Donald Cardwell Papers

Scope and Content

The collection is comprised of the papers of Donald Stephen Lowell Cardwell, which date between 1961-1989 - though not all items are dated, so it is possible that the range of dates of creation be wider. Within the given date range, Cardwell worked largely at UMIST (from 1963), having previously been at the University of Leeds (1958-1963). He lived in Cheshire, with the exception of an (ultimately temporary) retirement to South Wales in the mid 1970s. While the geographic provenance of the papers is not generally directly attributed, these locations are those most likely associated with their creation.

In terms of content, the bulk of the collection consists of Cardwell's correspondence, spanning personal, academic, departmental and administrative business. There is also a substantial quantity of lecture notes, and a selection of academic papers (including offprints), reviews and research notes, as well as documents relating to television productions in which Cardwell was involved.

Administrative / Biographical History

Professor Donald Stephen Lowell Cardwell (1919-1998) is known for his contributions to the study of the History of Science. He turned to historical work after completing a Ph.D. in Physics at King's College London, and following the publication of his first bookThe Organisation of Science in England (1957) he was employed by the University of Leeds of Leeds; the publication of his second book, Steam Power in the Eighteenth Century (1963) led to a position at the Manchester College of Science and Technology (which soon became the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology), where he would remain until retirement. His next books, 1973's From Watt to Clausius: The Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age and 1971's Technology, Science and History (titled Turning Points in Western Civilization in the US won him the Dexter Prize (1973) and the Leonardo Da Vinci Medal (1981), the only non-American to receive both of these awards. He organised a conference in Manchester for the John Dalton Bicentennial in 1968 and edited an accompanying collection of essays. Outside of academia, he was instrumental to the foundation and development of Museum of Science and Industry and was involved the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society throughout his career, becoming its President in retirement.


  • DSC/1 Correspondence minutes and reports
  • DSC/2 Papers, review, offprints and research notes
  • DSC/3 TV Programmes
  • DSC/4 Lectures
  • DSC/5 Miscellaneous

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Under the Act 2018 (DPA), The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for archiving and research purposes. In accordance with the DPA, UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Open parts of this collection, and the catalogue descriptions, may contain personal data about living individuals. Some items in this collection may be closed to public inspection in line with the requirements of the DPA. Restrictions/closures of specific items will be indicated in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Mr Joe Marsh (formerly UMIST).

Archivist's Note

Catalogue and arrangement by Chloe Highton (University of Liverpool), in the course of a cataloguing placement, under the supervision of James Peters, University Archivist

Separated Material

On accession in 2009, the Elton collection was removed, and Alan' Pate's papers on JP Joule (including items relating to the Joule lecture, the Joule exhibition, Joule's apparatus, copies of Joule's letters, articles on Joule, photos of Joule and Joule bibliography) were transferred to the Joule collection file, held within Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Appraisal Information

The collection was subject to appraisal and some items were destroyed; an appraisal report is available upon request.

Custodial History

Transferred to the Library on 27 May 2009.


Cardwell, Donald, Steam Power in the Eighteenth Century (London: Sheed and Ward, 1963)

Cardwell, Donald (Ed.), John Dalton and the Progress of Science (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1968)

Cardwell, Donald, From Watt to Clausius: The Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age (Ithaka, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1971)

Cardwell, Donald, Technology, Science and History(London: Heinemann, 1972)

Marsh, Joseph O., Donald Cardwell (1919-1998), Technology and Culture, Vol.41, no.1 (January 2000), pp.184-186

Pickstone, John, Obituary: Professor Donald Cardwell (4 August 1919-8 May 1998), British Journal for the History of Science, Vol.32, no.4 (December 1999), pp.485-8

Geographical Names