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Science History

In 1821 and 1823, substantial additions were made to the College Library. Through the efforts of Benjamin Vaughan (Bowd. Hon. 1812) of Hallowell, Maine, books from the library of his brother, Samuel, were deposited at the College. Many of them were works of science. More than 790 titles, including the 176 scientific works in the Bowdoin bequest, are in Special Collections today. The Main and Hatch Libraries also hold numerous other nineteenth-century works.


Notable works include:


  • Archimedes
    Opera, Basel, 1544, which was the first Greek edition of his works.
  • Isaac Newton
    Opticks, 1704, first printing, first issue
  • Benjamin Franklin
    Some Account of the Success of Inoculation for the Small-Pox in England and America ..., London, 1759
  • Georges Buffon
    Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 1749-1803, first edition
  • Albert Einstein
    Papers on resolving the photoelectric effect and on the special theory of relativity in Annalen der Physik, Band 17 and 49, 1905 and 1916



  • Leonhard Fuchs
    De Historia Stirpium Commentarii Insignes, Lugduni, 1551
  • Charles de l'Ecluse
    Caroli Clvse Atrebatis … Rariorvm Plantarvm Historia, ex officina Plantiniana apud Ioannem Moretum, 1601
  • William Jackson Hooker
    Musci Exotici ..., London, 1818

See also the following manuscript collections:

Kate Furbish Collection

John James Audubon Collection:

The College owns a small but distinguished collection of Audubon's works comprised of his Birds of America, London, 1827-38; the Ornithological Biography, Edinburgh, 1831-39; and the octavo edition of the Birds of America, New York and Philadelphia, 1840-44. These first editions are supplemented by other fine or unusual reproductions of the Birds and a few related manuscript pieces.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · scaref@bowdoin.edu · (207) 725-3288