The Davy Notebooks Project

Dear U3A member secretary,

I’m Dr Andrew Lacey, Senior Research Associate in the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. I found your e-mail address on the contact pages of the U3A website.
The Davy Notebooks Project ( is currently doing some exciting research, with the help of the public, that may be of interest to your members. We and an international community of over 1400 volunteer transcribers are currently transcribing, using the people-powered research platform Zooniverse, Sir Humphry Davy’s (1778-1829) handwritten notebooks (around 70 in all), many of which have never been transcribed before.

Davy was the leading chemist of the early nineteenth century, but also a poet, moving in the same circles as Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and William Wordsworth. His notebooks contain not only chemical notes and poetry, but also material encompassing philosophy, medicine, geology, mathematics, astronomy, and more. Anyone interested in any of these topics, or science or history more generally, will surely find the much of the material we’re making freely available – in most cases for the first time – stimulating.
Our Zooniverse project page is here:
We’d be very grateful if you’d please circulate this amongst your local members, and help us to spread the word by whatever other means you think appropriate (e.g. social media, newsletters items, mailouts). Contributing transcriptions to our project is entirely free, both interesting and rewarding, and no prior experience is necessary – we provide full guidance on the transcription process on our Zooniverse page, and the project team is on hand through the Talk forum feature to answer any queries.
If you have any questions, please just reply to this message, and a member of the project team will respond. We can provide further promotional materials (e.g. newsletter item text, images) if you’d like them.
With many thanks, and best wishes,

Dr Andrew Lacey, on behalf of the Davy Notebooks Project team

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