About the Wenner Collection


The main shelves of the Wenner Collection. Click to see larger image.

David Wenner writes of his method of collecting:

“I began by reading biographies of scientists and popular books on the history of physics and hired a physics post-doc part-time to introduce me to the most important physics concepts and a tiny bit of the mathematics. I was really fortunate to have begun collecting in the early 2000’s when the Internet opened up the world market for scientific documents. Before then, one had to hire a consultant or travel to individual dealers and book fairs around the world, and I never would have done that. The Internet also led science libraries to de-accession hard copies in favor of online sources. This gave me the opportunity to purchase long runs of scientific journals like the Philosophical Transactions, Philosophical Magazine, Annalen der Physik, and Annales de Chimie and retain the volumes of interest.”

When Manhattan Rare Books evaluated the Wenner Collection, Michael DeRuggiero, the owner and rare book appraiser wrote:

“There is a uniformity and continuity to his library that underscores that we are in the presence of a carefully planned collection.…Wenner has also taken the extraordinary step of including paper slips inside each item, identifying the discoveries or ideas of significance contained within each volume and offering a description of that item’s place in the history of physics. This is no small achievement. Without the slips, it would be extraordinarily difficult to locate and contextualize the volumes under consideration. The overall effect is remarkable — walking through Wenner’s library, one gets the sense that one is walking through history.”

Wenner produced a book based on his collection, available online here.

Highlights of the Wenner Collection

  • Ptolemy, Almagest, 1528
  • Galileo, Dialogo, 1632
  • Isaac Newton, Principia, 1726
  • Faraday, On Some New Electro-Magnetical Motions, 1822
  • Max Planck, Quantum Theory, 1900-1901
  • Louis-Victor de Broglie, Development of the Wave Particle, Duality Theory, 1922-1928
  • Werner Heisenberg, Uncertainty Principle, 19

Photo Gallery

Click the thumbnails  below to see detailed images of the Wenner Collection.