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Notebook No.155, January 1848- May 1848

 Item — Box: Lyell-temp-box 6
Identifier: Coll-203/A1/155

Scope and Contents

This black notebook contains a record of Charles Lyell’s discussions, ideas, and recordings when in London, starting in January 1848 and including some focus on ’Americana’ before his second travels in American was published in 1849. The first pages (and from p 78] are notes on pages and references relating to the other American notebooks - which could be publishing related or organisational. It covers conversations, queries, and discussions he started in America including geological, political, and religious questions on the U.S, Malta, Greece, and specifically Mississippi. This notebook has detailed notes on geological features around America like glaciers, loess, and the Zeuglodon. Equally, Lyell has detailed notes on the Sea-Serpent (pages 44, 83, 90-98). Some of the key individuals he talks to and about include: Charles Darwin, Hugh Miller (Geologist), Sir John Ross (Naval Officer), Cotton Mather (Clergyman), Charles Kean (Actor) - he shares personal knowledge of Pierce Butler and Fanny Kemble - Gideon Mantell, and Edward Caswell (Clergyman and Author). This notebook has references to varied areas of literature and the arts, including the Wandering Jew which he takes interest in throughout many of his notebooks; MacPherson’s Ossian, and books on the U.S; and the painting: Hogarth's “Eleven days.”

Content warning: Lyell uses his Scientific Notebooks to gather evidence, based on both his own observation, by reviewing other people's works, by correspondence, asking questions and analyses. The language used in this index is historical, can be discriminatory and may cause offence.

Transcripton note: This index is from Lyell's own words which he has called ‘Index to Americana’ and which only covers pages up to 69 of 120 pages. Pages of note not mentioned by Lyell in this index, are added in square brackets. The contents of the pages include crossed out memorandums, society meetings, queries, politics, education, geology, and sea serpents.

Lyell's own index

Index to Americana
p.3 Wenhan Lake Ice [company], [Hugh] Miller on
[p.5 notes on Cromwell Letters]
[p.7 Americana January 1848]
[p. 10 Timings of Lectures]
[p. 17 Notes on Mantell's lectures]
[p.18 Zeuglodon 2 species, one in Malta
[p. 22 With Darwin - and subsequent pages]
p.26 [Zeuglodon] how tooth differs from Seals
p.27 Loess of Mississi[ppi] upper post – glacial
p.29 Iron bigotry of Puritans
p.31 Wordsworth on MacPherson's Ossian
p.39 Hogarth “Eleven days”
p.41 Colours of leaves after damp U.S summer [also list of crates and contents sent to GS [Geological Society?] Museum]
p.42 Power of tongue & pen, clergy
p.42 Battle ground of Gangs destr[o]y[e]d
p.44 Sea serpent, [Alexander Gordon] Melville on
p.45 No sacerdotal order in Greece
p.47 Religious persecution in ancient Greece
p.47 Fanaticism when sermon's only
p.51 Aurora australis see [Sir John] Ross on
p.53 Sir J[ohn] Ross on see-island capsized
p.54 Milton index to Johnson life of
[p. 60 Americana Baptists]
p.62 Puritans not illiterate young’s night thoughts
p.63 Cotton Mather knew Greek [also 'Scotch very fanatical for such educated men'
[p. 67 note to see reference in scrapbook on Judge Story]
[p.68 'Athenaeum Lectures 'oh call it holy ground etc'] p.69 Athanasian Creed Arnold on
[p.83 Sea serpent]
[p. 99 Reference to labelling American specimens]
[p. 102 Ask Owen if I may say 'the brain of an average youth of the educated classes']
[p. 105 reading Martineau]
[p. 108 in America they buy & in England they borrow books]
[p. 111 Copyright]
[p. 112 Monopoly of Truth] p. 114 Negro Slaves, Fanaticism]


  • Creation: January 1848- May 1848


Language of Materials



123 folios

61 Leaves

1 volume

Processing Information

Transcribed by Harriet Mack, with additional notes and created by Pamela McIntyre during cataloguing, March 2024.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44(0)131 650 8379