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Henry Baker Papers

Date range: 1722–70.

Eight substantial volumes contain notes and letters of Henry Baker (1698–1774), naturalist, poet and pioneer of education for deaf people (English ms 19).

Baker was awarded the Copley medal by the Royal Society in 1744 for his observations of crystal morphology under the microscope.

He also gained a considerable reputation and fortune from a career teaching deaf people and those with speech impairments, and he had many aristocratic clients. These volumes cover his microscopical work, including repeats of the experiments of Abraham Trembley on the spontaneous regeneration of polyps (Hydra viridis). They also include extensive notes on his practice as a tutor for children with speech impediments.

Additional uncatalogued material comprises four volumes of Baker’s Exercises for the Deaf and Dumb, and manuscript legal agreements between Baker and people with speech impediments.

See also the Deaf Education Collection.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library