Vol. 3 (2014): Letter Writing in Early Modern Culture, 1500-1750
Part Two - Case Studies

Scientific Interaction Within Henry Oldenburg’s Letter Network

Maurizio Gotti
BSFM: Laboratorio editoriale OA (Responsabile)
Published March 10, 2014
  • Communal Correspondence,
  • Controversy,
  • Experimentation,
  • Henry Oldenburg
How to Cite
Gotti, M. (2014). Scientific Interaction Within Henry Oldenburg’s Letter Network. Journal of Early Modern Studies, 3, 151-171. https://doi.org/10.13128/JEMS-2279-7149-14169


The article investigates various functions fulfilled by letters exchanged by European scholars and experimenters in the period 1660-1676. The correspondence network taken into consideration is the one coordinated by Henry Oldenburg, who was responsible for a large exchange of letters in that period, particularly when he became the first Secretary of the Royal Society. The analysis shows that this correspondence greatly stimulated the growth of a real community of adepts, as it provided an excellent means for the exchange of views, the conducting of controversies, the corroboration of individual observations and the official recognition of one’s own findings. Communal correspondence also fulfilled other important goals linked to socialization purposes, favouring the creation of a new specialized community sharing innovative intellectual interests and professional practices, as well as the adoption of a spirit of solidarity among its members.