Fonds MS-2-726 - James Dinwiddie fonds

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James Dinwiddie fonds

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  • Textual record

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Physical description

2.16 m of textual records

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Dr. James Dinwiddie was born in 1746 at Dumfries, Scotland. He graduated from Edinburgh University in 1778. In 1779 he began writing his series "Queries and Hints", which were scientific journals covering a wide variety of subjects. His fields of research included history, physics, chemistry, engineering, military tactics, and many other diverse topics. In 1781 Dinwiddie embarked upon a lecture series around the United Kingdom on various scientific topics. In 1792 he was invited to join Lord Macartney's embassy to China, as an "experimentalist" and "mechanic". He performed several scientific experiments and demonstrated numerous apparatus for the imperial court. When the embassy left for the return voyage to Britain, Dinwiddie asked to be left behind and went to India. He continued to lecture in India, and was appointed Professor of Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry at the College of Fort William. Dinwiddie left Calcutta in September 1806, and resettled in London, where he continued to lecture and write in his scientific journals. He was an active member of the Royal Institution of Great Britain up until his death in 1815.

Custodial history

James Dinwiddie's records were found in the basement of Mrs. Barbara Bisson's house at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1997. How the records got there has yet to be determined. Dinwiddie's records were given to Professor David Sutherland of Dalhousie University's History Department in January 1998. He passed them on to the University Library and they were accepted by the Dalhousie University Archives. The donation was formally accessioned on the 7th of January 1999.

Scope and content

Fonds consists of the personal papers of Dr. James Dinwiddie which include his lecture notes, scientific journals, notebooks, manuscript, early experiments for 1774, correspondence, and personal journals and also some records from the Royal Institution for 1808-1814. The papers also include the journals of W.J. Proudfoot and a biography of his father (and Dinwiddie's son-in-law) James Proudfoot.

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Physical condition

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Much of the material was already bound together and organized into various sections when it arrived, and for the bulk of this material that arrangement was maintained.

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  • English

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Restrictions on access

All records are open.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Materials do not circulate and must be used in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room. Materials may be under copyright. Contact departmental staff for guidance on reproduction.

Finding aids

A file list is available onsite. A website for the fonds is also available at url:

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No further accruals are expected.

General note

Preferred citation: [Identification of item], James Dinwiddie fonds, MS-2-726 Dalhousie University Archives and Special Collections, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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This fonds description comes from the Dalhousie University Archives Catalog. The complete, original description is available there.

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