- de Meij
- de Molijn
- van den Berch
- Hogenhouck family
- Civic career
- Scientific career
- Delft in Holland
Prior to 1800, excerpts, summaries, and quotations from Leeuwenhoek's letters were published by others in Dutch and in English, French, and Latin translations, often re-translated from the English or Latin translation in Philosophical Transactions of the Dutch manuscript. The parts devoted to Leeuwenhoek range from word-for-word re-printings to brief quotations or summaries within a broader discussion that could hardly be called an edition of the letter.
The three English-language publications on the table below contain letters that Leeuwenhoek sent to officers and members of the Royal Society. The same is true for seven of the eight letters in Boekzaal van Europe. For the others, it is doubtful that any of the publishers got permission from Leeuwenhoek to publish his work. Nor did he receive any payment if they profited.
Compared to Leeuwenhoek's self-published letters, which have the complete text and all of the figures, almost all of the articles and chapters in these edited journals and books were extracts and summaries, usually omitting the figures but not always the discussion of them.
These edited publications were devoted mostly to Leeuwenhoek's early work. The editors seemed most interested in sperm and the little animals.
Several of the journals were printed in Amsterdam from fear of censorship in France.
On the table below, they are arranged chronologically in the order in which they began publishing Leeuwenhoek's work. Most of the information comes from Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters, so it would not be surprising to find other publications prior to 1800 that should be on this list.
Summary of Leeuwenhoek's work in edited publications
|Title||Language||Issues or editions with L's letters published in ...||# of letters||Written from ...||# of figures|
|Philosophical Transactions||English||1673 - 1723||122||1673-04-28 to 1723-08-00||604|
|Journal des Sçavans||French||1675 - 1683||9||1674-04-07 to 1682-04-04||none of 10|
|Lectures and collections: Cometa, Microscopium||English||1678||2||1677-10-05 and 1678-01-14||none|
|Recueil d'experiences et observations||French||1679||5||1674-04-07 to 1678-01-14||5? of 6|
|Philosophical Collections||English||1681 - 1682||5||1679-04-25 to 1682-04-04||18 of 19|
|Acta eruditorum||Latin||1682 - 1689||13||1680-11-12 to 1687-11-28||36 of 116|
|Nouvelles de la republique des lettres||Latin||1683||2||1683-01-22 and 1683-07-16||1 of 12|
|Journal de médecine||French||1683||2||1677-05-14 and 1682-0303||4 of 7|
|Bibliothèque universelle et historique||French||1687 - 1688||16||1679-04-25 to 1688-09-07||36 of 136|
|De Boekzaal van Europe||Dutch||1693 - 1697||8||1693-10-27 to 1697-04-05||none|
|Anatomes publicae||Dutch||1709||1||1679-04-25||none of 1|
|Historia naturalis et medica latorum lumbricorum||Latin||1715||4||1677-11-00 to 1694-01-24||6 of 15|
|after Leeuwenhoek's death|
|Genees-kundig Verhaal van de algemeene in zwang gegaan hebbende Loop-ziekte||Dutch||1745||9||1681-11-04 to 1702-02-09||none of 57|
|L’Histoire Naturelle||Latin||1749||7||1677-11 to 1716-11-21||?|
|Collection académique||French||1755 - 1766||27||1673-04-28 to 1686-04-02||27 of 132|
|Genees- en heelkundige proeven en aanmerkingen||Dutch||1775||4||1674-04-07 to 1674-09-07||6 of 6|
|Abhandlungen zur Naturgeschichte, Physik und Oekonomie||Latin||1779 - 1780||19||1673-04-28 to 1684-04-14||35 of ?|
Beginnings of the secondary literature about Leeuwenhoek
Other than Robert Hooke, the first person to write extensively about Leeuwenhoek was Nicholas Hartsoeker in Essay de Dioptrique in 1694 and especially in Extrait Critique. Published in 1730 after the deaths of both men, it showed the quarrelsome side of Hartsoeker's personality. It did not quote or summarize Leeuwenhoek's letters directly, so the editors of Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters did not include it in their "Published in" section of any letters.
They did, however, include two other pre-1800 publications.
Buffon's Histoire naturelle of 1749 was first published a couple of decades after Leeuwenhoek's death and it has only long quotations from half a dozen letters in the context of Buffon's chapter comparing his observations to Leeuwenhoek's. It is interesting because it shows Leeuwenhoek's influence. Buffon could not properly treat the topics of generation and reproduction without discussing the accuracy of Leeuwenhoek's observations and the truth of his interpretations. Remember that even that late, the homunculus theory was still credible.
Hoole's well-intended two-part translation and rearrangement of extracts from 79 of the 183 letters written between 1680 and 1702 is also noted in Alle de Brieven / Collected Letters.
If you know of any other publications that should be on the table above, please contact me.