THE MOST OUTSTANDING 18TH-CENTURY COLLECTION OF SCIENTIFIC PAPERS

Receuil de Mémoires, ou Collection de Pièces Académiques, concernant la Médicine, l’Anatomie & la Chirurgie, la Chymie, la Physique Expérimentale, la Botanique & l’Histoire Naturelle, tirées des meilleures sources ... [Partie Française]. Vols. I-XI [of XVI].

Dijon, Auxerre, Paris and Liège, F. Desventes, F. Fournier, et al., 1754-86.

Together 24 vols. (of 29), 4to; owner’s stamp on titles; occasional browning and spotting, four volumes with a little damp-staining, affecting a few plates, and c. 20 plates lightly shaved at outer margins (slightly affecting image or plate no.); a good set in uniform contemporary mottled calf, some joints cracked and a few spines slightly worn.

£6000

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The scarce first collected edition of these scientific papers from all over Europe (lacking only the last five volumes of the Partie Française), including among its contributors such famous names as Huygens, Leeuwenhoek, Hevelius, De La Hire, Mariotte, Réaumur, La Condamine, Haller, Maupertuis, Boyle, Wallis, Bartholin, Newton, Musschenbroek, and Jussieu.

‘The most outstanding collection of the 18th century was the series started in Dijon ... and later published in Paris which attempted to bring together in one series most of the scientific journal publication and the proceedings of the societies of the 17th and 18th centuries ... It included among its editors and translators some of the most distinguished names in French science. It was issued in two series, one devoted to publications which had appeared in France and the other to journals and proceedings which had originated abroad ...

‘This monumental project was inaugurated by Jean Berryat (d. 1745), a physician in ordinary to the King ... The work was continued by such well-known names in French science as Buffon and Daubenton, who translated part of the selections from the Philosophical Transactions. [The Partie Etrangère] contains translations of the publications of the major European scientific societies, and selected periodicals published outside of France’ (Kronick, A History of Scientific & Technical Periodicals pp. 212-13).

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