Auguste de Gérando was born 4 April 1819 in Lyon, Rhône, Rhône-Alpes, France to Antoine de Gérando (1776-1823) and Jeanne Marguerite Barberi (c1785-1843) and died 8 December 1849 in Dresden, Saxony, Germany of unspecified causes. Ancestors are from France.


Auguste de Gérando was a French essayist and landowner. He was also a foreign member of the Hungarian Academy of Science.

The de Gérando family was a family of rich landowners in Lyon, France. Antoine de Gérando (1776-1823), Auguste's father had marrie Anne Marie Barberi, an Italian aristocrat. However in the turmoil of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, the family lost the inherited fortune and Antoine de Gérardo was forced to take various odd jobs. After his death, in 1823, his widow and her five children moved to the Paris area.

With the help of his uncle, Joseph Marie de Gérando (1772-1842), Antoine was able to enroll at the Royal College of Versailles, and thereafter to study law at the Paris University. While he would have preferred to study history, his uncle and guardian advised him that law would ensure a more stable career.

Teleki mansion in Satulung

Teleki mansion in Satulung

Marriage to Emma Teleki de Szék

In 1839, while Auguste de Gérando was still preparing for his graduation examinations, he met Emma Teleki de Szék (1809-1893) who was travelling to France with her aunt Theresia Brunswik von Korompa (1775-1861). The two young people fell in love, but both families were opposed to this relationship. The Gérandos objected that Emma was ten years older than Auguste (though she conceded only four) and the Telekis that the boy was of poor health. However the two lovers finally prevailed and the marriage took place in Paris on May 14, 1840.

The young pair travelled to Transylvania, settling in Kővárhosszúfalu (now Satulung, Maramureş County, Romania) where Count Imre Teleki de Szék (1782-1848) had his property. During the summer, they visited Transylvania in company of Emma's sister Blanka Teleki de Szék (1806-1862). In the fall of 1840, Auguste was called to France, to complete his military service. Due to his poor health, he was however found unfit for the military and, in spring 1841 he returned to Transylvania. He was interested both in the Teleki estate and in the work of parliament. He was also interested by the coexistence of Romanian and Hungarian populations in Transylvania and started working simultaneously on five books on related topics.

Due to his uncle's death in 1842 and his mother's death in the following year, Auguste and his wife travelled to France for family matters, and stayed there for two years. On February 13, 1845 his daughter was born in Paris.

During his stay in Paris he attented history lectures of [[Jules Michelet (1798-1874), whose approach had a significant impact of Auguste de Gérando's thinking. He also embraced the political thinking of his friends art historian Alfred Dumesnil (1821-1894) (Michelet's son in law), historian Edgar Quinet (1803-1875), poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), economist Léon Faucher (1803-1854) and philologist François Génin (1803-1856), editor of the newspaper "Le National. He also published two of the studies he started in Transylvania: "Essai historique sur l’origine des Hongrois" (Historical Essay on the Origins of the Hungarians) and "La Transylvanie et ses habitants" (Transylvania and its inhabitants). He also published the article "Les Valaques en Transylvanie" (The Romanians of Transylvania) in the magazine "Révue Indépéndante".

On March 15, 1845 the family returned to Budapest. For the next three years the family lived hear, except for some trips to the Teleki residence in Kővárhosszúfalu and visits to other parts of Hungary. On December 10, 1846, Emeric Auguste (whom the family called Attila, the second child of the family, was born.

On 18 December 1845, Auguste de Gérando was appointed foreign member of the Academy of Science, not so much for his scientific work but in the hope that this would help promote Hungarian culture abroad. During his stay in Hungary, he participated in several political events, visited aristocratic salons, but also had close contacts with intellectuals such as Teréz Karacs (1808-1892), Klára Leövey (1821-1897), Pál Vasvári (1826-1849), Móric Lukács (1812-1881) and Ferenc Toldy (1805-1875). He also sent three studies which he had completed to French publishers: "L'Esprit public en Hongrie depuis la revolution française", "La Hongrie" and "La Hongrie pittoresque". The two last works had not been published, but some chapters from La Hongrie were printed in 1849, in the newspaper Le National. Journal's .

Activity during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848

The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 started on March 15, 1848 by mass demonstrations in Pest and Buda followed by a change of government. Various members of the Teleki family actively supported the reformists. Auguste de Gérando considered that he could play a role in getting the support of the new French Republic and aid to the Hungarian revolutionaries. He therefore traveled to Paris in May and had various contacts with representatives of the French government and also wrote several articles in an attempt to inform the French public about the aims of the revolutionary movement in France. The efforts of Auguste de Gérando and other Hungarian representatives were successful and in August a delegation of the French government went to Hungary to establish diplomatic relations. The Hungarian prime-minister count Lajos Batthyány von Németújvár (1807-1849) appointed count László Teleki de Szék (1811–1861) (a relative of Auguste's wife) as envoy to Paris. After a short trip to Vienna, August de Gérando returned to Paris, preparing the arrival of László Teleki and informing the French Foreign Minister, Jules Bastide (1800-1879), about the evolution of the political situation in Hungary. However, towards the end of 1848, the policy of the French government changed and it was more interested in improved relations with Austria than in supporting the Hungarian revolution.

Auguste de Gérardo got sick and, in January 1848 went with his brother to Nancy to recover. In spring he returned to Paris and then considered he could be more useful to the revolution if he returned to Hungary. Because of his revolutionary activities, he left Paris with a false passport on July 9, 1849.

Auguste de Gerando tombstone in Dresden

Auguste de Gérando's tombstone at the Catholic Cemetery in Dresden.

According to earlier biographies, based mainly on the memoirs of his wife, Emma Teleki, Auguste de Gérando joined the army of György Klapka (1820-1892) and took part in the battle of Győr, the first clash between the Hungarians and the Russian army, which intervened to help the Austrians. It was claimed that, during this battle, he saved the Hungarian flag. This information had been contested in more recent biographies, especially as the battle of Győr took place on June 28, before his departure from Paris. He was soon forced to flee from Hungary, but did not want to return to France, where the political situation had changed. He traveled through various German cities, such as Augsburg, Nüremberg, Leipzig and Dresden, where he was met by his wife and his two children. He was able to spend the last weeks with his family, before dying on December 8, 1849. After his death, Emma Teleki and his children found it dangerous to return to Hungary, where the revolution had been crushed, and emigrated to France, where they stayed till 1870.

Auguste de Gérando is interred at the Catholic Cemetery in Dresden, where his tombstone still exists.

While most of his works are now forgotten, the memory of his family still persists. From Nov. 9, 1986 to Jan. 31, 1987, the Jean-Jacques Rousseau of Montmorency, France organized an exhibition presenting the de Gérando - Teleki family as an example of cooperation between Hungary and France.



  • Essai historique sur l'origine des Hongrois. - Paris. Imprimeurs-Unis. 1844.
  • La Transylvanie et ses habitants. - Paris, Imprimeurs-Unis. 1845. (2 volumes).
  • L'Esprit public en Hongrie depuis la révolution française. - Paris, Imprimeurs-Unis. 1848.

Neki tulajdonított könyvek


  • Les Valaques en Transylvanie. Revue Indépendante. 1845. XVIII. 551–572.
  • La question des nationalités en Hongrie. La Hongrie en 1848. 5–11.
  • De l’organisation de l’armée hongroise. La Hongrie en 1848. 89–96.
  • Les Steppes de Hongrie. Le National. (June 17 - August 26, 1849)

Publications attributed to him

  • Pest. Egy tiszaháti magyar’ őszinte megjegyzései a’ hazafiság, utánzási kór és nevelés felett. Lipcse – Pest – Pozsony. 1846.
  • La Question austro-hongroise et l'intervention russe. Paris. 1849.



Offspring of Auguste de Gérando and Emma Teleki de Szék (1809-1893)
Name Birth Death Joined with
Antónia de Gérando (1845-1914) 13 February 1844 Paris, France 9 April 1914 Kolozsvár, Cluj County, Transylvania, Austria-Hungary
Attila de Gérando (1846-1897) 10 December 1846 Budapest, Hungary, Austrian Empire 1897 Germany Lucy Coignet
Irén Teleki de Szék(1857-1937)


Footnotes (including sources)

‡ General