Henri van Swinden's archive in the Leiden Special Collections contains four draft letters by Swiss mathematician Fatio De Duillier to Isaac Newton from 1693. The previously unpublished letters shed light on Newton’s alchemical practices and his reliance on circulation of knowledge.
Collector Bodel Nijenhuis is best known for his collection of maps and atlases, but he also collected portraits and autographs. Through his collections he created a documentation system on famous people, with portraits, specimens of their handwriting and biographical information.
Gifts by the Friends, both financially and physically, are essential in the enrichment of our special collections. The support of the Friends is often crucial in enabling the University Library to purchase certain desiderata that otherwise would not be within our reach.
In the nineteenth century, cholera outbreaks struck several cities in the Netherlands. Mapmakers struggled to aggregate the complex data gathered about the disease into clear cartographic images, a problem cartographers struggle with even today.
After the assassination of William of Orange (1533-1584), friends feared, and foes hoped the Dutch Republic would collapse. The Republic, however, was saved by a team of professional leaders, laying the foundations for an emergent country and its lasting independence.
Emmy Andriesse photographed the last years of World War II in Amsterdam while putting herself in serious danger. Her photographs, now in the Leiden Special Collections, gained iconic status in Dutch visual history.
Sacred geography (geographia sacra) was a flourishing field of scholarship in the early modern period. The atlas of the Holy Land by Christiaan van Adrichem falls squarely within this category of sacred geography.