The Info List - Lynn Thorndike

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Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(born 24 July 1882, in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA – died 28 December 1965, Columbia University
Columbia University
Club, New York City) was an American historian of medieval science and alchemy.[1][2] He was the son of a clergyman, Edward R. Thorndike, and the younger brother of Ashley Horace Thorndike, an American educator and expert on William Shakespeare, and Edward Lee Thorndike, known for being the father of modern educational psychology.[3]


1 Education and teaching career 2 Writing career 3 Works

3.1 Miscellany

4 References 5 Further reading 6 External links

Education and teaching career[edit] Thorndike studied at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut (Bachelor of Arts, 1902), and then medieval history at Columbia University (Master of Arts 1903, Doctorate 1905). Thorndike's doctoral dissertation (1905) was about "The Place of Magic in the Intellectual History of Europe", which he went on to link with the historical development of experimental science.[1] He began teaching medieval history at Northwestern University
Northwestern University
in 1907. He moved to Western Reserve University
Western Reserve University
in 1909 and stayed there until 1924. Columbia University
Columbia University
lured him away in fall 1924 and he taught there until he retired from teaching in 1950. Writing career[edit] After retiring from teaching, Thorndike continued to publish for an additional ten years and in 1957 received the Sarton Medal from the History of Science Society. He served as the president there in 1929 and also served as president of the American Historical Association. Counter to Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt
Jacob Burckhardt
who argued that the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
was a separate phase, Thorndike believed that most of the political, social, moral and religious phenomena which are commonly defined as Renaissance seemed to be almost equally characteristic of Italy at any time from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries.[4][clarification needed] Among his books on magic and science are: A History of Magic and Experimental Science (8 vol., 1923–58),[5] spanning the period from early Christianity through early modern Europe to the end of the 17th century.[6] In that book, he commented about the best way to find historical truth:[7]

Some investigators of manuscripts, like certain anthropologists and archeologists, seem to think that they attain a higher degree of scholarship, if they propound some novel and improbable theory and adduce a certain amount of evidence for it. This is hardly the direct or rapid method of attaining historical truth.

Another book by Thorndike about magic and science is Science and Thought in the Fifteenth Century (1929). Thorndike also wrote The History of Medieval Europe (1917, 3d ed. 1949) and translated the medieval astronomical textbook De sphaera mundi
De sphaera mundi
of Johannes de Sacrobosco. Works[edit]

The Place of Magic in the Intellectual History of Europe, The Columbia University Press, 1905. The True Roger Bacon, 1916. The History of Medieval Europe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1917. Medieval Europe, its Development & Civilization, George G. Harrap & Company Ltd., 1920. Galen: the man and his times, 1922. Peter of Abano: A Medieval Scientist, 1923. History of Magic and Experimental Science, 1923–1958, in 8 volumes (e.g. Volume I & Volume II). A Short History of Civilization, 1926. Outline of Medieval and Modern History, 1929. Check-list of Rotographs in the History of Natural and Occult Science, 1934. University Records and Life in the Middle Ages, New York: Columbia University Press, 1944. Dates in Intellectual History: the Fourteenth Century, 1945. Traditional Medieval Tracts Concerning Engraved Astrological Images, 1947. The Sphere of Sacrobosco and its Commentators, Universitay of Chicago Press, 1949. Latin Treatises on Comets Between 1238 and 1368 A. D., University of Chicago Press, 1950. The Sixteenth Century, Columbia University
Columbia University
Press, 1959. Science and Thought in the Fifteenth Century; Studies in the History of Medicine and Surgery, Natural and Mathematical Science, Philosophy, and Politics, 1963 Michael Scot, Nelson, 1965.


"Measuring Euripides," Issued by The College for Women Section, Chapter Alpha of Ohio, Phi Beta Kappa, 1916. "Whatever Was, Was Right," Presidential Address Read at the Annual Dinner of the American Historical Association, Mayflower Hotel, Washington, D. C., December 29, 1955


^ a b Pearl Kibre (1954). "Lynn Thorndike". Osiris. 11: 4–22. doi:10.1086/368567. JSTOR 301659.  ^ Marshall Clagett (1966). "Eloge: Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1882–1965)". Isis. 57 (1): 85–89. doi:10.1086/350081. JSTOR 228693.  ^ Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. Springer. pp. 3320–. ISBN 978-1-4419-1427-9.  ^ Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1943). "Renaissance or Prenaissance". Journal of the History of Ideas. 4: 69.  ^ As shown in an online book search. ^ Part of Volume I, originally printed as A History of Magic and Experimental Science during the first thirteen centuries of our era: volume I (of two volumes) (1923), is also online in 'previewable' part, containing "Book III. The early middle ages", pages 549–835 with indexes from the original Volume I. (This part is now described, in online metadata, as "volume 2 of 14".) ^ Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1934) A History of Magic and Experimental Science: Fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, pp. 253–254. Columbia University Press.

Further reading[edit]

Boyer, Carl B. & Boyer, Marjorie N. "Lynn Thorndike (1882–1965)," Technology and Culture, Vol. 7, No. 3, Summer, 1966.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lynn Thorndike.

Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
Papers: 1902–1963

v t e

Presidents of the American Historical Association


Andrew Dickson White
Andrew Dickson White
(1884-85) George Bancroft
George Bancroft
(1886) Justin Winsor
Justin Winsor
(1887) William Frederick Poole
William Frederick Poole
(1888) Charles Kendall Adams
Charles Kendall Adams
(1889) John Jay (1890) William Wirt Henry (1891) James Burrill Angell
James Burrill Angell
(1892-93) Henry Adams
Henry Adams
(1893-94) George Frisbie Hoar
George Frisbie Hoar
(1895) Richard Salter Storrs
Richard Salter Storrs
(1896) James Schouler (1897) George Park Fisher (1898) James Ford Rhodes
James Ford Rhodes
(1899) Edward Eggleston
Edward Eggleston


Charles Francis Adams Jr.
Charles Francis Adams Jr.
(1901) Alfred Thayer Mahan
Alfred Thayer Mahan
(1902) Henry Charles Lea
Henry Charles Lea
(1903) Goldwin Smith
Goldwin Smith
(1904) John Bach McMaster
John Bach McMaster
(1905) Simeon Eben Baldwin
Simeon Eben Baldwin
(1906) J. Franklin Jameson (1907) George Burton Adams (1908) Albert Bushnell Hart
Albert Bushnell Hart
(1909) Frederick Jackson Turner
Frederick Jackson Turner
(1910) William Milligan Sloane
William Milligan Sloane
(1911) Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
(1912) William Archibald Dunning (1913) Andrew C. McLaughlin
Andrew C. McLaughlin
(1914) H. Morse Stephens
H. Morse Stephens
(1915) George Lincoln Burr
George Lincoln Burr
(1916) Worthington C. Ford (1917) William Roscoe Thayer
William Roscoe Thayer
(1918-19) Edward Channing (1920) Jean Jules Jusserand
Jean Jules Jusserand
(1921) Charles Homer Haskins
Charles Homer Haskins
(1922) Edward Potts Cheyney
Edward Potts Cheyney
(1923) Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
(1924) Charles McLean Andrews
Charles McLean Andrews


Dana Carleton Munro
Dana Carleton Munro
(1926) Henry Osborn Taylor (1927) James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
(1928) James Harvey Robinson
James Harvey Robinson
(1929) Evarts Boutell Greene (1930) Carl L. Becker (1931) Herbert Eugene Bolton
Herbert Eugene Bolton
(1932) Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard
(1933) William Dodd (1934) Michael Rostovtzeff
Michael Rostovtzeff
(1935) Charles Howard McIlwain (1936) Guy Stanton Ford (1937) Laurence M. Larson (1938) William Scott Ferguson (1939) Max Farrand
Max Farrand
(1940) James Westfall Thompson (1941) Arthur M. Schlesinger Sr. (1942) Nellie Neilson (1943) William Linn Westermann
William Linn Westermann
(1944) Carlton J. H. Hayes (1945) Sidney Bradshaw Fay (1946) Thomas J. Wertenbaker
Thomas J. Wertenbaker
(1947) Kenneth Scott Latourette
Kenneth Scott Latourette
(1948) Conyers Read (1949) Samuel Eliot Morison
Samuel Eliot Morison


Robert Livingston Schuyler (1951) James G. Randall (1952) Louis R. Gottschalk (1953) Merle Curti (1954) Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1955) Dexter Perkins (1956) William L. Langer (1957) Walter Prescott Webb
Walter Prescott Webb
(1958) Allan Nevins
Allan Nevins
(1959) Bernadotte Everly Schmitt (1960) Samuel Flagg Bemis (1961) Carl Bridenbaugh (1962) Crane Brinton (1963) Julian P. Boyd (1964) Frederic C. Lane (1965) Roy Franklin Nichols (1966) Hajo Holborn (1967) John K. Fairbank (1968) C. Vann Woodward
C. Vann Woodward
(1969) Robert Roswell Palmer (1970) David M. Potter (1971) Joseph Strayer (1971) Thomas C. Cochran (1972) Lynn Townsend White Jr. (1973) Lewis Hanke (1974) Gordon Wright (1975)


Richard B. Morris (1976) Charles Gibson (1977) William J. Bouwsma (1978) John Hope Franklin (1979) David H. Pinkney (1980) Bernard Bailyn (1981) Gordon A. Craig
Gordon A. Craig
(1982) Philip D. Curtin (1983) Arthur S. Link (1984) William H. McNeill (1985) Carl Neumann Degler (1986) Natalie Zemon Davis
Natalie Zemon Davis
(1987) Akira Iriye (1988) Louis R. Harlan (1989) David Herlihy (1990) William Leuchtenburg (1991) Frederic Wakeman (1992) Louise A. Tilly (1993) Thomas C. Holt (1994) John Henry Coatsworth (1995) Caroline Bynum (1996) Joyce Appleby (1997) Joseph C. Miller (1998) Robert Darnton
Robert Darnton
(1999) Eric Foner
Eric Foner


William Roger Louis (2001) Lynn Hunt (2002) James M. McPherson
James M. McPherson
(2003) Jonathan Spence (2004) James J. Sheehan
James J. Sheehan
(2005) Linda K. Kerber (2006) Barbara Weinstein (2007) Gabrielle M. Spiegel (2008) Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
(2009) Barbara D. Metcalf (2010) Anthony Grafton
Anthony Grafton
(2011) William Cronon
William Cronon
(2012) Kenneth Pomeranz
Kenneth Pomeranz
(2013) Jan E. Goldstein (2014) Vicki L. Ruiz (2015) Patrick Manning (2016) Tyler E. Stovall (2017) Mary Beth Norton (2018)

v t e

Presidents of the History of Science Society


Lawrence Joseph Henderson (1924–1925) James Henry Breasted
James Henry Breasted
(1926) David Eugene Smith
David Eugene Smith
(1927) Edgar Fahs Smith
Edgar Fahs Smith
(1928) Lynn Thorndike
Lynn Thorndike
(1929) Henry Crew
Henry Crew
(1930) William H. Welch
William H. Welch
(1931) Berthold Laufer (1932) J. Playfair McMurrich
J. Playfair McMurrich
(1933) Harvey Williams Cushing
Harvey Williams Cushing
(1934) Charles Albert Browne, Jr.
Charles Albert Browne, Jr.
(1935–1936) Chauncey D. Leake (1937–1938) Henry E. Sigerist
Henry E. Sigerist
(1939) Richard H. Shryock (1940–1942) Louis Charles Karpinski (1943–1944) Isaiah Bowman (1944) Vilhjalmur Stefansson
Vilhjalmur Stefansson
(1945–1946) John Farquhar Fulton
John Farquhar Fulton


Harcourt Brown (1951–1952) Dorothy Stimson (1953–1956) Henry Guerlac (1957–1960) I. Bernard Cohen (1961–1962) Marshall Clagett (1963–1964) Charles Coulston Gillispie (1965–1966) C. D. O'Malley (1967–1968) Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
(1969–1970) Lynn Townsend White, Jr. (1971–1972) Erwin N. Hiebert (1973–1974) John C. Greene
John C. Greene
(1975–1976) Richard S. Westfall
Richard S. Westfall
(1977-1978) Robert P. Multhauf (1979–1980) Frederic L. Holmes (1981–1982) Gerald Holton (1983–1984) Edward Grant (1985–1986) William Coleman (1987) Mary Jo Nye
Mary Jo Nye
(1988–1989) Stephen G. Brush (1990–1991) Sally Gregory Kohlstedt (1992–1993) David C. Lindberg (1994–1995) Frederick Gregory (1996–1997) Albert Van Helden (1998–1999)


Ronald Numbers
Ronald Numbers
(2000–2001) John Servos (2002–2003) Michael Sokal (2004–2005) Joan Cadden (2006–2007) Jane Maienschein (2008–2009) Paul Lawrence Farber (2010–2011) Lynn K. Nyhart (2012–2013) Angela N. H. Creager
Angela N. H. Creager
(2014–2015) Janet Browne
Janet Browne

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 27853305 LCCN: n50012691 ISNI: 0000 0001 1885 1354 GND: 117626236 SELIBR: 351184 SUDOC: 03158599X BNF: cb12277185d (data) BIBSYS: 90399076 NDL: 00526