The Portsmouth Collection
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 https://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/newton/1 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')
- Language of description
- Script of description