Almanacs of John Winthrop, 1739-1779
Scope and Contents
The almanacs offer only brief mentions of Winthrop's scientific observations. Events such as earthquakes, and meteorological and astronomical phenomena described at great length by Winthrop in printed sources are noted only in passing in the almanacs. For instance, after the appearance of Halley's Comet on April 3, 1759, Winthrop provided information for two articles in the Boston Newsletter (April 12 and May 3, 1759) and published Two lectures on comets, that was reprinted through 1811. But Winthrop's 1759 almanac has only two relevant notes: an annotation on the April calendar page, "Exptd lectr prevntd by y comet," and a note on an interleaved page, "3 April y Comet discovered."
While entries in the almanac are brief, they do provide information on the types of scientific observations Winthrop made at specific points in his life. Notably in 1757-1759, Winthrop began making short notes on the ringing of electric bells. Beginning on October 20, 1757 he wrote, "my electrc bells ring vigorusly in y afternoon." and continued to make sporadic notes of the ringing bells over the next few years. On September 29, 1762 he wrote to Benjamin Franklin of "an observation relating to electricity in the atmosphere, which seemed new to me, though perhaps it will not to you." In the letter, Winthrop explained that he had hung the bells around his house, "according to your method, to give notice of the passage of the electric fluid," and noticed certain patterns of ringing after snowstorms.
Extent.3 cubic feet (30 volumes)
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