Catalogue description The Scoresby Papers

This record is held by Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society

Details of SCORESBY
Reference: SCORESBY
Title: The Scoresby Papers

This collection comprises illustrations for personal memoirs nd; personal memoirs of William Scoresby written in Greenland in 1820-1822 with Dawson Turners character of William Scoresby; arranged list of Scoresby's works and fasciculus of miscellaneous papers nd; Parisian guide books, annuarias, maps and other items illustrative of a visit to Paris in 1824; Baron Portal on the account of the arctic regions nd; portfolio containing original polar maps nd; portfolio of original drawings of ships and sails nd; original philosophical papers from Transactions of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh nd; duplicate of Scoresby's papers from Philosophical Transactions nd; notes on the magnetism of iron ships nd; notes on the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean nd; original notes on unequal refraction at Bridlington nd; detached papers and letter to Wilberforce nd; "The Compass in Iron ships" a letter to the Underwriters Association, Liverpool nd; drawings by some youth nd; experiments for magnet investigations volume III nd; notes on modern arctic researches and search expeditions including Lady Franklin's notes, Sir R Murchison on arctic discovery and the theory of polar basin - Franklin Expedition (Dr Rae's Intelligence) - and arctic expeditions, all for a lecture in Torquay in 1849; additional memorials unpublished portions of Captain Stewart's letter nd; copy book containing dimensions of the Ship Esk with sketches nd; select papers on iron ships and magnetism nd; rough drawings - for workmen - showing proofs of wood engravings nd; list of Dr Scoresby's works from the "Clerical Journal Directory" 1855; papers of W Gray of Liverpool with replies not published to his concerted and impertinent attacks nd; laws of Liverpool Association of Travellers into Foreign Countries nd; copybook containing notes "on the observable national Prosperity" - "Saratoga," "American Curiosity," March of Temperance", and a visit to Perkins' Institution for the Blind nd; newspaper report of the first meeting of the British Association nd; additional manuscripts on optical spectra nd; papers on the popular notion of an open polar sea nd; cards for lectures - Rain drop and Dew drop nd; original notes on experiments on optical spectra nd; papers on the wrecks seen on an iceberg 1857; temperature of the Gulf Stream at different depths nd; papers on the Magnetoscope of Mr Rutter nd; newspaper extract about magnetism nd; bundle of various manuscripts nd; notes on American factories and their female operatives nd; notes of two lectures on facts, fallacies and doubts in respect to mesmerisms odylism, table turning and spirit rapping nd; enquiry whether any alteration in linear dimensions of iron bars is produced by the development of the magnetic condition, or by transmission of a galvanic current nd; correspondence on compass and magnetism in iron ships nd; memorial of the sea - Sabbaths in arctic regions, original revised and copy for second edition nd; correspondence with Colonel Sabine on retentive magnetism nd; examination and account of the history of northern whale fishery, Original Notes No.1 - Anecdotes and Spitzbergen nd; uncorrected portion of part II of optical spectra nd; original manuscript entitled "My Father" nd; notes on lectures on the United States nd; portfolio of Scoresby's papers from Philosophical Transactions nd; journal of a voyage to Greenland, with engravings nd; memorials of the sea - Sabbaths in arctic regions nd; magnetic investigations Part III (induction-printed) nd; notes of lectures on arctic regions nd; select notes of lectures- "The Whale and Arctic Regions" and "The Whale Fishery" nd; lectures on zoistic magnetism nd; portfolio of original surveys and plans nd; various engravings of ice bergs nd; materials for optical illustrations nd; notes on patterns of whales nd; illustrations for lectures on optical spectra nd; miscellaneous original drawings nd; Emperor Charles V Signature at Bruxelles 12th October 1544; manuscript magnetic investigations volume II parts I and II 1840s; select notes for lectures on magnetism nd; manuscript notes on experiments and observations on magnetism nd; bundle of papers on optical spectra nd; manuscripts on magnetic investigations volume II memoranda on iron ships nd; Greenock Whale Fishing Company's accounts with Greenock Bank nd; notes on the heart and blood of whales nd; notes on elocution nd; notes on substances used on experiments on Dew nd; scientific and arctic letters 1852; notes on the transglacial journey to the pole nd; original manuscripts on the Franklin Expedition with accompanying manuscripts of the second and third letters to 'Morning Herald" nd; plan, with estimates, submitted to the Board of Trade for combining exploration of arctic seas with whale fishing in 1822; miscellaneous Scoresby's scientific papers nd; autographs with personal correspondence nd; manuscripts on the magnetism of iron ships nd; notes on Atlantic passages nd; selected original notes respecting arctic regions and northern whale fishery, including many particulars in zoology not yet published 1810-1825; whale ship reports nd; a number of small note books on various topics nd; miscellaneous notebooks for lectures at the University of Edinburgh nd; church almanac 1847; notices of processes and machines at the 1851 exhibition nd; papers on morals, religion and churches nd; manuscript pamphlet of "Sparkwell Villa" nd; letters of introduction nd; copies of letters by the copying press 1835-1845; ship's logbook nd; notes of visits to places including Manchester nd, Ireland nd, Scotland nd, Birmingham nd, Woolwich nd, Wales nd, London nd, Paris 1824 and Copenhagen 1807; common place book entitled "William and Eliza" "The Sailor" nd; two packets of Autograph letters nd; maps, plans and churches of Bradford schools nd; the schoolbook of William Scoresby 1803-1804; American letter to William Scoresby nd; schoolbook on plane trigonometry nd; manuscripts superseded or rewritten in volume II of magnet investigations nd; notes on the Franklin Expedition nd; notes on the arctic regions and arctic search expeditions nd; description of some remarkable atmospheric reflections observed in Greenland Seas by William Scoresby printed from Royal Society's Transactions nd; printed maps of polar seas nd; notes of Professor Jamieson's lectures on natural history nd; sketches of remarkable masses of drift ice, objects in zoology during a voyage to the polar seas by William Scoresby 1821; original manuscript notebooks on American topics nd; improvement manuscripts, papers and copies of letters on female factory operatives 1844-1846; brochures of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Transactions with a later note mentioning scientific sundries, atmospheric refraction at Greenland, atmospheric refraction at Bridlington, magnetic sundries and experiments, T S Traill and Scoresby nd; tin box containing numerous letters and manuscripts relating to parochial differences at Bradford nd; illustrations of magnetism of iron ships nd; a sermon on the loss of the Esk and Lively nd; notes enscribed personal memoirs and my father's documents nd; Scoresby's printed discourses to Seamen nd; memorial of W.H.R. Scoresby nd; printed meteorological observations during a voyage in resolution 1811; manuscript journals nd; illustrations on arctic zoology, whale and fishery nd; notes in progress philosophical memoranda, magnetism nd; practical cases of mesmerism nd; best set of Scoresby's philosophical papers for binding to 15th March 1854; correspondence on magnets nd; papers on arctic regions nd; parochial records for Bradford 1839-1847; notes entitled "Sabbaths in Arctic Regions", "Mary Russell", "My Father", "The Franklin Expedition", "Voyage to Greenland", "Arctic Regions" and "Seamen's Prayer" nd; a plea for the unity of the Church nd; corrected edition of Scoresby's "Memorials of the Sea"; German translation of Scoresby's "Voyage to Greenland" and "Arctic Regions" nd; Scoresby's essays on magnetism nd; family records nd; large portfolios containing autographs nd; book of diplomas nd; select theological and philosophical correspondence nd; select autographs from personal correspondence nd; discourse to Sunday school teachers nd; folios of select correspondence; miscellaneous papers regarding whale and whale fishery nd; memorials of the sea nd; printed copies of Scoresby's scientific papers nd; duplicate original publications nd; manuscripts of Scoresby's works on literary essays and tracts, United States, miscellaneous lectures, arctic zoology, whale fishery, original drawings, arctic plants, select lectures, zoistic magnetism, lectures on magnetism, telescopes, the Rosse telescope, original philosophical papers and list of reviews nd; dark covered journals containing family records, father's letters, select manuscripts and letters on arctic regions, early personal correspondence, philosophical papers and manuscripts on Rothesay Castle nd; journals containing entries on magnetic investigation and magnetism of iron ships nd; papers on zoistic magnetism nd; part II of Scoresby magnetic investigations nd; diagrams used in lectures on arctic regions, optical spectra and iron ships nd; papers on the patterns of whales nd; small map of polar summer 1821, framed with glass; roll of illustrative diagrams for lectures on magnetism, the original set was used at Liverpool nd; chart of north west passage on muslin and Scoresby's researches 1822; illustrative charts and track charts used for a voyage of magnetic research nd; Scoresby's original chart showing surveys and discoveries in Greenland nd; papers on whales second series (unfinished), sperm whale, outline only nd; arctic charts for lectures nd; a chart of original surveys and discoveries made on the east coast of Greenland in the ship Baffin of Liverpool when on a whaling voyage in summer 1822.

Date: 1544-19th century
Held by: Whitby Literary and Philosophical Society, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Scoresby, William, 1789-1857, master mariner, of Whitby, North Riding of Yorkshire

Physical description: c250 items
Access conditions:


  • Arctic regions
  • Sea fishing
  • Magnetism
Administrative / biographical background:

William Scoresby was born at the village of Cropton, twenty miles south west of Whitby. He was son of a whaling captain also called William Scoresby. At the age of thirteen he started to accompany his father to the Greenland whaling grounds whilst having a basic education during the winter. In 1806 he enrolled at Edinburgh University to study chemistry and natural philosophy. His lecturers urged him to carry out research in the polar regions. Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society suggested further research opportunities.


In 1811 Scoresby married and his wife had two sons but on return from a voyage in 1822 he learnt his wife had died. After this he went to France and during his time here joined the fellowship of the Royal societies of Edinburgh and London, and correspondence membership of the Institute of France. He decided to enter the church and in 1823 he entered his name at Queen's College Cambridge. In 1825 he was ordained and served at the curacy of Bessingby. In 1827 the Mariners' Floating Church was founded and Scoresby became its first chaplain. In 1828 he remarried and moved to Exeter. The following years were not easy for Scoresby, in 1834 his younger son died only to be followed in 1837 by the other.


In 1844 Scoresby visited the United States and on his return wore himself out fighting for the rights of his parishioners. By 1847 his health had diminished and he retired. He then made another trip to the United States and Canada and it was while he was on this trip he was notified of his second wife's death. In 1849 he remarried again and moved to Torquay.


In 1856 the Liverpool Compass Committee seconded his wish for a long voyage on which to test his theories concerning magnetism of iron ships and provided him with instruments for a journey on a steamship travelling to Australia. On his return he was unwell and in 1857 died.

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