The Milton collection of Michael Faraday letters

Item author: Michael Faraday
Item date: 1827-1864
Grant Value: £4,000
Item cost: £10,000
Item date acquired: 2014
Item institution: Royal Institution of Great Britain
London borough: City of Westminster

Michael Faraday is best known for his scientific work and teaching undertaken at the Royal Institution from 1812 until his death in 1867, including the discoveries of electro-magnetic rotations (1821), benzene (1825), electro-magnetic induction (1831), the magneto-optical effect and diamagnetism (1845), and thereafter the formulation of the field theory of electro-magnetism. Comparatively little is known about his personal life and religious beliefs, and a large part of what is known lies within this correspondence with his nieces.The Milton collection of correspondence was the largest collection of Faraday letters still to remain in private hands. Most of the 31 letters are concerned with matters relating to the Sandemanian church, of which Faraday and most of his relations were members.

Also included are a number of letters to Faraday from leading scientific individuals of the day, such Charles Babbage, Richard Owen and John Herschel. Altogether the collection, now been acquired with the help of funding from the Friends of the National Libraries, makes a highly significant addition to the existing archival collections of the Royal Institution, which include Faraday’s scientific papers and correspondence.

The Milton collection will be added to the Royal Institution’s archival catalogues and made accessible to researchers and the public.