Tag Archives: Claude-Louis Berthollet

The Birth of Chemistry

Annales de Chimie, Tome Premier. Paris, 1789. Octavo, 22cm. Mallet Chemistry Library.

Antoine de Lavoisier (1743-1794) was one of the founding fathers of the modern science of chemistry.  He and his contemporaries established a more quantitative, empirical method of inquiry grounded in physics and mathematics. In 1789, as the French Revolution was beginning, Lavoisier and his colleagues, including Claude-Louis Berthollet and Antoine-François Fourcroy, launched the first French chemical journal, Annales de Chimie. Despite the upheavals of the Revolution and Lavoisier’s own execution during the Reign of Terror, the Annales became a major component of the early literature of chemistry.

The establishment of a strong chemical research library was a high priority for the University’s first chemistry professors. Significant sums were spent on acquiring complete runs of major chemical journals. The first series of the Annales (volumes 1-96, 1789-1815) was purchased in 1914 for $325 – over $7,300 in 2014 dollars, and resides in the Mallet Chemistry Library.

Contributed by Mallet Chemistry Library Head Librarian David Flaxbart.