Emil Bretschneider (1833-1901）,Baltic German sinologist, correspondent member of Académie française. Graduated from the medical school of University of Dorpat in Dorpat Estonia, he was first posted as a physician by the Russian legation to Tehran. From 1866 to 1883 he was posted as physician by the Russian legation to Pekin.
In 1866 the publication of book titled "Cathay and the Way Thither" by orientalist Henry Yule stirred up Bretschneider's interest in sinolgy. However, he felt that the extensive material contained in Chinese books was under-utilized by western sinologists, because many of them did not read Chinese, and when they quoted Chinese material, they relied on second hand sources. Emil Bretschneider while in Pekin, befriended the Archimandrite Palladius Kafarov of the Russian Orthodox Church Mission to Pekin, a famous sinologist of his own right; Bretschneider also took advantage of the excellent library of the Russian Ecclestic Mission with extensive collection of Chinese books on history, geography and botany, he began his own first hand research into ancient Chinese literature, particular in botany and geography.
In 1870 he published his first article in sinology :"Fu Sang-- Who discovered America ?", followed by the publication in London of "On the Knowledge Possessed by the Chinese of the Arabs and Arabian Colonies Mentioned in Chinese Books".
1875 he published published article "Notes on Chinese medieval travellers to the West" in Shanghai. 1881 he published "Early European researches into the flora of China (American Presbyterian Mission Press, Shanghai), a topic often ignored by contemporary sinologists due to lack of training in botany. Bretschneider was a pioneer in this field.
In 1888 he published Mediaeval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources, Trubner Oriental Series, London; this book included his English translation of three important Chinese literature about history and geography of central Asia, namely Travel to The West by Yelü Chucai, Genghis Khan's chief adviser; Travels to the West by Taoist monk Kiu Chang Chun and The Peregrinations of Ye-Lu Hi-Liang (the grandson of Yelu Chucai), translated from The Annual of Yuan dynasty.
He was a correspondent member of Académie française.