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Elek Fényes born 210 years ago

7th July 2017

 

210 years ago to the day was born Elek Fényes, an economic and statistical and a geographical writer, the head of the National Statistical Office (1848), considered as the predecessor of HCSO. He pursued his secondary studies in Debrecen, later he studied philosophy and earned a degree in law. At the age of 23 he stopped working as a lawyer since he considered it a more important task of his to explore and present the state of the country. In the 1830s he travelled around Hungary and issued his observations in a six-volume work. During his career he published more than ten monographs, some of which have several volumes, and with this he is considered as one of the most productive, best known and most popular authors of descriptive statistics in Hungary. In addition to his works on circumstances in Hungary, he also wrote about other countries such as Austria and the Turkish Empire as well as on the Crimean War. He was the most acknowledged statistician and had the highest influence in public life in the period preceding the revolution of 1848. In the spring of 1848, Minister of Interior Bertalan Szemere appointed him to organise and head the statistical office. Following the defeat of Hungary in the war of independence, he went into hiding. In 1837 he was elected a corresponding and in 1858 an ordinary member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He died in Újpest in 1876. His memory is treasured, too, in the name of a street in Buda.  
Lithograph of Elek Fényes, by Miklós Barabás (1846)
   
   

Bust of Elek Fényes in his native village, Csokaly, located in the territory of Romania today, in the garden of the former family country-house
 
Silver medallion issued by Allianz Insurance Company in 2005 about Fényes, who was the head of the life insurance section of the First Hungarian General Insurance Company in the 1850s

 

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