Catalogue Entry: NATP00001

Pierpont Morgan Notebook

Author: Isaac Newton

Source: Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, USA

[Normalized Text] [Diplomatic Text]


Pocket memorandum notebook covering the end of Newton's schooldays and the beginning of his university career.

On the first leaf (in Newton's hand): 'Isacus Newton hunc librum possidet teste Edwardo Secker pret: 2d ob. 1659'. Contains technical advice on drawing, various medical recipes, instructions for performing conjuring tricks, astronomical charts, accounts of Copernican astronomy and 'Drebles Motion' [i.e. the supposed perpetual motion machine of Cornelius Drebbel], mathematical exercises, notes on universal character, and several lists of words, under assorted subject headings, beginning with the same letter.

One of four notebooks, with those in Trinity College Library, Cambridge University Library and the Fitzwilliam Museum, which supply the main source of evidence about Newton's interests and activities during his early years at Cambridge.

Described and partially published (as far as the conjuring tricks), with selected facsimiles of the later pages, in D.E. Smith, 'Two Unpublished Documents of Isaac Newton', 16-31. One very brief shorthand entry ('A remedy for a Ague') is deciphered in Westfall, 'Short Writing', 13. The word-lists are based on Francis Gregory's school text-book Nomenclatura brevis anglo-Latinis (1654), though with some interesting and (debatably) suggestive additions and variants: see Manuel, Portrait, 11-12, 27, 30, 34, 37, 69-70, 397-8.

[1] X

[2] X

[3] X

[4] X

[5] X

[6] X

[7] X

[8] X

[9] X

[10] X

[11] X

[12] Editorial Note: This Note Empty

[13] X

[14] X

[15] Editorial Note: This Note Empty

[16] X

[Editorial Note 1] Apart from the title and the first five words of the the text, the rest of this page, including the marginal note, is written in Thomas Shelton's shorthand notation: it was deciphered by R.S. Westfall in 'Short Writing and the State of Newton's Conscience', Notes and Records of the Royal Society 18 (1963), 10-16.

[17] Write the words on a piece of paper and let the party grieved bear it about with him.

[Editorial Note 2] Two astronomical charts are here omitted.

[Editorial Note 3] A series of astronomical charts is here omitted.

[Editorial Note 4] Further astronomical charts on f. 14v and the the top of f. 15r are here omitted.

[Editorial Note 5] There follows a three-page astrological table on ff. 22r-23v and a sequence of very complex algebraic equations on ff. 24r-26v which are here omitted; f. 27r is blank.

© 2017 The Newton Project

Professor Rob Iliffe
Director, AHRC Newton Papers Project

Scott Mandelbrote,
Fellow & Perne librarian, Peterhouse, Cambridge

Faculty of History, George Street, Oxford, OX1 2RL -

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