Faraday letter discovered

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The Institution of Electrical Engineers has recently acquired a previously unknown letter written by Michael Faraday, acknowledged as an architect of modern day electricity, to his friend Benjamin Abbott, dated 16 May 1836.

Anne Locker, IEE archivist, said: “I am very pleased this letter will now be available to the public. It is an exciting addition to our Faraday collection and I hope it will stimulate further research into Faraday’s life and work.”

The IEE already holds the main collection of Faraday-Abbott correspondence, as well as a significant collection of Faraday’s correspondence and notebooks. This letter sheds further light in his working life at the Royal Institution.

After 1817 there are only six know letters from Faraday to Abbott. They appeared to become less frequent as Faraday became more involved with the Royal Institution and his research into electricity. In the letter Faraday talks about his early life, of which little was known.

As the letter was in private hands before its transfer to the IEE it was not included in the recent compilation of Faraday’s correspondence edited by Dr Frank James, who will include the letter in a later volume of this work.