The correspondence of Adolphe Quetelet

The purpose of this project is to collect the full correspondence of Adolphe Quetelet (1796 – 1874), including his scientific publications.

Science in the 19th century in Brussels

Quetelet was a driven scientist and a member of the Brussels establishment. He was the founder of the Royal Observatory, and was secretary of the Academy of sciences for half a century, and an acting member of several commissions. Aside from his scientific work, he was in contact with hundreds of prominent people in Europe, who he corresponded with by letter regularly.
To be short, he was involved in almost all of the important scientific decisions in Brussels from 1821 until his death in 1874.

The enormous spread of all his archives

There are currently around 65,000 letters identified, half of which have been digitized. We also know about three thousand correspondents.
Both the Observatory and the Academy have agreed to store and host their archives of correspondence. Several smaller archives have also expressed their wish to support the effort.
We can also assume that there are lots of letters of Quetelet in small archives abroad.
It is our great endeavour to add them to our website in the future.

Our collaborators

Thanks to the help of a group of energetic and driven volunteers, it is possible to offer you these digitized letters.
They have been made available by:
Marguerite, Nathalie, Vincent, Marie-Jeanne, Nérine, Nicole, Bernadette, Marie-Pascale, Beatrice, Rosetta, Hilary, Pauline, Cecilia, Yves, Marie-José, Etienne, Koen and Hilde

Your contribution?

If you want to help us as a volunteer, or if you have a letter of Quetelet in your archive, you can contact us by email:


Feel free to enjoy the collection here!