FAGERGREN, CONRAD GUSTAF (b. Stockholm, 7 August 1818, d. Shiraz, 10 October 1879), Swedish physician in Shiraz, 1266-96/1848-79. Fagergren was the son of a wood-carver and was first trained as a bath attendant and barber-surgeon. Later he studied medicine in Stockholm and traveled in Europe, eventually enrolling in Russian military service. While with an army corps in Circassia, he was captured but escaped to Istanbul and became captain surgeon in the Turkish army. He proceeded to Persia, arriving in Tehran in 1265/1847. There he attracted the favor of Moḥammad Shah (1250-64/1834-48), but after the shah’s death he fled to Shiraz, where he served as physician and medical officer to the governor. He participated in many campaigns in southern Persia (Brugsch, I, p. 194), including the recapture of Bandar-e ʿAbbās(ī) (q.v.) from the sultan of Muscat in 1271/1855 (Polak, II, pp. 12-16). In Shiraz he was visited by several well-known Western travelers, including Joseph-Arthur Comte de Gobineau in 1855 (pp. 174-76), and Hermann Vámbéry in September-October 1862 (tr., pp. 168-85). The Persian traveler Moḥammad-ʿAlī Ḥājj Sayyāḥ Maḥallātī also described meeting him in 1294/1877 (pp. 23-24).
In 1286/1869 Fagergren was seriously injured during an earthquake in Shiraz and retired from his military post with the rank of colonel. He was then appointed superintendent of physicians for the province of Fārs. In 1296/1879, a few months before his death, he participated in an excursion to Persepolis to inspect restoration work being carried out on orders of the provincial governor, Moʿtamed-al-Dawla Farhād Mīrzā. This visit was commemorated in an inscription on the southern inner wall of the Palace of Darius I, in which Fagergren and the renowned orientalist F. C. Andreas are mentioned (Utas, pp. 167-69).
Fagergren was married to a daughter of the Italian general Barthëlemy Semino, who had married the widow of the Polish general Isidore Borowsky, killed at the siege of Herat in 1253/1838 (see CHOD§KO). Fagergren fathered at least sixteen children, most of whom died young. One daughter was married to Albert Houtum-Schindler (q.v.), but it seems that she predeceased her father. In 1298/1881 Jane Dieulafoy (q.v.; pp. 459-61) met Fagergren’s widow and two daughters in Shiraz; one of these daughters later married an Armenian merchant (Utas, p. 177). Fagergren is thought to have left substantial diaries and notes on Persian matters (Brugsch, I, p. 194), but their present whereabouts is unknown.
H. K. Brugsch, Reise der K. preussischen Gesandtschaft nach Persien 1860 und 1861, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1862-63.
J. Dieulafoy, La Perse, la Chaldée et la Susiane, Paris, 1887.
A. de Gobineau, Trois ans en Asie (de 1855 à 1858), Paris, 1859.
J. E. Polak, Persien, das Land und seine Bewohner, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1862-63.
Moḥammad-ʿAlī Sayyāḥ Maḥallātī, Ḵāṭerāt-e Ḥājj Sayyāḥ yā dawra-ye ḵawf o waḥšat, Tehran, 1346 Š./1967.
B. Utas, “A 19th Century Inscription at Persepolis and the Swedish Physician C. G. Fagergren,” in Turcica et Orientalia: Studies in Honour of Gunnar Jarring on his Eightieth Birthday, Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, Transactions, 1, Stockholm, 1988, pp. 167-77.
ḭ. (H.) Vámbéry, Meine Wanderungen und Erlebnisse in Persien, Pest, 1867; tr. as Resa i Persien, Landskrona, Sweden, 1869.
Originally Published: December 15, 1999
Last Updated: January 20, 2012
This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 2, pp. 156-157