8vo bifolium (159 x 102 mm), pp. ; paper embossed ‘7, Kensington Park Gardens, London. W.’ and with Crookes’s crest and rebus; sometime folded, in excellent condition.
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Autograph letter, signed, to Sir John Evans.
The scientist Sir William Crookes writes to congratulate the archaeologist and geologist John Evans on his imminent knighthood: ‘I must take this opportunity – the last perhaps in which I can call you “Mr” – to offer you my sincere congratulations on the honour which I see is to be conferred upon you . . . . Science obtains so little recognition in this country that all men of science must rejoice at this signal exception to the rule. My wife wishes to add her congratulations to my own’. Sir John Evans (1823–1908) was treasurer of the Royal Society from 1878 to 1898.
Sir William Crookes is credited with the discovery of the element thallium and was a pioneer of vacuum tubes. He was also president of the Society for Psychical Research. ‘Crookes was a great experimentalist. His material discoveries were of lasting and fundamental value. His ventures into psychical research were strongly criticized by contemporaries and certainly led him into some curious company, but they demonstrate that he thought all natural phenomena worthy of investigation, and that he refused to be bound by tradition and convention. Although Lord Kelvin believed Crookes started more hares than any other scientific contemporary, he was a man of science in the broadest sense, an influential personality, and a doyen of his profession’ (ODNB).
Crookes’s home at 7 Kensington Gardens, whence this letter was written, is thought to have been the first house in England to be lit by electricity.
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