Astronomy at the Worth Library:

An exhibition of astronomical works at the Edward Worth Library, Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, to mark the international year of astronomy, 2009


Johannes Hevelius, Selenographia (Danzig, 1647), Fig. F

The Edward Worth Library is a rare books collection, bequeathed to Dr. Steevens’ Hospital, Dublin, by one of its earliest Trustees, Dr. Edward Worth (1678-1733). Worth’s own professional interests as a physician in early eighteenth-century Dublin are clearly reflected in the fact that over one third of his collection of c. 4,500 volumes is devoted to medicine but this is by no means the only area of interest in this unique collection. As a Fellow of the Royal Society Worth was intrigued by scientific subjects and the present exhibition explores one such area: astronomical books in the Worth Library. Worth’s collection was a wide one, incorporating texts by geocentric astronomers such as Clavius alongside works by heliocentric proponents such as Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton.

The exhibition will not only examine works by these astronomers in the Worth Library but will also explore how Worth’s collection sheds light on related astronomical topics such as theories concerning the solar system, astronomical instruments, life on other planets, and, finally, the links between astronomy and medicine in the early modern period. 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy marks the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescope.

This web exhibition, curated by Dr. Elizabethanne Boran with the assistance of Mr. Tony Kelly, Trustee of the Edward Worth Library, celebrates Edward Worth’s fascinating collection of astronomical works, some of which will be on display in the Worth Library. It will be the first in a series of websites exploring the scientific and medical holdings of the Worth Library. For further details please contact our


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