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History of Science and Medicine Primary Sources at Yale: Science and Medicine 1700-1900

A guide to Yale primary sources for research into the history of science and medicine.

Selected Primary Sources for Research on Science and Medicine 1700-1900

Advisory Note: Yale has important (often first) editions of nearly every major scientist operating in the eighteenth-nineteenth centuries. The works listed below are merely a starting point; researchers are strongly advised to look in Orbis or consult specialist librarians for further lists of holdings!

****For unlinked sources, please search Archives at Yale to locate the record.

Miscellaneous Sources

  • Murray (Joseph Bradley) Collection.  A collection of autograph letters, manuscripts, portraits, and clippings of and relating principally to European and American scientists of the 18th through the 20th centuries. The collector, Joseph Bradley Murray, was a businessman and member of the Class of 1910, Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University.
  • Bushnell (David) Papers. Miscellanious papers by and about Bushnell. Only two items are in his hand: a letter (1787) claiming land due him as a result of his service in the American Revolution, and a description of a model for a sailing torpedo [1824?]. Papers on his inventions include a letter by Ezra Lee (1815) with an account of Bushnell's submarine and Lee's operation of it in August, 1787 in New York harbor. Also three letters by Joel Abbot (1825) to Bushnell (then known as David Bush) on his attempts to promote Bushnell's naval warning device. Correspondence (1826-1827) between his executor and his heirs, Ezra and Nehemiah Bushnell of Saybrook, Connecticut, includes a final accounting of Bushnell's estate. In the later papers (1881-1956) are four letters to Anson Phelps Stokes with biographical information on Bushnell and publications on his submarine.
  • Wright (Arthur Williams) Papers. The papers consist of materials written and/or collected by Arthur Williams Wright, primarily his writings and notes on scientific topics, such as meteorite analysis.
  • Commonplace book concerning travel and science, 1756-1757.
  • Banks (Sir Joseph) Correspondence.  Autograph MS.Collection of autograph drafts of letters to various recipients, including a few letter to Banks from various correspondents, concerning scientific matters, the Royal Society, etc.; includes portrait engraving.
  • Dana Family Papers. The papers consist of correspondence, writings, printed material, lectures, notebooks, and miscellanea documenting the personal lives and professional careers of members of the Dana family. James Dwight Dana, a prominent American scientist, and his son, Edward Salisbury Dana are two primary figures in the papers.
  • DeLuc (Jean André) Papers.  Correspondence, lecture notes, and scientific writings of DeLuc and of his nephew, Jean Andreé DeLuc (1763-1847), relating to his experiments in electricity, to lectures given in Geneva by the younger DeLuc, and to outstanding scientists of the period. Also notebooks of several geological expeditions in England, Wales, Belgium, Holland, Westphalia, and the Jura mountains (1778-1806). Correspondents of the elder DeLuc include Sir Joseph Banks, Varenne de Boest, Queen Charlotte and other members of the English royal household, William Hales, Abbé, Haüy, Sir William Herschel, James Hutton, Joseph Lalande, de la Métherie, Georges Louis Le Sage, Pilâtre de Rozier, and James Watt.
  • Yale Course Lectures Collection. The collection consist of notes on course lectures taken by Yale students from ca. 1720-1986.
  • Medical Manuscripts Collection.  This artificial collection is composed of correspondence, journals, account books, manuscripts, scrapbooks, and printed material relating to the study and practice of medicine, primarily in Connecticut and New York, primarily in the nineteenth century.

Physical Sciences


Andre-Marie Ampere

Charles-Augustin de Coulomb

John Dalton

Leonhard Euler

Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit

Michael Faraday

Antoine Lavoisier

Joseph Louis Lagrange

Pierre Simon Laplace

James Clerk Maxwell

Joseph Priestley

Alessandro Volta

James Watt

Life Sciences

Alexander von Humboldt

Charles Darwin

  • For private distribution : The following pages contain extracts from letters addressed to Professor Henslow by C. Darwin, Esq. They are printed for distribution among the members of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, in consequence of the interest which has been excited by some of the geological notices which they contain, and which were read at a meeting of the Society on the 16th of November 1835. .. [Cambridge : Dec. 1,, 1835].
  • The zoology of the voyage of H. M. S. Beagle : under the command of Captain Fitzroy, during the years 1832 to 1836. Pub. with the approval of the lords commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury. Ed. and superintended by Charles Darwin ... London, Smith, Elder, 1838-42 [v. 2, 1839]
  • Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by H. M. S. Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, R. N., from 1832 to 1836. London, H. Colburn, 1839.
  • Letters : Down, Kent, 1844-1877. Letter to Denny removed from John Fulton’s copy of On the origin of species, New York, 1860. Letter to Owen is the gift of John Fulton, 1954. Letters of Charles Darwin to [Henry Denny], [20 July 1844], sending him packets of lice; to Richard Owen, [ca. 1848] asking to meet with him to obtain his opinion on "a few zoological points"; and to [C.H. Blackley?], 9 March 1877, thanking him for his essay and admiring his calculation of the weight of pollen grains.
  • Geological observations on the volcanic islands, visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, together with some brief notices on the geology of Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Being the second part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836. London, Smith, Elder, 1844.
  • Geological observations on South America : being the third part of the geology of the voyage of the Beagle, under the command of Capt. Fitzroy, R.N. during the years 1832 to 1836 / by Charles Darwin... London : Smith, Elder & co., 1846.
  • On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or The preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin ... London, J. Murray, 1859.
  • The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex. By Charles Darwin ... London, J. Murray, 1871.
  • The expression of the emotions in man and animals / by Charles Darwin. London : J. Murray, 1872.
  • The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin, assisted by Francis Darwin ... New York, D. Appleton and Company, 1881.

Karl Ernst von Baer

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach

  • Io. Frid. Blumenbachii ... De generis humani varietate nativa liber ... Goettingae, apud viduam Abr. Vandenhoeck, 1776.
  • Elements of physiology; by Jo. Fred. Blumenbach, M. D. ... Translated from the original Latin, and interspersed with occasional notes. By Charles Caldwell. To which is subjoined, by the translator, an appendix, exhibiting a brief and compendious view of the existing discoveries relative to the subject of animal electricity. ... Philadelphia, Printed by Thomas Dobson, at the Stone-House, no. 41, South Second-Street, 1795.
  • Institutiones physiologicae. Gottingae, Joann. Christian Dieterich, 1798.
  • A manual of the elements of natural history. By I. F. Blumenbach ... Tr. from the 10th German ed., by R. T. Gore. London, Printed for W. Simpkin & R. Marshall, 1825.
  • A manual of comparative anatomy / translated from the German of J.F. Blumenbach, with additional notes, by William Lawrence. London : Printed for W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1827.

Georges Cuvier

Carl Linnaeus

  • Note: Yale has literally hundreds of treatises by Linnaeus. The following are just some of the most important:
  • Caroli Linnæi ... : Systema naturæ, sive Regna tria naturæ systematice proposita per classes, ordines, genera, & species ... Lugduni Batavorum : apud T. Haak, 1735.
  • Caroli Linnæi ... Genera plantarum eorumque characteres naturales secundum numerum, figuram, situm, & proportionem omnium fructificationis partium. Lugduni Batavorum, apud C. Wishoff, 1737.
  • Caroli Linnaei ... Oratio de telluris habitabilis incremento. Et Andreae Celsii ... Oratio de mutationibus generalioribus quae in superficie corporum coelestium contingunt. Lugduni Batavorum, apud Cornelium Haak, 1744.
  • Caroli Linnaei ... Flora Svecica : exhibens plantas per regnum Sveciæ crescentes, systematice cum differentiis specierum, synonymis autorum, nominibus incolarum, solo locorum, usu pharmacopæorum. Stockholmiæ : Sumtu & literis L. Salvii, 1745.
  • Materia medica, Liber I. de plantis. Secundum genera, loca, nomina, qualitates, vires, differentias, durationes, simplicia, modos, usus, synonyma, culturas, praeparata, potentias, composita, digestus. Homiae, Typis ac Sumtibus L. Salvii, 1749.
  • Oeconomia naturae, eller, Skaparens allvisa inrättning på vår jord, i agttagen vid de skapade tingens betraktande i de tre naturens riken, till deras fortplantning, vid magthållande och undergång [electronic resource] : med medicinska facultetens bifall / under Carl Linnaei praesidio utgifven uti ett academiskt snille-prof på Latin vid Kongl. academien i Upsala år 1749 d. 4 martii ; och nu med någon tillökning på Svenska öfversatt af Isac J. Biberg. [Sweden] : Säljes i Kiesevetters boklådor, 1750.
  • Caroli Linnaei ... Philosophia botanica, in qua explicantur fundamenta botanica cum definitionibus partium, exemplis terminorum, observationibus rariorum, adjectis figuris aeneis. Stockholmiæ, apud Godofr. Kiesewetter, 1751.
  • An introduction to botany [electronic resource]. Containing an explanation of the theory of that science, and an interpretation of its technical terms. Extracted from the works of Dr. Linnæus, ... With twelve copper plates, and two explanatory tables. To which is added an appendix; containing upwards of two thousand English names of plants, ... By James Lee, ... London : printed for J. and R. Tonson, 1760.
  • Museum S:ae R:ae M:tis Ludovicæ Ulricæ reginæ Svecorum ... in quo animalia rariora, exotica, imprimis insecta & conchilia describuntur & determinantur; prodromi instar editum, a Carolo v. Linne ... Holmiæ, literis & impensis Direct. L. Salvii, 1764.

Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

  • Flore françoise, ou, Description succincte de toutes les plantes qui croissent naturellement en France ... / par M. le Chevalier de Lamarck. A Paris : de l’imprimerie royale, 1778.
  • Mollusques testacés. Par le cit. Lamarck. Paris, Chez Henri Agasse, 1791-1816.
  • Recherches sur les causes des principaux faits physiques, et particulièrement sur celles de la combustion, de l’élévation de l’eau dans l’état de vapeurs ... de l’origine des composés et de tous les minéraux; enfin de l’entretien de la vie des êtres organiques, de leur accroissement, de leur état de vigueur, de leur dépérissement et de leur mort. Avec une planche. Par J.B. Lamarck . Paris, Maradan, seconde année de la république [1794]
  • Réfutation de la théorie pneumatique : ou de la nouvelle doctrine des chimistes modernes ; présentée, article par article, dans une suite des réponses aux principes rassemblés et publiés par le citoyen Fourcroy, dans sa Philosophie Chimique ; précédée d’un supplément complémentaire de la théorie exposée dans l’ouvrage intitulé: Recherches sur les causes des principaux faits physiques, auquel celui-ci fait suite et devient nécessaire / par J. B. Lamarck. Paris : Chez L’auteur, Agasse, AN 4 [i.e. 1796].
  • Système des animaux sans vertèbres; ou, tableau général des classes, des ordres, et des genres de ces animaux ... précd́eé du discours d’ouverture du cours de zoologie, donné dans le Muséum national d’histoire naturelle l’an 8 de la République. Par J.B. Lamarck ... Paris, Chez Deterville, 1801.
  • Hydrogéologie, ou, Recherches sur l’influence qu’ont les eaux sur la surface du globe terrestre ... / par J.B. Lamarck. Paris : Chez l’auteur : Agasse : Maillard, an X, [1802]
  • Philosophie zoologique, ou, Exposition des considérations relatives à l’histoire naturelle des animaux ... Paris, 1809.

Louis Pasteur


Joseph Lister

Ernst Haeckel

  • Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) : eine Monographie / von Ernst Haeckel. Berlin : G. Reimer, 1862-1888.
  • Generelle Morphologie der Organismen : allgemeine Grundzüge der organischen Formen-Wissenschaft, mechanisch begründet durch die von Charles Darwin reformirte Descendenz-Theorie / von Ernst Haeckel. Berlin : G. Reimer, 1866.
  • Biologische Studien / von Ernst Haeckel. Jena : H. Dufft, 1870-
  • Natürliche schöpfungsgeschichte. Gemeinverständliche wissenschaftliche vorträge über die entwickelungslehre im allgemeinen und diejenige von Darwin, Goethe und Lamarck im besonderen, über die anwendung derselben auf den ursprung des menschen und andere damit zusammenhängende grundfragen der naturwissenschaft. Von dr. Ernst Haeckel ... Berlin : G. Reimer, 1866.

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