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*History of Science*

Guide to sources for research in History of Science

In the Library: Special Collections and Archives Research Center

The History of Science Collections at OSU span the entire record of scientific experimentation and advancement. From 15th century texts on medicine to research on modern fuel cell technology, the collections reflect the human wonder, curiosity, ambition, and discovery that has driven scientific progress and achievement for centuries. Encompassing many different types of primary sources, from landmark texts of the Scientific Revolution to archival collections of modern scientists, the collections document the histories of chemistry, the biological sciences, physics, quantum mechanics, genetics, medicine, agricultural sciences and husbandry, botany, natural history, nuclear history, and other scientific disciplines as they have transformed over time.

The cornerstone of the History of Science collections is the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. Containing over 500,000 items, including Pauling’s research notebooks, correspondence, and scientific manuscripts, this collection documents the prolific career and contributions of the only winner of two unshared Nobel Prizes and one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century. This collection keenly reflects the spirit of scientific innovation and invention displayed throughout the History of Science Collections.

To find materials in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, consult our finding aids, or use the catalog and limit your search to Special Collections.

In the Library: Primary Sources

Finding published primary sources and compilations of source documents in the library's catalog, 1Search, is easy! Try your keyword and add one or more of these terms:

  • primary sources
  • diaries
  • correspondence
  • interviews
  • personal narratives
  • pamphlets

Find Archival Collections at Other Institutions

ArchiveGrid includes over four million records describing archival materials, bringing together information about historical documents, personal papers, family histories, and more. With over 1,000 different archival institutions represented, ArchiveGrid helps researchers looking for primary source materials held in archives, libraries, museums and historical societies.

Archives West
Archives West provides access to descriptions of primary sources in the Northwestern United States, including correspondence, diaries, or photographs. Digital reproductions of primary sources are available in some cases.

Online Archive of California
The OAC provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections. Maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.

Digitized Primary Sources Online

General Sources

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Google Books

Digital Public Library of America


Specific Sources: Antiquity to the Scientific Revolution
Copernicus' De Revolutionibus

On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals, 1628 by William Harvey.

Selections from De motu cordis by William Harvey

Paracelsus and the Medical Revolution of the Renaissance 

Vesalius' De Humani Corporis

Historical Anatomies on the Web

Transactions of the Royal Society

Francis Bacon from First Book of Aphorisms

The New Organon or True Directions Concerning the Interpretation of Nature by Francis Bacon

The Works of Sir Francis Bacon

The Newton Project

Encyclopedie of Diderot & d'Alembert Collaborative Translation Project

Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin's Library

Jahrbuch uber die Forschritte der Mathematik

London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health Reports 1848-1972

Specific Sources: Modern Science

MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive

Niels Bohr Archive

American Social Health Association Records 1905-1990