dette fortrinlige Resultat i første Række Malling-Hansen. Døvstumme-sagen var nemlig og vedblev at være hans Alfa og Omega, den røde Tråd i hans Liv, Centrum for hans Tanke; alle andre Interesser, hvoraf han blev greben, hans mekaniske og grafiske[7] Opfindelser saa vel som hans videnskabelige Studier havde i Virkeligheden deres Rod hos de døvstumme og var saa at sige udgaaede af hans Omsorg for dem. Endog Skrivekuglens Genesis viser tilbage til de døvstummes Haandalfabet, og det videnskabelige, i hele Europa berømte Værk: "Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme" har sin Oprindelse i en praktisk og ganske prosaisk Undersøgelse om det bedste Bespisningsreglement for Børnene i Institutet. Dette var saaledes den Jordbund, fra hvilken han hentede sin Styrke, den Kjærne, om hvilken hans Tanker kredsede, vistnok undertiden langt ude i Periferien, men altid med Forbindelsen indefter mod Centrum.

 

Den herskende Evne hos den afdøde var Agtpaagivenhed, en altid aarvaagen Opmærksomhed for Naturens Fænomener, de materielle saa vel som de sjælelige, i Forening med den videnskabelige Fantasi, der kaldes Kombinationsevne. Han havde Øjnene med sig paa alle Omraader, gik stille og iagttog, saa ingen Virkninger uden at forske efter Aarsagerne og forarbejdede sine Iagt-tagelser i sig selv ved en stille Proces, indtil de havde antaget fast Form. Saa kastede han sig med overordentlig Iver over de Enkeltheder, som yderligere skulle klare, oplyse og bevise hans Ideer, opsamlede Kends-gerninger i hobevis fra de forskjelligste Steder, forfulgte Maalet Aar ud Aar ind med utrættelig Iver og begyndte langsomt at opføre den Bygning fra Grunden af, hvis Kuppel han i Fantasien saa rage højt til Vejrs. Natu-ren havde skænket ham  sjældne Gaver, noget af den intuitive Kraft, der er Geni, Lethed til at sætte sig ind i Videnskabens forskejllige Grene, Koldblodighed og Ro og en egen fin Sporsans. Han havde konstrueret Skrivekuglen, i hvilken Underlaget blev flyttet ved Elektricitet, men han indsaa hurtig, at hvis Maskinen nogen Sinde skulde blive praktisk, maatte hele det elektriske Apparat falde bort som et generende Omsvøbsdepartement. Problemet beskæftigede ham i Maaneder; de dygtigste Mekanikere erklærede sig fallit, saa løste han selv Spørgsmaalet. Denne hans Opfindsomhed lagde sig naturligvis i endnu højere Grad for Dagen ved hans mangeaarige Undersøgelser om Børns Væxt, thi det gjaldt her om at bringe ny videnskabelige Sandheder frem og se sig om til alle Sider for ikke uforsvarende at strejfe ind i Æventyrets og Utopiens Riger. Den smukkeste Anerkjendelse han kunde finde, blev ham til Del paa Lægekongressen i Kjøbenhavn, da han, de døvstummes Lærer og Præst, holdt et foredrag om "Perioder i Børns Væxt" og af Lægevidenskabens ypperste hilstes med udelt Bifald. Ogsaa Ud[8]landets Presse har nu ved hans Død betegnet ham som en af Biologiens betydeligste Forskere.

 

I et lille Samfund som vort er Betingelserne ikke gunstige for Udviklingen af "Heroer", skjønt Aarsagerne hertil vistnok ligger andetsteds og dybere end i den blotte Lidenhed.[9]  Det er med Rette  blevet bemærket om vore Stormænd i Politikens, Kunstens og Aandens Verden, at det saa godt som aldrig lykkedes dem at naa det højeste; spidserne er altid brækkede af, naar de stod Maalet nær; de har været "nær ved", "lige ved",  "paa Nippet til", men heller ikke mere. Malling-Hansen danner ingen Undtagelse fra denne Regel. Han høster ingen anden Frugt end Skuffelse af sin Skrivekugle, og det lykkedes ham ikke at skaffe den Indpas i vide Kredse, hverken i eller uden for sit Fædreland. Han lagde Grunden til en ny videnskabelig Metode og anviste Vejen, ad hvilken hans Efterlølgere maaske vil løse store Gaader, men selv kom han kun et kort Stykke hen ad den.

 

Videnskabens Pioner - det er det Navn, der tilkommer ham med Ære. Det udtømmer dog ingenlunde hans Væsen, thi han var mere end det. Vi maa ikke glemme, at han var en Fader for de ulykkelige Børn, der betroedes til hans omsorg, en sand Menneskeven og en god Mand.

 

 


[1] CB: Nekrologen er skrevet under Psudonymet Cab. - og en søgning på Google (fantastisk hvad man kan finde der!) fortæller, at det dækker over Carl Alfred Bruun, der siden 1871 var redaktør på Berlingske Tidende - Danmarks ældste og største avis. Det er den samme Bruun, som RMH skriver til i brev nummer 18851108dk, hvor han beder Bruun om at skrive en artikel om RMHs opdagelser angående Børns Vægt! Så redaktør Bruun var altså en god bekendt af RMH. Han var også født på Lolland - i Rødby - og levede fra 1846 til 1899. Han døde således også tidligt. Var blandt andet medforfatter til en række bøger om Københavns Historie. Det er altså en åndsfælle, der har skrevet denne fantastisk smukke og sande nekrolog.

[2] CB: 'Skytten Bryde' er navnet på en samling folkeeventyr fra 1700-tallet (Fortæller Google!)

[3] Faderen døde allerede i 1839, da RMH var fire år. Men der var alligevel også to lillebrødre - Jørgen og Thomas.

[4] CB: Vi har i RMH-selskabet ihærdigt forsøgt at forstå, hvem denne Rasmus Malling er. Det er mig bekendt  (december 2006) endnu ikke lykkedes, selvom Sverre har arbejdet hårdt på det. Vi har jo for det første den teori, at RMH er uægte barn af den daværende greve af Knuthenborg. Og vi mener, at Rasmus Malling enten er RMHs moders nye 'mand' - eller også er det hendes far - eller også er det hendes plejefar? Det er MEGET forvirrende.

[5] Regensen ligger i det centrale København få hundrede meter fra universitetet og er Danmarks fornemste kollegium, hvor kun de allermest begavede studerende kommer ind. Det er MEGET svært, og endnu et bevis på RMHs høje intelligens.

[6] Udtrykket betyde vistnok 'angst for tomhed' - slog det op på Google - det gav 234.000 fund!

[7] CB: Jeg forstår ikke rigtigt hvad disse grafiske opfindelser er  - men det må jo være Xerografien der hentydes til?

[8] Der har altså også været nekrologer i udlandet. Hvordan finder vi dem?

[9] Det er vist det, der på nudansk kaldes Janteloven - opfundet af den norske forfatter Aksel Sandemose.

Obituary in Illustrated News

This portrait of Malling-Hansen has it's origin in the private collection of the descendants of Malling-Hansen's brother, Johan Frederik Hansen. Jørgen Malling Christensen, who has translated this obituary into English belongs to this family

Copenhagen October 12, 1890[1]

 

 

Rasmus Malling-Hansen

 

 

The conditions of a tiny country and the inherent scepticism, the confined space in this country; the feeling of being stuck in a small creek, while the big waves were thundering outside in the distance,  weighed down this man. Like so many others he started out in a dauntless spirit, in his vivid imagination picturing all impediments cleared away; but time passed and he learned the proverbial lessons about the thorny path to honour and glory. He believed himself able to advance by leaps and bounds, but soon enough learned that the road shall be measured at a snail’s pace; he imagined the erection of the statue but managed merely a torso. Admittedly, sunshine was not lacking in his life, and we cannot claim that he met with fierce resistance, but often he found indifference, where he had expected to find warmth and welcoming fervour, and reticence where he had hoped for full consent. People did not fully believe in him, he was only listened to half-heartedly, and they dared venture but little in him. However, his vigourous willpower and restless zeal was never daunted by this, finding constantly new options and incentives in the depth of his mind, although as the years went by he did look increasingly tired.  Determined to capture hitherto unchartered fields in favour of scientific research, he collected thousands of data and experiences, worked on infinite columns of figures, studied and wrote, sought and found, was sometimes disappointed and sometimes rewarded by a glimpse of the raiment of truth, and endured faithfully the hardships until succumbing. His ambition was to penetrate like a discoverer into the darkest territories and break open one of the mightiest bolts still sealing the secret and mysterious gates of mother Nature; he desired superhuman powers to carry out the great oeuvre. He carried himself straight-backed and proud until the end, seemingly unaffected by the struggle and disappointments of life, yet less confident, less trusting and more serious.

 

   Malling-Hansen did not reach old age, only 55 years. He hailed from people of humble means, a family headed by a teacher at Hunseby in Lolland, but when his father passed away very early[2], he was adopted into the household of a teacher by the name of Rasmus[3] Malling in Hunseby, a remarkably educated and able man. From this foster father he received the first notions about the great external world, and this awakened his desire to amount to something, achieve and be noted. However, having reached the appropriate age this bright and lively boy was apprenticed as a painter in Maribo – because they could not afford his studies – and he was thus temporarily forced to abandon his youthful dreams. Though suddenly a deus ex machina[4] appeared in the shape of Count Knuth of Knuthenborg, who had heard about the nice and ambitious son of a teacher and now offered to pay for his upkeep at  Jonstrup Teacher Training&lt College. Malling-Hansen stayed at this institute for three years – throughout his life mentioning it with gratitude and love – leaving with the top grade “excellently able”; subsequently he ventured to Copenhagen to study, once again supported by the benevolent count. He graduated with A-levels and highest marks in 1858 and next threw himself into theological studies. However due to various circumstances he was to graduate only seven years later.

 

   The thing was that coincidence or fate – whatever you choose – had put him into the sphere of action in which he was to devote his efforts and from which he was to derive his main inspiration. He became a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen and invested his entire capacity and abilities into this calling, in which he took a vivid interest, or rather it completely absorbed him. In this field he had found a task that could serve as the goal of his life and the point of departure for a useful and beneficial activity. Theology was pushed aside, however not forgotten; on the contrary, he constantly felt that he had to get to the final graduation, whatever the cost, and it is characteristic of him that he, in the midst of his teaching activities for the deaf-mutes, also found sufficient energy to relinquish his post in favour of further studies. He made his entry at the “Regensen”[5], controlled by a kind of horror vacui[6] of the kind that many a young man would do very well to wish for himself, and in spite of the fact that he was ripped away once more and made principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig, he stuck to his plan. War and the German rulers drove him away, back to Copenhagen, in 1864; but the following year he graduated in divinity the very same week in which he was appointed as principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen.    It is understandable that the general public knows almost nothing about Malling-Hansen’s eminent achievements for the cause of the deaf-mutes in Denmark. His contributions are not exposed to the eyes of the public, and only a limited circle of specialists can judge them. It was thanks to him that the Keller Institutions were integrated already in 1867 for the teaching of deaf-mutes in Denmark. The speech-method was introduced, the new Institute for the Deaf-Mutes was established in Fredericia (using the speech-method), and the old imperfect sign language was replaced by the hand-sign alfabet at the Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Copenhagen. When it was announced in an October 1889 report by a commission of enquiry that “all Danish institutions for the deaf-mutes are integrated as links of a system within which each deaf-mute individual is referred to a specific institution, whose teaching is adapted to the degree and specifics of his or her physical and mental handicap”; and that “such a systematic arrangement for the teaching of the deaf-mute is not found elsewhere than in Denmark”, this excellent result was first and foremost due to Malling-Hansen. The cause of the deaf-mutes was and always remained his Alpha and Omega, the main thread of his life, the center of his mind and work; all the other interests that seized him, his mechanical and graphic[7] inventions, as well as his scientific studies, were in fact rooted in the plight of the deaf-mute and were, so to speak, an extension of his care for them. Even the origin of the Writing Ball points back to the hand alfabet of the deaf-mute; and the scientific work, famous all over Europe: “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat”, has its origin in a practical and rather mundane examination of the best possible provision of meals for the children of the institute. In other words, this was the soil from which he drew his strength, the core around which his thoughts were orbiting, sure enough at times far away in the periphery, but always maintaining the inward connection with the center.

 

   The characteristic ability of the deceased was watchfulness, an ever present attention in relation to natural phenomena, material as well as spiritual, in combination with the scientific imagination that we designate faculty of combination. He kept his eyes about him in all spheres, silently watching, saw no effects without searching for the causes, and laboured his observations through a quiet process until they had acquired solid shape. Then he threw himself with extraordinary zeal into the details necessary to clarify, illustrate and prove his ideas, collected huge amounts of facts from the most diverse sources, pursued the goal year in and year out with indefatigable ardour and commenced slowly from the base, erecting the  building, whose dome he already pictured in his mind towering high above. Nature had endowed him with exceptional gifts, some of the intuitive power which is genius, ease to familiarise himself with the various branches of schience, composure and equanimity, and a particularly well developed flair for tracing causes and effects.  He had constructed  the Writing Ball in which the platen was moved electrically, but he soon realised that for the machine ever to become efficient and practical, the entire electrical appliance had to be dropped, being a hampering circumlocutionary component. The problem occupied him for months; the most skillful technicians failed and gave up, but then he himself resolved the issue. This ingenuity of his was of course even more apparent in connection with his many years of investigations into the growth of children, because the task at hand was to produce new scientific truths and, at the same time, keep a close look around to all sides in order not to wander into the realms of fairytales and utopia. The most beautiful  recognition he would ever find became his at the medical conference in Copenhagen, when he – the teacher and vicar of the deaf-mute children – gave a lecture about “Periods in the Growth of Children” and was hailed with wholehearted applause by the most outstanding representatives of medical science. Also the foreign press[8] has now, at his demise, referred to him as one of the most important scientists within the field of biology.

 

   In a small society, such as ours, conditions are not propitious for the emergence of “heroes”, even if the reasons for that seem to be other and deeper than the mere fact that we are small[9]. Quite rightly, it has been said about our great men of the political, artistic and spiritual realm, that they have almost never achieved the highest aspirations; the tops are always broken when they are close to the goal; they have been “very close”, “almost there”, “on the point of”, but no further.Malling-Hansen is no exception to this rule. He reaps no other fruit than deception from his Writing Ball, and he did not succeed in gaining a wide footing for it, neither on the national scene nor abroad. He laid the foundations for a new scientific method and showed the way by which his successors may perhaps solve great conundrums – he himself got to travel only a short stretch along that road. A Pioneer of Science – this is the appellation that he deserves with hounours. However, in no way does it exhaust his nature, for he was more than that. Let us not forget that he was a father for the unfortunate children entrusted to his care, a truly humane person who loved his fellow beings and a good man.

 

 


[1] CB: This obiturary was written under the pen name of Cab. – an inquiry through Google reveals that it covers a certain Carl Alfred Bruun, who from 1871 was editor of ‘Berlingske Tidende’ – the oldest and biggest newspaper in Denmark. This is the same Bruun to whom RMH is writing his letter 18851108, in which he asks Bruun to write an article about RMH’s discoveries concerning the weight of children! In other words, editor Bruun was well acquainted with RMH. He, too, was born in Lolland – in the town of Rødby – and also had a short life - from 1846 until 1899. He co-authored a number of books about the history of Copenhagen. In other words, it is a kindred soul who wrote this amazingly beautiful and truthful obituary.

[2] The fathered died already in 1839, when RMH was four years old. However, there were also two younger brothers – Jørgen and Thomas.

[3] CB: The members of the RMH Society have persistently been trying to find out something about Rasmus Malling. As far as I know (December 2006) however, we have not yet succeeded, in spite of Sverre working very hard on this.  We are, first of all, working on the theory that RMH is the illegitimate child of the then Count of Knuthenborg. And we assume that Rasmus Malling is either the new husband of RMH’s mother – or could he be her father or stepfather? It is VERY puzzling.

[4] JMC: Latin, meaning an active agent who appears unexpectedly to solve an apparently insoluble difficulty. The literal meaning is: “God from the machine”, a translation from the original Greek expression “theos ek makhanes”

[5] CB: Regensen is a college in the center of Copenhagen, situated a couple of hundred meters from the university. It ranked – and still does – as the most distinguished college in Denmark, to which only the most gifted students gain access. It is VERY difficult and, as such, yet another evidence of RMH’s high IQ.

[6] Latin: “Fear of empty space”

[7] CB: I don’t quite understand which graphic inventions he is referring to – presumably it is the Xerographics ?

[8] CB: In other words, there must have been obituaries abroad. How do we find them?

[9] CB/JMC: This seems to be a reference to what we call “the Jante law” – coined by the Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose – according to which Scandinavian tradition and culture tends to level people and prevent original personalities from achieving more than others and from behaving in a deviant way.

Translated into English language by Jørgen Malling Christensen

Afsløringen af Mindesmærket over Malling-Hansen

Made from a picture taken in 1887. Copyright: The Royal Library in Copenhagen

Nekrolog over Rasmus Malling-Hansen[1] i

 

                                   SMAABLADE FOR DØVSTUMME

 

                                                  UDGIVNE AF

 

                                 

                                       cand. mag. Fritz Bech[2],

 

                        Lærer  ved det kgl. Døvstumme-Institut i Kjøbenhavn.

 

Nr. 10                               November  1892                                          2.Aarg.

 

 

Afsløringen af Mindesmærket over afdøde Forstander, Pastor Malling-Hansen.

 

 

   Den 28de September 1890 om Morgenen spredtes det Rygte rundt i Hovedstaden, at det kgl. Døvstumme-Instituts Forstander, Skrivekuglens bekjendte Opfinder, Pastor Malling-Hansen den foregaaende Aften pludselig var styrtet død om paa Gaden, ramt af et Hjerteslag.

   Dette Budskab vakte stor Sorg blandt alle de Mange, der paa den ene eller anden Maade var komne i Forbindelse med M-H, og det varede ikke længe, førend der fra en Kreds af kjendte Mænd udgik opfordring til at hædre den Afdøde ved at rejse et offentligt Mindesmærke over ham.

   I Løbet af et Aars Tid indkom fra talende og døvstumme Venner en samlet Sum af omtrent 1300 Kr., og efter at Indbyderne havde sammenkaldt et Møde, paa hvilket der skulde forhandles om Pengenes Anvendelse, blev det bestemt, at der paa den Afdødes Gravsted skulde rejses et Granitmonument, i hvilket en Portrætmedaillon af M-H skulde indsættes. Det overdroges til Billedhugger Brandstrup[3] at gjøre Udkast i Ler til en saadan Medaillon.

   Foranstaaende Portræt, der viser M-H i hans kraftige Alder, har særlig tjent Billedhuggeren til Forbillede for hans Arbejde, og det er derved lykkedes denne dygtige Kunstner at frembringe et Billede af den Afdøde, der ligner ham fortrinligt, saaledes som han saa ud, før den langvarige Sygdom i Begyndelsen af 1890 havde bøjet og ældet ham.

   Efter udkastet i Ler var antaget, blev det støbt i Kobber; en prægtig, trekantet Granitsten hentedes fra Bornholm, og Alt var saaledes færdigt til Afsløringen.

   Den smukke Højtidelighed fandt Sted Søndagen den 2den Oktober, paa en Søndag, for at saa Mange som muligt af den Afdødes gamle Elever blandt de Døvstumme kunde være til Stede. Disse var da ogsaa mødte i et meget stort Antal; desuden bemærkedes, foruden den Afdødes nærmeste Familie og personlige Venner, en Mængde i Abnormverdenen kjendte Personer, bl.a. Direktøren for de kgl. Døvstummeanstalter, Kammerherre W o l f h a g e n, Forstanderne H[4] e i b e r g og F o r c h h a m m e r, Professor Chr. Keller, Forstander M o l d e n h a v e r fra Blindeinstituttet, Forstander R o l s t e d fra Aandssvageanstalten paa Gl. Bakkehus og mange Flere.

  

Efterat Salmen "Dejlig er Jorden" var afsungen, fremstod Forstander, Pastor Heiberg ved Graven og talte saaledes:

  

"Naar vor Tanke og vor Tale henledes paa et Menneske, som er gaaet bort fra den Kreds her paa Jorden, i hvilken han har levet  og virket, saa er der et stort Spørgsmaal, som meget ofte opkastes, nemlig dette: Var han en stor Mand? Er der nu noget Spørgsmaal, som har været omtvistet - og er det endnu den Dag i Dag - saa er det dette: Hvad skal der forstaaes ved en stor Mand? Lad mig derfor minde om, hvad Apostelen Paulus skriver i sit 1ste Cor-Brev om denne Sag. Han skriver, at midt i denne forgængelige Verden er der dog Noget, som er uforgængeligt og blivende, nemlig disse 3: Tro, Haab og Kjærlighed; og han føjer til: men størst af disse er Kjærligheden. Altsaa er efter Paulus's Mening det Menneske stort, som har Tro og Haab, men han er størst, som ejer Kjærligheden.

 

Og at Paulus har Ret i denne sin Betragtning af Spørgsmaalet, det ser vi jo paa Ham, som enhver Kristen anser for den Største af Alle - vi  ser det paa Jesus Kristus selv. Hvorfor kalder vi ham stor, den Højestes Søn, uden netop fordi han havde den forunderlige, gode Tro til os troløse Mennesker; hvorfor kalder vi ham stor, uden fordi han havde dette lyse Haab om Frelse for disse haabløse Slægter, og hvorfor kalder vi han stor, uden fordi han først og sidst havde denne uendelige, altopofrende Kjærlighed?

  Ja størst af disse er Kjærligheden! derfor finder vi, at Jesus i sit Liv ikke blot elskede men ogsaa søgte Gjenkjærlighed. Vi hører det af hans egen Mund ved Slutningen af hans Livsvandring her paa Jorden, da han siger til Peter: Simon, Jonas's Søn, elsker Du mig? Jesus vilde være elsket, det var hans Maal, og han blev elsket; derfor lever hans Navn endnu den Dag i Dag, og vi kalder ham den Største, fordi Ingen har haft en saadan Kjærlighed som han. Men derfor er det ogsaa Maalestokken, vi skal maale et Menneskeliv med, selv om Ingen af os blot tilnærmelsesvis kan sammenlignes med ham, som var vor Herre og Mester.

  Og naar jeg nu her i min Tale skal føre ham frem for Eder, som vor Tanke i denne Stund dvæler ved, saa tror jeg, at Alle, som kjendte Malling-Hansen, vil give mig Ret heri; at han havde en forunderlig god Tro til Mennesker; -- det var ikke blot til Hustru og Børn, han havde Tro og Tillid; det var ikke blot paa dem, som virkede under ham, at han stolede, men af Naturen mødte han ethvert Menneske med Tro og Tillid, og det skabte, hvad Troen altid gjør, at man troede og stolede paa ham. Og er der Nogen, som har haft et lyst Haab, saa er det ham. Det synes mig at gjælde om ham, hvad en Digter har sunget:

       Selv om et Haab eller to blev brudt

       Lyste et nyt i hans Øje.

  Han kunde holde Haabet lyst! Og naar jeg saa ser mig om i den store Kreds, som er samlet om hans Grav, saa maa jeg sige: Hvor er der dog Mange, som har elsket ham. Det kan vel kun komme af, at han selv havde et stort og kjærligt Hjerte, som ikke var indsnævret og indskrænket til Hustru og Børn, ikke indskrænket til den Kreds af Mennesker, som nærmest var ham betroet - de Døve og Stumme -, men som strakte sig vidt ud; der er jo Mange, Mange, med hvem han har været forbundet med Venskabets og Broderskabets Baand.

  Ja, størst af disse er Kjærligheden. Og naar vi derfor spørger, hvorledes han vandt sine Medmenneskers Kjærlighed, saa var det ikke blot ved en naturlig Gave til at vinde Hjerter, men det var først og fremmest ved sit Arbejde. Han var en Arbejder, som Faa er; hans virkelystne Aand var aldrig ledig. Hans Arbejdsdygtighed bestod ikke i at sætte Andre i arbejde, men han arbejdede selv med en forunderlig skabende Kraft. Og hans Arbejdsmark var stor, vel ikke mindst, fordi han havde erfaret det, som er en dunkel Gaade for Mange, at Arbejdet er en Velsignelse i sig selv. Vel har han kjendt til dette, at arbejde med Haab om Løn her paa Jorden, men han har ogsaa kjendt at lide de store Skuffelser, - og det var vel Grunden til, at han mod Slutningen af sit Liv bortviste al Tale, al Tanke om Løn og saa sit eget Arbejde som ufuldkomment og fandt sin Løn i selve Arbejdet.

  Det ydmyge Sind, hvormed han i sin Livsaften bedømte sig selv og sin Gjerning, og som gav sig Udtryk i det milde, kjærlige Smil, han Ansigt fik, - det er ikke mindst det Store ved ham; thi dette er Herrens eget Ord: Den, som vil blive stor iblandt Eder, skal være Eders Tjener (Marc. 10,40). Derfor vil vi takke Malling-Hansen for det gode Minde, han har efterladt os. Gid det maa være en Spore for os Alle til at fortsætte vort Arbejde i den Gjerning, som vi paa forskjellig Maade deltog med ham i, medens han levede herpaa Jorden."

  Efter at Pastor H e i b e r g derpaa i Tegnsproget havde gjentaget sit Foredrag for de tilstedeværende Døvstumme, lod han Mindesmærket afsløre, idet samtidig Alle blottede Hovederne. De Ord, hvormed Afsløringen ledsagedes, lød saaledes:

  "Ligesom vi har overgivet hans Støv til Ham, hos hvem den største Kjærlighed er, at det kan finde Fred -, saaledes vil vi nu ogsaa overgive hans Minde her paa Jorden til dem, som her har elsket ham, at ogsaa dette kan bevares i Fred. Og hermed vil vi lade Sløret, som dækker hans Minde, falde."

  Derpaa blev Salmen "Saa vil vi nu sige hverandre Farvel" afsungen, og paa Familiens Vegne udtalte den Afdødes Svigersøn, Lærer ved det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut, cand. B e c h[5] en hjærtelig Tak til Alle, der havde bidraget til at rejse det smukke Mindesmærke, og som ved deres Nærværelse havde hædret den Afdøde.

   Sluttelig udtalte Direktøren for de kgl. Døvstummeinstitutter, Kammerherre W o l f h a g e n Følgende:

   "Paa den Komités Vegne, der har forestaaet Rejsningen af Monumentet, har jeg at meddele: at Gravstedet ved tinglæst Deklaration vil blive overdraget til det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut hersteds, at der er bleven tilvejebragt et Grundfond til Afholdelse af de med det Sammes Vedligeholdelse forbundne Udgifter, og at Ministeriet for Kirke- og Undervisningsvæsenet har bifaldet, at det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut hersteds overtager Fredningen og Vedligeholdelsen af Gravstedet.[6]

   Paa denne Maade vil afd. Pastor Malling-Hansens Navn ogsaa ad denne Vej blive knyttet til det Institut, hvor han fandt sit Livs Hovedopgave, og er der derved givet en Garanti for, at Gravstedet, medens, som vi nys sang, Tiderne rulle og Slægt følger Slægters Gang, vil blive vedligeholdt paa en den Afdødes Minde værdig Maade

  Saa overdrager jeg da i min Egenskab af Direktør for de kgl. Døvstummeinstitutter herved dette Gravsted til det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i Kjøbenhavn og anmoder Sammes synlige Repræsentant, Forstander, Pastor Heiberg om paa dets Vegne at ville overtage Samme."

  Hermed var den smukke højtidelighed til ende, og de mange Tilstedeværende spredtes hver til Sit. For de Døvstumme, der har holdt af den Afdøde, og derfor efter Evne bidraget til at rejse dette smukke Mindesmærke, vil Gravstedet sikkert blive et yndet Valfartssted.

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

 

På sidste side i samme Smaablad for Døvstumme findes dette:

 

Regnskab for Mindesmærket for Malling-Hansen.

 

 

Indkomne Bidrag ..........................................................................  Kr. 1278.90 Øre

Renter heraf .................................................................................   Kr.    30.71 Øre     

                                                                                                         Kr. 1309,61 Øre

 

                                        Udgifter.

 

Trykning af Opraab og Avertissementer i 1891  Kr.  160.94

Udførelsen af Monumentet ............................     -   1000.00

En Vogn ved Afsløringen ...............................     -         6.00

Sange         do                 ...............................     -          6.00

Hornmusik  do                 ................................    -        12.00

For Tilladelse til at rejse Mindesmærket paa

Kirkegaarden ..................................................    -        16.00

Til Dannelsen af en Gravfond til Vedlige-

holdelse af Gravstedet ...................................     -      100.00   

Avertissementer og Porto i 1892 ....................    -           4.20      

                                                                                    __________   Kr. 1305.14 Øre

                                                                                 Rest ..............    Kr.       4.44 Øre

 

Kjøbenhavn d. 12te Oktober 1892                                               J. Kaper[7]

                                                                                        Komiteens Kasserer

 


[1] CB: Artiklen er forsidehistorie og hele forsiden er et portræt af RMH i Medaljon-format med underteksten: R. Malling-Hansen f. 1835  d. 1890

[2] Fritz Bech var RMHs svigersøn, idet han var blevet gift med datteren, Zarah, kun nogle måneder inden Malling-Hansen døde. Malling-Hansen omtaler det nygifte parret i sitt aller sidste kendte brev.

[3] CB: Ludvig Brandstrup, 1861-1935, dansk billedhugger som specialiserede sig i portrætbuster, bl.a. af Carl og Ottilia Jacobsen (Carlsberg har fået navn efter ham), Nathalie Zahle, Georg Brandes - og altså Rasmus Malling-Hansen. Han udførte endvidere monumenter fx. rytterstatuen af Christian den IX i Esbjerg og af Ole Rømer i København.

[4] CB: Den nye forstander på Det Kgl. Døvstummeinstitut. Frederik Heiberg var søn af RMHs forgænger som forstander, Søren Johan Heiberg, som var Malling-Hansens svigerfar – RMHs første kone var hans datter, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg.

[5] Altså den samme Bech som er udgiver af dette Smaablad. Det er nok ham selv der har skrevet artikelen.

[6] CB: Gravstedet blev, trods 'Fredningen' og fonden nedlagt i 1947. Hvordan kunne man dog lade dette ske?

Hvem besluttede det? Var der ingen der protesterede?

SA: De tre gjenlevende av RMHs døtre, Engelke, Emma og Karen ønsket i 1947 å flytte minnestenen fra Garnisons kirkegård til Døvstummeinstituttet. Dette ønsket ble innvilget, og stenen står nå foran Skolen i Kastelsvej.

[7] CB: Det må være den Kaper, der har skrevet den berømte lærebog i tysk grammatik. Ifølge Den lille Salmonsen: J. Kaper. 1838-1905. Dansk skolemand, har udgivet en række tyske skolebøger, bl.a. en tysk grammatik, samt en tysk-dansk-norsk og en dansk-norsk-tysk ordbog. Han er også en av de mænd der er avbildede på det kendte maleri af Malthe Engelstedt af Malling-Hansen og hans venner som spiller kort.


The young Cathrine Georgia Heiberg. Photo: private
Frederik Heiberg. Photo: Døvehistorisk Selskab
Søren Johan Heiberg. Photo: The Heiberg Museum in Norway
Fritz August Bech in 1882, the year he started to work at the Royal Institute for the deaf-mutes. Photo: Private
Zarah Bech, born Malling-Hansen. Photo: Private
Johannes Kaper. Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen
The portrait of Malling-Hansen on the memory stone, made by Ludvig Brandstrup. Photo: Døvehistorisk Selskab
The painting made by Malthe Engelstedt. Johannes Kaper is seated to the right. Copyright: Private

Obituary over Rasmus Malling-Hansen[1]

The sculptor, Ludvig Brandstrup, 1861-1935, made the portrait of RMH on the madallion of the memory stone. Photo: The Royal Library

                                 LEAFLETS FOR THE DEAF-MUTE

 

                                           PUBLISHED BY

 

 

                                         Fritz Bech,[2]B.A.

 

 

Teacher of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen

 

 

Nr 10                                      November 1892                                   2. Volume

 

 

 

 

The unveiling of the Memorial over the Principal Reverent Malling-Hansen.

 

 

On 28 September 1890 in the morning the rumour was spread about the capital city that the principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute, the well-known inventor of the writing ball, reverent Malling-Hansen, had suddenly collapsed in the street, hit by a stroke.

 

  This message aroused great sorrow among all the many people who in one way or another had been in contact with M-H, and shortly a circle of well-known citizens  issued a summons to honour the deceased by erecting a public memorial for him.

 

  In the course of a year from friends in the speaking as well as in the deaf-mute community a sum of around 1300 kroner was collected, and after the instigators having convened a meeting at which the utilisation of the fund was to be deliberated, it was decided to put up a granite monument on the burial place of the deceased, and to insert a portrait medallion into the monument. The task of producing a draft in clay for such a medallion was commissioned to the sculptor Brandstrup[3].

 

  The above portrait, showing M-H in the prime of his life, has in particular served the sculptor as a model for his work, and this very gifted artist has succeeded in producing a portrait of the deceased with an excellent likeness, the way he appeared before the protracted disease in the beginning of 1890 had bowed and aged him.   After the draft in clay had been approved, it was cast in copper; a splendid triangular granite rock was fetched from Bornholm, and hence everything was set for the unveiling.

 

  The beautiful ceremony took place on the 2nd of October – on a Sunday in order for as many as possible of the old deaf-mute pupils of the deceased to be able to be present. They were indeed present in large numbers; in addition we noted , apart from the closest family and personal friends of the deceased, a great many well-known figures from the field of special education, among them the director of the Royal Institutes for the Deaf-Mute, W o l f h a g e n, Chamberlain; principals [4] H e i b e r g  and Fo r c h h a m m e r, Professor Chr K e l l e r, principal M o l d e n h a v e r from the Institute for the Blind, principal R o l s t e d from the Institute for the Mentally Deficient of Gl. Bakkehus and many more.

 

 

 

Christian Keller, 1858-1934
Johannes Moldenhawer, 1829-1908. Photo: The Royal Library
E. V. Rolsted, 1848-1928. Photo: The Royal Library
Friedrich Hermann Wolfhagen, 1818-1894. Photo: The Royal Library
Johann Georg Forchhammer, 1861-1938

 

 

 After the congregation having sung the hymn “How Wonderful is the Earth”, Principal and Reverent Heiberg stood by the grave and spoke thus:

 

  “When our thoughts and comments turn to someone who has passed away from the circle of people here on Earth among which he has lived and been active, very often we ask ourselves this key question: Was he a great man? If ever there was a vexed question – and it still is to this day – it is this: How do we define a great man? Let me therefore remind you of the words of the apostle Paul in his first Epistle to the Corinthians about this issue. He writes that in this transient world there is something imperishable and everlasting, namely these 3: Faith, hope and charity; and he adds: but greatest of these is charity. In other words, according to Paul a man is great when he has faith and hope, but he is greatest that possesses charity[5].

 

  And that Paul was correct in his view, we see confirmed in Him, that each and every Christian consider the greatest of them all – we see it in Jesus Christ himself. Why do we consider him great, the Son of the Highest, if not for his wonderful, good faith in us faithless people; why do we call him great, if not because he had this bright hope of salvation for these hopeless generations, and why do we call Him great, if not for his infinite, self-sacrificing love?

 

  Yes, greatest of these three is Love! Hence we conclude, that Jesus in his life not only loved but also sought to be loved. We hear it from his own mouth by the end of his life’s journey on earth, when he says to Peter: Simon, Son of Jona, do you love me? Jesus wanted to be loved, that was his aim, and he was indeed loved; this is why his name is loved even to this day, and why we call him the greatest, because no one has had a love like he had. But for that reason this is also the yardstick with which we are to measure a human life, albeit none of us can even remotely be compared to Him who was our Lord and Master.

 

  And now that I in my speech am to present the one to you by whom our thoughts are dwelling in this hour I think that each and every one that knew Malling-Hansen will agree with me in this: he had a wonderful faith in human beings; - he had faith and confidence not only in his wife and children; he trusted not only those that worked under his direction, but by nature he met each and every person with faith and confidence, and this attitude engendered what faith always does, that people believed and trusted him. And if anybody ever had a bright hope, it was him. It seems to me that what the bard was singing, applies to him:

 

            Even when a hope or two were broken

 

            A new one lit up in his eye.

 

  He could keep his hope bright! And looking around in the large circle gathered around his grave, I must say: Indeed he was loved by so very many. This must be because he himself had such a big and loving heart, that wasn’t confined to his wife and children, not limited to the circle of people directly entrusted to him – the deaf and the mute - , but extended far and wide; he was indeed connected with the ties of friendship and brotherhood with so very many.

 

  Yes, greatest of the three is Charity. And when we ask ourselves how he could win the love of his fellow men, it was due not only to a natural gift to win hearts but first and foremost by means of his work. He was an extraordinary worker; his energetic mind never rested. His capacity for work did not consist in making others work for him; rather he himself laboured with a wondrous and creative power. And his field of labour was large, presumably because he had experienced that which remains a dark enigma to many, that work is a blessing in itself. Surely he has known the feeling of working with the hope of reaping the rewards on this earth, but he has also experienced big disappointments; - and this was probably the reason why he, towards the end of his life, refuted all mention, all thoughts about rewards, found his own work incomplete and found his reward in work itself.

 

  The humble spirit by which he in the evening of his life judged himself and his deeds, and which manifested itself in the gentle, loving smile on his face, - this is part of his greatness; for these are the Lord’s own words: He who wishes to be great among you shall be your servant (Marc. 10’40). Therefore, let us give thanks to Malling-Hansen for the good memory he has left us. May it become a spur for all of us to continue our work in the task that we shared with him, each in his or her own way, while he was living on this earth.

 

  After having repeated his speech in sign language for the benefit of the deaf-mutes present, Reverent Heiberg had the memorial unveiled, while at the same time everybody bared their heads. The words accompanying the unveiling were these:   “Just as we have commended his dust to Him, with whom is the greatest love, in order that it may find peace -, thus will we also now commit his memory here on earth to those that loved him, in order for it to be preserved in peace. And herewith we let the veil covering his memorial fall. “

 

  After that, the hymn “Thus let us now take farewell” was sung, and on behalf of the family, the son-in-law of the departed, teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Bech[6] M.A., expressed his sincere gratitude to each and everyone who had contributed to the erection of the beautiful memorial as well as having paid their respect to the departed by taking part in the ceremony.

 

  Finally, the Director of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Mr Wolfhagen, Chamberlain, spoke as follows:

 

  “On behalf of the committee responsible for erecting the memorial I have the following messages: That the burial place, by certificate of registration, will be surrendered to the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute; that a basic fund for the defrayment of maintenance costs of the memorial has been established; and furthermore that the Ministry for Education and Ecclesiastical Affairs has given its approval that the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute shall take over the responsibility for the preservation and maintenance of the memorial.[7]

 

  In this way, the name of Reverent Malling-Hansen will also in this respect be linked up with the very institute, where he found his life’s main calling, and hence we will ensure that the burial place will continue to be maintained in a way that dignifies the memory of the deceased.   Hence, in my capacity of Director of the Royal Institutes for the Deaf-Mutes I hereby hand over this burial place to the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen and request the representative of the Institute here present, Reverent Heiberg, to assume responsibility for the same.”

 

  This marked the end of the beautiful ceremony, and the many people present left. Surely, for the deaf-mute, who loved the deceased and therefore contributed as best they could to set up this beautiful memorial, the burial place will become a favourite pilgrimage spot.

 

 

 

This letter signed by many of the friends and colleges of RMH, shows that they originally intended to collect money to give RMH a gift on his 50.th birthday, but that RMH had refused. Instead they decided to raise a monument over him after his death. Copyright: Døvehistorisk Selskab

 

 

The last page of the same issue of the “Leaflets for the Deaf-Mute” brings this:

 

 

Accounts for the Memorial for Malling-Hansen.

 

 

Contributions received……………………………………...Kr. 1278.90 øre

Bank interests accrued......................................Kr     30.71 øre

                                                                                    

                                                                          Kr. 1309,61 øre

 

 

 

                                                Expenses.

 

 

Printing of announcements and advertisements in 1891  kr.    160.94

 

Execution of the monument………………………………...............  “    1000.00

 

A cab by the occasion of the unveiling………………….........…  “          6.00

 

Songs   - ditto -                                   …………………........….  “          6.00

Brass music  - ditto -                           …………………........….  “        12.00

 

Permission to set up the memorial at the cemetery…..…..  “        16.00

 

Establishment of a fund for maintenance of theburial place…“     100.00

 

Advertisements and postage in 1892……………........………… “          4.20

 

                                                                              ______ Kr. 1305.14 øre

 

                                                                     Balance………  Kr.       4.44 øre

 

 

 

Copenhagen, 12th of October 1892                                            J. Kaper[8]                                                                                            

 

 


[1] CB: This article is a front page story and the entire front page consists of a portrait of RHM in medallion-format together with the underlying text: R. Malling-Hansen b.1835 d.1890

[2] Fritz Bech was RMH’s son-in-law, having married his daughter.......in (year?)

[3] CB: Ludvig Brandstrup, 1861 – 1935, Danish sculptor specialising in portrait busts, among them of Carl and Ottilia Jacobsen (the brewery Carlsberg was named after him), Nathalie Zahle, Georg Brandes – and hence also Rasmus Malling-Hansen. In addition, he executed monuments, for instance the equestrian statue of Christian IX in Esbjerg and of Ole Rømer in Copenhagen.

[4] CB: The new principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute. Another Heiberg? RMH’s predecessor as principal was of course also a Heiberg – RMH’s father-in-law – since his first wife was a Heiberg. Could this be the brother-in-law of RMH?

[5] ‘Charity’ in the biblical sense is the same as ’love’

[6] CB: In other words the same Bech who is the publisher of this journal. But I wonder who wrote this article? Maybe he himself?

[7] CB: In spite of this fund and the “preservation”, the burial place was cancelled in 1947. How could this be allowed to happen? Who decided? Did nobody raise a protest?

SA: In 1947 the three remaining daughters of RMH, Engelke, Emma and Karen wanted to remove the memorial stone from the churchyard, and place it in front of RMH's old school. This wish was granted, and the stone can now be seen at the School in Kastelsvej.

[8] CB: This must be the Kaper who wrote the famous textbook of German grammar. According to the encyclopedia ”Den lille Salmonsen”: J. Kaper. Danish educationalist, has pusblished a series of German language school books, among them a German grammar as well as a German-Danish-Norwegian and a Danish-Norwegian-German dictionary.


Gravmonumentet over Rasmus Malling-Hansen, en svensk notits.

Ludvig Brandstrup, 1861-1935. Foto: DKB
Frederik Heiberg, 1850-1918.
Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945.

Research, udskrift og kommentarer af Jørgen Malling Christensen.

 

Malling-Hansen døde den 27 september 1890 og blev begravet fra St:Jacobs Kirke den 3 oktober og bisat på Garnisons Kirkegaard.  Den 21 april 1891 udsendte en gruppe kolleger og venner et opråb til almenheden om bidrag til et mindesmærke for den store mand. Bidrag kunne anmeldes til Direktør Erik N. Ritzau, Kjøbmagergade 26, 2 sal, København.  Det svenske tidskrift ”Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” publicerede denne meddelelse og tilbød også at formidle bidrag til Ritzau.

 

Resultatet af indsamlingen blev omkring 1300 kroner, og indsamlingskommitteen bestemte  at lade hugge en sten – meget fin granit fra Bornholm – og at give den kendte og anerkendte  billedhugger Ludvig Brandstrup[1] opgaven at udføre en portrætbuste. Afdæknings- og mindesceremonien fandt sted på Garnisons kirkegård den 1 oktober 1892.

 

I 1947 overflyttedes gravmonumentet, på tre af Malling-Hansens døtres ønskemål, til Døvstummeinstituttet på Kastelsvej, hvor det står i dag.

 

”Tidskrift för Döfstumskolan” nummer for december 1892 havde denne notits om ceremonien:

 

         Ett grafmonument öfver Malling-Hansen aftäcktes den 1 oktober kl 12 på garnisonskirkegården i Köpenhamn.  Efter avsjungandet af ”Deilig er Jorden” talade det kongl. Döfstuminstitutets föreståndare pastor Heiberg[2] i vackra och till hjärtat gående ord om Malling-Hansens stora arbetsförmåga öfven utanför sin egentliga embetsverksamhet, hans starka tro, ljusa hopp och innerliga kärlek till sin gärning och gent emot de många, med hvilka hanpå ett eller annat sätt kom at samarbeta.

 

            Talet tolkades därefter i åtbördsspråk[3] för de äldre och yngre döfstumma, som kommit tillstädes.

 

            Sedan täckelset fallit, sjöngs en psalm, hvarefter kand Bech[4] på familjens vägnar tackade alla, som bidragit till minnesmärkets anskaffande eller som genom sin närvaro hedrade den aflidnes minne.

 

            Direktören för landets döfstumanstalter, kammerherre Wolfhagen, meddelade därpå, att kultusministeriet bifallit, att minnesmärket öfverlämnades och anförtroddes åt Det Kongl. döfstuminstitutet i Köpenhamn, hvilket skall sörja för dess underhåll, hvarigenom Malling-Hansens namn äfven på detta sätt blir räddadt från glömskan.

 

 


[1] JMC: Ludvig Brandstrup, 1861-1935, en af de mest betydningsfulde danske billedhuggere i slutningen af 1800-tallet og begyndelsen af 1900-tallet. Brandstrup var elev af Vilhelm Bissen og studerede i flere år i Italien. Han søgte at forene den klassiske tradition med et mere indgående naturstudium.  Brandstrups væsentligste indsats lå indenfor portrætkunsten, og han er kendt for buster af Karl Madsen, Carl og Ottilie Jacobsen, Georg Brandes, Vilhelm Kyhn, Vigeland, Julius Lange, Harald Høffding. Af større arbejder kan nævnes rytterstatuerne af Chr IX i Esbjerg og Slagelse, marmorstatuen af Ottilia Jacobsen i Glyptoteket, Georg Zoega ved Glyptoteket, Nathalie Zahle i Ørstedsparken, Morville-statuen i Viborg, Peter Buhl-monumentet i Fredericia og statuen af Ole Rømer uden for Polyteknisk Læreanstalt, København. Brandstrup er rigt repræsenteret på Statens Museum for Kunst, på Glyototeket og i Københavns Rådhus (kilde: DBL og Wikipedia).

[2] JMC: Frederik Heiberg, 1850-1918, som ved RMHs død blev udnævnt til præst og forstander ved døvstummeinstituttet i København. Frederik Heiberg var søn af den tidligere forstander Søren Johan Heiberg, 1810-1871, og dermed bror til RMHs første hustru, Cathrine Georgia Heiberg, 1841-1876.  Frederik Heiberg fik ry om sig at være en meget dygtig administrator (kilde: DBL).

[3] JMC: dvs tegnsprog

[4] JMC: Fritz August Bech, 1863-1945, ansat som lærer ved døvstummeinstituttet i København fra 1882. Gift 26 juli 1890 med Rasmus Malling-Hansens datter Zarah (1870-1910), med hvem han fik fem børn. Forstander ved afdeling A, Døvstummeinstituttet i Fredericia, 1904-1944. Redaktør for ”Smaablade for Døvstumme” 1891-1904.  Dansk redaktør ved ”Nordisk Tidskrift för Dövstumskolan” 1909-1937. Ivrig tilhænger af tegnsprogets anvendelse i undervisningen. 1924-45 redaktør af ”Effata”. Udgav 1890 ”Ordbog for Døvstumme” som udkom i flere oplag, det seneste i 1950.


Foto: Jørgen Malling Christensen.

Nekrolog i Berlingske Tidende

Malling-Hansen in 1887. Photo: Private

Den 29de September 1890[1]

 

 

Nekrolog. I Løverdags Aftes afgik Forstanderen for det kongelige Døvstummeinstitut, Pastor R. Malling Hansen pludselige ved Døden, ramt af et Slagtilfælde paa Gaden. Efterretningen herom vil blive modtaget med Deltagelse i vide Kredse, thi den afdøde havde ved sin vindende Personlighed, sine fremragende Evener  og sin ualmindelige Trofasthed vundet utallige Venner og Beundrere, ikke blot i den Kreds, for hvilken han nærmest virkede, men langt udover den. Bag hans stille og fordringsløse Væsen besad han et varmt Hjerte, og hans aabne Blik for alle Livets og Naturens Phænomener, hans Kombinationsevner og Aandslivlighed gjorde ham til en underholdende og begavet Fører paa aandelige Felter.

  Malling Hansen var Pioner paa Videnskabens Omraade og var ved utrættelig Flid, Selvstudium og Opmærksomhed for Alt, hvad der mødte ham, lidt efter lidt naaet frem til den ansete Stilling han indtog.

 Udgaaet fra Jonstrup Seminarium i 1854, tog han fire Aar efter Artium[2], studerede Theologie og kom som Lærer ved det kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i Kjøbenhavn ind paa den Vei, der holdt ham fast til det sidste.

  I 1863 var han Forstander for Døvstummeinstitutet i Slesvig, men blev afskediget efter Krigen[3]; Aaret efter denne ansattes han som Præst og Forstander ved Døvstummeinstituttet paa Kastelsvejen. For denne Virksomhed, der var hans Livs Lyst og Glæde, og som stemmede saa fuldkomment med hans humane Tænkemaade, ofrede han sig heelt, og naar han i Tidens Løb gjorde sig bemærket paa andre Omraader, modtog han dog bestandig sine impulser fra de Døvstumme, blandt hvilke han virkede. Hans medfødte mechaniske Talent fandt "Skrivekuglen" liggende embryonisk i de Døvstummes Haandalfabet; hans Undersøgelser om et nyt Bespisnings-reglement for Eleverne førte ham til den mærkelige og vigtige Opdagelse, som han nedlagde i sit Skrift "Perioder i Børns Vækst og Solens Varme", og om hvilken han gjentagne Gange har udtalt sig udførligt i nærværende Blad. Den skarpsindige Opdagelse, der i Korthed kan karakteriseres som et Forsøg paa at finde Lovene for Solvarmens Indflydelse paa det organiske Livs Udfoldelse og Væxt i hele Naturen,støttede sig til en Række med overordentlig Flid og Nøjagtighed iværksatte daglige Veininger og Højedemaalinger af Børnene i hans eget og andre lignende Institutter, endog-saa udenfor Landets Grænser. Paa dette Grundlag arbeidede han ufortrødent videre, uophørlig indsamlede han Erfaringer og Data, bearbejdede dem, og søgte ved deres Hjælp at trænge frem til Naturens hemmelighedsfulde Værksteder. Hans Resultater, som ifølge Sagens Natur ikke kunde blive populaire,[4] gjorde Opsigt i videnskabelige Kredse, hilstes med Bifald af Europas første Autoriteter og indbragte ham Ære - desværre blev det ham ikke forundt at ophøje dem til viden-skabelige Sandheder. Han havde selv Følelsen af, at han stod udenfor den store Port, som lukker for en af Videnskabens Gaader, men tillige, at det ved fortsat Arbeide og Iver vilde lykkedes ham at sprænge den.

Der var i Malling Hansens Character en sjelden Forening af Besindighed og Phantasi, Ro og Rastløs Arbeidsomhed. Han bar skuffelser med Resignation; hans "Skrivekugle" som ved Omstændighederens Magt og de store Capitalers Overlegenhed, blev overfløiet af amerikanske Skrivemaskiner, Indbragte ham kun Tab, men han blev dog ikke træt af at forbedre den. Han var sikker paa sit Hovedværks videnskabelige Betydning og stræbte kun efter at udfylde og uddybe det, uden derfor at glemme Dagens Pligter og Strid. Fædrelandet har mistet en trofast Søn i ham - de Døvstumme en faderlig Ven.

 

 


[1] Nekrologen er usigneret.

[2] CB: Studentereksamen

[3] Krigen mellem Danmark og Tyskland i 1864, som Danmark tabte, hvorved hele Schlesvig-Holstein blev tysk i stedet for dansk.

[4] CB: Hvorfor kunne de mon ikke det? Af religiøse grunde?


Obituary from Berlingske Tidende 29th September 1890[1]

Obituary.  Last Saturday evening the Principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, Reverent R. Malling Hansen, passed away suddenly, hit by an apoplectic stroke while walking in the street. This piece of news will be received with wide public sympathy, for the deceased had – with his endearing personality, brilliant talents and unusual loyalty - acquired countless friends and admirers, not only in his immediate circles but way beyond that. Behind the quiet and unassuming character he possessed a warm heart, and his open eye for all kinds of phenomena of life and nature, as well as his faculty of combination and vivid intellect, made him an entertaining and gifted leader in mental and spiritual fields.

 

Malling-Hansen was a pioneer in the field of Science, having gradually achieved his distinguished standing by means of untiring hard work, private studies and keen alertness towards everything he came across.

 

Graduating from the College of Jonstrup in 1854, four years later he passed his high-school certificate, studied theology and then via a teaching position at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen embarked on the path that he held on to throughout his life.

 

In 1863 he was principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Schleswig but was dismissed after the war[2]; the following year he was employed as vicar and principal at the Institute for the Deaf-Mute at Kastelvej in Copenhagen. He devoted himself completely to this work which was the chief delight of his life and in perfect harmony with his humanistic way of thinking; and when he, in the course of his career, made notable acheivements in other fields, yet still he received his inspiration from the deaf-mute, with which he worked. His natural mechanical talent found the “writing ball” lying embryonically in the hand alphabet of the deaf-mute; his research concerning a new regulation for the provision of school meals for the pupils led him to the extraordinary and important discovery, laid out in his publication “Periods in the Growth of Children and Solar Heat”, about which he commented exhaustively several times in the present paper. This perspicacious discovery – briefly summarised an attempt to find the laws of the influence of solar heat in relation to the development and growth of organic life in nature in general – was supported by series of extraordinarily exact and diligently implemented daily measurements of the height and weight of children of his own institution as well as other similar institutions, even outside Denmark. On the basis of this foundation he laboured undauntedly, incessantly collecting experiences and data, working them up, attempting thus to advance unto the secret workshops of Nature. His results – that naturally could not be widely spread[3] - created a stir in scientific circles and were met with favour by the foremost authorities of Europe, bringing him honour – but unfortunately fate did not permit him to see these results elevated to the level of scientific truths. He himself had the feeling of being on the doorstep of the giant gate blocking us from one of the enigmas of science, but also with the confidence that by means of continued work and zeal he would be able to force it open.

 

Malling Hansen’s character possessed a rare combination of level-headedness and faculty of imagination, composure and unremitting diligence. He carried disappointments with resignation; his “writing ball”, surpassed by American typewriters by the superiority of big business and the power of circumstances, brought him only losses, and yet he never tired in his efforts to improve it. He was certain of the scientific importance of his principal work and aspired merely to develop it further, but never at the expense of his daily duties and strife. Our Mother Country has lost a faithful son – and the deaf-mute a fatherly friend.

 

 


[1] The obituary is anonymous

[2] The war between Denmark and Germany in 1864, in which Denmark lost and the entire county of Schleswig-Holstein became a part of Germany in stead of Denmark

[3] CB: I wonder about the reason for that? Was it on religious grounds? JMC: Possibly because of the very specialised, detailed and scientific character of his material and his analysis. Maybe it did not lend itself to be turned into popular science. It could also be because he did not finish his research, and hence it was not ripe for the final analysis, summary and conversion into a more accessible language.

Obituary in ”Lolland-Falsters Tidende”

The obituary was probably authored by the editor-in-chief Hans Jørgen Jacobsen, 1833-1914. Immediately after RMH’s death he write a very sympathetic letter to the widow, Anna. See also our documentation about the Jonstrup centenary in 1890. Photo: The Royal Library, Copenhagen.

Translation from Danish and footnotes by Jørgen Malling Christensen:

 

[1] Diseased. In its edition of last Sunday the newspaper ”Avisen” carries the sad information that the principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, pastor Malling Hansen, has passed away. On Saturday evening, while walking along Borgergade in Copenhagen, he was struck by an apoplectic fit, endning his life.

 

Pastor Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen was a son of the teacher at Havlykke, Østofte parish near Maribo, Johan Hansen, who died in 1839 at the age of only 29 years. The widow moved with her three young sons, of which Malling Hansen, born September 5, 1835, was the eldest, back to her foster father, school teacher Malling of Hunseby, whose house she kept until his death at the end of the 50s[2]. Under poor circumstances  the talented and pious christian woman succeeded in providing a good upbringing for her bright sons. After his confirmation Malling Hansen was put into apprenticeship with a house painter in Maribo; however, since he was much more interested in further studies, by means of economic support from F.W.Knuth,”the March Minister”who became a fatherly friend, particularly of the two eldest sons, he was sent to the Teacher Training College of Jonstrup, from which he graduated with the highest possible  marks in 1854, in other words barely 19 years old. After having served for a year as assistant teacher at Maglemer, Hunseby, once again Count Knuth helped him to pursue his studies and in 1858 obtained his secondary school leaving certificate (”Artium”).  In 1859 he was appointed as teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, from which he was transferred in 1862 to the Institute for the Deaf-Mute of Schleswig Town, whose principal he was from the spring of 1863 until he was driven away by the German invasion in 1864 just like most other Danish civil servants in the duchies.  Already the following year Malling Hansen graduated in divinity from the University of Copenhagen and was now appointed principal and pastor of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute, in which position he could celebrate his 25 year aniversary on September 4 this year.

 

Already from this short sketch of Pastor Malling Hansen’s career, it will be evident that he possessed rare talents and an unusual energy. In his capacity as principal of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute he was in close contact with many of the men who have promoted the education of the deaf-mute with such skill and devotion in this country, and it is reasonable to contend that the diseased is very much responsible, and should be honoured, for the fact that this humanistic cause has been so well attended and is at such a high standard in Denmark. We can be convinced that thousands of deaf-mute persons in this country bless him and are by now saddened by his early demise.

 

The diseased possessed particular talents for mechanics and mathematics;  his activities in this field led him to invent the writing ball, and they also guided him on to carry out physiological investigations, attracting the attention of the medical scientific world, also beyond our mother country, in particular his demonstration of certain laws concerning the weight of children during the various seasons of the year and periods in their lives.

 

Pastor Malling Hansen was chairman of the commission which in August organised the centenary celebration of the Teacher Training College of Jonstrup. His youth friends had, on this occasion, the happy experience that he had kept his independent and free spirit as well as his brave, faithful character from the early days, but it was also not possible to neglect the signs that he had aged prematurely; but probably no one expected to hear the message of his demise so very soon.

 

Malling Hansen had been honoured by his mother country; His Majesty the King has acknowledged this by awarding him the Decoration for Metorious Services in Gold and in 1876 by making him  Knight of the Dannebrog.

 

 


[1] JMC: Lolland-Falsters Tidende is a Danich daily newspaper, still existing. It was founded in 1873 by the politician Rasmus Clausen (1835-1905). The paper covers the area of Lolland and Falster, hence including the home area of RMH. We do not know the exact date of publication of this obituary, but it appears from the context that it must have been one of the last days of September 1890 or one of the first days of October. We don’t know for certain who wrote the obituary, but it was probably penned by the chief editor, Hans Jørgen Jacobsen (1833-1914), who was present at the Jonstrup centenary and wrote articles about it.

[2] JMC: The foster father was Rasmus Malling, born March 16  1787, died May 7, 1857, who was – together with his wife – foster parent of RMHs mother Juliane Marie Matzen from her first year – 1809 – and later on foster parent of her and her three sons after the death of Johan Hansen.


Nekrolog over RMH i Lolland-Falsters Tidende, September 1890 (ej dateret)

Nekrologen er trolig skrevet av redaktør Hans Jørgen Jacobsen, 133-1914. Han skrev et meget deltagende brev til RMHs enke, Anna, rett etter dødsfallet. Se artikkelen om Jonstrup-jubileett i 1890. Foto: Det Kongelige Bibliotek i København

Dødsfald.  I sit Nr. for sidste Søndag bringer ”Avisen” den sørgelige Meddelelse, at Forstanderen for det kgl.Døvstummeinstitut i Kjøbenhavn, Pastor Malling Hansen, er afgaaet ved Døden. I lørdags Aftes blev han paa sin Vandring gjennem Borgergade i Kjøbenhavn ramt af et apoplektisk Tilfælde, der endte hans Liv.           

 

Pastor Hans Rasmus Malling Johan Hansen var en Søn af den i 1839 i en alder af kun 29 Aar afdøde Lærer i Haulykke, Østofte Sogn ved Maribo, Johan Hansen. Enken flyttede med sine tre smaa Sønner, hvoraf Malling Hansen, født 5te Septbr. 1835, var den ældste, tilbage til sin Plejefader, Skolelærer Malling i Hunseby, hvis Hus hun bestyrede til dennes Død i Slutningen af Halvtredserne[1]. I små og tarvelige Kaar lykkedes det her den begavede og kristeligsindede Kvinde at give sine opvakte Sønner en god Opdragelse. Efter sin Konfirmation blev Malling Hansen sat i Malerlære i Maribo; men da han havde mere Lyst til Bogen, blev han ved Understøttelse af F.W.Knuth, Martsministeren, der blev en faderlig Ven særlig for de to ældste Sønner, sendt til Jonstrup Seminarium, hvorfra han blev dimitteret med første Karakter med udmærkelse i 1854, altsaa næppe 19 Aar gammel. Efter et Aarstid at have været Hjælpelærer i Maglemer, Hunseby, blev det, atter ved Lehnsgreve Knuths Understøttelse, muligt for Malling Hansen at gaa den studerende Vej, og i 1858 fik han Artium.  I 1859 blev han Lærer ved det kgl.Døvstummeinstitut i Kjøbenhavn, hvorfra han i 1862 forflyttedes til Døvstummeinstituttet i Byen Slesvig, hvis Forstander han var fra Foraaret 1863 til han ved den tyske Invasion blev forjaget i 1864 ligesom de fleste andre danske Embedsmænd i Hertugdømmerne. Allerede Aaret efter tog Malling Hansen theologisk Embedsexamen ved Universitetet i Kjøbenhavn og blev nu ansat som Forstander og Præst ved det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut, i hvilken Stilling han den 4de September d.A. kunde fejre sit 25 Aars Jubilæum.           

 

Allerede af dette korte Omrids af Pastor Malling Hansens Livsbane vil det kunne forstaaes at han besad en sjelden Begavelse og ualmindelig Energi. Hans Virksomhed som Forstander ved Døvstummeinstitutet bragte ham i Forbindelse med flere af de Mænd, der her i Landet med stor Dygtighed har fremmet Døvstummeundervisningen, og det tør sikkert siges, at den Afdøde i væsentlig Grad har Fortjenesten af, at denne humane Sag staar paa et saa smukt Standpunkt her i Landet. Man kan derfor være overbeviist om, at mangfoldige Døvstumme her i Landet velsigne ham og nu ere bedrøvede over hans tidlige Hedengang.           

 

Den Afdøde havde særlig Anlæg for Mekanik og Mathematik; hans Sysler paa det Omraade lod ham opfinde Skrivekuglen, ligesom de ogsaa drev ham til at foretage fysiologiske Undersøgelser, hvorved han hendrog den lægevidenskabelige Verdens Opmærksomhed paa sig, ogsaa udenfor vort Fædreland, særlig ved hans Paaviisning af visse Love, der gjøre sig gjældende ved Børnenes Vægt i de forskjellige Aarstider og Livsperioder.           

 

Pastor Malling Hansen var Formand for det udvalg, der i August Maaned satte sig i Spidsen for at fejre Jonstrup Seminariums Hundredeaarsjubilæum. Hans ungdomsvenner havde her Lejlighed til at glæde sig over, at han fuldt ud havde bevaret sin Andsfrihed og sit brave, trofaste Sind  fra de unge Dage, men man kunde heller ikke undlade at iagttage tegn paa, at han var bleven tidlig gammel; men Ingen havde vistnok ventet, at Budskabet om hans Hedengang skulle komme saa snart.           

 

Malling Hansen var en af sit Fædreland fortjent Mand; Hs. Maj. Kongen har ogsaa anerkjendt dette ved i 1872 at tildele ham Fortjenstmedaillen i Guld og i 1876 at udnævne ham til Ridder af Dannebrog.[2]

 

 

 


[1] JMC: Plejefader Rasmus Malling, født 16/3 1787, død 7/5 1857, lærer i Hunseby, afgangseksamen fra Jonstrup seminarium i 1808.

[2] JMC: Vi ved ikke sikkert hvem der har skrevet nekrologen, men det er sandsynligvis avisens chefredaktør Hans Jørgen Jacobsen (1833-1914), som var til stede ved Jonstrupjubilæet og skrev en rapport om det.

Nekrolog over Anna Malling-Hansen

Anna Malling-Hansen, born Steenstrup, 1842-1897. Photo: Private

Forsidehistorie fra Smaablade for Døvstumme, juni 1897

 

Udgivet (og formodent skrevet) af cand.mag. Fritz Bech, der er gift med RMHs datter Zarah. Han skriver altså her nekrolog om sin egen sted-svigermoder og sin kones stedmoder. Så han kender detaljerne.

 

Han er lærer ved det kgl.Døvstummeinstitut i København, men bliver senere forstander for Døveskolen i Fredericia, og mangeårig formand i Døveforeningen.

 

 

Nekrolog over Anna Malling-Hansen

...........................................................

 

Fru Anna Malling-Hansen, f. Steenstrup

Død den 11te Maj 1897

 

Anna Malling-Hansen f. Steenstrup

 

  Ganske kort Tid efter at Professorinde Heiberg [1]er gaaet bort, er en anden Forstanderenke fra det gamle Institut ved Citadelsvej[2], Fru Anna Malling-Hansen afgaaet ved Døden - den 11te Maj.

Men medens det ved gamle Fru Heibergs Død var Alderdommen, der gjorde sin Ret gældende, stod Fru Malling-Hansen endnu i sin bedste Alder, da hun kun 54 Aar gammel bukkede under for en langvarig og smertefuld sygdom, mod hvilken hun forgæves havde søgt Hjælp ved to Hospitalsoperationer.

   A n n a  Malling-Hansen, f. Steenstrup var afdøde Forstander R. Malling-Hansens anden Hustru. Efter at han i 1876 havde mistet sin første Hustru Cathrine f. Heiberg, indgik han i 1880 Ægteskab med den nys afdøde. Det var en stor Gerning, hun gik ind til, men hun forstod i sjælden Grad at udfylde de Krav, der stilledes til hende: hun blev sin Mand en trofast og under mange vanskelige Forhold opofrende Hustru, og hun blev de 7 moderløse Børn, han betroede til hendes Varetægt, en øm og kærlig Vejlederske, der med Rette kunne bære Modernavnet, skønt hun aldrig selv opnaaede den Lykke at blive Moder.

  Kun 10 Aar fik hun Lov at leve sammen med den Mand, hun havde skænket sin Tro og sin Kærlighed. Saa stod hun en Dag som Enke med næsten hele den store Flok om sig og skulde sammen med dem forlade det gamle Institut, hvor hun for faa Aar siden glad og forhaabningsfuld var draget ind i, og som hun efterhaanden havde faaet saa kært. Men ogsaa i Modgangens Dage viste hun sig som den baade fra Aandens og Hjertets Side rigt udrustede Kvinde, hun var; alt ordnede sig for hende paa bedste Maade, og snart havde hun indrettet sig et nyt Hjem, hvor hun kunde leve sammen med sin Mands Børn og sin kære, gamle Moder.

  Saa kom for omtrent to Aar siden den første Mindelse om Sygdommen. Sikkert har hun allerede dengang haft en Anelse, der siden blev til Vished, om at det var Døden, der listede sig ind paa hende, men med en forunderlig Kraft forstod hun at skyde Tanken herom - ikke fra sig, men til Side. Hun hørte heller ikke til dem, der sysler meget med sig selv, andres Ve og Vel laa hende langt mere paa Sinde. Derfor hørte man under hele hendes lange Sygdom aldrig en Klage, lige til det sidste syslede hendes Tanker med at gøre alt vel for dem, som stod hende nærmest.

   Derfor skal ogsaa hendes Minde være fredet som en kær Plet i alle de Menneskers Tanker, der har kendt hende og holdt af hende. Men at kende hende og holde af hende var et. Det saaes den Aften, da hun førtes bort fra Hjemmet, og det saaes den Dag, da hun sænkedes i Graven ved sin Mands Side.

  Ogsaa I mange døvstumme, der har været Elever paa Instituttet i København i Aarene 1880-90 eller som er komne der i disse Aar til Søndagsgudstjenesterne, vil med en venlig Tanke mindes Fru Malling-Hansens høje smukke Skikkelse med Smilet i de godhjertede og tillige saa forstandige Øjne; thi der findes sikkert ikke en eneste blandt jer, uden at han har følt sig glad ved at møde hendes Blik. Det var saa hjertevarmende. Derfor vil hun ogsaa huskes af jer som en god Ven, der er gaaet bort!    

  Begravelsen fandt Sted den 18de Maj fra Frederiksberg Kirke under stor Deltagelse fra saavel hørendes som døvstummes Side. Talrige Kranse, deriblandt Palmekranse fra Personalet ved Døvstummeinstituttet og fra Døvstummeforeningen dækkede den afdødes Kiste, der efter Højtideligheden i Kirken førtes til Garnisonskirkegaarden, hvor Jordpaakastelsen fandt Sted.

 

..................................... Nekrolog slut.

 

CB: I samme nummer af Smaabladet er der to  referater/gengivelser af to taler, som henholdsvis Fr. Heiberg og Joh. Heiberg holdt i forbindelse med begravelsen, den første holdt i hjemmet den 13 maj, den anden holdt ved graven den 18 Maj. Her er et referat af de dele af talerne der handler om den afdøde - med det kristelige frasorteret:

 

 Ved Fru A. Malling-Hansens Baare

(i Hjemmet den 13de maj 1897)

 

........  Appel til Gud: lær du den gamle Moder at sige dig[3] Tak. Datteren var jo hendes Rigdom fra det Øjeblik, du gav hende, en Trøst i de Sorgens Dage hun har gennemlevet, og nu hendes Støtte i hendes Alderdoms Dage _; det er saa svært for hende nu at skulle slippe hende, derfor lær hende at sige Tak, fordi hun dog i saa mange Aar fik lov at beholde sin Datters trofaste og hele Kærlighed. Og lad os ikke glemme at takke for, hvad hun som Hustru har været for sin Mand: Hvordan hun gengav ham et Hjem med Hygge og Fred, hvor hun baade med Forstand og Kærlighed stod ham bi i hans ofte saa tunge Dagsgerning, spredte Sorgerne paa hans Pande og skabte smilet om hans Læber. Tak, fordi hendes Kærlighed var saa stor, at den endog kunde naa ud over Hjemmets Grænser og blive en velsignelse for mange. Jeg staar her i Dag for at takke fra alle dem, som dengang var Medarbejdere paa det gamle Døvstumme-Institut.

   Og lær du Børnene at sige Tak for en Moders Kærlighed! Engang tog du deres Moder, hende, som bar dem i sit Hjerte, derfor lad dem takke for hende, som du satte i hendes Sted, og som optog dem i sit Hjerte med en opofrende Moders Kærlighed, saa hun, om vi kunde se ind i Børnenes Hjerter, nu staar indskevet derinde fuldt og helt i Moders Sted. Tak, fordi hun i sin Enkestand ikke blot ærede Mindet om den elskede Fader, men ogsaa havde det Sind og Hjerte, at hun kunde ære og frede den bortgangne Moders Minde. Vi, hendes Søskende, takker hende i dit Navn derfor!

 

Mere religiøs snak afslutter talen. Amen! 

                                                                                            Fr. Heiberg.

 

 

Ved Anne Malling-Hansen f. Steenstrups Baare   (den 18de Maj)

 

Først en masse religiøs snak. Derefter:

 

Paulus beskriver saaledes: "Bliver ikke nogen noget skyldige uden dette, at elske hverandre".  Og naar vi nu for sidste Gang er samlede om hende, der saa forunderligt først var en kærlig og trofast Datter for sin Moder og blev eders Faders Hustru og Medhjælp og eder en øm og kærlig og forstandig Moder; og I kære Børn ligesom staar over for et Opgør imellem hende og eder selv for Samlivet i hjemmet - ikke sandt, saa kan vi samle hendes Eftermæle i dette: hun mente, da hun drog ind i Hjemmet som Hustru og Moder til den store, moderløse Flok, at mindre kunde ikke gøre det, end at hun maatte skylde eder sig selv. Alle de Kræfter hun ejede, satte hun ind paa at berede sin Husbond og eder Børn et Hjem; lyst, skønt og hyggeligt gjorde hun Hjemmet; forstandig og kærlig tog hun Børnene ved Haand, og inden I saa eder for, krøb I alle ind i hendes Hjerte. Der havde I hver sin Plads, ikke snævert og knapt tilmaalt, men saadan, at hun ansaa sig som en Skyldner til hver enkelt af eder. Og ikke blot delte hun sine naturlige rige Gaver med eder: sin rige Forstand, sit lyse aandfulde Blik paa Livet, men hun delte sin Tro med eder. Troen paa Guds Kærlighed i Kristus Jesus vor Herre, den gik som den dybe, stærke Understrøm gennem hendes Liv. Og midt i en Tid, hvor Troen paa den levende Gud agtes for en ringe, ja for en besværlig og skadelig Ting, skammede hun sig ikke ved at være hans Navn bekendt, som skabte os, som frelste os ved sit Blod, som betale vor Syndeskyld og gav os Arv og Lod i Guds Rige; som gav os sin Helligaand til Pant og Vidne om, at vi er Guds Børn. Og derfor, fordi I, kære Børn, var sunkne i saa dyb en Kærligheds Gæld til hende, der blev eders Moder, derfor slog I jo ogsaa Kreds om hende og havde et yndigt og hyggeligt og fredeligt Tilflugtssted i hendes Hjem, først i det gamle Barndomshjem i de store Omgivelser, i de døvstummes Hjem, og siden i det snævrere lille Hjem, hvor hun levede sin Enkestand. Herhen tyede I, selv da I fik hver sin lille Livsgerning; og et vidste I, at naar Vejen gik tilbage til det gamle Hjem, saa var der altid Husrum og Hjerterum, altid en aaben Favn og et Par milde Øjne, der mødte Eder til Velkomst, altid en Barneplads ved Moders Side.

  Hun var eder sig selv skyldig: saa helt og fuldt gik hun op i sin Modergerning, at da den tærende Sygdom, som fældede hende, begyndte at ytre sig: saa nænnede hun ikke at sige det til eder, glemte sin Frygt og sine Smerter, indtil Dagen kom, da hun søgte hen til det Sted, hvor hun haabede at faa Lindring og Lægedom for sine Smerter. Og stille og modig gik hun ind under den strenge Kur, idet hun overgav sig i Gud Faders Haand.

 

Resten af talen er religiøs. Amen!     

                                                                    Joh. Heiberg    

 


[1] Da Rasmus Malling-Hansen blev forstander i 1865, afløste han forstander Heiberg, der dog ikke gik på pension, men blev præst og døde i 1871. Hans anden kone, Emma, døde i 1897, så det er nok hende, der refereres til. Både Frederik og Johan Heiberg er sønner af Søren Heiberg og hans første kone, Engelke Marie, søster til den anden kone. Frederik Heiberg afløste Malling-Hansen som forstander i 1890, og Johan Heiberg kender vi som ham, der hjalp Malling-Hansen som tidtager da han eksperimenterede med porcellænshalvkuglen i 1865. Senere boede han flere år i Chicago.

[2] Mærkeligt at han skriver Citadelsvej - det er jo Kastelsvej. Der er ingen Citadelsvej i København.

SA: Veien het oprinneleig "Citadelsvej", men navnet ble senere endret til "Kastelsvej".

[3] Annas moder, der havde boet hos Anna og døtrene, hed Abelone Antoinette Steenstrup og døde først i 1906.


Anna Malling-Hansen.Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen
Anna Malling-Hansen. Photo: Private
Anna Malling-Hansen. Photo: Private
Abelone Antoinette Steenstrup. Photo: Private
Frederik Heiberg: Photo: The Royal Library in Copenhagen
Johan Alfred Heiberg. Photo: Private

Obituary over Anna Malling-Hansen

The front page of the obituary over Anna Malling-Hansen

Frontpage story from “Smaablade for Døvstumme[1]”, June 1897

 

 

Published (and presumably also drafted) by BA Fritz Bech, the husband of RMH’s daughter Zarah. In other words, he is writing an obituary over his own step-mother-in-law and his wife’s stepmother. He is therefore knowledgeable about the details.

 

 

He was a teacher at the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, but later on becomes principal of the Institute for the Deaf in Fredericia and for many years also president of the Association for the Deaf.

 

 

 

Obituary over Anna Malling-Hansen

 

 

.................................................................................................

 

 

Mrs Anna Malling-Hansen, née Steenstrup

 

Died May 11, 1897

 

 

 

Anna Malling-Hansen, née Steenstrup

 

 

Quite soon after the demise of Mrs Heiberg[2], yet another widow of the principal of the old institute at Citadelsvej[3] , Mrs Anna Malling-Hansen, has passed away – on May 11. But while in the case of Mrs Heiberg ripe old age took effect, Mrs Malling-Hansen was still in the prime of her life when she succumbed, only 54 years old, to a protracted and painful disease against which she had sought help by means of two hospital operations, to no avail.

 

 A n n a  Malling-Hansen, née Steenstrup, was the second wife of Principal R. Malling-Hansen. Having lost in 1876 his first wife Catherine, née Heiberg, he married the recently deceased in 1880. Assuming a huge task, she understood exceptionally well to honour the demands put to her: She became a loyal and sacrificing wife for her husband under rather difficult circumstances, as well as a tender and loving mentor for the 7 motherless children he entrusted to her care, rightfully bearing the name of mother, albeit she herself never experienced the happiness of becoming a mother.

 

 She was granted a mere 10 years to live with the man she had given her faith and love. Suddenly one day she was left a widow with most of the big troop of children around her, having to leave together with them the old institute, where she a few years earlier had entered, happy and full of expectations, and which she had come to love so much. However, also in times of adversity she proved herself a richly endowed woman both spiritually and in her heart; everything turned out in the best way for her, and very soon she had established a new home, where she could stay with her husband’s children and her dear, old mother.  Then around two years ago the first trace of the disease appeared. She probably already at that time had a presentiment that later grew into a certainty that this was death sneaking up on her, but with wonderful strength she managed to push the thought – not out of her mind but aside. She was not the type to occupy her mind much with herself – other people’s wellbeing were much more important to her. Hence, during the course of her prolonged disease never a complaint was heard, and until the end her thoughts were centered on doing good to the people around her.

 

 Therefore we shall preserve her memory as a dear, beloved spot in the thoughts of all the people that knew and loved her. To know her was to love her. This was evident on the evening when she was carried away from her home, as well as on the day when she put put to rest alongside her husband.

 

 Likewise, many of you deaf-mute who have been pupils at the Institute in Copenhagen during the years 1880-90, or who attended Sunday service there during that period, will send a kind reminder to Mrs Malling-Hansen’s tall, beautiful figure, smile in her kind-hearted and wise eyes; for surely there is not a single one among you who has not felt happiness when meeting her glance. It was so very warm-hearted. Therefore she will also be remembered by you as a good friend that passed away!

 

 The funeral took place on May 18 from Frederiksberg Church, gathering large attendance from hearing people as well as the deaf-mute. Countless wreaths, among them palm wreaths from the staff of the Institute for the Deaf-Mute and from the Association for the Deaf-Mute, covered the coffin of the diseased, which after the church ceremony was taken to the Garnison Cemetery, where the graveside ceremony took place.

 

 

................................... End of the obituary.

 

 

CB: The same  issue of “Smaabladet” brings accounts of two speeches given by Fr.Heiberg and Joh. respectively in connection with the funeral, the first one given in the home on May 13 and the second by the gravesite on May 18. Here is an extract  of the passages of the speeches dealing with the deceased – omitting the religious parts.

 

 

Funeral speech at the bier of Mrs A. Malling-Hansen(in the home on May 13, 1897)

 

 

........Appeal to God: Pray teach the old mother to thank you[4]. For the daugther was her wealth from the moment you granted her a daughter, a comfort during the days of sorrow that she has been through, and now her support in her ripe old age _ ; it is so very difficult for her now to have to let her go, therefore teach her to be grateful for having had the faithful and full love of her daugther for so many years. And let us not forget to give thanks for what she, as a wife, has been to her husband: How she gave him back a home full of comfort and peace, where she assisted him with wisdom and love in his daily work, dispelled his sorrows and brought a smile to his lips. Thank you, because her love was so great that that it could even reach beyond the boundaries of home and become a blessing for many others. I stand before you today in order to give thanks from all of those that were colleagues at the old Institute for the Deaf-Mute.

 

 And pray teach the children to give thanks for the love of a mother! Once you took away their mother, the one that carried them in her heart, therefore let them thank her that you put in her stead, and who received them in her heart with the love of a sacrificing mother, so that she, if we could glance into the hearts of the children, is now inscribed in there wholly and fully in mother’s stead. Thank you, because she in her widowhood not only honoured the memory of the beloved father but also had a mind and a heart to honour and guard the memory of the beloved mother. We, her siblings, thank her in your name for this!

 

 

More religious comments conclude the speech. Amen!

 

 

                                                                                                            Fr. Heiberg.

 

 

 

At the bier of Anne Malling-Hansen, née Steenstrup (May 18)

 

 

It starts with religious comments. After that:

 

 

Paul writes as follows: “You should not owe anyone a debt of gratitude except in this: love one another”. And being now for the last time gathered around her, who was first of all such a wonderful daugther to her mother and then became your father’s wife and assistant, as well as a tender, loving and wise mother for you; and you, dear children, are facing a day of reckoning between her and yourselves for your life together  -  I do believe we may summarise her reputation like this: Her intention, when she entered your home as a wife and as a mother to the big crowd of motherless children, was that the least she could do was to give herself fully to you. She put all her efforts into preparing and tending a home for her husband and for you children; she made the home light, nice and cosy; sensibly and lovingly she took the children by hand, and before you knew what had happened, all of you entered her heart. This is where each of you had her own space, not confined and scantily allotted, but rather in such a way that she considered herself indebted to each one of you. And not only that she shared her naturally rich gifts with you: her rich intellect, her bright and spiritual outlook on life, but in addition she shared her faith with you.The faith in God’s love in Jesus Christ Our Lord, which went as a deep, strong undercurrent through her life. And during a time when faith in the living God was regarded an insignificant, yes even an irksome and harmful matter, she was not ashamed to confess to Him, our Creator, who saved us by His blood, who paid our debt of sins and gave us our inheritance in the Kingdom of God; who gave us His Holy Spirit as a pledge and witness that we are God’s children. And precisely because you, dear children, had become so deeply indepted to her for her love, her that became your mother, you gathered around her and found a lovely, warm and peaceful refuge in her home, first in the old childhood home in the vast surroundings, in the home of the deaf-mute, and later on in the smaller home, where she lived as a widow. This is where you took refuge even when you had left home for your own calling in life; and you were certain that when you returned to the old home you would always find room in the heart and room in the house, always open arms and a pair of gentle eyes welcoming you, always room for a child at the mother’s side.

 

 She sacrificed herself for you: She was so completely devoted to her motherly calling that when the wasting disease, that were eventually to slay her, started to manifest itself she did not have it in her heart to tell you about it. She forgot her fears and her pains until the day when she turned to the place where she was hoping to obtain relief and be healed from her pains. Quietly and bravely she accepted the rigorous treatment, resigning herself to the will of God.

 

 

The rest of the speech is religous. Amen!

 

 

                                                                        Joh. Heiberg

 

 


[1] Danish periodical, can be translated as ”Leaflets for the Deaf-Mute”

[2] When Rasmus Malling-Hansen was appointed principal in 1865, he succeeded principal Heiberg, who however was not retired but become a vicar, passing away in 1871. His second wife, Emma, died in 1897, and we must therefore presume that the reference is to her. Both Frederik and Johan Heiberg were sons of Søren Heiberg and his first wife, Engelke Marie, sister to the second wife. Frederik Heiberg succeeded Malling-Hansen as principal in 1890, and we know Johan Heiberg as the one who helped Malling-Hansen as timekeeper when he was experimenting with the porcelain hemisphere in 1865. Later on he lived in Chigaco for several years.

[3] Quite odd that he refers to “Citadelsvej” in the Danish text – the correct name is “Kastelsvej”, “citadel” being the English translation of the word “kastel”. There is no “Citadel Road” in Copenhagen.

SA: "Citadelsvej" was the original name of this road. The name was later changed into "Kaslelsvej".

[4] Anna’s mother who had been living with Anna and the daugthers, was Abelone Steenstrup and passed away in 1906.


Page one and two of the obituary. The original belongs to the family of RMH's daughter, Emma Mathiesen

Nekrolog over Zarah Malling-Hansen, gift Bech

Fritz August Bech, 1869-1946
Zarah Malling-Hansen, g. Bech, 1870-1910

Fru Z. Bech[1], f. Malling-Hansen.

 

Født d. 26. Oktbr. 1871. Død d. 10. Febr. 1910.

 

(I mangt og meget taget efter Pastor Heibergs Tale i Trinitatis Kirke[2].)

 

Da Fru Bech blev født, var der just Sorg af forskellig Art i Familien. Hendes Fødsel blev da hilst som et Glædens Tegn, og hun selv virkede som en lille Solstraale. Og saaledes blev det ved at være, hvor hun gik, og hvor hun kom, bragte hun Glæde med sig. Hendes Fader, Pastor Malling-Hansen, var Forstander for det kgl. Døvstummeinstitut i København, ligesom hendes Bedstefader, Professor Heiberg havde været før ham. I Slægtens gamle Borg voksede hun op, og i den smukke Have, hendes Bedstefader selv havde plantet, tumlede hun sig i munter Leg. -
            Døvst.-Inst. Ligger ude paa Cidatelsvej i København, godt gemt fra Byens Larm. Træder man ind paa Gaardspladsen, hvor Duerne kurrer i Solskinnet, og Kaglende Høns giver Melding om deres Flid, eller man ser Forstanderen ryge sin Pibe mellem Havens Træer; da drømmer man sig ud i en Landsbypræsteidyl. Og dog spænder Storbyen sine Fangearme til alle Sider – om Idyllen, og man behøver ikke gaa mange Skridt, før man standses af ringende Sporvogne og tudende Biler.
            Fru Bech blev i mangt og meget den elskelige Præstedatter, hvis Hjærte har Følelse og Trang til Hjælp for de mange, der lider; men hendes Sind og Tanke var ogsaa præget af Storbyens friske pulserende Liv, og hendes Vilje voksede sig stærk, som Slægtens Særpræg var, og som den maa være hos dem, der skal komme frem i vor Tid. – Her i det smukke Barndomshjem traf hun den, som skulle blive hendes Livsledsager, daværende Cand. Fritz Bech, der var Lærer ved Instituttet[3]. Meget Ung var hun, da hun blev gift[4], og med ham forlod Barndomshjemmet for at bygge et nyt Hjem op ude i Byen. Men hun tog alle Hjemmets Genier[5] med sig. Hun blev en god og trofast Hustru og en kærlig Moder for de fem Børn, der efter hinanden saa Lyset.
            Det var Fru Bechs inderlige Ønske, at hendes Mand maatte opnaa at blive Forstander, som hendes Fader og Bedstefader havde været, og se! Hendes ønske blev opfyldt: hendes Mand blev 1904 udnævnt til Forstander for den kgl. Døvst.-Skole i Fredericia[6].
            Men den Periode, som nu fulgte, blev vel ikke just, som hun havde haabet, thi Svagheden havde allerede den Gang sit Tag i hendes Legeme. Men Aanden var frisk: hendes Hjærte var ungt og hendes Vilje fast. – Trods alle Sygdoms-anfald gennem snart 6 Aar, vedblev hun at være Hjemmets Midtpunkt lige til det sidste. Fra sit Sygeleje styrede hun sit Hus, til hende gik Mand og Børn, tog hende med i alt og fortalte hende alt.
            Hun ansaa Arbejdet for de Døvstumme, Arbejdet for deres Belæring og Opdragelse for den smukkeste Gerning i Verden, og inderlig gerne vilde hun have været helt med i sin Mands Arbejde og staaet ved hans Side, ogsaa udadtil, men her slog Kræfterne ikke til.
            Vel var hun til Stede ved mange Lejligheder: ved Jubilæumsfester, ved Eksaminer og Konfirmationer eller i Haven, naar Bluseet tændtes til St.Hans Ære; og kærlig Tak skal siges hende, fordi hendes stærke Vilje ved saadan Lejlighed vandt Sejr over det svage Legeme, men tit og ofte maatte hun savnes, og kun en Hilsen bragte Bud om, at hendes Tanker dvælede i Kredsen.
            Men denne Hilsen klædte sig i forskellig Dragt og meldte saa mange Gange om, hvor gerne hun vilde være med, hvor meget hun fulgte det alt sammen;  saa man syntes, hun var med alligevel. Og smukke Minder vil Skolens Personale have om hende, naar hun dreven af Trang til at give andre Del i sit Hjems Hygge og Lykke aabnede dets Døre og bød ind. Svag sad hun der, svag og bøjet, men Glæden tændte Blus paa Kind, gav Øjet Glans og fik hendes glade Latter lokket frem. – Det er efterhaanden bleven Skik paa Døvst.-Skolen, at Lærerpersonalet med Paarørende møder for at pynte Juletræet sammen med Forstanderfamilien for derefter at ønske hverandre ”Glædelig Jul” ved Kaffe og Vin i Forstanderhjemmet. Alle vil sikkert mindes hin første Gang, da vi gæstmildt blev budt ind, og saa Bordet pyntet med smaa skinnende Julelys, stukne ned gennem Dugen og omgivet af Blomster. De klare Øjne som fra Bordets ene Ende skinnede om Kap med Julelysene ere nu slukkede; men denne Aften med mange andre smukke Minder vil bevares ned gennem Tiderne og sikre fru Bech kærlig Erindring i Vennekredsen.
            Hende selv har Gud gemt der, hvor Julelysene aldrig slukkes, og Mindet aldrig blegner; thi ”det Bedste er altid tilbage for dem som elsker Lyset og vil det Gode”.

                                               V. L.

 


[1] JMC: Nekrolog over Rasmus Malling-Hansens fjerde datter, Zarah, gift med døvstummelæreren og senere forstanderen Fritz August Bech.  Nekrologen er antagelig fra månedsbladet Effata.
Den er signeret med ”V.L.”, men vi kender ikke navnet bag signaturen.

SA: Såvidt vi vet fra andre kilder, er Zarah Bechs fødselsår satt et år for sent i denne nekrologen. RMH forteller f eks i et brev fra desember 1870 at han vil kalle opp sin nyfødte datter etter svogeren Peter Helbergs kone, Zarah Krieger, som nettopp var død meget tragisk i barsel, sammen med babyen hun skulle føde.

Zarahs ektemann, FritzAugust Bech, var forøvrig mangeårig redaktør for Effata, og dessuten en drivende kraft for døvstummesaken  i flere tiår. Han skrev en rekke store artikler i dagsavisene om RMH, og levde helt til 1946.

[2] JMC: Begravelsen fandt sandsynligvis sted i Trinitatis Kirke i Fredericia (ikke i kirken af samme navn i København), Kongensgade 39B. www.nordenskirker.dk har fine billeder af kirken.

Sa: Den nevnte pastoren var etter all sannsynlighet Zarahs onkel, Johan Alfred Heiberg, som også talte i Rasmus Malling-Hansens bisettelse.

[3] JMC: Bech blev ansat af RMH  d. 1 februar 1882.

[4] JMC: i 1890.

[5] V.L. = Gode Ånder

[6] JMC: Efter forslag og detaljeret planlægning af RMH blev Det Kongelige Døvstummeinstitut i Fredericia oprettet i i 1881 med det formål at give flere døve børn mulighed for at lære talesprog. De elever som ikke i løbet af to år fik udbytte af taleundervisningen, blev overført til Instituttet i København for at blive undervist ved hjælp af tegnsprog.


Ekteparet Bech fikk i alt fem barn: Zarah, Hans, Ellen Margrethe, Vilhelm og Erling. Kun Erling, som utvandret til USA har etterkommere i dag. De bor alle i USA. Datteren Zarah ble over 100 år.
Passet til Erling Bech, som utvandret til USA og slo seg ned der. Hans etterkommer, Paul Bech, er medlem av bestyrelsen i The International Ramsus Malling-Hansen Society.
Mest sannsynlig sto nekrologen over Zarah Bech på trykk i de døvstummes eget tidsskrift, Effata, redigert av Fritz August Bech i en årrekke.

Obituary of Zarah Malling-Hansen, married Bech

Fritz August Bech, 1869-1946
Zarah Malling-Hansen, married Bech, 1870-1910

Translation from Danish by Jørgen Malling Christensen

 

Mrs Z. Bech[1], b. Malling-Hansen.

 

Born on Oct 26, 1871[2]. Died February 10, 1910.

 

(Most of the text has been sourced from Revered Heiberg’s speech in Trinitatis Church)[3]

 

When Mrs Bech was born, grief of various kinds had just stricken the family. Her birth was then greeted as a sign of joy, and she herself was like a small sunbeam. And this is how she continued to be -  where ever she went and where ever she appeared, she brought joy. Her father, Reverend Malling-Hansen, was principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mute in Copenhagen, just as her grandfather, Professor Heiberg, had been before him. She grew up in the old “castle” of her family, and she used to gambol in merry playing in the beautiful garden that her grandfather himself had planted. –

 

            The Institute is located in Citadel Road in Copenhagen, well hidden away from the din of the city. Entering the yard, where doves are cooing in the sunshine and cackling hens announce their diligence - or one may see the principal smoking his pipe among the trees in the garden – you will dream away and imagine yourself in a bucolic idyll. And yet, the great city extends its tentacles in all directions into the idyll, and one doesn’t walk many steps before being stopped by clanging tramcars and hooting vehicles.

 

Mrs Bech was in essence the lovable daughter of a priest, whose heart is filled with compassion and with a thirst for helping the many suffering people; but her mind and thought was also also marked by the fresh pulsating life of the city, her strength of will grew strong, being the hallmark of her family, as it must be with those who wish to progress in our time. – Here in the beautiful childhood home she met the one who was to become her companion in life, the then university student Fritz Bech, who was a teacher of the Institute.[4] She married at a very young age[5] and left, together with him, her childhood home in order to establish a new home in town. Yet she brought with her all the good spirits of her home. She became a good and faithful wife and a loving mother to the five children who saw light one after the other.

 

It was Mrs Bech’s fervent wish that her husband be appointed principal, following in the footsteps of her father and grandfather, and lo and behold: Her wish was granted; in 1904 her husband was appointed principal of the Royal Institute for the Deaf-Mutes in Fredericia.[6]

 

However, the period that followed did not turn out the way she had hoped, for weakness had already at that time taken hold of her body. But her mind was healthy: her heart was young and her will-power was strong.  – In spite of all the attacks of illness during almost 6 years, she continued to be the centre of the home until her last breath. From her sickbed she managed her home, her husband and children consulted her , let her participate in everything and shared everything with her.

 

She considered the work for the deaf-mute, the endeavours for their teaching and education, to be the most beautiful calling in the world, and she fervently wished to have been fully partaking in her husband’s tasks and be at his side, also outside the home, but for this her strength failed her.

 

Yet she was present on many occasions: at jubilees, examinations, confirmations or in the garden when the Midsummer Day bonfire was lit; and we give grateful thanks to her because her strong will-power at such occasions conquered the weak body, but often and often we missed her, and only a greeting conveyed the message that her thoughts were with our group.

 

However, the greeting took so many different disguises and so often told us how she longed to be partaking with us, how much she was following all the  events; and in the end one had the feeling that she was with us all the same. And the staff of the institute will have beautiful memories of her, when she opened her doors and invited us, driven by her desire to share the cosiness and happiness of her home with other people. She would be sitting there, weak and bent, but joy flushed her cheek, made her eyes sparkle and provoked her happy laughter. – By and by it has become custom at the Institute that the teaching staff with their families will come together to decorate the Christmas tree together with the family of the Principal and subsequently exchange greetings of “Marry Christmas” over coffee and wine in the home of the Principal.

 


Surely, each and everyone will remember the first time we were invited inside, seeing the table decorated with small shining Christmas candles, fastened to the table cloth and surrounded by flowers. The bright eyes shining from one end of the table as if competing with the candle lights have now been extinguished; however, this evening, together with many other beautiful memories, will be carried with us through times ahead and ensure Mrs Bech loving memories in her circle of friends.

 

As for herself, God has hidden her in the place where Christmas lights are never put out and memories never fade; for “the very best always remains for those who love the light and wish goodness”.

 

                                               V.L.

 

 


[1] JMC: Obituary of Ramus Malling-Hansen’s fourth daughter, Zarah, who married teacher of deaf-mutes and later on principal Fritz August Bech. The obituary is probably from the monthly newsletter Effata, the journal of and for the society of deaf-mutes in Denmark. The obituary is signed “V.L.”, but we do not know the name behind that signature.

[2] SA: As far as we know from other sources, Zarah Bech’s year of birth has been indicated one year too late in this obituary. For instance, in a letter from December 1870 RMH mentions that he wishes to name his newborn daughter after his brother-in-law Peter Heiberg’s wife Zarah Krieger, who had just died very tragically while giving birth, and the baby also died. Zarah’s husband Fritz August Bech was for many the editor of Effata and, in addition, a driving force for the cause of the deaf-mutes for several decades. He published a number of articles in the daily newspapers about RMH and lived as long as until 1946.

[3] JMC: The funerary ceremony probably took place at the Trinitatis Church, Fredericia (NOT the church of the same name in Copenhagen), Kongensgade 39B. www.nordenskirker.dk has nice images of the church.

SA: The priest referred to was, in all likelihood, Zarah’s uncle Johan Alfred Heiberg, who also gave a speech at the funeral service of Rasmus Malling-Hansen.

[4] JMC: Bech was employed as a teacher by RMH as from February 1, 1882.

[5] JMC: in 1890. 

[6] JMC: After detailed planning and proposal from RMH the Royal Institute in Fredericia was established in 1881, the purpose being to provide more deaf children the possibility of learning to use spoken language. The pupils who in the course of two years did not benefit from the speech method were transferred to the Copenhagen institute where they were taught by sign language. 

 

The Bech couple had a total of five children: Zarah, Hans, Ellen Margrethe, Vilhelm and Erling. Only Erling, who emigrated to the United States, has descendents today, all of them living in the USA. The daughter Zarah lived beyond 100 years.
The passport of Erling Bech who emigrated to the USA and settled down there. His descendent, Paul Bech, is a member of the Board of the International Rasmus Malling-Hansen Society.
The Zarah Bech obituary was probably printed in Effata, the magazine of the deaf-mute society, which Fritz August Bech edited for 21 years.