The first biography of William Nicholson (1753-1815) was written by his son and namesake in 1868.
Until around 1963 the Nicholson papers were in the possession of Guy Berners Nicholson. He passed the collection to my grandfather, Ronald Peter de Berners Nicholson, who made typed copies of this biography. Much of the Nicholson collection remains with the family, but a few items went astray over the years, including the manuscript papers of the son's biography which include extracts from the minutes of the philosophical society established by Kirwan at the Chapter Coffee House in 1780.
The original manuscript of this biography is now in the safe and expert care of theBodleian Library at the University of Oxford, having been acquired from Emil Offenbacher in New York in 1978 by the Bodley's American Friends. The library reference is: Western Manuscripts MSS. Don.d. 175, e. 125.
This will be published for the first time in 2017 by Peter Owen Publishers.
This new edition of Nicholson's biography does not include theminutes of the Chapter House Coffee Society, which were so ably transcribed and annotated by Trevor H. Levere and Gerard L’E Turner in Discussing Chemistry and Steam, Oxford University Press, 2002.
A comprehensive biography of William Nicholson is in progress, with plans for publication in 2018.
Click here to request a copy of the table of contents.