Sir Isaac Newton: Papers

Scope and Content

Mathematical and scientific papers, with correspondence. The papers relate to Newton, unless otherwise indicated.

MS.Add.3958: Early papers, in English and Latin, c. 1665-1672.

MS.Add.3959: Notes and papers regarding algebra and trigonometry, in Latin, c. 1700.

MS.Add.3960: Notes and papers regarding fluxions, curves and infinite series, in Newton's and two other hands, in English and Latin, c. 1700 and later.

MS.Add.3961: Notes and papers regarding curves, in Latin, c. 1706.

MS.Add.3962: Drafts, notes and fragments regarding The quadrature of curves (printed London, 1706), in Latin and English, c. 1706.

MS.Add.3963: Papers and notes on geometrical subjects, in Latin, c. 1706.

MS.Add.3964: Papers and notes on miscellaneous mathematical subjects, in Newton's and eight other hands, in Latin and English, c. 1716.

MS.Add.3965: Papers, drafts and notes regarding 'Principia', in Newton's and 6 other hands, in Latin and English, c. 1686-1725.

MS.Add.3966: Papers regarding Lunar theory, in Newton's and one other hand, in Latin, English and French, c. 1687-1724.

MS.Add.3967: Drafts intended for the 2nd edition of 'Principia', in English and Latin, before 1713.

MS.Add.3968/1: Papers regarding the dispute with Leibnitz and others regarding the invention of fluxions, in Newton's and several other hands, in English, Latin and French, c. 1711-1721.

MS.Add.3968/2: Fragments and drafts on the dispute with Leibnitz and others regarding the invention of fluxions, in Newton's and one other hand, in English and Latin, c. 1711-1716.

MS.Add.3969: Astronomical notes, communications, observations and tables received from Flamsteed, Halley, de Louville, Pound and others, in various hands, including some notes in Newton's hand; in Latin, French and English, c. 1695-1720.

MS.Add.3970: Drafts of Optics, with other material in Newton's and various other hands; in English and Latin, c. 1672-1706.

MS.Add.3971: Collection of transcripts on mathematical and astronomical subjects, apparently made for the use of Isaac Newton, in various hands, in Latin, French and English, c. 1722. Included are copies of works by R.F. Slusius, Antonio Monforte, Jacques Ozanam, G.W. Leibnitz, E.W. von Tschirnhaus, Henry Oldenburg, T.F. de Lagny, G.D. Cassini, John Craig and S. Morland.

MS.Add.3972: Letters, copies of correspondence, drafts and other papers regarding the search for a means of establishing longitude at sea, in various hands, in French, English, Spanish and Latin, 1697-1725. These papers either passed through Newton's hands or were composed by him.

MS.Add.3973: Notes on experiments, in English and Latin, 1678-1695.

MS.Add.3974: Notes, chiefly regarding gems, in Newton's and two other hands, in English and Latin, c. 1670.

MS.Add.3975: Notes on precious stones, colours, temperatures, salts, medical matters, alchemy and other subjects, in English and Latin, c. 1681-1693.

MS.Add.3976: Correspondence between Isaac Newton and Henry Oldenburg, 1672-1677.

MS.Add.3977: Correspondence with Henry Oldenburg, John Wallis, John Collins, Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, and William Lloyd, Bishop of Worcester, in Latin and English, 1671-1699.

MS.Add.3978: Arthur Storer: letters to Sir Isaac Newton and Humphrey Babington, with related papers, 1678-1683.

MS.Add.3979: Correspondence with John Flamsteed, 1680-1699.

MS.Add.3980: Correspondence between Sir Isaac Newton and David Gregory, in English and Latin, 1684-1702.

MS.Add.3982: Correspondence with Edmond Halley, in English and Latin, 1695-1725 and undated.

MS.Add.3983: Correspondence with Roger Cotes and related papers, 1710-1738.

MS.Add.3984: Correspondence with Roger Cotes and related papers, in English and Latin, 1710-1713.

MS.Add.3985: Correspondence with John Keill and related papers, in English and French, 1711-1718 and undated.

MS.Add.3986: Letters from Henry Pemberton to Sir Isaac Newton regarding the editing of the 3rd edition of 'Principia', in English and Latin, 1724-1726.

MS.Add.3987: 'Chronology of ancient kingdoms amended', a draft, c. 1700.

MS.Add.3988: 'Chronology of ancient kingdoms amended', c. 1700. This is the work as prepared for the press prior to its first printing in 1728.

MS.Add.3989: 'Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St John', c. 1700. A composite group of fragments assembled by Newton's half-nephew Benjamin Smith with a view to publication, and printed posthumously, 1733.

MS.Add.3990: 'De Mundi Systemate', in Latin, c. 1687. Draft headed 'De Motu Corporum Liber Secundus', first printed in 1731.

MS.Add.3993: 'Arithmetica Universalis', in Latin, c. 1705. An incomplete draft; the work was first printed in 1707.

MS.Add.3995: Treatise on algebra, and other unrelated material, in Newton's and one other hand, in English and Latin, c. 1670.

MS.Add.3997: St John Hare: mathematical treatise in 25 chapters, in Latin, late 17th century.

MS.Add.3998: St John Hare: 'Compendium Mathematicoalgebraicum ex Oughtredo Wallisio', in Latin and French, 1675. Tables of measures and weights, and mathematical notes.

MS.Add.4000: Notebook compiled by Newton when an undergraduate and bachelor at Trinity College, Cambridge, 1664-1665.

MS.Add.4002: 'Lectiones Opticae' (published 1729), in Latin, 1670.

MS.Add.4003: Untitled tract on hydrostatics, in Latin, c. 1670.

MS.Add.4004: Barnabas Smith: theological commonplace book, used further by his stepson Isaac Newton for geometrical and optical drafts, notes and calculations; in Latin and English, 1612 and 1664-1678.

MS.Add.4005: Papers and drafts either in Newton's hand or concerning his life and work, including writing in eight other hands; in English and Latin, c. 1665-1833. The subjects covered include the Royal Society, education, cosmography, mechanics, mathematics, astronomy and shipbuilding.

MS.Add.4006: Correspondence with John Flamsteed and associated papers, including draft agreements and correspondence regarding the Royal Observatory at Greenwich; in the hands of Newton, Flamsteed and 4 others, in Latin and English, 1705-1716.

MS.Add.4007: Correspondence and related papers transcribed from items in the Portsmouth papers under the supervision of Prof. J.C. Adams; in six hands, in English, Latin and French, 1875-1886. Most of the originals are in MSS.Add.3958-4006, while some were returned to Lord Portsmouth.

Administrative / Biographical History

Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born at Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, on 25 December 1642. He attended Grantham Grammar School, 1654-1656, before matriculating at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1661 (B.A., 1665), where he became a Fellow in 1667. In 1669 he was appointed Lucasian Professor at the university. Newton was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1672, and served as its President, 1703-1727. He was the Member of Parliament for Cambridge University, 1689 and 1701-1702. Newton's work on optics was published in 1704, and his research on the laws of motion appeared in his 'Principia', published in 1687. His other work included theological writings and the use of astronomy to try to amend ancient chronology. He was knighted in 1705, and died at Kensington on 20 March 1727.

Access Information

The collection is only available in microfilm form (MS 9575-), with the exception of MS.Add.4007, which is open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Presented by the 5th Earl of Portsmouth to the University, 1888; transferred from the University Registry, c. 1891. MS.Add.3975 was transferred from the University Registry in December 1949, having been omitted from the 1891 transfer, perhaps by accident.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives. The biographical history was compiled with reference to the entry on Newton in Sidney Lee, ed., Dictionary of national biography, Vol. XIV (London, 1909), pp. 370-393.

Other Finding Aids

Additional Manuscripts Catalogue. Descriptive lists for the collection are also available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Custodial History

MSS.Add.3987-3990 and 3995 were owned previously by John Conduit, from whom they passed to the Wallop family.

Related Material

For further information about MS.Add.3990 see MS Dd.4.18, Newton's professorial lectures.


Some of the letters from MSS.Add.3983 and 3984 are published in J. Edleston, Correspondence of Sir Isaac Newton (London, 1850). Further information about MS.Add.3990 can be found at p. 98 in this work.