[A.S. Herschel; Printed ] Questionnaire from the Birmingham Philosophical Society, printed, with Herschel's detailed responses in holograph to the four questions and with signature Alexr.S. Herschel with date.

Alexander Stewart Herschel, astronomer [ H.W.Crosskey, geologist ]
Publication details: 
July 12th, 1886.
SKU: 23111

Questionnaire, detailed answers filled in by Herschel, from 'Translation of Scientific Memoirs' Committee', Birmingham Philosophical Society, 2pp, 4to, minor sunning, creases, good condition. NOT including the Printed Letter, p.[1], from H.W. Crosskey, explaining what the questionnaire is for (Action for the Translation and Publication of Foreign Scientific Memoirs to be put to the attention of the British Association). The questionnaire comprises four questions, with a final section headed Remarks, the questions being, 1.Do you think it advisable that steps should be taken to secure the systematic translation and publication in English of all the more important foreign scientific memoirs; 2. If so [advisable] would the work be best accomplished: (a) by the formation of a Special Society or Committee for dealing with memoirs on all subjects; or (b) by the formation of separate Societies or Committees each dealing with one particular branch of science; or (c) by urging the existing scientific Societies to undertake the translation of the memoirs with which they are most nearly concerned? | 3. Would it be necessary, in your opinion, to translate memoirs in the French language? | 4. Should the work of translation be done voluntarily, or be paid for by a small fee; the name of the translator in either case being attached to his work? Section 5 is headed Remarks (verso).Herschel:Question 1. He considers it of the highest interest and importance and expanding on the thought. He raises the issue of copyrights and suggests a name, Society for the Promulgation in English of Foreign Literary Work in Science.Question 2. He makes suggestions about Committees, office-bearers, elections of distinguished scientists, and financing.Question 3. French is too widely known for this to be desirable, Italian being second easiest. Some memoirs in French are important enough to translate.Question 4. He discusses the art of translation (idiom etc), It should be paid for at customary rates [?] Supervision by individual societies necessary without fee.Remarks: The Foreign Memoirs' Society should consist of Members paying annual subscriptions towards defraying costs of Translation and Publication of Selected Writings. He anticipates the rewards and consequences of the acquisition of information. Note: A copy of the report based on this and other completed questionnaires, apparently the only one recorded, is at the National Library of Medicine (Bethesda, USA) . Despite valiant efforts (including being one hour's drive away) I have been unable to see it, or secure a copy: Report presented by the council to the annual meeting of members, held in the library of the Medical Institute,October 8, 1885. [Birmingham Philosophical Society (Birmingham, England)]. See other completed questionnaires (Galton, Huxley, Francis Darwin, etc).