no previous
next part


I became interested in the Academy of Sciences in a graduate seminar with the late C. Doris Hellman at The City University of New York in 1969, where I examined the work of Edme Mariotte. Over the years my ideas about how to treat the Academy have expanded. During the 1970s I concentrated on the Academy's botanical research. In 1976 I began to investigate the Academy's finances and in 1981 found proof that the Academy was funded during the 1690s. At the same time I explored the Academy's relations with the rest of the scholarly community. My aim has been to understand the Academy in the most inclusive context possible, while making its botanical studies the core of my research.

During these twenty years I have accumulated numerous debts of gratitude for intellectual and moral encouragement, constructive criticism, and financial support. It is a pleasure to express here my sincere thanks to the many individuals and institutions that have helped me.

My research in Oxford and Paris as a graduate student was supported by scholarships and grants for research and travel from the Regents of the State of New York; the Graduate Center of The City University of New York; and the Taylor Institution, the Committee for Graduate Studies, and the University Chest of Oxford University. A summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities supported my research in Parisian archives during the summer of 1981, and the National Science Foundation provided a semester's leave of absence in 1982 for the drafting of chapters 2 through 5.The American Philosophical Society (1981, 1982), the American Council


of Learned Societies (1983), and the National Science Foundation (1984) funded research on patronage of the Academy. A Professional Development Grant from Bard College supported me during the drafting of chapter 14. Bard College also supplied funds for research, for the illustrations and tables, and for proofreading.

Over the years I have tested various hypotheses about the Academy at scholarly meetings, and I am grateful to my audiences and commentators for their astute comments. Parts of the argument about the Academy as a company were presented at the annual meeting of the History of Science Society (Toronto, October 1980); about the Academy's chemical research, at the semicentennial meeting of the History of Science Society (Norwalk, October 1974); about cooperation, at Harvard University (May 1978); about analogical reasoning, at the Joint Atlantic Seminar in the History of Biology (Princeton, April 1981); about the pensions of academicians, at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Los Angeles and in New York at the Metropolitan Seminar for the History of Technology (December 1981); and about subtle forms of power in the Academy at the Northeastern Anthropological Association Meeting (Hartford, March 1984). Portions of chapters 1 and 16 were presented at the Folger Library's conference on the ascendancy of culture during the reign of Louis XIV (March 1985). I discussed my earliest work on Mariotte at the Metropolitan New York History of Science Society (New York, February 1969) and at Oxford University (Hilary Term, 1970).

Several persons advised me as I studied the Academy. A. C. Crombie supervised my doctoral dissertation at Oxford University on the Academy's botanical research; his advice and example have supported me at all stages of the project. Michael S. Mahoney and Simone Balayé generously shared ideas and research findings on the finances of the Academy and the Bibliothèque du roi, respectively. J. D. North and Everett Mendelsohn posed questions that led me to investigate new areas. The late C. Doris Hellman encouraged my original interest in Mariotte and the Academy. For criticizing early drafts of individual chapters, I am grateful to Gerard L'E. Turner, F. L. Holmes, and Allen G. Debus. Roger Hahn, Bert Hansen, John W. Olmsted, Karen Reeds, Jacques Roger, Richard S. Westfall, the late Henry Guerlac, and the anonymous referees for the National Science Foundation and the University of California Press offered criticisms that stimulated second thoughts and revisions. Friends and colleagues in the United States, England, France, and Finland gave moral support and learned advice. Special thanks are due to the late Elizabeth C. Patterson and to colleagues


at Bard College, particularly John C. Fout; their encouragement was most welcome under trying circumstances.

The staffs of libraries and archives were always helpful. I have worked at the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, the British Library (then the British Museum), and University College (London); the Bodleian Library and Museum of the History of Science (Oxford); the Archives de l'Académie des Sciences (Institut de France), Archives Nationales, Bibliothèque du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, and Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris); the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation (Pittsburgh); the New York Public Library (and its Wertheim Study) and the New York Botanical Garden; and the Widener, Houghton, Arnold Arboretum, and Gray Herbarium Libraries of Harvard University. Åbo Akademis Bibliotek extended many courtesies during the year and several summers I lived in Åbo [Turku], Finland. Jane Hryshko at the Bard College Library and Margareta Blumenthal at Åbo Akademis Bibliotek ordered essential materials from other libraries. Mme Gauja, M. Pierre Berthon, Mme Claudine Pouret, Mlle Geneviève Darrieus, and their staff unfailingly welcomed me in my constant use of Archives of the Académie des Sciences over many years. I am grateful to the Permanent Secretaries of the Académie des Sciences of the Institut de France for permission to quote from manuscripts in the Archives of the Académie des Sciences.

It is also a pleasure to thank Kathleen E. Duffin, who found biographical information about many of the Academy's acquaintances; Armelle de Crépy, who collected information about Parisian neighborhoods; Tabetha Ewing, Kristina Mickelson, Laura Muller, and Willie G. Pannell, Jr., who helped prepare the final text; the Bard students who read the typescript aloud, backwards, to help me proofread; and the typesetters, who were accurate and vigilant. At the University of California Press, Diana Feinberg, Susan Gallick, Bettyann Kevles, Elizabeth Knoll, and Shirley Warren have provided tactful and efficacious advice about pruning the text and have encouraged and prodded me in the difficult last stages of preparing the book for the public.

The greatest thanks of all go to my husband, Timothy Stroup, whose moral and intellectual support has made my work possible.

Responsibility for errors of judgment or fact is of course my own. I hope that my work will provoke additional inquiries into the early Academy of Sciences, which remains a fertile terrain for exploration.

MAY 1989


no previous
next part