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The Portsmouth Collection

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.3958-4007

Scope and Contents

The Portsmouth Collection is the principal collection of Isaac Newton's scientific and mathematical papers, including early drafts of the Principia, and his correspondence with Oldenburg, Halley Flamsteed and many of the other most prominent scientists of his day.


  • Creation: 1664-1732 (Dates are approximate.)


Conditions Governing Access

Due to the fragile nature of the material access to the collection is restricted. It is available to view in the Cambridge University Digital Library at with the exception of MS.Add.4007, which is open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.


10 archive box(es) (10 Boxes and 19 volumes paper) : paper

19 volume(s) (10 Boxes and 19 volumes paper)

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A Catalogue of the Portsmouth Collection of Books and Papers Written by or Belonging to Sir Isaac Newton (Cambridge, 1888) is available for consultation in the manuscripts reading room.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

After his death, Newton's manuscripts passed to his niece Catherine and her husband John Conduitt. In 1740 the Conduitt's daughter Catherine, married John Wallop, who became Viscount Lymington when his father was created first Earl of Portsmouth. Their son became the second earl, the manuscripts thus being inherited by succeeding generations of the Portsmouth family. In 1872, the fifth earl passed all the Newton manuscripts he possessed to the University of Cambridge, where a catalogue of the collection was made by a syndicate comprising the University scientists George Gabriel Stokes, John Couch Adams, Henry Richards Luard and George Downing Living (see 'Finding Aids')

Related Materials

Other Newton manuscripts are in the Macclesfield Collection (Add.9597).


The Portsmouth Collection is available on microfilms published by Chadwick Healey.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
West Road
Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom