Athanasius Kircher Correspondence about Museum


Athanasius Kircher to Pope Alexander VII (Fabio Chigi)

  • (1662-09-20) Kircher thanks the received medal of the Pope, which he exhibits in the Museum. Transcription published in BARTOLA, 1989. APUG Ms. 555, f. 178rv.
  • (no date) Kircher asks the Pope to authorize that Elisabetha Palatina, wife of the Duke of Luneburg, visits the Roman College and the Professed House to see "his museum" and the library. APUG Ms. 555, f. 102rv.

Duke August II of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel (also Brunswick-Lüneburg) and Athanasius Kircher
Summaries of these documents were published by John Fletcher in 1986 and 1988.

  • (1656-05-26) Extract - Duke August promises to send his portrait "set in diamonds" and anything else rare that turns up to Kircher. The portrait is listed in the 1678 catalogue of the museum. APUG Ms. 556, f. 56rv.
  • (1659-11-14 | Gregorian: 18 Cal. Xbris 1659) Duke August gifts Kircher with a "little animal enclosed in 'spuma maris'", which he hopes can be added to Kircher's Museum. The lizard encapsulated in amber is mentioned in the catalogue from 1678. APUG Ms. 556, f. 54rv.
  • (1666-03-18) Draft - Kircher sends August as a gift, among other things, a manuscript of the Four Gospel in Estranghelo-Syriac, which until then was exhibited in the museum. APUG, Ms. 555, f. 113r-114v.
  • Other letters between Kircher and Duke August preserved at the Herzog August Bibliothek are accessible at this link.

Johann Friedrich, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, to Athanasius Kircher

(1652-04-06) APUG Ms. 556, f. 156r-157v;
(1652-05-04) APUG Ms. 556, f. 154r-155v;
(1652-10-02) APUG Ms. 556, f. 135r-136v;
(1652-11-03) APUG Ms. 556, f. 137r-138v.

Athanasius Kircher to Count Raimondo Montecuccoli

  • (1675-06-18) Kircher thanks Count Montecuccoli for the gift of "military trophies" to his museum, where people from all over the world will be able to see them as a monument to the count's memory and generosity. The gift is mentioned in the 1678 catalogue. APUG Ms. 566, f. 230r-v.

Johann Friedrich, Count of Waldstein, to Athanasius Kircher

Johannes Fridericus Reinhard, secretary to the Elector of Saxony, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1680-02-10) Reinhard thanks Kircher for the affection expressed towards the figure of the Elector through the courtesy shown to D. Henricus Liber, baron of Frisen, Camerarius and Consiliarius to the Ellector, who visited Kircher's museum during his trip to Italy. APUG Ms.566, f. 101r-102v.

Raimond Sanset de Puiy to Athanasius Kircher

Manfredo Settala to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1674-02-08) Settala comments on Kircher no longer guiding visitors to the Roman College "gallery", mentions some recent illustrious visitors to his own collection, promises to send asbestos as requested by Kircher, and briefly notes on newly acquired objects from Asia, Congo, and Brazil. APUG Ms. 566, f. 35arv, 35rv.

Cesare Paleari to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1664-03-16). Among other subjects, Paleari asks that Kircher admits to his museum the bearer of the letter, the gentleman Sig. Lazzaro di Corte. APUG Ms. 562, f. 108r-109v.

Filippo Nardi to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1655-01-14) Mentions the desire to have visited Kircher's museum. APUG Ms. 555, f. 243rv.

Filippo Sbarra to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1669-07-19) Sbarra mentions the wondrous things shown by Kircher at his "Gallery" as inspiration for his own inventions, one of which - his stenographia - he sends to Kircher. APUG Ms. 564, f. 150rv.

Baldassar Sozzifonti to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1677-12-10) Mentions a visit to the museum. APUG Ms. 566, f. 28r-29v.
  • (1679-05-30) Sozzifonti thanks Kircher in advance for the museum catalogue that was sent to him. APUG Ms. 566, f. 35rv.

Raffaello Maffei to Athanasius Kircher

Giovanni Giacomo Scafili, Secretary of Trepani, to Athanasius Kircher

(1652-12-04) APUG Ms. 568, f. 141r-142v;
(1653-01-13) APUG Ms. 568, f. 167rv;
(1653-03-03) APUG Ms. 568, f. 145r-146v;
(1653-04-17) APUG Ms. 568, f. 139r-140v;
(1654-08-22) APUG Ms. 568, f. 165rv;
(1655-05-16) APUG Ms. 568, f. 163rv;
(1655-09-12) APUG Ms. 568, f. 158r-159v;
(1655-12-19) APUG Ms. 568, f. 156rv

  • (1656-02-13) Among other subjects, Scafili comments on Kircher's report of the visit of Queen Christina of Sweden to his museum and the machines created for the occasion. APUG Ms. 568, f. 160r-161v

Alexandro Favián (Alejandro Fabián) to Athanasius Kircher, trascribed and published in OSORIO ROMERO, 1993

  • (1664-08-26) Among other subjects, Favián asks for "things of study and science" to "adorn" a new museum that he was building, in exchange of which he promises to send "the most singular things that he can find" in New Spain for Kircher's museum and Cardinal Chigi's Gazophylacium. APUG 562, f. 4r–5v.
  • (no date, post 19-dec-1665) Among many other topics, Favián mentions he will send "peregrin and curious things" from New Spain for Kircher and Cardinal Chigi. APUG 565, fol. 189r–193r.
  • (no date, accompanied letter of 1666-03-12) This incomplete document lists the objects sent by Favián in one shipment, to be distributed by Kircher to several recipients: Pope Alexander VII, Emperor Leopold I, Cardinal Chigi, the Jesuit Father General Oliva, the Rector of the Jesuit Roman College, and Kircher himself. The extant folios includes object "from China" and local products from New Spain, among which are several feather pictures. APUG 565, fol. 160v-161v.
  • (1666-08-02). Among other topics, Favián mentions he is preparing another shipment for Kircher with many "good" and "curious" objects. APUG Ms. 564, f. 167r-168v. Obs.: APUG 564, fols 21r–22v, dated 1666-07-31, has the same content.

Favián's donations to the museum are mentioned in the 1678 catalogue.

Philipp Müller, SJ, and Athanasius Kircher

  • (1655-09-14) Fr. Müller discusses, among other subjects, a portrait of King Leopold I (later emperor), to be made in the same dimensions and quality of the portraits of the Emperor Ferdinand III and of the deceased King Ferdinand IV. These portraits are listed in the 1678 catalogue of the museum. APUG Ms. 561, f. 144rv
  • (1668-03-17) Kircher, among other subjects, mentions a planned visit from the cardinal-nephew (Rospigliosi) to the Roman College and the improvements he was making to his Gallery for the illustrious visitor. The Cardinal Leopoldo de' Medici was also expected to visit the museum soon. APUG Ms. 558, f. 79r-v.
  • (1675-02-09) Fr. Müller, among other subjects, comments on Kircher's report of the donation made by Raimondo Montecuccoli to the Museum (which is listed in the catalogue from 1678). APUG Ms. 566, f. 175rv.

Domenico Brunacci, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1668-10-12) Brunacci, then rector of the Roman College, orders Kircher and his companion to return to the college as soon as possible to put the museum in order before the visit of Cardinal Leopold of Medici. APUG Ms. 564, f. 165rv.

Heinrich Roth, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

Christophoris Stanislaus Gruszynski, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1672-01-21) Gruszynski mentions a monument from 1625 related to China which had been incorporated into the museum. APUG Ms. 560, f. 135rv.

Stanislaus Koprowski, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1664-03-01) Koprowski thanks Kircher for putting up at the museum a picture that he painted. APUG Ms. 563, f. 288rv.

Joannes Grueber, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (1664-10-09) Grueber mentions the three portraits of Asian "kings" previously sent to Kircher. APUG Ms. 562, f. 122r-v.
  • (1665-10-20) Grueber promises to send to Kircher Fr. Heinrich Roth's Thesaurus of the Indian language. Roth's manuscripts about India are listed in the museum catalogue of 1678. APUG Ms. 562, f. 137r-v.
  • (1666-02-26) Grueber promises to send Fr. Roth's manuscripts along with Grueber's own description of their trip from China to Europe by land and any Chinese material that might be useful to Kircher. Several Chinese objects and manuscripts about China are listed in the 1678 catalogue, and Grueber's travel report was one of the sources for Kircher's China illustrata. APUG Ms. 559, f. 79r-v.

Kaspar Schott, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • (ca. 1655-12) Schott comments that the Fr. Provincial wants him to "describe and print" Kircher's gallery. APUG Ms. 567, f. 52r-v.
  • (1656-04-01) Schott comments of Queen Christina of Sweden's visit to the museum. APUG Ms. 561, f. 40r-v
  • (1656-10-21) Schott asks Kircher for a quick report on his "Gallery", particularly the novelties added after his departure from the Roman College, as he wants to make an illustrated description to be published in print both separately and within his 'Magia Universale Naturæ et Artis. APUG Ms. 561, f. 291r-v.
  • (1657-01-06) Schott is happy for Fr. Valentin Stansel's recovery and his continuous involvement with the Museum Kircherianum. APUG Ms. 561, f. 293r-v.
  • (1657-06-16) Schott asks Kircher to send him Fr. Valentin Stansel's description of the "Gallery" or at least the main parts of it to be inserted in his Magia Universale Naturæ et Artis. APUG Ms. 567, f. 45r-v.

Nicolò Mascardi, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher:

Valentin Stansel, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher:

  • (1659-03-26) From Lisbon, Stansel sends some "trinkets" he was able to buy locally: a Brazilian nut called "coccum", Canna indica seeds, a coconut from the Maldives, and fruits from a Brazilian tree called Sementilhas or coquilhos with which rosaries were made. These objects are listed in Bonanni's catalogue of the museum published in 1709. APUG Ms. 567, f. 66r-68v
  • Five letters in which Stansel discusses with Kircher the publication of works concerning geographic and astronomical observations from Brazil. These manuscripts are listed in the museum catalogue from 1678:

(1664-08-04)APUG Ms. 564, f. 13r-v;
(1666-08-10)APUG Ms. 564, f. 133r-v;
(1669-06)APUG Ms. 559, f. 89r-90v;
(1670-06-09)APUG Ms. 560, f. 93r-94v;
(1674-04-20)APUG Ms. 566, f. 183r-v.

Andreas Schaffer, SJ, to Athanasius Kircher

  • Several letters dealing with the collection of information and specimens of minerals from Hungarian mines under Kircher's request, which were incorporated into the museum and informed the writing of Kircher's Mundus subterraneus.

(1659-07-19) APUG 567, f. 115rv
(1659-10-06) APUG 559, f. 133rv
(1659-12-21) APUG 559, f. 134rv
(1660-02-19) APUG 558, f. 35rv
(1660-03-19) APUG 558, f. 51rv
(1660-04-01) APUG 558, f. 50rv
(1660-04-25) APUG 559, f. 137rv
(1660-07-08) APUG 559, f. 132rv
(1661-05-20) APUG 558, f. 37rv

  • Annotated copy of the will of Alfonso Donnini, bequeathing the contents of his Gallery to the Collegio Romano. In APUG 558, c. 142

There are also Filippo Bonanni correspondence in APUG 577 III