Thursday, August 26, 2010

Joseph Priestley Collection Digitized

The newest name on the list of the Libraries’ digitized collections is Joseph Priestley, the 18th-century English clergyman, political theorist, radical thinker, and physical scientist who played pivotal roles in the invention of ecosystem science, the founding of the Unitarian Church, and the intellectual development of the U.S. Best known as the scientist who discovered oxygen, he also made major contributions in the fields of education and philosophy. The digital site displays Priestley's correspondence with Josiah Wedgwood and others; two holograph drafts of his memoirs, his Last Will and Testament, an account book, his Birmingham Library card, and his property inventory. In addition to the papers, the digitized collection contains a unique item: the Priestley Memorial Scrapbook, compiled in 1875 and containing mounted photographs of posed groups of the scientists in attendance in Northumberland, Pennsylvania, at a celebration known as the Centennial of Chemistry, which was the first important gathering of chemists held in the United States. The group later became known as the American Chemical Society.

Consult the site at

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