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Whipple Library

Department of History and Philosophy of Science

19th Century Pamphlets was a collaborative project funded by the Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP). The purpose of the project, which ran from 2000 to 2002, was to provide enhanced access to the collections of nineteenth-century pamphlets housed in the libraries of the participating institutions, and to raise awareness of the breadth and scope of this valuable research resource. It did this through the development of a web-based guide which mapped strengths at collection level, and the completion of a targeted programme of retrospective conversion of 177,000 items.

Photograph of Sir Michael Foster, with his signatureAt the Whipple Library, the project focused on the cataloguing of the Foster Pamphlet Collection, which consists of about 5,100 pamphlets on the subject of physiology. Some of the pamphlets are reprints of articles from journals or sections of books, others are dissertations or other original works. The pamphlets are bound in some 200 volumes, all labelled 'Physiological Laboratory'.Textbook of physiology / by M. Foster. 4th ed. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1883). Foster's famous textbook went through six complete editions and was translated into Russian, Italian and German.

Most of the pamphlets were collected by Sir Michael Foster (1836–1907), the founder of the Cambridge School of Physiology, founder editor of the Journal of Physiology, and a leading figure in the professionalisation of physiology in Victorian England. The collection is a valuable resource due both to its coverage of all aspects of the history of physiology, and also to its provenance. The collection was donated to the Library in 1997 by the Department of Physiology.

More information about the Foster Pamphlet Collection

Spines from the Foster Collection, showing binding style and volume title      Photo of Robert Stewart Whipple from his article 'Some recent improvements in pyrometers' (1911), one of the pamphlets in the Foster Collection