James Jurin

Birth or Baptism date: 
December 15, 1684
Death or Burial date: 
March 29, 1750

Jurin became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1717 and was its Secretary from 1721 to 1727.

As editor of volumes 31-34 of the Philosophical Transactions, he published Leeuwenhoek's final letters. After Leeuwenhoek's death, Jurin wrote the Royal Society's thank-you to Maria van Leeuwenhoek for the gift of a box of 26 of her father's microscopes.

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Jurin's letters to Leeuwenhoek


Introduced himself to Leeuwenhoek as the new Secretary to the Royal Society and expressed his admiration for Leeuwenhoek's work. (3 pp. MS. copy Wellcome MS. 6143)


Thanked Leeuwenhoek for his two last letters. Asked Leeuwenhoek to translate his letters into Latin as many of the letters he had sent in Dutch remained untranslated. Jurin stated that he was now translating these earlier letters. Communicated Sloane's request to Leeuwenhoek to investigate smallpox pustules for insects. (3 pp. MS. copy Wellcome MS. 6143)

1722-10-02 (missing)

In letter of 1722-11-20, Leeuwenhoek thanked Jurin for his letter of October 2.


Thanked Leeuwenhoek for his most recent letter on diamonds and especially for translating his letters into Latin. Presented in detail a method for measuring microscopic objects, such as blood globules. (5 pp. MS. copy Wellcome MS. 6143)


Introduced Mr. Raper as his courier who would like to be an eyewitness to Leeuwenhoek's observations. Thanked Leeuwenhoek for his work on the magnitude of blood globules (which Jurin had suggested), and suggested further lines of enquiry. Noted that Leeuwenhoek's work had led to the overthrow of the old theory of generation, but that perversely contemporary anatomises were now using his observations to support the old theory. Briefly discussed Leeuwenhoek's health. (4 pp. MS. copy Wellcome MS. 6143)