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Henry Oldenburg (also Henry Oldenbourg) FRS (c. 1618 as Heinrich Oldenburg – 5 September 1677). was a
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
,
diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( ...
, and
natural philosopher Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', ...
, known as one of the creators of modern scientific
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may r ...
. He was one of the foremost
intelligencer Intelligencer is an archaic word for a person who gathers intelligence, like a spy or secret agent. The term may refer to: Newspapers * ''Daily Intelligencer (disambiguation)'', multiple papers * ''Edwardsville Intelligencer'' (1862–present) ...
s of 17th-century Europe, with a network of correspondents to rival those of
Fabri de Peiresc Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (1 December 1580 – 24 June 1637), often known simply as Peiresc, or by the Latin form of his name, Peirescius, was a French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or relat ...
,
Marin Mersenne Marin Mersenne (also known as Marinus Mersennus or ''le Père'' Mersenne; ; 8 September 1588 – 1 September 1648) was a French polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") ...
, and Ismaël Boulliau. At the foundation of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...
, he took on the task of foreign correspondence, as the first Secretary.


Early life

Born in
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
,
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
, he was trained in
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
and received his degree from the local ''Gymnasyum illustre'' on 2 November 1639. He had an initial very firm grasp of the
German German(s) may refer to: * Germany (of or related to) **Germania (historical use) * Germans, citizens of Germany, people of German ancestry, or native speakers of the German language ** For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law **Ger ...
,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languag ...
, and Greek languages. His movements during the 1640s are unclear, but he is thought to have worked as a tutor in
England England is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisat ...
for much of the decade. In 1648 he left England and spend some time in
Leiden Leiden ( , ; in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become ...
and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the fourth-largest city and a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnation ...
in the
Dutch Republic The United Provinces of the Netherlands, or United Provinces (officially the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands), commonly referred to in historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing histor ...
, where he became conversant in the
Dutch language Dutch ( ) is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting most of the population of the Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of ...
. After a short stay back in Bremen in the spring, he arrived back in
London London is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowerc ...
in July of 1653 as a diplomatic envoy of the city of Bremen's senate to the
Lord Protector Lord Protector (plural The plural (sometimes abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the ful ...
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" ...
for matters concerning the ongoing
First Anglo-Dutch War The First Anglo-Dutch War, or simply the First Dutch War, ( nl, Eerste Engelse (zee-)oorlog, "First English (Sea) War"; 1652–1654) was a conflict fought entirely at sea between the navies of the Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth ...
. Settling then in England of the
Interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally, it was the period of time between the reign of one monarch and the next (coming from Latin '' ...
, he forged a strong relationship with his lifelong patron
Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (; 25 January 1627 – 31 December 1691) was an Anglo-Irish Anglo-Irish () is a term which was more commonly used in the 19th and early 20th centuries to identify an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a group ...
, and with
John Milton John Milton (9 December 16088 November 1674) was an English poet and intellectual who served as a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England The Commonwealth was the political structure during the period from 1649 to 1660 when Engla ...
, who wrote of him approvingly that he had "learnt to speak our language more accurately and fluently than any other foreigner I have ever known" (''Correspondence'', 1.34). Oldenburg eventually became the tutor to Boyle's nephew, the politician Richard Jones, and travelled with him through France from 1657 to 1660. Here Oldenburg also added to his intellectual baggage the French language, the last European language in which he was completely conversant. Oldenburg married his second wife, Dora Katherina Dury (1654–77), the daughter of Dorothy and
John Dury John Dury (1596 in Edinburgh – 1680 in Kassel) was a Scottish Calvinist minister and an intellectual of the English Civil War period. He made efforts to re-unite the Calvinist and Lutheran wings of Protestantism, hoping to succeed when he moved ...
in London on 13 August 1668. Either through Milton, whom he had met earlier in his diplomatic mission, or through
Lady Ranelagh Katherine Jones, Viscountess Ranelagh (22 March 1615 – 3 December 1691), also known as Lady Ranelagh, was an Anglo-Irish scientist in seventeenth-century Britain. She was also a political and religious philosopher, and a member of many intel ...
, sister to Boyle and the mother of Richard Jones, Oldenburg gained entry to an important intellectual circle, including
Samuel Hartlib Samuel Hartlib or Hartlieb (c. 1600 – 10 March 1662)
M. Greengrass, "Hartlib, Samuel (c. 1600–1662)", ''Oxford D ...
, whose extensive web of correspondents Oldenburg was to take over, John Dury who became his father-in-law, and others such as the economist
William Petty Sir ''Sir'' is a formal for , derived from ' in the . Traditionally, as governed by and custom, Sir is used for men titled as s, meaning of , as well as later also applied to s and other offices. As the equivalent for knighthood is da ...
. Among Oldenburg's correspondents at this time was
Baruch Spinoza Baruch (de) Spinoza (; ; ; born Baruch Espinosa; later as an author and a correspondent Benedictus de Spinoza, anglicized to Benedict de Spinoza; 24 November 1632 – 21 February 1677) was a Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Sephardi origin. One ...
, whom he was introduced to on a trip to the
Netherlands ) , national_anthem = ( en, "William of Nassau") , image_map = EU-Netherlands.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = BES islands location map.svg , map_caption2 = , image_map3 ...
, and to whom he presented a volume of writings on scientific topics by Boyle.


Secretary of the Royal Society

After the
Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage * Restoration style Film and television * The Restoration (1909 film), ''The Restoration'' (1909 film), a ...
he became an early member (''original fellow'') of the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society A learned society (; also known as a learned academy, scholarly society, or academic association) is an organization that exis ...
(founded in 1660), and served as its first secretary along with
John Wilkins John Wilkins, (14 February 161419 November 1672) was an Anglican clergyman, natural philosopher Natural philosophy or philosophy of nature (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language ...
, maintaining an extensive network of scientific contacts through Europe. He also became the founding editor of the ''
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society ''Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society'' is a scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published ...
''. Oldenburg began the practice of sending submitted manuscripts to experts who could judge their quality before publication. This was the beginning of both the modern scientific journal and the practice of
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may r ...
. ''Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society'' continues today and is the longest running scientific journal in the world. He was briefly imprisoned in the
Tower A tower is a tall structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of ru ...
as a suspected spy in 1667, during the
Second Anglo-Dutch War The Second Anglo-Dutch War or the Second Dutch War (4 March 1665 – 31 July 1667; nl, Tweede Engelse Oorlog "Second English War") was a conflict between England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of ...
. Oldenburg's correspondence was linked to support from the politician
Sir Joseph Williamson Sir Joseph Williamson, President of the Royal Society, PRS (25 July 1633 – 3 October 1701) was an English civil servant, diplomat and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England variously between 1665 and 1701 and in the Irish Hous ...
; in part Oldenburg supplied Williamson with intelligence information. Oldenburg enjoyed good health in his lifetime, but he fell seriously ill on 3 September 1677, and he died two days thereafter at his Pall Mall, London home. He was interred on 7 September at St Mary the Virgin,
Bexley Bexley is an area of south-eastern Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England, administrative area governed by the Greater London Authority, and a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial c ...
. His widow died ten days later.


Foreign correspondents


Denmark

*
Rasmus Bartholin Rasmus Bartholin (; Latinized: ''Erasmus Bartholinus''; 13 August 1625 – 4 November 1698) was a Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", ...
.


Flanders

* René François Walter de Sluse.


France

* Adrien Auzout,
Henri Justel Henri Justel (1619–1693) was a French scholar and royal administrator, and also a bibliophile and librarian. He is known also as Henry Justel and Henricus Justellus. He was son of the scholar Christophe Justel. He acted as a secretary to Loui ...
, Pierre Petit,
Ismaël Bullialdus Ismaël Boulliau (; Latin: Ismaël Bullialdus; 28 September 1605 – 25 November 1694) was a 17th-century French astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field ...
.


Germany

* Sir
William Curtius The Curtius Baronetcy of Sweden was a title in the Baronetage of England, created on 2 April 1652 for Sir William Curtius, William Curtius, "Resident to the King of Sweden". Curtius was a diplomat representing the House of Stuart during the Thi ...
, Johann Hevelius,
Gottfried Leibniz Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibniz ; see inscription of the engraving depicted in the " 1666–1676" section. ( – 14 November 1716) was a German polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, " ...
, Philipp Jacob Sachs von Lewenheimb,
Johann Daniel Major Johann Daniel Major (16 August 1634, Breslau – 26 July 1693, Stockholm) was a German professor of theoretical medicine, naturalist, collecting, collector and the founder of museology. From 1654 to 1658 Johann Daniel Major studied at the Universi ...
,
Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus (or Tschirnhauß, ; 10 April 1651 – 11 October 1708) was a German mathematician, physicist, physician, and philosopher. He introduced the Tschirnhaus transformation In mathematics, a Tschirnhaus transforma ...
, Martin Vogel.


Italy

* Paolo Boccone,
Giovanni Domenico Cassini Giovanni Domenico Cassini, also known as Jean-Dominique Cassini (8 June 1625 – 14 September 1712) was an Italian (naturalised French) mathematician, astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their stu ...
,, p. v.
Marcello Malpighi Marcello Malpighi (10 March 1628 – 30 November 1694) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian l ...
.


Netherlands

*
Reinier de Graaf Regnier de Graaf (English spelling), original Dutch spelling Reinier de Graaf, or Latinized Reijnerus de Graeff (30 July 164117 August 1673) was a Netherlands, Dutch physician, physiologist and anatomy, anatomist who made key discoveries in repro ...
,
Christiaan Huygens Christiaan Huygens ( , also , ; la, Hugenius; 14 April 1629 – 8 July 1695), also spelled Huyghens, was a Dutch mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) i ...
and his father,
Constantijn Huygens Sir Constantijn Huygens, Lord of Zuilichem ( , also , 4 September 159628 March 1687), was a Dutch Golden Age The Dutch Golden Age ( nl, Gouden Eeuw ) was a period in the history of the Netherlands The History of the Netherlands is a hist ...
,
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek ( ; ; 24 October 1632 – 26 August 1723) was a Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium ...
,
Willem Ten Rhijne Willem ten Rhijne (1647, Deventer – 1 June 1700, Jakarta, Batavia) was a Dutch doctor and botanist who was employed by the Dutch East India Company in 1673. In summer 1674 he was dispatched to the trading post Dejima in Tokugawa Japan, Japa ...
, Benedictus/Baruch Spinoza, Peter Serrarius,, p. 80.
Jan Swammerdam Jan Swammerdam (February 12, 1637 – February 17, 1680) was a Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''f ...
,, p. viii.
Isaac Vossius Isaak Vossius, sometimes anglicised Isaac Voss (1618 in Leiden Leiden ( , ; in English language, English and Archaism, archaic Dutch language, Dutch also Leyden) is a List of cities in the Netherlands by province, city and List of municip ...
.


See also

*
Peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant field Field may r ...


References


Further reading

* Jean-Pierre Vittu, "Henry Oldenburg 'Grand intermédiaire'", in "Les grands intermédiaires culturels de la République des Lettres", pub. by Christiane Berkvens-Stevelinck, Hans Bots and Jens Häseler, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2005, pp. 184–209 * * Thomas Elsmann: ''Im Schatten des Kaufmanns – Bremische Gelehrte 1600–1900'', Bremen: Schünemann 2012, S. 80–99


External links

* * *
The Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg
i
EMLO
{{DEFAULTSORT:Oldenburg, Henry 1610s births 1677 deaths 17th-century English diplomats 17th-century English scientists 17th-century English theologians 17th-century German scientists 17th-century German theologians Academic journal editors Fellows of the Royal Society German diplomats Hanseatic diplomats Natural philosophers Original Fellows of the Royal Society Peer review People associated with Baruch Spinoza Prisoners in the Tower of London Scientists from Bremen