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Annales de chimie letters and documents


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Annales de chimie is a scientific journal that was founded in Paris, France, in 1789 by Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau (1737-1816) and Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794). In 1815, the journal became Annales de chimie et de physique and was published under that name for over one hundred years. In 1914, "the journal was split up into Annales de chimie and Annales de physique," (Ihde, page 273).

Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau was a French chemist who was born in 1737 in Dijon, France. He was educated as a lawyer, but "became interested in chemistry and learned the subject through textbooks and a home laboratory," (Physics Today). He worked closely with Antoine Lavoisier, known as the "founder of modern chemistry," and they, along with Antoine François de Fourcroy (1755-1809) and Claude Louis Berthollet (1748-1822), are generally considered "the earliest adherents of the new chemistry" (Ihde, page 75). In 1787, this group wrote Méthode de nomenclature chimique, devising a chemical nomenclature which adopted Latin and Greek words.

According to Ihde, "in 1789, the group around Lavoisier founded the Annales de chimie as a medium for their studies, (page 273) and Guyton de Morveau, along with Lavoisier, served as a lead editor. As the French Revolution raged, Guyton de Morveau applied "science, particularly chemistry, to warfare," (Crosland). He was a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences, was a founding professor of the École Polytechnique (serving as director from 1798 to 1799 and from 1800 to 1804), and was the author of many works, including Eléments de chimie théorique et pratique and the chemistry section of Encylopédie Methodique.

Guyton de Morveau married Madame Picardet in 1798. She worked with him to translate scientific works. He died in Paris on January 2, 1816, at the age of 78.

Works cited:

Crosland, Maurice P. "Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau: French Chemist and Educator." Encyclopedia Britannica. (accessed 2017 June 29).

Ihde, Aaron J. The Development of Modern Chemistry. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1984.

Physics Today, "Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau." 2017 January 4 in Today in History (accessed 2017 June 19)

This collection contains letters, pamphlets and manuscripts relating to Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau and his work as a lead editor of the Annales de chimie. Documents include foreign language originals, copy texts, or the actual printer's copy. In every case, textual changes can be observed between the manuscript or printed copy texts and the journal appearances (which appear in this collection as photocopies). Throughout the collection, Guyton de Morveau's interest in developing a chemical nomenclature is apparent in that he frequently changed the chemical names in articles to new nomenclature when reprinting from offprints from other journals. This is particularly obvious in "Mémoire sur la phosphate calcaire," located in box 1, folder 1, illustrating the instability of a text which is, at first sight, the same in the two journals. Many of the documents in the collection, which date from 1790 to 1809, are annotated by Guyton de Morveau.

Other pieces relate to the new chemistry, such as the letter from the first German chemist to adopt Lavoisier's chemistry, Sigismund Friedrich Hermbstädt, and a dispute between Lazzaro Spallanzani and Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli over the authorship of a letter on the new chemistry. Chemists of note included in the collection are Henri-Ignace Brechtel (1784-1856), Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli (1761-1818), Louis Donadei, Nocholas B. Halma (1755-1828), Sigismund Friedrich Hermbstädt (1760-1833), Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), Bernard Germain Lacepdede (1756-1825), Bertrand Pelletier (1761-1797), Jeremias Benjamin Richter (1762-1807), Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729-1799), Johann Bartholomew Trommsdorff (1770-1837), Van der Moeven, Martin Van Marum (1750-1837), Jean-Baptiste Van Mons (1765-1842), and Alessandro Volta (1745-1827). There are also several documents relating to chemistry education, particularly at the Institut d'Erfurt, which was founded by Trommsdorff in 1798, the first pharmaceutical institute in Germany, training prospective pharmacists in botany, zoology, mineralogy, mathematics, and natural philosophy during its thirty-three years of existence.

The collection is arranged chronologically.

Sold by Roger Gaskell Rare Books, 2016.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Kelin Baldridge
Finding Aid Date
2017 June 29
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

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"Memoire sur la Phosphate Calcaire," by Bertrand Pelletier and Louis Donadei, extract from Journal de Physique (reprinted in Annales de chimie, Volume 7, pages 79-96, with new chemical nomenclatures), 1790 September.
Box 1 Folder 1
Letters relating to the Annales de Chimie, by Martin Van Marum (offering a paper and requesting an issue of Journal de l'ecole polytechnique), Jean-Baptiste Van Mons (including extract in German by Sigismund Friedrich Hermbstädt), Nicholas B. Halma (translating a letter by Hermbstädt into French), and Van der Moeven (requesting books and journals), 1796-1797.
Box 1 Folder 2
Letter from Alexander von Humboldt sur une serpentine verte, qui possède à un haut degré la polarité magnétique (published in Annales de Chimie, Volume 22, pages 47-50), 1796 November.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Nuove osservazioni sopra la pretext proprieta del gaz azoto di poter servire all combustion annunziata dal professore Gottling di Jena di van Mons," extract of a letter from Van Mons to Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli (translated from Italian into French, published in Annales de chimie, Volume 22, pages 221-230 as "Observations nouvelles sur la propriété d'entretenir la combustion que Goettling, professeur à Jéna, prétend trouver dans le Gaz azote"), 1797.
Box 1 Folder 4
Institut d'Erfurt, "Annonce concernant l'institut chimique physique et pharmaceutique d'Erfurt," by Johann Bartholomew Trommsdorff (translated by Halma and annotated by Guyton de Morveau), 1797.
Drawer 98 Folder unknown container
Institut d'Erfurt, two printings of "Nachtricht von dem chemisch -- physikalisch -- pharmaceutischen Institut zu Erfurt," by Johann Bartholomew Trommsdorff, 1797.
Box 1 Folder 5
Letters relating to "Examen de quelques critiques de la nomenclature des chimistes français," from Lazzaro Spallanzani (in French) and Luigi Valentino Brugnatelli (in Italian) regarding misattribution of an article by Brugnatelli to Spallanzani (published in Annales de chimie, Volume 25, pages 216-217; Volume 25, page 205; and Volume 26, pages 335-336), 1798.
Box 1 Folder 6
Letter from M. Van Marum to M. Alessandro Volta, professeur à Pavie, continent des Expériences sur la colonne électrique faites par lui et la professeur Pfaff dans le laboratoire de Teyler à Harlem, printer's copy of the French translation (corrections in the hand of Guyton de Morveau) (published in Annales de chimie, Volume 40, pages 289-334), 1801.
Box 1 Folder 7
"Sur la quantité d'oxygène que prend le charbon, lorsque le diamant par sa combustion forme de l'acide carbonique," by Jeremias Benjamin Richter, translated by Henri-Ignace Brechtel (published in Annales de chimie, Volume 47, pages 209-212), 1803.
Box 1 Folder 8
"Rapport fait au nom d'une commission composée de MM. Berthollet, Chaptal, Vauquelin, Le Bréton, Vincent et Guyton-Morveau. Chargée de la recherche du proceed de feu Bachellier, pour la composition d'un badigeon conservateur," by Louis-Bernard Guyton de Morveau and Bernard Germain Lacepde (published by Institut de France, Paris and in Annales de Chimie, Volume 83, pages 285-315) and "Compostition de Badigeon Conservateur," by Lacepede, 1809.
Box 1 Folder 9

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