The study focuses on the first position held by pharmacologist Hans Horst Meyer (1853–1939) 1 as a professor of pharmacology, dietetics, and the history of medicine at the University of Dorpat (today, Tartu University, Estonia) from 1882 to 1884. Meyer is known as the founder of pharmacology as an independent academic discipline in Vienna (Austria). 2 He competed with the well-known physiologist Gustav Piers Alexander von Bunge (1844–1920) for the position of the chairman of the department in 1881. Meyer was given the position of a professor in Dorpat instead of Gustav von Bunge (1844–1929). The outcome of the competition raises several research questions: why Meyer was allocated the chair in 1881; which arguments spoke in favour of Meyer and what was against him, what spoke against von Bunge; which historical events influenced university life in Dorpat; under which political and ideological currents the decision for the new professor was made. Events such as the Russification of the university and the assassination of Alexander II (1818–1881) significantly impacted teaching at the University of Dorpat from 1875 to 1885. During that period, both professors formed the basis of their outstanding academic careers. The arti- cle provides biographical analysis of Hans Horst Meyer based on Meyer’s files from the University’s of Tartu archive. Since Meyer competed with Gustav von Bunge for his first position as a chairholder, the biography of Gustav von Bunge has also been studied, contextualising it with the significant changes in the organisation of the University of Dorpat. Individual academic achievements of both scholars have been identified and listed using such platforms as Web of Science, Neurotree, the pharmacological journal “Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology”, The Online Books Page, and WorldCat. Afterward, the conclusions about the individual scientific portfolios of the two applicants for the chair- man of the department have been made. Finally, contributing factor to why Hans Horst Meyer was successful with his application has been identified.

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