The Boyle Archive
At his death, Boyle left a huge archive, which, after various vicissitudes, was presented to the Royal Society in 1769. It was sorted and arranged in its present form in the 19th century. Comprising his letters, notes, drafts, memoranda and records of experiments, it covers the entire range of his intellectual activities, including science, medicine, philosophy and theology; it also documents various aspects of his life. Among the records that it contains are his workdiaries, the notebooks in which he recorded his observations and experiments, and information he was given by others: for a revised version of this, see www.livesandletters.ac.uk . Also included are translations of Boyle's writings into Latin; copies of treatises that interested him on alchemy, travel, medicine and related topics; and more miscellaneous items, at least some of which may have reached the archive through those responsible for it after his death.
A catalogue of the archive 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 hard copy form, 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, 'Introduction' to Letters and Papers , revised as 'The Boyle archive' in Hunter et al., The Boyle Papers; see Bibliography).
In total, the archive comprises 74 volumes, which may be divided into three categories: letters, papers and miscellaneous manuscripts. The Boyle Letters comprise 7 guardbooks of letters; the Boyle Papers comprise 46 volumes of papers of folio or quarto format; and the miscellaneous manuscripts comprise 21 notebooks and other smaller bound volumes which at an early date were absorbed into the sequence of general manuscripts at the Royal Society. For details of the Boyle letters and miscellaneous manuscripts, see the catalogue of the Boyle archive as a whole on the website of the Royal Society, www.royalsociety.org/library.
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The Boyle Papers
The Boyle Papers are very roughly sorted by subject, 'Theology' (vols. 1-7, 11-15), 'Philosophy' (vols. 8-10, 16), 'Physiology' (vols. 17-19), 'Science' (vols. 20-34) and 'Miscellaneous' (vols. 35-46). This arrangement dates from the Victorian period, when the Papers were bound in their current form, and each volume has a 19th -century contents page with a title which is noted in its general description. However, the content is far more miscellaneous than the lists on these pages imply. The Boyle Papers were rebound in 1990.
Much manuscript material from the archive has been published, sometimes in Boyle's own time and sometimes since. Other items bear a significant relationship to published texts (or to other manuscript texts elsewhere in the archive). All these linkages are dealt with under the heading 'Related Material' in the catalogue entries. The bulk of them refer to the complete new edition of his Works published in 1999-2000, complemented by an edition of his Correspondence in 2001. There, this material is often analysed in full: see further below.
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Anstey, Peter R., The Philosophy of Robert Boyle (London, 2000).
Frank, Robert G., Harvey and the Oxford Physiologists: a Study of Scientific Ideas and Social Interaction (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1980).
Hartlib, Samuel, The Hartlib Papers , published on CDROM by HROnline, Humanities Research Institute, University of Sheffield (2 nd edition, Sheffield, 2002).
Harwood, John T. (ed.), The Early Essays and Ethics of Robert Boyle (Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1991).
Hunter, Michael, Letters and Papers of Robert Boyle: A Guide to the Manuscripts and Microfilm (Bethesda, Md., 1992).
. The Royal Society and its Fellows, 1660-1700: The Morphology of an Early Scientific Institution (2nd edn, Oxford, 1994).
. Robert Boyle (1627-91): Scrupulosity and Science (Woodbridge, 2000).
. (ed.) Robert Boyle by Himself and his Friends (London, 1994).
. (ed.) Archives of the Scientific Revolution: The Formation and Exchange of Ideas in Seventeenth-Century Europe (Woodbridge, 1998).
Hunter, Michael, with contributions by Edward B. Davis, Harriet Knight, Charles Littleton and Lawrence M. Principe, The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle (Aldershot, 2007).
Hunter, Michael, Clericuzio, Antonio, and Principe, Lawrence M., The Correspondence of Robert Boyle (6 vols., London, 2001).
Hunter, Michael, and Davis, Edward B. (eds.), The Works of Robert Boyle (14 vols, London, 1999-2000).
Hunter, Michael, Knight, Harriet, and Littleton, Charles, 'Robert Boyle's "Paralipomena": an Analysis and Reconstruction', in 'Hunter, Michael, with contributions by Edward B. Davis, Harriet Knight, Charles Littleton and Lawrence M. Principe, The Boyle Papers: Understanding the Manuscripts of Robert Boyle (Aldershot, 2007).
Hunter, Michael, and Littleton, Charles, 'The Work-diaries of Robert Boyle: a Newly Discovered Source and its Internet Publication', Notes and Records of the Royal Society , 55 (2001), 373-90.
Hunter, Michael, and Principe, Lawrence M., 'The Lost Papers of Robert Boyle', Annals of Science, 60 (2003), 269-311
Knight, Harriet, 'Organising Natural Knowledge in the Seventeenth Century: The Works of Robert Boyle', unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of London, 2003.
MacIntosh, J.J., Boyle on Atheism (Toronto, 2005)
Maddison, R. E. W., The Life of the Hon. Robert Boyle (London, 1969).
Newman, William R., Gehennical Fire: The Lives of George Starkey, an American Alchemist in the Scientific Revolution (Cambridge, MA, 1995).
Newman, William R., and Principe, Lawrence M., Alchemy Tried in the Fire: Starkey, Boyle and the Fate of Helmontian Chymistry (Chicago, 2002)
Principe, Lawrence M., 'Robert Boyle's Alchemical Secrecy: Codes, Ciphers and Concealments', Ambix , 39 (1992), 63-74.
. 'Newly Discovered Boyle Documents in the Royal Society Archive: Alchemical Tracts and his Student Notebook', Notes and Records of the Royal Society , 49 (1995), 57-70.
. 'Virtuous Romance and Romantic Virtuoso: the Shaping of Robert Boyle's Literary Style', Journal of the History of Ideas , 56 (1995), 377-97.
. The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and his Alchemical Quest (Princeton, 1998).
Sargent, Rose-Mary, The Diffident Naturalist: Robert Boyle and the Philosophy of Experiment (Chicago, 1995).
Webster, Charles, The Great Instauration: Science, Medicine and Reform, 1626-60 (London, 1975; reissue with new introduction, Bern, 2002).
Young, John T., Faith, Alchemy and Natural Philosophy: Johann Moriaen, Reformed Intelligencer, and the Hartlib Circle (Aldershot, 1998).
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