|The Journal Books series contains recorded minutes of the ordinary, special and anniversary meetings of the Society. The nature of the information recorded varies somewhat over time but typically set out the following: person in the chair; notice of proposed Fellows, elections to the Fellowship and Council; non-Fellows given leave to be present; books and rarities presented to the Society; committees formed; information reported or desired by Fellows and their contacts; experiments and investigations carried out or designated to be carried out by Fellows. By the 18th century far fewer experiments and demonstrations were carried out at meetings themselves. Letters and papers read before the Society are given in abstract sometimes with summary of the subsequent discussion. By the 19th century much of this earlier detail is lost, so that, for example, only titles of papers are recorded.
Minutes do not include a register of Fellows present at meetings, nor is such a register to be found in any surviving records of the Society.
|The series begins with the very first meeting of the newly formed Society, held in Gresham College on 28 November 1660 following a lecture by Christopher Wren. A copy of the Journal Book Original was made retrospectively in the early eighteenth century, and then regularly to the early nineteenth century for the purposes of greater security, see ref no JBC.
In 1988 at the Special General Meeting of 17 November 1988 the Council approved a proposal, expressed in detail in an Appendix , to formally amend Statute 60, to separate the business meetings of the Society from the scientific lectures and meetings. The scientific discussions and lectures open to Fellows alone had been replaced with a programme of lectures and meetings open to all, with ordinary meetings of Fellows having become brief formal meetings for Statutory business. Decisions on the venues and dates of lectures , which broke the tradition that lectures be tied to Ordinary meetings, had been made by Council on 16 June 1988, minute 22.