Sir John F. W.(John Frederick William) Herschel correspondence, 1793-1874

Mss.B.H435p

Date: 1793-1874 | Size: 40 items

Abstract

This collection concerns astronomical observations, earthquakes, meteorology, photography, physics, professional associations, publications, and scientific instruments. The correspondents include Augustus De Morgan, Dionysius Lardner, Sir Francis Beaufort, and Sir Edward Ryan.

Background note

Sir John Frederick William Herschel (1792-1871) was an astronomer and prominent member of several British scientific societies of his day.

J. F. W. Herschel was born at Slough, England, March 7, 1792. His father, Sir William Herschel, was a renowned astronomer. After studying at Dr. Gretton's School at Hitcham, and at Eton, J. F. W. Herschel was educated at home by a mathematician by the name of Rogers. Herschel graduated as Senior Wrangler from St. Johns College, Cambridge at the age of seventeen. He founded, along with George Peacock and Charles Babbage, the Analytical Society of Cambridge – an intellectual discussion group which encouraged its members to "do their best to leave the world wiser than they found it." In 1813 Herschel was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1814 he entered as a student at Lincoln's Inn to study law. He turned, however, to science. He reported in his journal on the 10 September, 1816 that he is "going under my father's direction to take up stargazing." Herschel distinguished himself in astronomy for the rest of his life.

Herschel co-founded the Royal Astronomical Society, and served two terms as president, starting in 1827. In 1829 he married Margaret Brodie. In 1831 he was knighted. Of particular scientific interest to Herschel were double stars and sun spots. He made numerous advances in the development of telescopes and microscopes, as well as the fields of magnetism and optics. He published one hundred fifty two papers and was a trustee of the British Museum.

J. F. W. Herschel died in 1871 and was buried in Westminster Abbey near the grave of Sir Isaac Newton.

Collection Information

Physical description

40 items.

40 items.

Provenance

Purchased from Amram and accessioned, 12/--/1956. See in-house shelf list for additional accession numbers and dates.

Related material

There is also correspondence (1836-1868, 19 items) with Sir Charles Lyell in the Lyell Papers in the American Philosophical Society Library (see PAAV87-A166).

Early American History Note

This manuscript collection falls outside the geographic scope of the Early American guide (British North America and the United States before 1840). It may be of interest to scholars interested in global history, international relations, imperialism, or the U.S. in the world.

Indexing Terms


Personal Name(s)

  • Beaufort, Francis, Sir, 1774-1857
  • De Morgan, Augustus,1806-1871.
  • Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871
  • Lardner, Dionysius, 1793-1859
  • Ryan, Edward, Sir, 1793-1875

Subject(s)

  • Astronomy.
  • Beyond Early America
  • Earthquakes.
  • Meteorology.
  • Photography -- Early works to 1850.
  • Physics.
  • Science -- Societies, etc.
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments.


Detailed Inventory

Papers
  
Herschel, [Sir] W[illia]m, 1738-1822..
Letter to Mr. Gerning, London;
Jan. 6, 17939-1/8x7-1/4

Slough, Eng., A.L.S. 1p.add.end. Info. about a book. Inform Prof. Schmidt that Newtonian telescope is ready.  Not Found: 3/14/2011

General physical description: 9-1/8x7-1/4

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Epitaph on...;
181712-3/4x7-3/4

Slough, Eng. A.M.S. 1p. Epitaph, in verse, to his sister?, with a sketch.

General physical description: 12-3/4x7-3/4

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to ---.
25 April, 18209x7 1/2

ALS. 4p. illus. with typescript. Explores polarizing of light in crystals and other polarizing experiments. 1. Newton, Sir Isaac, 1642-1727. 2. philosophical Society, Cambridge. 3.

General physical description: 9x7 1/2

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
Nov., 1821 

[received] Xerox of A.L.S. 2p.,end. Recommends Henslow for post at Trinity. NOT TO BE QUOTED OR COPIED.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to [Dinoysius Lardner];
Aug. 18, 182310x8

A.L.S. 3p.and add. Concerning his publications. Suggests Whewell for crystaleography and Fitton for geology. Plates of optical department to be uncolored.

General physical description: 10x8

Lardner, Dionysius, 1793-1859. Herschel, [Sir] J[ohn] F[rederick] W[illiam], 1792-1871..
Letter to Dionysius Lardner;
April 30, 18279x7-1/2

A.L.S. 3p. Praises Airy. Concerning works on calculus.

General physical description: 9x7-1/2

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Dionysius Lardner;
July 25, 18289x7-1/2

A.L.S. 3p. M,ght contribute an article on light. Is finishing an article for the encyclopaedia.

General physical description: 9x7-1/2

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to J[ames] Hudson, [Sec. of Royal Society], London;
June 27/28, 18317x4-1/2

Slough, Eng., A.L.S. 3p.add. Gives references for tables of Italian measures.

General physical description: 7x4-1/2

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to D. Robertson, Westminster;
February 15, 18339x7¼

A.L.S. 2p. add., end. Acknowledges that "the contingencies of a long residence in so distant a Part of the world may very well render it extremely inconvenient to retain my name on the tracts in question".

General physical description: 9x7¼

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to the Albany Institute, Albany, N.Y.;
Sept. 30, 1836 

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, A.L.S. 3p.and add.,end. Thanks for meteorological observations and suggests method for constants in making such observations. Hopes they will continue, and send them to him at the Royal Society next year.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Sir";
November 30, 18379x7½

A.L.S. 2p. Asks correspondent to expedite the shipping of the remaining portion of Smith's collection as "it is more desireable that in the ensuing spring months the Exhibition should be made as complete and attractive as possible."

General physical description: 9x7½

Other Descriptive Information: See: (Herschel papers.)

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to the Earl of Melbourne, London;
August 27, 18389-3/4x8

Newcastle on Tyne. A.L.S. 1p., add., enc. wanting. Sends copy of resolutions passed by the British Association. Will meet with him "for the purpose of affording every explanation of the reasons which have weighed with the Association in their adoption".

General physical description: 9-3/4x8

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to John Stewart, London;
14 Jan., [18]399 x 7 1/2

Slough, A.L.S. 4p. add. end. Makes arrangements to see Gassiot's battery exper., if schedule permits. Has Royal Soc. business. Would like to see Babbage. Family new. Mentions James Grahame.

General physical description: 9 x 7 1/2

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to Capt. [Sir Francis] Beaufort;
Aug. 1, 1839 

A.L.S. 3p.and add. Concerning observations, based on lacaille's law. Maclear's comments of assistants available.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to Tho[ma]s Thomson;
June 13, 18445¼x4¼

Collingwood, A.L. in 3rd 2p., add., enc. wanting. Takes the liberty to forward a few specimens of Tritonia Uvaria. Explains their care and flowering schedules. Mentions Steuart.

General physical description: 5¼x4¼

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to -;
April 16, 18465x4½

A.L.S. 1p., end. Fragment. Extends compliments to his correspondent's wife "in which my wife begs to join".

General physical description: 5x4½

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Sir";
December 30, 18477½x4½

Collingwood, A.L.S. 2p. Concerns Gerhardt's collecting of Leibniz correspondence. Mentions Encke.

General physical description: 7½x4½

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
April 18, 18506x4

Collingwood, A.L.S. 3p. Expresses thanks for an invitation to the British Association meeting at Edinburgh. Refers to Captain Jacobs; mentions heliometer.

General physical description: 6x4

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to J. Buckley, Exeter;
September 21, 18537x4½

A.L.S. 3p. and env. Herschel comments on a meteor described by Buckley.

General physical description: 7x4½

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir;"
Jan. 17, 18547x4-1/2

A.L.S. 3p. Letter on the death of "the Marshall" arrived too late so could not attend funeral.

General physical description: 7x4-1/2

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
July 24, 1859 

Collingwood, (?) A.L.S. 1P. Has no alterations to suggest for any of the plates.

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to [Sir Edward?] Ryan;
April 16, 1860 

Collingswood, A.L.S. 3p. Concerning Willy's appointment and the need for good administration in the position.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir Henry;"
Dec. 16, 18627x4-1/2

A.L.S. 4p. Concerning Herschel's translation. Enjoyed Sir Henry's book on physical geography of the sea [Gulf Stream], etc.

General physical description: 7x4-1/2

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
Jan. 1, 1863 

Collingwood, A.L.S. 3p. His views on earthquakes.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir";
May 31, 18657¼x4½

Kent, A.L.S. 3p. Concerns wave lengths.

General physical description: 7¼x4½

Other Descriptive Information: See: (Herschel papers.)

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
June 23, 18657x4-1/2

A.L.S. 4p. States that the article is not worthy of publication in its present form.

General physical description: 7x4-1/2

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Sir";
Nov. 3, 18667x4½

Collingwood, A.L.S. 2p. Asks whether he should ask Brayley to write a review of a book he received sometime ago. Mentions the London Institution and Alexander Stewart Herschel.

General physical description: 7x4½

Other Descriptive Information: See: (Herschel papers.)

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to A[ugustus] DeMorgan, London;
Oct. 6, 18703-1/2x4-3/4

Collingwood, A.L.S. on postal card. 1p. and add. Asks a series of riddles of his correspondent.

General physical description: 3-1/2x4-3/4

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
June 22, 18716-1/4x4

A.L.S. 3p. Vision. Concerning underwater use of cameras.

General physical description: 6-1/4x4

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Sir"
Oct. 23, 1874 

A.L.S. 2p.

Astronomical Notes
Undated 

A.D. 2p.

Herschel, John F. W., Sir (John Frederick William), 1792-1871.
Letter to ----;
Undated 

Monday, 18th. A.L.S. 3p. Concerning copper content in the ore.

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "My dear Sir";
Undated7x4½

A.L.S. 2p. Preparations for a forthcoming voyage prevented him from dining with the Royal Society Club.

General physical description: 7x4½

Other Descriptive Information: See: (Herschel papers.)

Herschel, John F. W. (John Frederick William), Sir, 1792-1871.
Letter to "Dear Sir".
Undated7¼x4½

A.L.S. 2p. Concerns Herschel's thoughts on salary matters.

General physical description: 7¼x4½