The Work-diaries of Robert Boyle:
Table of Contents

Hunter and Littleton reference Title; nature and content of MS; dates in manuscript; names of informants where appropriate Boyle Papers reference (Royal Society) Boyle's numeration in work-diary; [total number of entries] Approx. date of work-diary Hand(s) of MS
1645-9
I 'Diurnall Observations, Thoughts & Collections. Begun at Stalbridge April 25th 1647', aphorisms, etc. in English and French, largely from Gaultier de Costes's romance Cassandre BP 44, fols. 94-107 None [297 entries] 1647 early Boyle
II Aphorisms in French, largely from Bk 1 of Gaultier de Costes's romance Cassandre BP 44, fols. 108-13 None [70 entries] 1647 early Boyle
III Aphorisms in English, preceded by the heading 'L.D' BP 44, fols. 114-5 None [34 entries] 1647 early Boyle
IV 'A Diurnall Miscellaneous Collection, Begun March the 25th 1648/9', aphorisms in English, largely from Parthenissa, by Roger Boyle, Lord Broghill BP 8, fols. 118-22; BP 3, fol. 146r None [258 entries] 1649 early Boyle
V Miscellaneous excerpts and entries, largely consisting of further aphorisms and passages for philosophical and theological works; no dates supplied. BP 2, fol. 186; BP 3, fols. 90, 95; BP 36, fol. 86v None late 1640s early Boyle
1650-4
VI 'Memorialls Philosophicall Beginning this Newyears day 1649/50 & to End with the Year.'; medical recipes in English, mostly from Benjamin Worsley, with two from Gerard Boate BP 28, pp. 309-12 None [15 entries] 1650 early Boyle
VII Medical recipes in Latin from, among others, George Starkey (including a recipe relating to his ens veneris), Johann Morian and Gerard Boate. BP 25, pp. 341-2 None [11 entries] 1651 early Boyle
VIII 'Memorialls Philosophicall. Beginning this First day of the Yeare 1651/2', but later date in title header suggests it could have been continued in 1654; medical recipes from George Starkey, Gerard Boate, etc. BP 25, pp. 343-6 None [14 entries] 1652, (and 1654?) early Boyle
IX Medical and chymical recipes in English from, among others, Benjamin Worsley, Frederick Clodius, the Earl of Pembroke and Thomas Smart. BP 25, pp. 347-58 None [108 entries] 1654? early Boyle
X Medical recipes in Latin from, among others, Sir Kenelm Digby, Théodore Turquet de Mayerne, Lady Bedford, Caleb Stephens and 'Dr Shouart'. BP 25, pp. 359-62 None [25 entries] early 1650s early Boyle
XI Medical recipes, mostly in French, some with English commentary. Informants and sources not noted. BP 30, pp. 425-8 None [13 entries] early 1650s early Boyle
1655-9
XII 'A Philosophicall Diary, Begun the first of January 1654/5', recipes with marginal dates ranging from 'Jan 9' to 'Febr 9'. Informants include Frederick Clodius, George Starkey, Sir Kenelm Digby. BP 8, fols. 140-8 1-100 [104 entries] 1655 uncertain
XIII 'Promiscuous Observations begun the 24th of September 1655', recipes, with marginal dates ranging from 'September 24th' to 'December 6th'. Most are recipes from Sir Kenelm Digby. BP 25, pp. 153-6, 177-83 1-41 [43 entries] 1655 P, Boyle [1 entry]
XIV 'A Private Philosophical Diary Begun this First Day of January 1655/6', recipes in English, with marginal dates ranging from 'January 3' to 'February the 8th'. Informants and sources not noted. BP 25, pp. 157-60 1-16 [17 entries] 1656 P
XV 'Philosophicall Collections begun the 12th of September 1656', recipes in English, with dates ranging from 'September 12th:' to 'June 8th 57 Oxo:' Informants and sources not noted. BP 25, pp. 173-6, 165-72; BP 26, fols. 96-9 1-61 [64 entries] 1656-7 P, uncertain [1650s hand?]
XVI 'My Private Philosophicall Diary Begun this First of Jan. 1656/7', recipes in English, with marginal dates ranging from 'Jan. 1' to 'Jan 8th'. Informants and sources not noted. BP 25, pp. 161-4 1-15 [15 entries] 1657 P
XVII 'A Philosophicall Diary begun Sept. the 20th', recipes, with marginal dates ranging from 'Sep. 20th' to 'Oct 15'. Only informants noted are Joachim Polemann and Henrik Le Roy BP 26, fols. 1-2 1-4 [17 entries] late 1650s uncertain
XVIII Chymical recipes, mainly involving metals and their transmutation. Includes 'Cardans worke to Reduce the Rhenish gold into hungarian gold'. Informants and sources not noted, apart from Girolamo Cardano and 'John Burkart'. MS 193, fols. 1-10 1-13 [31 entries] late 1650s uncertain
1660-4
XIX 'Philosophicall Entrys & Memorialls of all sorts, Here confusedly throwne together to be transferr'd to the severall Treatises whereto they belong', various experiments and observations, with marginal dates including 'Sept. 20 1663' (p. 39), 'May 22. 64' (p. 39), 'Sept. 21. 64' (p. 41), 'July 15. 1665' (p. 44) BP 22, pp. 1-59 1-119 (1-99 later altered to 501-99) [128 entries] 1662-5 F, E, H
XX 'A Continuation of Physiologicall Entryes from the IXth of July', experiments and observations involving oil of vitriol, turpentine, a 'venereal gum', etc., with marginal dates from 'July 9th' to 'July 10th' BP 18, fols. 94-5 1-8 [8 entries] early 1660s E
1665-9
XXI 'Promiscuous Experiments, Observations & Notes', recipes, accounts of experiments and reports of phenomena from travellers and virtuosi, with marginal dates including 'October 2d 1661' (p. 19), 'June 1659' (p. 19), 'June 29th 1660' (23), '1670' (pp. 57, 69), 'May 8th 1668' (p. 155) BP 27, pp. 5-159 201-720 (numbering jumps from 424 to 501) [501 entries] late 1660s E, F, G, J, K, Q, R, Slare, others
XXII 'Promiscuous Addenda to my severall Treatises' (fols. 63-91) and 'A Continuation of (Printed) Addenda to my severall Treatises' (fols. 92-116), transcriptions of sections of books, mostly on geographical and natural phenomena. Dates mentioned within extracts include 1665 (fols. 82-4) and 1669 (fols. 94, 102v) BP 8, fols. 65-116 1-200 (numbering is out by 10 from entry 77) [218 entries] late 1660s/ early 1670s E, F, G, Q, R, slare, unidentified, others
XXIII 'A Continuation of C[hemical] Notes Sept. the 29th', chymical recipes, with additional notes and significant alterations by Boyle, with marginal dates including 'Feb the 9th' (p. 73), 'Febr. 21' (p. 92) BP 25, pp. 71-4, 87-94 None [80 entries] late 1660s E, R
XXIV 'Physiologicall Notes, Begun the 25th of January', accounts of phenomena related to Boyle by travellers and virtuosi One entry mentions plague of 1665 (p. 72) and marginal dates include 'Jan. 19' and 'Jan. 21' BP 22, pp. 61-73 None [9 entries] late 1660s H
XXV 'Loose Experiments, Observations & Notes about The Preservation of Bodyes', experiments involving the preservation of caterpillars, milk and cream BP 27, pp. 219-20 None [2 entries] late 1660s F
XXVI Accounts of cures performed by Valentine Greatrakes during his visit to England in 1666, some witnessed by Boyle himself and some recounted to him by those healed. Marginal dates range from the 6th to the 15th of April. British Library, Add MS 4293, fols. 50-3 None [12 entries] 1666 E, F
XXVII Chymical recipes and aphorisms from a disbounded notebook of the late 1660s BP 44, fols. 43-9 None [53 entries] late 1660s Boyle
1670-4
XXVIII `The last bundle <save one> of Physiological Memorandums', aphorisms and memoranda to be used in writing various (mainly unpublished) essays, referred to by abbreviated titles in the margin. Marginal dates include 'June 25' (fol. 150), '25 Oct.' (fol. 153), 'Jan 1 '74' (fol. 154), 'May 29' (fol. 161v) BP 17, fols. 148-63; BP 38, fol. 42 801-1000 [207 entries] early 1670s (c.1673-4) Slare, Warr, uncertain
XXIX Accounts of experiments and observations, including 'A long & manifold Hydrostatical Experiment', and experiments involving magnetism, luminosity, etc. First page starts in mid-entry, suggesting that the beginning of the work-diary is missing. Marginal dates include 'May 22' (p. 188), 'July 5th' (p. 195), 'Decem. 27' (p. 233), 'Jan 5th' (p. 233), 'Febr 7' (p. 235), '15 Novemb.' (p. 241) BP 27, pp. 179-96, 211-8, 221-53 214-300 (215-20 originally written 315-20; 281-94 originally written 1-14) [94 entries] early 1670s Slare, uncertain
XXX Miscellaneous work-diary entries from the early 1670s: reports from travellers and virtuosi, extracts from books, accounts of experiments, etc. BP 10, fol. 21; BP 26, fols. 137-8; None early 1670s Slare, E
1675-9
XXXI Chymical recipes, some using code, others making reference to preparations made by chymists such as Paracelsus and George Ripley. Marginal dates range from 'August the 2d 78' to 'Nov: the 22' BP 28. pp. 337-9 None [8 entries] 1678 C, B
XXXII 'Relationes Physicae continued', reports on phenomena from travelers and virtuosi, including an account of cold in Denmark. Informants include the 'overseer of the Duke of Orleans's famous Physic garden at Blois' BP 9, fols. 166-70 None [8 entries] late 1670s unidentified [Slare?]
1680-4
XXXIII Miscellaneous chymical recipes, medical observations, etc., many found in notebooks of the early 1680s. MS 194, fols 3-6, 25-14; MS 198, fols. 104v-5 None early 1680s Boyle, Bacon, Greg, Warr, uncertain
XXXIV 'Chimical Notes Continued from December', chymical recipes, many in code and with significant alterations in an unknown hand. Marginal dates include 'Jan. 15' (p. 54), 'Ap 16' (p. 59), 'May the 11' (p. 65), 'June 17' (p. 67), 'July the 5th' (p. 70). First few pages severely burned, possibly by acid BP 25, pp. 51-70 None [91 entries] early 1680s Slare, Warr, unidentified, Boyle
XXXV 'Chimical Memorandums continued from January 25', chymical recipes, many in code and with alterations in an unknown hand, with marginal date 'March 1' on p. 77. BP 25, pp. 75-86 None [53 entries] early 1680s Slare, Warr, uncertain
1685-91
XXXVI Accounts of conversations with travellers on natural phenomena. Informants include Sir John Chardin, Sir Paul Rycaut, Richard Knox, William Stapleton, Philip Warner, etc. Marginal dates range from 9 January 1685 to 23 February 1691. BP 21, pp. 255-312 1-100 [122 entries] 1685-91 Greg, C, uncertain
XXXVII 'The XVI Century', experimental notes and accounts, many concerning the specific gravity of various materials. Marginal dates range from 29 December 1686 to to 5 February 1690. BP 21, pp. 191-218 1-100 [159 entries] 1686-90 Greg, Smith. uncertain
XXXVIII 'The XVII Century' and 'The XVIII Century', experimental accounts and observations, many concerning the specific gravity of various substances. Marginal dates range from 27 March 1689 to 23 July 1691. BP 21, pp. 219-54 1-100 [111 entries]; 1-30, of which 1-2 originally written 101-2 [34 entries] 1689-91 Greg, Smith, C, uncertain
XXXIX 'Distinguish'd Experiments or more Private Observations Continu'd from [Septem]ber 29th 1688/9', experimental accounts and observations, including a way to measure the relative sizes of landmasses. BP 26, fol. 3 None [5 entries] 1689 Bacon, C
XL Miscellaneous work-diary entries from the 1680s, principally experimental accounts and observations BP 21, p. 142; BP 38, fol. 24 None 1680s [late?] Bacon, Greg


Notes on the Table of Contents

The table should be largely self-explanatory once a user has mastered the overall rationale of the genre and of our edition of it. The editors have divided the papers in the Boyle archive at the Royal Society considered to be work-diaries, or to contain work-diary material, into forty units. Each of these units contains one work-diary of any number of successive pages; a few collect together scraps of miscellaneous and scattered work-diaries from a certain period. In the table, the forty work-diaries have been arranged in chronological order, divided up into groupings of five years for the sake of clarity. In the first column appears the number which we have given each work-diary, in Roman numerals: this sequence of numbers reflects the chronological order in which we have placed the texts on the basis of dates and dating clues such as handwriting: it bears no relationship whatever to the position of the work-diaries within the Boyle Papers, which is given in the third column. All of our references to work-diaries take the form of a combination of these with numbers for the entries within them in the form 'XIX: 93' (in cases where the numeration is ours rather than Boyle's, we have indicating this by giving the entry number in square brackets; where we have subdivided entries to which Boyle gave a single number, or entries which are obviously distinct, but to which he did not supply a number, we denote this in the form '93a', '93b').

The second, fourth, fifth and sixth columns of the Table give a brief commentary on each work-diary in terms of content, numeration, date and handwriting. This is complemented by an extensive commentary within the file devoted to each individual work-diary, partly on the features of the work-diary as a whole, and partly on specific points elating to individual entries or groups of entries within it. The former appears as a series of 'Notes' following the overall title to the Work-diary; the latter among the editorial notes in small type following the heading to each entry. All of these notes take for granted various general points about the Boyle archive as a whole, which are dealt with more fully in the section on 'The Sources and their Issues' in the Statement of Editorial Policy.


The project for publishing the work-diaries has been funded by the Wellcome Trust, to which we are most grateful. We are also indebted to the library staff of the Royal Society for their help and encourgement. On technical matters, much help has been supplied by Lou Burnard of the TEI Consortium and the Humanities Computing Unit, Oxford University and by Brian fuchs of the Max-Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin. We are also grateful to the Perseus Project for their assistance in preparing this edition for presentation on the Internet.


Contact details:

The Robert Boyle Project, School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX
Web page: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/Boyle
e-mail addresses: m.hunter@bbk.ac.uk; c.littleton@histparl.ac.uk