Reference numberRB
TitleThe Robert Boyle Collection
Date17th century
DescriptionThe Boyle Collection comprises seventy four volumes, divided into three categories; (1) the Boyle Papers, (2) notebooks and 31 Miscellaneous Manuscripts and (3) the Boyle Letters.

These papers were produced by Robert Boyle in the course of his career. Comprising his letters, notes, drafts, memoranda and records of experiments, the collection covers the entire range of his intellectual activities, including science, medicine, philosophy and theology; it also documents various aspects of his lilfe.
Extent74 volumes
ArrangementThe collection was sorted and arranged in its present form in the nineteenth century (1850).
Boyle's Papers (RB/1) and Boyle Letters (RB/3) are in bound volumes attributed orignally to Boyle.
However, there are other volumes attributed to Boyle, which were not included in the collection until incorparated by Michael Hunter in his project to catalogue them. These are listed as RB/2.
Finding aidsBoyle Papers and Boyle Letters have contents list in each volume. The collection was sorted and arranged in its present form in the nineteenth century. A catalogue was first published in 1992 in conjunction with a microfilm edition of the bulk of its content, and the current catalogue represents a revised and updated version of that. The 1992 catalogue appeared in a printed version accompanied by a lengthy essay detailing the history of the archive and exploring the significance of handwriting evidence for dating material within it, to which reference may be made (Hunter, in 'Introduction' to 'Letters and Papers', revised as 'The Boyle Archive' in Hunter and others, in 'The Boyle Papers').
A printed catalogue of the revised catalogue by Professor Michael Hunter was pulished by Ashgate in 2007 entitled 'The Boyle Papers; understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle'.
Michael Hunter and Edward B. Davis (ed) 'Works of Robert Boyle' (1999-2000),
Michael Hunter, Antonio Clericuzio, Lawrence M. Principe (eds) ' The Correspondence of Robert Boyle' (2001).
J J Macintosh 'Boyle on Atheism' , Toronto, 2005 which published much material from the archive for the first time. References take the form of 2.1.54, denoting chapter 2, section 1, passage 54.
Access statusOpen
Related materialBritish Library, Additional Manuscript 4229. A volume of letters and papers relating to the life and works of the Hon. Robert Boyle (d. 1691) and especially to the edition of his Works of 1744. Donated to the British Musuem by Thomas Birch, includes part of the work diary sequence of manuscipts largely contained within Royal Society series RB/1.
The Hartlib Papers at the University of Sheffield. These are available in electronic form, 'The Hartlib Papers' published on CD-ROM by HROnline, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield (2nd edition, Sheffield, 2002 includes transcripts of various items in the Boyle archive, especially in BL 6 and 7, which have been noted as appropriate).
CopiesDigital copies exist for RB/2/24 (previous number MS/193) and RB/2/25 (previous number MS/194 )
The 'workdiary' sections of RB/1 are available online as images and downloadable transcripts from The work diaries are sections from within multiple volumes, they do not represent complete digital copies that correspond to the physical volumes which also contain other mateiral interpspersed with the work diary manusrcipts.
Selected complete volumes of RB/1 have been digitised. Images of volume numbers 2, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 25, 26, 28, 36 and 38 are avilable through Birkbeck, University of London's Robert Boyle Project:
URL descriptionRB/1/8. Digital copy on the Royal Society website (Turning the Pages)
'The Work Diaries of Robert Boyle', Centre for Editing Lives and Letters
'The Boyle Project', Michael Hunter and Birkbeck University of London

The Robert Boyle Collection

DocumentNotes on Boyle Papers Catalogue.doc
Abbreviations for Boyle Catalogue.doc
Fellows associated with this archive
NA8137Boyle; Robert (1627 - 1691); natural philosopher and chemist1627 - 1691
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