Journals serve many important purposes. They provide up-to-date news, a platform for people to discuss their research, book reviews, information about lectures and conferences (as well as a place to publish the conference papers), promote a subject and encourage discussion.  With the development of electronic journals articles can be accessed within a matter of seconds rather than having to wait for the issue to drop through the letter box or appear on the shelves.

current journal display selection
Our current journals section

We have a large range of journals at the Whipple covering everything from philosophy of science, history of medicine, history of science and more specialised subjects covered by journals such as the American Phrenological Journal, Bulletin of the Scientific Instrument Company and Antiquarian Horology. The paper journals we hold are mainly from 19th century onwards and some journals are only in electronic form. It might even come to a point when the current journal section is no more!!!

To celebrate the range of journals we have I’ve had a quick look at Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip which was first published in 1865. It had two editors during its run, the wonderfully named Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (1825-1914) and John Ellor Taylor (1837-1895). A letter published in Science Gossip was responsible for the establishment of the Quekett Microscopical Club (which happens to be our subject for the letter Q).

title page vol 20
Title page of Volume 20

By looking at three random volumes we can see the journey the journal has taken through the years. The first volume had basic illustrations and initial capitals with basic floral designs. In volume 20 we can see the use of colour plates and more decorative initial capitals. The print is also different, demonstrating the developments in printing technology. Many of the volumes are available online via or for those who like the original paper, available from our Special Collections Store.

Dawn Moutrey, Library Assistant