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Athanasius Kircher at Stanford: Correspondence

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Note: In order to consult the Kircher correspondence, it is first necessary to download and install the Luna Insight software.

About the Correspondence

During his lifetime, the Jesuit polymath Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was widely regarded as the physical embodiment of all the learning of his age. He had over 760 correspondents, including scientists, Jesuit missionaries and world potentates. The subjects discussed in his voluminous correspondence cover the entire range of his interests. Letters sent to Kircher were commonly accompanied by curious natural objects or artefacts for Kircher’s expanding collection in Rome and reports of astronomical observations or experiments performed by the global network of Jesuit missionaries. In return, Kircher sent his powerful patrons medicines and balsams produced in the pharmacy of the Jesuit college in Rome, and elaborate machines of his devising such as the Mathematical Organ, and example of which is now preserved in the Museo Galileo in Florence.


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