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Callery, Joseph-Marie, 1810-1862 (missionary, Sinologist, and botanist)



  • Existence: 25 June 1810 - 8 June 1862


Joseph-Marie Callery was born on 25 June 1810 in Turin, to Gaetano Calleri, a silk manufacturer and Anna-Maria-Antonia, a tailor. In September 1833 he entered the seminary of the Missions étrangères de Paris, and was ordained as a priest in December 1834. He was sent to Korea but was not able to get into the country; therefore he stayed in Macau from 1836 to 1842 when he was expelled from the Société des Missions étrangères. During his time in Macau and Canton he studied the Chinese and Korean languages, and explored the local botany and geology in his spare time.

In 1844 he acted as Chinese interpreter to French diplomat Théodore de Lagrené during his embassy in China, taking the opportunity to visit Chusan, Shanghai, Ningbo and Xiamen. Callery had a role in the success of the Treaty of Whampoa, a commercial treaty between the Qing dynasty and the Kingdom of France. He came back to France in 1846.

Callery brought back a great deal of plant specimens from his travels in Asia (in Java, Philippines, and China), many of which were unknown in Europe at the time. The Pyrus calleryana pear tree, which he introduced to Europe from China, was named in his honor by Joseph Decaisne in 1876.

Joseph-Marie Callery married Henriette-Louise-Clémentine Quelquejeu on 10 July 1861 in Lisses, France. They had six children, including historian Alphonse Callery (1847-1909). Joseph-Marie died on 8 June 1862 aged 51, and is buried in Montmartre Cemetery.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Manuscript on Chinese botany entitled "Synonymie d'histoire naturelle Chinoise" by Joseph-Marie Callery

 Item — Box CLX-A-1593
Identifier: Coll-1999
Content Description This is a manuscript on Chinese botany entitled "Synonymie d'histoire naturelle Chinoise", produced by Joseph-Marie Callery in the 1840s and never published. In this manuscript Callery discusses numerous genera, species and varieties of native plants found in Macau and Canton, many of which were unknown in Europe at the time. After giving their Latin and Chinese names, he describes their physical characteristics, habitat, their industrial, medicinal and culinary uses, details his own...
Dates: 1840s