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History of science, technology & medicine

Locating scientists' archives

Note: Published works by scientists, and printed editions of correspondence, are most easily found by searching the Main Catalog for the scientist as an author. This list focuses on unpublished papers and archival material.

To locate the archives of 20th-century British scientists, consult the online guide of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists or the Access to Archives online catalog. The NCUACS catalogs supercede the microfiche edition of Catalogues of archives of scientists (Microfiche 928) listed below:

Archives of British men of science [microform]: a survey of private and institutional holdings of British scientific archives
Microfiche 167 59 microfiches
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z7405.P7xM3
Catalog of archives of 19th-century British scientists.

Catalogues of archives of scientists
Microfiche 928
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6611.S4C37
Catalogues of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, which collected information about the archives of 20th-century British scientists.

Before 1800

Letters and papers of Robert Boyle: from the Archives of the Royal Society
Microfilm 07182 16 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms QD22.B76 A3
Robert Boyle, 17th-century natural philosopher, was a founder of the Royal Society. See Consists of letters (to and from Boyle), manuscripts and notebooks.

Renaissance man [microform]: the reconstructed libraries of European scholars, 1450-1700. Series one, The books and manuscripts of John Dee, 1527-1608
Microfilm 08218
168 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z997.D298 B66
On John Dee, Renaissance astrologer and antiquary, see The collection reconstructs his library, which included books and manuscripts on many topics, but is especially rich in material on science and magic. See the online guide at

Hartlib papers [electronic resource]
Computer File 398 (kept in Firestone Microforms)
Printed guide: none
Papers and correspondence of Samuel Hartlib, a 17th-century scholar with very broad interests. See

Newton, Isaac, Sir, 1642-1727. Sir Isaac Newton : manuscripts and papers
Available through interlibrary loan from the Center for Research Libraries. See Borrowing Microforms from the Center for Research Libraries for more information.
This set includes the complete collections from Cambridge University Library, King's College Library, Cambridge and the Jewish National and University Library with other important holdings from Great Britain, Europe and the United States. A printed guide is also available from CRL.

History of science and technology. Series one, The papers of Sir Hans Sloane, 1660-1753 [microform]: from the British Library
Microfilm 11826
179 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms R489.S63 S562
See the online guide at

Correspondence, 17th-18th cent . [Sloane, Hans, Sir, 1660-1753]
RECAP 0412.864
16 reels
Printed guide: none
British Museum manuscripts, 4036-69; "Original correspondence, chronologically arranged." Cf. Edward J. L. Scott, Index to the Sloane manuscripts, London, 1904, p. 498. On Sloane, a physician and collector of books and manuscripts, see

History of science and technology. Series two, The papers of Sir Joseph Banks, 1743-1820 [microform]
Microfilm 10604 65 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms QH31.B19 A23
Banks was an 18th-century naturalist who became a scientific advisor to the British government. See Consists of letters and papers relating to voyages of discovery, 1740-1853. See the online guides at

After 1800

History of science and technology. Series three, The papers of Charles Babbage, 1791-1871 [microform]
Microfilm 11954 22 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms QA3.B2 H57 1997
Correspondence and scientific manuscripts from the British Library, London. See the online guide at On Babbage, a mathematician who designed what is generally regarded as the first computer, see

Charles Edwin Bessey papers [microform]
Microfilm 05452 37 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6611.B7G84
This collection comprises the papers of Charles Edwin Bessey, botanist, 1865-1915, which are held at the University of Nebraska Archives. See

Professional correspondence of Franz Boas [microform]
Microfilm 05495 44 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms GN21.B56G84
Consists of the letters of Franz Boas, American anthropologist. Includes over 50,000 items, dating from 1881 through 1942. See

Dana family papers [microform]
Microfilm 05478 9 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6616.D36 B76
Consists of the papers of geologist James D. Dana (1813-1895) and Edward S. Dana (1849-1935). See

Thomas A. Edison papers [microform]: a selective microfilm edition
RECAP Microfilm 09675 227 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6616.E3G84
Papers of Thomas Edison, inventor and entrepreneur. See

[Letters and papers] [Microform] [Joseph Henry]
RECAP 8204.453 7 reels
Printed guide: none
Originals in the Gray Herbarium, Harvard University, Columbia University Library, Yale University Library, and the American Philosophical Society. Henry was a physicist and the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. See and also the published Papers of Joseph Henry [Q143.H6 xA2 1972]

Letters and papers of Sir John Herschel [microform]: from the archives of the Royal Society
Microfilm 08163 28 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms QB36 .H477
Herschel (1792–1871) was a mathematician and astronomer. See

Natural knowledge in social context [microform]: the journals of Thomas Archer Hirst FRS
Microfiche 858 80 microfiches
Printed guide: none
Index: fiches 3-4
Hirst was a 19th-century mathematician. See

Narcotic Addiction and Mental Health: The Clinical Papers of Lawrence Kolb Sr. Archives Unbound "Dr. Lawrence Kolb was a pioneer in the medical approach to narcotics addiction treatment and in public health research and treatment of mental illness. He was one of the first to advocate treating drug addicts as patients, not criminals. The collection deals chiefly with the subjects of drug addiction, alcoholism, juvenile delinquency, and mental health."

Medical casebooks of Dr. Norman Moore [microform]
Microfilm 05575 4 reels
Printed guide: none
Moore was physician and scholar. See

John Muir papers, 1858-1957 [microform]
Microfilm 01783 51 reels plus 53 fiches
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms Z6616.M84G84
Consists of the papers of John Muir, the noted American naturalist and founder of the environmental movement. See

Material published by Dr. Wilhelm Reich [microform]
RECAP Microfilm 05463 7 reels
Printed guide: none
Microfilm of materials loaned by Eva Reich to R.J. Wolf of the Harvard University Medical School for reproduction; consists chiefly of Reich's publications, plus other materials relating to him.

Sorby diaries, 1859-1908, vols. 1-11 [microform]
Microfilm 05617 2 reels
Printed guide: none
Diaries of Henry Sorby, geologist. See

Industrial revolution--a documentary history. Boulton and Watt Archive and the Matthew Boulton papers from the Birmingham Central Library [microform]
RECAP Microfilm 10298 197 reels
Printed guide: Firestone Microforms HC254.5 .B684
A very large collection based on the archives of Matthew Boulton ( and James Watt (, seminal figures in the industrial revolution in England. The collection includes scientific papers, notebooks, and engineering drawings; business records; and correspondence, journals and diaries. See the online guides at

Development of environmental health policy: Pope A. Lawrence Papers 1924-1983 Archives Unbound
"The collection documents the varied research and policymaking career of Pope A. Lawrence, an environmental health specialist with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the Public Health Service. His papers contain a wealth of primary source research materials and scientific data related to: environmental and industrial hygiene; radon activity; use of beryllium as a rocket propellant; uranium mining; and toxicological, biological and chemical weapon systems."