Scholarly Societies Project

Société d'Arcueil


Founding of the Society

Year Authority / Notes

Crosland (1967), p.1, begins his history of the Société d'Arcueil by noting that two of the patrons of the Society, Claude Louis Berthollet (1748–1822) and Pierre Simon Laplace (1749–1827) were also two of the most prominent men of science in the Napoleonic age. According to Crosland (1967), p.1, Berthollet and Laplace were able to act as patrons only because of income that they received from the state, in part because they were personal friends of Napoléon Bonaparte (1769–1821) himself.

As an example of the esteem in which Bonaparte held Berthollet, Crosland (1967), p.17, notes that Berthollet, Bonaparte and two other people were in the first coach to arrive back from the Egyptian Expedition on 1799, October 16. According to Crosland (1967), pp.14-16, Berthollet was also very active in the Institut d'Égypte that Bonaparte had founded in 1798 as part of the Egyptian Expedition.

Crosland (1967), p.280 notes that Berthollet bought his house in Arcueil in the late summer of 1801, and that his patronage and encouragement of young men interested in science was centred around Arcueil from that point. He goes on to say that, when Laplace bought the house adjacent in 1806, the irregular meetings of the group that centred at Arcueil became more frequent and were organized in advance. Crosland (1967), p.283 indicates that the laboratory facilities at Arcueil were of particular value to young men who may not have had access to any other laboratory.

Crosland (1967), p.285 suggests that the informal meetings of the Arcueil group from 1804 to 1806 developed gradually into a Society. Although a first memoir was read before this Society by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778–1850) on 1807, February 26, the Society was not formally constituted until the summer of 1807.

Crosland (1967), p.289 indicates that the years 1808 to 1810 were relatively inactive years for the Society, but that the years 1811 to 1813 were more active, and might have continued so, were it not for the political instability then. There were also additional forces that contributed to the cessation of the Society after 1813. According to Crosland (1967), pp.289-290, Berthollet, the patron of the Society, became much less active after the end of 1813, and this brought the Society to an end.

Crosland (1967), p.308 discusses the relationship between the Société d'Arcueil and the First Class of the Institut de France . He indicates that, whilst membership in the Institut was an honour bestowed in order to recognize significant contributions to knowledge, membership in the Society gave access to advice and a testing ground for new ideas, as well as the use of the laboratory facilities at Arcueil. Many members of the Society also belonged to the First Class of the Institut.

According to Crosland (1967), p.336, the three volumes of the Mémoires were published in 1807, 1809 and 1817. At first sight this seems a bit odd, since the Society effectively ceased in 1813. Crosland (1967), p.337 explains the delay in publishing Volume Three by noting that it was intended to be published in 1811, but that there was a decrease in the activities of the Society in 1811. In 1812 and 1813, however, there was an increase in the activities of the Society. Crosland (1967), pp.337-338 points to evidence that Volume Three was ready for publication in 1813, but that this was prevented by the bankruptcy of the publisher Klostermann in that year, and then further delayed by the political upheavals of the restoration of the monarchy. Volume Three, therefore, did not appear until 1817.

Crosland (1967), p.428 sums up by saying: "In the last analysis Arcueil is justified not as the society meeting between 1807 and 1813 but as a group of men of central importance in French science for the whole of the first half of the nineteenth century."

On p.xx, Crosland (1967), enumerates the nine founding members of the Society:

  1. Claude Louis Berthollet (1748–1822)
  2. Pierre Simon Laplace (1749–1827)
  3. Friedrich Heinrich Alexander Baron von Humboldt (1769–1859)
  4. Jean-Baptiste Biot (1774–1862)
  5. Louis Jacques Thenard (1777–1857)
  6. Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac (1778–1850)
  7. Augustin Pyramus De Candolle (1778–1841)
  8. Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils (1773–1815)
  9. Amédée Barthélemy Berthollet (1780–1810)

Crosland (1967), p.xx also lists the six who joined after 1807 July:

  1. Étienne Louis Malus (1775–1812)
  2. Dominique François Jean Arago (1786–1853)
  3. Jacques Étienne Bérard (1789–1869)
  4. Jean Antoine Chaptal (1756–1832)
  5. Pierre Louis Dulong (1785–1838)
  6. Siméon Denis Poisson (1781–1840)

Seat of the Society

City Authority / Notes

This location is supported by the name of the Society.

Name of the Society

Dates Name Authority
1807 - 1813 Société d'Arcueil

Its publications give the name; Crosland (1967), p.285 gives the start date.

Its publications give the name; Crosland (1967), p.289-290 gives the end date.

Journals of the Society

Years Full Journal Title Abbrev.
1807-1809 (I-II);
1817 (III)


Mémoires de Physique et de Chimie de la Société d'Arcueil
Indexed Pogg.
Indexed Reuss
Indexed RSLC
[Bibliot. Nat. France cat.]
Arcueil, Mém. de Phys.
RSLC, v.1, p.xvii.
Mém. Arcueil
Social Studies Sci., Vol. 6, No. 2 (May, 1976), p.178 cites Vol. I (1807) and Vol. II (1809).
Mem. d' Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 100 (1810), p.18 cites Tom. II.
Mém. d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 102 (1812), p.360 cites Tom. II.
Mém. d'Arcueil
Pogg., v.1, col.146 cites 1817. T. III; v.1, col.196 cites T. II. 1809, and III. 1817.
Mem. d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 101 (1811), p.11 cites tom. ii.
Mém. de la Soc. d'Arcueil
Pogg., v.2, col.1089 cites I, 1807; II, 1809.
Mem. de la Soc. d'Arcueil
Reuss, v.10, p.161 cites T. I.
Mem. de la Soc. d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 111 (1821), p.144 cites II.
Mém. de la Société d'Arcueil
Pogg., v.1, col.167 cites T. I, 1807; T. II. 1809; and T. III. 1817.
Mém. de Phys. et de Chim. de la Soc. d'Arcueil
Biological Bulletin, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Oct., 1930), p.197 cites 2, 1809.
Mem. Phys. Chem. Soc. d'Arcuiel
Science, New Series, Vol. 197, No. 4301 (Jul. 22, 1977), p.384 cites 1 (1807).
Mém. Phys. Chim. Soc. Arcueil
J. Hist. Biol., Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring, 1984), p.61 cites 3 (1817).
Mem. phys. chim. Soc. d'Arcuiel
Proc. Roy. Soc., B Vol. 185, No. 1080 (Feb. 12, 1974), p.298 cites 1, 1807.
Mem. Phys. et Chem. Soc. d'Arcueil
Biological Bulletin, Vol. 47, No. 2 (Aug., 1924), p.115 cites 1807.
Mem. Phys. et Chim. Soc. d'Arcueil
Ecological Monographs, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Oct., 1932), p.472 cites II, 1809.
Mém. Soc. Arcueil
Trans. Am. Phil. Soc., New Series, Vol. 66, No. 3 (1976), p.59 cites 2.
Mem. Soc. Phys. d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., A Vol. 202 (1904), p.71 cites 1809.
Mém. Société d'Arcueil
Isis, Vol. 34, No. 5 (Summer, 1943), p.386 cites III.
Mémoires d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 101 (1811), p.U6 cites the Second Volume.
Memoires d'Arcueil
Phil. Trans., Vol. 100 (1810), p.232 cites the second volume.
Mémoires de la soc. d'Arcueil
Missouri Bot. Gard. Ann. Rep., Vol. 1894, (1894), p.84 cites ii, 1809.
Mémoires de la Société d'Arcueil
Abstr. Pap. Roy. Soc., Vol. 5 (1843 - 1850), p.1016 cites tome ii.
Memoires de Phys. et de Chim. de la Soc. d'Arcueil
Biological Bulletin, Vol. 101, No. 2 (Oct., 1951), p.192 cites T. 1, 1807.
Mémoires Soc. d'Arcueil
Geographical Review, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1943), p.235 cites Vol. 3, 1817.


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