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Henry Oldenburg (also Henry Oldenbourg)
FRS FRS may also refer to: Government and politics * Facility Registry System, a centrally managed Environmental Protection Agency database that identifies places of environmental interest in the United States * Family Resources Survey, a survey to c ...
(c. 1618 as Heinrich Oldenburg – 5 September 1677). was a
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
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 PeirescFabri is a surname. Notable people with the surname include: * Anna Fabri (f. 1496), Swedish publisher and printer * Annibale Pio Fabri (1697–1760), Italian singer and composer * Emanuel Fabri (born 1952), Maltese footballer * Ernst Fabri (1891– ...
,
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") ...

Marin Mersenne
, 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 ...

London
, 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: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
,
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
, and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
languages. His movements during the 1640s are unclear, but he is thought to have worked as a tutor in
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. E ...
for much of the decade. In 1648 he left England and spend some time 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 municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality in the Provinces of the N ...

Leiden
and
Utrecht Utrecht ( , ) is the List of cities in the Netherlands by province, fourth-largest city and a List of municipalities of the Netherlands, municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the Provinces of the Netherlands, provin ...

Utrecht
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 historian ( 484– 425 BC) was ...
, 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 ...

London
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" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
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 and the Dutch Republic, ...
. 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 ''i ...
, 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 ...

Robert Boyle
, 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 under its Council of State and later under . He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best kno ...

John Milton
, 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
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 Edinburgh (; sco, Edinburgh; gd, Dùn Èideann ) is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 Council areas of Scotland, council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian (interchangeably Edinbur ...
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 intellect ...
, 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 Di ...
, 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 William Petty Royal Society, FRS (26 May 1623 – 16 December 1687) was an English economist, physician, scientist and philosopher. He first became prominent serving Oliver Cromwell and the Commonwealth of England, Commonwealth in Ireland. ...

William Petty
. 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 Spanish and Portuguese Jews, Por ...

Baruch Spinoza
, 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 ...

Netherlands
, 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), a film by D.W. Griffith starr ...
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 ministry, Anglican clergyman, natural philosophy, natural philosopher and author, and was one of the founders of the Royal Society. He was Bishop of Chester from 1668 until his ...

John Wilkins
, 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 published by the Royal Society. In its earliest days, it was a private venture of the Royal Society's secretary. It was established in 1665, making it the first journa ...
''. 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 ...

Tower
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; 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 ...

Bexley
. 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", ...

Rasmus Bartholin
.


Flanders

* René François Walter de Sluse.


France

*
Adrien Auzout Adrien Auzout ronounced in French somewhat like o-zoo(28 January 1622 – 23 May 1691) was a French astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the sco ...
,
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 Louis ...
, Pierre Petit (engineer), Pierre Petit, Ismaël Bullialdus.


Germany

* Sir Curtius baronets, William Curtius, Johann Hevelius, Gottfried Leibniz, Philipp Jacob Sachs von Lewenheimb, Johann Daniel Major, Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus, Martin Vogel.


Italy

* Paolo Boccone, Giovanni Domenico Cassini,, p. v. Marcello Malpighi.


Netherlands

* Reinier de Graaf, Christiaan Huygens and his father, Constantijn Huygens, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Willem Ten Rhijne, Baruch Spinoza, Benedictus/Baruch Spinoza, Peter Serrarius,, p. 80. Jan Swammerdam,, p. viii. Isaac Vossius.


See also

* Peer review


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