Abstracts 15 Oct 2016

Matthew Daniel Eddy (Durham University/Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)

Prelude to Literacy: The Utility of Note keeping in Scottish Schools and Academies

The story of Enlightenment literacy is often reconstructed from textbooks and manuals, with the implicit focus being what children were reading. But far less attention has been devoted to how they mastered the scribal techniques that allowed them to manage and produce knowledge on paper in a way that helped them pursue a trade or which allowed them to keep track of the everyday observations they made at home or as travellers. Focusing on Scotland, handwritten student manuscripts are used to reveal that children learned to write in a variety of modes, each of which required a set of graphic techniques. These modes and skills constituted a pervasive form of graphic literacy that underpinned the social, intellectual and economic success of the Scottish Enlightenment.


Alette Fleischer (Independent Scholar)

Travelling salesmen or scholarly travellers? Early modern botanists on the move marketing their knowledge of nature.

Within four years from each other, the Italian Paolo Boccone and the German/Dutch Jacob Breyne produced books on botany: Paolo Boccone, Icones et Descriptiones Rariorum Plantarum Siciliae, Melitae, Galliae, et Italiae, Oxford, 1674. And: Jacob Breyne, Exoticarum aliarumque minus cognitarum Plantarum centuria prima, Danzig, 1678. Boccone had travelled from South Italy to Northern Europe in order to find financiers for his publication. One of his possible patrons was the Dutch diplomat and curator of the Botanical Garden of the University of Leiden: Hieronymus van Beverningh. Breyne, who lived in Danzig (today Gdansk, Poland), too visited Beverningh at his country estate Oud-Teylingen (near Leiden). As a merchant Breyne was not so much looking for funds. In order to compile and publish his book, he searched for exotic plants from, amongst others, Beverningh’s vast garden. By tracing the paths of these two botanists, this paper wants to show the different ways how knowledge could be constructed and marketed.

Martina Hacke (University of Düsseldorf)

The Messengers of the University of Paris and the Book Trade (late 15th – 16th cent.)

Because books are a medium for the transfer of knowledge, it was inevitable that a connection arose between universities and the book trade. For example, after the invention of printing, the apprentices of Gutenberg set up a printing press in the Sorbonne. Most of the books that were received by the members of this university were from outside of its walls – if not from Paris, then they came from important print centres such as Lyons or Basel. The books were often transported by printers and publishers themselves, who sold them at the big fairs. This phenomenon is already known. What is not known is that several of these printers were at the same time messengers of the University of Paris.
For example Johannes Wattenschnee († 1515) took over in 1489 the office of the messenger
for the masters and scholars of the diocese Regensburg of the German Nation. The radius of his activity as a bookseller included, besides Paris, the book markets of Frankfurt, Leipzig and Basel – this latter having connections to the Italian book trade – and extended as far as Lyons.
The acquisition of the office of the messenger at the University of Paris allowed publishers to be integrated in the academic book market as well as the opportunity to use the geographic reach of the university’s messengers.
These Parisian university messengers, both booksellers and links between vast and divergent parts of Europe, were an important interface between the university and the book market.


Urs B. Leu (Zentralbibliothek Zürich)

The Cooperation between Professors and Printers in Basle and Zurich during the Early Modern Period

The professors at the Reformed Hohe Schule in Zurich, which was founded by Zwingli in 1525, belonged to the main authors of the local printers, especially of Christoph Froschauer. They wrote few textbooks, but their works were studied by students and theologians not at least for their daily work. In contrast to Zurich, the professors of the University of Basel not only published standard works in their field by the Basle printers, but they wrote also books specifically for teaching. Especially in the field of Greek language and literature can be ascertained a close cooperation. In the 17th century the Golden Age of printing in Basle and Zurich was over and they main scholarly book production were hundreds of dissertations, which has even led in Basle to install a printer for the University. Meanwhile the books from Zurich were intended for the reformed market, the Basle book production aimed at a scholarly European audience.


Ian Maclean (University of Oxford)

Authors and international publication in 1700: the case of Georgio Baglivi (1668-1707)

This paper addresses the problems faced by learned authors at the end of the eighteenth century in getting published and ensuring that they achieved international recognition for their work, by examining the case of the ambitious physician, anatomist and physiologist Giorgio Baglivi (1668-1707).


G. M. (Bert) van de Roemer (University of Amsterdam)

The Academy of Science in St. Petersburg. Promoting science and art in Russia

On January the 28th, 1724 tsar Peter the Great signed a plan to establish an Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. This was the starting point for a vast exchange of knowledge, scholars, artists and objects between Russia and other countries in Europe. The plan was part of Peter’s policy to transform Russia into a country that could compete with other Western-European countries. After Peter’s death, two new buildings were erected on the north bank of the river Neva: the Academy of Sciences which provided working spaces for scholars and artists, and the Kunstkamera, which harboured objects and books for study. In 1741 the print shop of the Academy of Science published a luxurious set of twelve prints presenting detailed ground plans and cross sections of the two buildings. The volume was used as a promotional gift to be given to foreign contacts. It appeared in two sizes and the captions beneath the prints were in Russian, Latin, German and French. Furthermore, one of the prints shows a table with detailed information about the international group of scholars and artisans who worked in these buildings. Until now the museum of the Kunstkamera attracted the most attention of researchers. In this paper the print collection – which could be seen as a marketing tool in itself – will be used to gain more insight in the academy building, how it was used, and the exchange of knowledge and scholars between different learned societies and academies in Europe.

Jane Stevenson (The University and King’s College of Aberdeen)

Domestic Academies

One aspect of the early modern world of learning and cultural production which is worth considering is the involvement of women, not least because it is all too easily assumed that they were not in a position to participate. But as well as occurring within the all-male spaces of universities and schools, significant aspects of cultural production took place in private homes, and also at courts. Courts serve many purposes besides display and diplomacy, and they are places where it is particularly difficult to disentangle the public from the private sphere.  The aspect of all this which is interesting me is the obvious fact that both private homes and courts contain women, and there are certain types of cultural production which are to an appreciable extent, domestic. The areas I want to examine are humanist education, printing, alchemy, and astronomy. Education could be family centred; and by virtue of parental connections, humanistically educated daughters might have both a place in the intellectual life of their native cities, and an international network of correspondents. They also contributed to the cultural capital of Renaissance courts, either by acting as tutors to young princesses, or by taking part in public entertainments. In a different way, printing straddled the borderline of intellectual work and artisan production, which was so often a family business; printers tended to marry printer’s daughters, the printing house and the printers’ domestic quarters interpenetrated, and it is quite clear that both wives and daughters often took a hand, since in some cases, they ended up running a workshop themselves: Tace Sowle, in London, and Charlotte Guillard, in Paris, are cases in point. Both alchemy and astronomy were studied outside universities, and often, in domestic contexts. Even purpose-built laboratory spaces might be within a private house, and furthermore, a variety of rulers maintained alchemists, some of whom worked within the court complex, and on occasion, directly with their employers.  Astronomy is also interesting, because it demanded thousands of observations and calculations made over prolonged periods of time; in the interests of continuity, drafting wives and children into a joint enterprise made every kind of sense. As a result, there is a variety of notable female astronomers, all of whom have fathers, husbands, or both, who shared their work.


Iolanda Ventura (Université d’Orleans)

Typologies and Pharmaceutical Markets: The Reception of Pseudo-Mesues’ De Grabadin in Late Medieval and Early Modern Times

Ich versuche, ganz schlicht, die zahlreichen Arten und Typologien von Editionen des Pseudo-Mesues zu untersuchen und gruppieren, mit dem Ziel, Tendenz von Markt (und Marketing) und Wahrnehmung des Pseudo-Mesues hervorzuheben, und Fragen wie Wahrnehmung der einzelnen Texte und des Corpus, Bedeutung und Einteilung der mittelalterlichen Kommentare, Bedürfnis nach (und Angebot von) paratextuellen Erschließungsmittel wie Index, Scholia, Vorworten und Illustrationen wenigstens zu stellen.