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adammclean
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A contact asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the archives or first hand documentation about Hennig Brand, alchemist/chemist from Hamburg who discovered phosphorus. Have any of his manuscripts survived ?
 

Paul Ferguson
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adammclean wrote:
A contact asked me if I knew the whereabouts of the archives or first hand documentation about Hennig Brand, alchemist/chemist from Hamburg who discovered phosphorus. Have any of his manuscripts survived ?
 



I suppose I should know as he was my avatar for some time, but I can't find much about him. The leading authority on his life seems to be Dr. Breger of the University of Hanover, who wrote:

Notiz zur Biographie des Phosphor-Entdeckers Henning Brand. Studia Leibnitiana 19, 1987, S. 68-73.

http://www.philos.uni-hannover.de/breger.html

Dr. Breger's e-mail is: herbert DOT breger AT gwlb DOT de

I know Leibniz had a long and blood-pressure-raising correspondence with Brand(t) and that might also be a useful starting-point.

Last edited on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 11:55 am by Paul Ferguson

adammclean
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I have a rather engaging book by John Emsley, The Shocking History of Phosphorus: A biography of the Devil's Element, Macmillan, 2000, in which he describes some of the historical background. Sadly, though he mentions Brandt in some places in the opening chapter, he does not give any references to source material. Apparently the little we know about Brandt can be gleaned from the letters of his wife Margaretha, which may have survived, though Emsley gives no clue as to their present location.

The history is very interesting as a number of seventeenth century alchemists were involved, Johann Kunckel and Robert Boyle being the major players.

Paul Ferguson
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See this reference:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ed010p302

"In 1902 Hermann Peters... made a thorough study of the autograph letters of Brand... preserved in the Royal Library at Hanover..."

I have a nasty feeling that this correspondence may have been yet another casualty of World War II.


There is also an article here, available on subscription:

Phosphor. Von der Lichtmaterie zum chemischen Element,
by Priv.-Doz. Dr. F. Krafft, Institut für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften der Universität Hamburg.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/112291224/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

I have no idea whether it cites any sources.

Last edited on Fri Apr 23rd, 2010 12:54 pm by Paul Ferguson




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