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Gadolinska biblioteket (the Gadolin library)

Gadolinska biblioteket (the Gadolin library) was the private library of the world-renowned chemist, Professor Johan Gadolin (1760–1852). Most of the books in the collection belonged to his father, Professor and Bishop Jacob Gadolin (1719–1802) and his father-in-law, Professor and Bishop Johan Browallius (1707–1755), who were esteemed scientists and politicians. The collection consists of approximately 3,400 works, most of which are bound in parchment and leather covers, which was typical for the time. The collection includes both scientific and more practical literature. Most of the collection consists of older natural scientific works which were typical of the Age of Enlightenment. Later works were clearly connected to the professors’ research or personal interests. The works have been listed in a hand-written directory created by Johan Gadolin, and they have been catalogued in the library’s online directory.

The collection is unique in many ways, as it avoided being burnt in the Great Fire of Turku in 1827 and includes assets acquired by three generations of professors. The collection provides information about knowledge and activities at the royal Åbo Akademi, and gives an insight into the intellectual endeavours in Turku before the Great Fire. It demonstrates an interesting time in Finnish history – when early modern society was moving towards industrialisation in the spirit of a nationalistic age in which the structures of the state were developed. As an entity, it has great significance for the study of the multinational flow of information of its time. The collection is surprisingly diverse in its work’s material. Dedications and notes in the margins tell us about the contemporary network of scientists and give an idea of how science was conducted in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This means the collection can serve many kinds of research, but it can also be used pedagogically.