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John Henry Timberlake University of Virginia student notebooks

Identifier: MSS 16691

Content Description

The first notebook covers courses on modern languages taught by Professors Maximilian Schele de Vere and [George Frederick] Holmes. Generally divided into a French and Spanish section, with an "Index Variorum," "Notes on French Idioms," and timelines of authors' lives.

The second notebook covers the courses on mathematics taught by Professor Albert Taylor Bledsoe, with sections on differential calculus, integral calculus, and analytical problems.

The third notebook, illustrated by Mr. Timberlake, covers the course on natural philosophy taught by Professor Francis H. Smith. A physics notebook mentions the "only hypothetical" atomic theory, different types of particles, and the "question of the infinite divisibility of matter." Included are hand drawn illustrations of Newtonian physics, hydro- and aerodynamics, light, acoustics, electricity, geology, and pneumatic machines. There is a full page illustration of an early steam engine on p.120.

The fourth notebook covers natural philosophy as well as moral philosophy. Taught by Professor William Holmes McGuffy, or "Buck McGuffy," mentions the "three laws of motion," "vis viva" (an early term for kinetic energy), and an account of Roger Joseph Boscovich's atomic theory. There are notes on astronomy, including "Kirkwood's Analogy." Notes on moral philosophy address the Scottish school of Common Sense.

The fifth and final notebook covers Timberlake's chemistry classes with sections on magnetism, electricity, and galvanism. The list of elements on p.61-62 lists 63 elements.


  • Creation: 1854-1858

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Albert Taylor Bledsoe (1809-1877) UVA professor of Mathematics. George Frederick Holmes (1820-1897) UVA professor of history. Maximilian Schele de Vere (1820-1898) UVA professor of foreign language. Reverend William Holmes McGuffey (1800-1873) UVA professor of language and author of the McGuffey readers for grade school children. Francis H. Smith (1829-1928) UVA professor of natural philosophy.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 document box) : 5 notebooks from University of Virginia classes

Language of Materials



Spanish; Castilian

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Black Swan Books by the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library on December 21, 2018.

John Henry Timberlake, University of Virginia student notebooks
Ellen Welch
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States