THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


35 Vincent Wing 1619-1668
Harmonicon coeleste
London, Printed by R. Leybourn, 1651
Sir Isaac Newton's copy, with his numerous holograph corrections and additions in the text, includes a single leaf of his manuscript notes inserted at the back. A surveyor and astrologer, Vincent Wing was the compiler of the most popular almanacs of his time and a prolific writer of astronomical works. His Harmonicon coeleste reflects his conversion to Copernicanism and to the fundamentals of Keplerian astronomy. Of the 2,100 volumes in Newton's library when he died in 1727, this copy of Harmonicon coeleste is one of six books on astronomy known to contain Newton's notations. The notes in this volume vary from the alteration of single numbers to substantial and significant additions, indicating that Newton, who devoted a good deal of time to the consideration of astronomical problems, studied the volume closely. This work and others undoubtedly influenced Newton's ideas on astronomy as set forth in the third book of his Principia (1687); in addition, the leaf of notes in Latin, inserted at the back of the volume, suggests that Newton may have used the work when writing his Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728).
Gift of George A. Plimpton

Collections and Treasures