The History of Science Library consists of three main components: a special collection of digitised rare books and manuscripts, a Zotero-powered Warburgian Library of multimedia resources from monographs to online exhibitions, and four Notion-powered, instantly updated databases hosting new books, new exhibitions, and time-sensitive academic events and news.
While the main collections of the History of Science Library are online, we also have physical Special Collections of rare books and manuscripts. The History of Science Library’s Special Collections were founded in 2022, based on the private library of Xinyi Wen, founder of the HSL. Our collection is not large at the moment, but it is under systematic development.
The Special Collections of the History of Science Library currently focus on early modern natural history, medicine, and occult sciences, particularly books with unique annotations or enhancements. Our collection includes one of the surviving less than ten copies of Wolfgang Ambrosius Fabricius’s treatise on the doctrine of signatures, Ἀπορημα βοτανικον: de signaturis plantarum (1653), a copy of the first edition of Levinus Lemnius’s book on the herbal allegories in the Bible, Similitudinum ac parabolarum (1568).
We also have several books with interesting provenance stories. In our collection, you will find an eighteenth-century Moleskine: a copy of the popular almanac Rider's British Merlin (1729) bound with parchment pockets, filled with the owner’s memoranda, bills, and recipes. Our most recent acquisition was an author-corrected copy of Histoire des plantes vénéneuses de la Suisse (1776), given to the author Philippe Rodolphe Vicat by the publisher and botanist Joseph-Ferdinand Lex, a friend of the renowned Swiss physician Albrecht von Haller.
As a library dedicated to Open Research, we aim to make our collections fully digitised and open access. We have already digitised some of our featured collections, which you can view at histscilib.omeka.net. All our digitised images are licensed under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 International License.
A Warburgian Library
Founded in July 2020, the History of Science Library holds a collection of over 26,000 items, with a focus on early modern science and knowledge, but are not limited to those areas. The library is organised under a thematic classification system, highlighting scholarship in ways of knowing and practicing.
Updates of the collection are regularly posted in the form of annotated bibliographies. Explore each floor to learn more.
Our independent creative projects
The HSL team created four Notion databases to manage scholarly information internally. As the amount of information grew, we decided to make them available to our readers so that more people could benefit from it. Please keep the databases and try different views as needed.