The secondary literature on Maxwell comprises one of the largest areas of the history of science, with dozens of substantial monographs and hundred of papers of varying technicality. However, a good place to start is with the following:

Primary Sources

The Life of James Clerk Maxwell by L. Campbell & W. Garnett (Macmillan & Co.1882) is a comprehensive biography which remains a valuable source of information and opinion from his contemporaries (Campbell was a school-friend of Maxwell's). Available online

The Scientific Papers of James Clark Maxwell [SPM] edited by W. D. Niven (Cambridge University Press 1890) is a 2-volume collection of most of Maxwell's published papers, compiled after his death.

The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell [SLPM] edited by P. M. Harman (Cambridge University Press 1990), is an indispensable 2-volume publication of much of Maxwell's manuscript writings.

Maxwell, 'molecules.html">On Molecules', Nature, Sept. 1873, pp. 437-441.

Secondary Sources

Buchwald, J. From Maxwell to Microphysics: Aspects of Electromagnetic Theory in the Last Quarter of the Nineteenth Century, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. (1985).

Chalmers, A.F. 'The Heuristic Role of Maxwell's Mechanical Model of Electromagnetic Phenomena' Stud. Hist. Phil. Sci. 1986, vol. 17 no. 4 pp. 415-427.

Doran, B.G. 'Origins and Consolidation of Field Theory in Nineteenth Century Britain: From the Mechanical to the Electromagnetic View of Nature', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 1975, vol. 6 pp. 133-260.

Goldman, M. , The Demon in the Aether, Paul Harris, Edinburgh. 1983.

Harman, P. M. (ed.) Wranglers and Physicists: Studies on Cambridge Physics in the Nineteenth Century, Manchester University Press, Manchester. 1985.

Harman, P. M. The Natural Philosophy of James Clerk Maxwell. Cambridge, 2001.

Hendry, J. James Clerk Maxwell and the Theory of the Electromagnetic Field, Adam Hilger Ltd., Bristol. 1986.

Hunt, B. J. The Maxwellians, Cornell University Press, London. 1991.

Kargon, R. 'Model and Analogy in Victorian Science: Maxwell's Critique of the French Physicists', J. His. Ideas, 1969, vol. 30 pp. 423-436.

Siegel, D.M Innovation in Maxwell's Electromagnetic Theory, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 1991.

Smith, Crosbie. The science of energy: a cultural history of energy physics in Britain, Chicago, 1998.

Turner, J. 'Maxwell on the Method of Physical Analogy', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 1955, vol. 6, pp. 226-238.

Wilson, D.B. 'Experimentalists among the Mathematicians: Physics in the Cambridge Natural Sciences Tripos 1851-1900', Historical Studies in the Physical Sciences, 1982, vol. 12, pp. 325-71.

Related materials

Victorian Web Overview Jmes Clark Maxwell

Last modified 28 September, 2002