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Sir Charles Lyell's Notebooks

Charles Lyell's Notebooks


Sir Charles Lyell Notebooks

A remarkable survival, these 294 notebooks, spanning Lyell’s long scientific career (1825-1874), offer an unrivalled insight into personal influences, field observations, thoughts and relationships. These notebooks were acquired in 2019 thanks to a fundraising campaign, with many generous individual and institutional donors from the UK and overseas. Highlights include his travels throughout Europe and the United States of America, the drafts of his correspondence with the likes of Charles Darwin, his geological and landscape sketches and his constant gathering of evidence and refinement of his theories. 

Due to the enforced lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 virus, the digitisation programme for the notebooks is well behind schedule so, currently only a small sample is available online. These can be seen here:

Conservation and archival description work is ongoing in order to provide public access to this collection. To support these activities and digitisation, read more here.


Video: The Travels Of His Own Mind
Charles Withers Emeritus Professor of Geography University of Edinburgh discussing the importance of Lyell's Note Books

Watch Charles Withers, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Edinburgh, discussing the importance of Lyell's Note Books and how they relate to current issues of deep time and climate change in the short film "The Travels Of His Own Mind," made by Malcolm Brown, Digital Imaging Unit.

Read about the collection on the Library Blog - Through Lyell's Eyes