skip to content

Major, well-known collections are the scientific and mathematical papers of seventeenth century natural philosopher, Isaac Newton (see Newton Papers online) and the papers of nineteenth century naturalist Charles Darwin (see Darwin manuscripts and Darwin–Hooker letters online).

The Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives (see Board of Longitude online) document aspects of astronomy, navigation and the survey sciences in the British Empire from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. The business archives of the Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company are a major source for the study of scientific and industrial instruments from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s.

Less known is a rich if eclectic collection of manuscripts and personal papers originating from around 200 contributors to modern science, many associated with the University of Cambridge. A substantial selection is listed below. 

Where no reference number is given in brackets, collections are referred to by name; for example, the Alfred Haddon papers are referred to as MS Haddon. Information about most collections is available in the online catalogue where you can search by name or reference number, or browse by subject. For others there is a printed or published finding aid (*) available in the Mansucripts Reading Room. For uncatalogued collections (**) or other inquiries, contact Dr Katrina Dean, Curator of Scientific Collections,

The University Archives holds some records of scientific departments for example those of the University Observatory, the Cavendish Laboratory and the Department of Geology. Science archives and manuscripts are also held in Churchill Archives Centre, The Wren Library, St John's College Library, and other colleges and departments. 



Alfred Haddon and others*, Meyer Fortes* (MS Add. 8405) and Ashanti Social Survey** (MS Add. 9359), Charles Seligman (MS Add. 9396), Augustus Pitt-Rivers (MS Add. 9455), Charles Myers (MS Add. 8073-8074), Bernard Deacon (MS Add. 9715)

Astronomy George Shuckburgh-Evelyn (MS Add. 4523-4534), George Airy** (MS Add. 9383), John Herschel (MS Add. 7617), William Stratford (MS Add. 4236-4238), Cambridge University Press: correspondence with solar physicists** (MS Add. 9709), Edward Linfoot* (MS Add. 8376, 8726, 8917), Frank McClean (MS Add.10348)


William Bate Hardy (MS Add. 9913), Joseph Needham* (for a fuller record, see also; see Joseph Needham in the Cambridge Digital Library), Peter Mitchell* (for a fuller record, see also), Malcolm Dixon* (MS Add. 8823), David Keilin* (MS Add. 7953), Frederick Hopkins* (MS Add. 7620), Thadeus Mann (MS Add. 8880), Kenneth Bailey* (MS Add. 8723), Frank Young* (for a fuller record, see also), Albert Chibnall* (MS Add. 8897, for a fuller record see also), Robert Hill* (MS Add. 9267, for a fuller record see also), Rudolph Peters (MS Add.10353), Ruby Leader (MS Add.10352), MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory (MS Add.10293). 



George Crabbe (see entomology), John Stevens Henslow (MS Add. 8176-8178) and others (MS Add. 6178, 8179-8190, 9693**), Joseph Hooker** (MS Add. 9537), Richard T. Lowe and H. C. Watson** (MS Add. 8183), Charles Clark** (MS Add. 9966) Arthur Clapham** (MS Add. 9653). 

Computer science


William Renwick (MS Add. 8372, for a fuller record see also), Neil Wiseman*

Conchology George Sowerby** (MS Add.  9905), Hugh Watson** (MS Add. 9907)

Conservation and ecology 


Arthur Tansley*, Peter Scott* (for a fuller record see also), Robert Adamson (MS Add. 8181), Alexander Watt* (MS Add. 8851, for a fuller record see also). Also see Oliver Rackham in the Cambridge Digital Library.

Engineering and invention Thomas De Haviland (MS Add. 9548), Donald Welbourn** (MS Add. 9711), Joseph Brettell (MS Add. 9952), Robert Were Fox** (MS Add. 9942)



William Thorpe* (MS Add. 8784), Albert Farn (MS Add. 6465 and MS Add. 6466), George Crabbe (MS Add. 4190-4192, 4194), David Keilin (see biochemistry), Alexander Watt (see conservation and ecology)



William Bateson* (MS Add. 8634 and download the revised PDF catalogue here) – see the Bateson archive on Cambridge Digital Library; Department of Genetics notebooks** including the work of Bateson, Reginald Punnett and Ronald Fisher (MS Add. 10161) – the Bateson-Punnett notebooks are fully digitised on Cambridge Digital Library; Charles Hurst* (MS Add. 7955), Nora Barlow (MS Add. 8904), Redcliffe Salaman (MS Add. 8171), Joseph Hutchinson** (MS Add. 9847)

Geology and geophysics

Charles Mason (MS Add. 7762), John Woodward (MS Add. 7647, 8286, 9386), Watson White (MS Add. 6304), John Lindley and William Hutton** (MS Add. 9652), Adam Sedgwick* (MSS Add. 7652, 3144, 5100-5102, 8396), Alexander Davidson (MS Add. 8790-8792), Hugh Strickland** (MS Add. 9903), Gerald Lenox-Conyngham** (MS Add. 9249), Spencer Perceval* (MS Add. 6310-6311, 9795-9797), Joseph Beet-Jukes** (MS Add. 9659), Thomas McKenny Hughes (MS Add. 9557), George Darwin (MS Add. 5749-5750, 8166, 7909), Desmond King-Hele**

Mathematics and statistics

Hugh Godfray (MS Add. 9550), Charles Babbage (MS Add. 8705), James Cockle (MS Add. 9539), Augustus de Morgan (MS Add. 9428), Godfrey Hardy (MSS Add. 6982-6983), Srinivasa Ramanujan (MS Add. 7011), Frank Ramsay (MS Add. 9781), Henry Daniels*

Medicine and medical research

George Humphry**(MS Add. 10169), Alexander Macalister (MS Add. 9595, also see Humphry), John Burdon-Sanderson** (MS Add. 9558),  Michael Foster (MS Add. 9924), George Graham-Smith** (MS Add. 10151), Stephen Taylor** (MS Add. 10167), Geoffrey Keynes (MS Add. 8633), Department of Physiology (MS Add. 9216), Francis Roughton* (MS Roughton, for a fuller record see also) Joseph Mitchell* (for a full record see also), Diana Brinkley** (MS Add. 10168), William Butterfield*. Also see the Forman and Napier Casebooks in the Cambridge Digital Library.

Metallurgy Robert Cahn** (MS Add. 9976), Ulick Evans* (MS Add. 8352, for a fuller record see also)
Meteorology and glaciology HMS Romney** (MS Add. 10066), John Morgan** (MS Add. 9637), Napier Shaw (MS Add. 8124, 8134), Francis Whipple (MS Add. 8075), Gordon Manley (MS Add. 8386), Lewis Richardson (MS Add. 9228), Robert Hill (see biochemistry), James Cannan McConnell (MS Add. 8323)

Natural history

Joseph Banks (MS Add. 6294), Thomas Martin (MS Add. 9421), John Laskey (MS Add. 6306), Conrad Martens (Sketchbook III MS Add. 7983, Sketchbook I MS Add. 7984), Robert Fitzroy* (MS Add. 8853), George Hyde Wollaston (MS Add. 9855

Natural philosophy Jeremiah Horrocks (MS Add. 9320), Domenico de Lucattinis** (MS Add. 10178), John Whiteside (MS Add. 6301), Nicholas Saunderson (MSS Add. 589, 2977, 3444, 6312, 9752**, 9772**), Giovanni Rizetti (MS Add. 9282), The Macclesfield Collection (MS Add. 9597), Anthony Askew (MS Add. 9316), John Ivory (MS Add. 9317), Roger Cotes (MS Add. 9302), William Wollaston (MS Add. 7736), Derek Whiteside** (MS Add. 9964)


Alfred Newton (MS Add. 9839, 6415), Henry Seebohm (MS Add. 4471-4476, 8794), James Hepburn** (MS Add. 9900), Albert Farn (see entomology), William Lewin (MS Add. 6300)

Physical Chemistry

John Linnett**, Ronald Norrish (MS Add. 8370, for a fuller record see also), Martin Lowry** (MS Add. 8678)


James Clerk Maxwell* (MS Add. 7655) George Stokes* (MS Add. 7656), William Thomson* (MS Add. 7342, 8818), Joseph Thomson* (MS Add. 7654), George Searle (MS Add. 8324), Thomas Bedford and others (MS Add. 8325), Cavendish Laboratory (MS Add. 8326), Frank Oldham (MS Add. 8327), William Bragg (MS Add. 8328), Douglas Hartree (MS Add. 8329), Ernest Rutherford* (MS Add.7653, 8249, 8404**, 8832), Wilfrid Lewis* (MS Add. 8727), Nevill Mott* (for a fuller record see also, and Supplementary), Francis Aston* (MS Add. 8322), Basil and Ismay Schonland (MS Add. 8702, 8703), John Bernal* (MS Add. 8287), Gordon Sutherland* (MS Add. 8353, for a fuller record see also and Supplementary), Peter Hawkes (MS Add. 9846), Ernest Kempton*.

Psychology and parapsychology

Charles Bartlett (MS Add. 8076), Robert Thouless** (MS Add. 9663), Society for Psychical Research (MS SPR), William Rivers (see anthropology, Alfred Haddon), Charles Myers (see anthropology), William Thorpe (see entomology), Albert Farn (see entomology)

Science and society

Cyril Bibby (MS Add. 8320), Ruth Rees-Thomas** (MS Add. 9790), John Bernal* (see physics) and Joseph Needham* (see biochemistry), Association of Scientific Workers, Cambridge** (MS Add. 9940), Nancy Lane (MS Add.10351)


Philip Henry Gosse (MS Add. 7040, 7041, 7313**, 9643**), Gosse Family* (MS Add. 7016-7035), Alfred Norman (MS Add. 9912), Edward Fry** (MS Add. 9738), International Congress of Zoology** (MS Add. 9904), Francis Balfour** (MS Add. 9893), George Bidder (MS Add. 92278680, 8657, 8970, 9917**, 8679**), John Budgett** (MS Add. 9906), John Gardiner** (MS Add. 9910), Oxford and Cambridge Zoologists Club** (MS Add. 8125), Harold Brindley** (MS Add. 9922), Torkel Weis-Fogh* (MS Add. 8250, for a fuller record see also, and 9896**), James Gray (MS Add. 8125, for a fuller record see also), Patrick Bateson (MS Add.10285)