Reference numberEL
Title'Early letters': letters from correspondents in natural philosophy sent to the Royal Society and its Fellows
CreatorThe Royal Society
DescriptionIncoming letters to the Royal Society via its secretaries, officers and Fellows, on natural philosophy topics.

Generally from the period 1660-1740, but with smaller collections of earlier material; one letter from Galileo dated 1613, two letters dated in the 1630s, one dated 1642, ten items dated to the 1650s (correspondence between Robert Boyle, Henry Oldenburg and John Beale). Some material is not dated.

These papers form the raw material from which the Royal Society's Letter Books and Register Books were compiled and many were published in the 'Philosophical Transactions' of the Royal Society.

The series also contains English translations of foreign language letters, for example from the Dutch of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek.

Other document formats, including printed material, have been preserved within this sequence.
Extent38 volumes containing 4,390 items
Physical descriptionBound volumes in slip cases
ArrangementVolumes are arranged alphabetically by author, and chronologically within author letter groups, with a single supplementary volume of letters essentially to Robert Boyle from Henry Oldenburg and John Beale. This order was published in 1840 by Shuckard, who numbered each letter sequentially in his catalogue. The numbering system used here is the item number assigned to individual letters within each volume and not Shuckard's system. A few letters were added after 1840.
Digital imagesView item on Science in the Making
Finding aidsAlphabetical list of correspondents published in W E Shuckard, 'Catalogues of the miscellaneous manuscripts and of the manuscript letters in the possession of the Royal Society' (London: Royal Society, 1840), with dates.
Access statusOpen
Access conditionsNo photocopying
Related materialRoyal Society Letter Books, Register Books and Classified Papers
CopiesLetters have been microfilmed by University Publications of America (UPA)
URL descriptionAlso available on Early Modern Letters Online

'Early letters': letters from correspondents in natural philosophy sent to the Royal Society and its Fellows

Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView