Willem F. J. Mörzer Bruyns
Willem Fredrik Jacob Mörzer Bruyns, (born 1943 in Gosforth, Northumberland, United Kingdom), is a Dutch historian of navigational science, specializing in the history of navigational instruments. He rose to be Senior Curator of Navigation at the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum before his retirement in 2005. Since 1972, Mörzer Bruyns published several books and over a hundred articles in scholarly journals, on the history of navigation and navigational instruments, and on the exploration of the Dutch in the Arctic, in the nineteenth century. He wrote over fifty book reviews on these subjects in scholarly journals.
Early life and Education
The son of Willem Fredrik Jacob Mörzer Bruyns, Sr. (1913–1996), a Dutch merchant mariner, and a naval officer (reserve), the young Willem Mörzer Bruyns initially trained as navigation officer at the Amsterdam Nautical College, Mörzer Bruyns sailed as a junior officer with the Amsterdam-based Netherland Line.
Career as a Museum Curator and Historian
In 1969, Mörzer Bruyns joined the Netherlands Maritime Museum in Amsterdam and retired as Senior Curator of Navigation in 2005. In 1995 he was Huntington Fellow at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia, and from 2005-2007 Sackler Research Fellow in the History of Astronomy and Navigational Sciences at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich in London. In 2003, the University of Leiden awarded him a Ph.D. for his thesis on the use of the octant in the eighteenth century Dutch Republic, completed under the guidance of Professor Jaap R. Bruijn and Professor C.A. Davids. In October 2010, the National Maritime Museum awarded him its Caird Medal for 2009 in recognition of his many significant contributions to the history of navigational science and particularly for his catalogue of navigational instruments at Greenwich.
Books and Pamphlets
- De eerste tocht van de Willem Barents naar de Noordelijke IJszee 1878: De dagboeken van Antonius de Bruijne en Bastiaan Gerardus Baljé two volumes edited by W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns. Werken uitgegeven door de Linschoten-Vereeniging; vols. 84-85. (Zutphen: De Walburg Pers, 1985).
- "In de Gekroonde Lootsman": Het kaarten-, boekuitgevers en instrumentenmakershuis Van Keulen te Amsterdam 1680-1885, edited by E.O. van Keulen, W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns, and E.K. Spits. (Utrecht: HES, 1989).
- Anglo-Dutch mercantile marine relations 1700-1850: Ten papers. edited by J.R. Bruijn and W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns. (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum 'Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum', 1991).
- The Cross-staff: History and development of a navigational instrument (Amsterdam: Vereeniging Nederlandsch Historisch Scheepvaartmuseum, and Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1994).
- Amsterdamse kompasmakers ca 1580-ca 1850: Bijdrage tot de kennis van de instrumentmakerij in Nederland, by Sybrich ter Kuile and W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns. (Amsterdam: Stichting Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum, and Amsterdam: NEHA, 1999).
- Konst der stuurlieden: Stuurmanskunst en maritieme cartografie in acht portretten, 1540-2000 (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 2001).
- Sluit tot vaste kring de handen: Een geschiedenis van de Quakerscholen Eerde, Vilsteren en Beverweerd, by Joke Haverkorn van Rijsewijk, Willem Mörzer Bruyns, [et al.] (Amsterdam: Aksant, 2002).
- Schip Recht door Zee: De octant in de Republiek in de achttiende eeuw. (Amsterdam: Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, 2003). Proefschrift Universiteit Leiden
- De Nederlandsche Anchorites: Een maritiem broederschap by J.R. Bruijn and W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns. (Amsterdam/Rotterdam: De Nederlandsche Anchorites, 2006).
- Sextants at Greenwich: A Catalogue of the Mariner's Quadrants, Mariner's Astrolabes, Cross-staffs, Backstaffs, Octants, Sextants, Quintants, Reflecting Circles and Artificial Horizons in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. by W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns and Richard Dunn. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
- Tussen hemel en horizon: Een korte geschiedenis van navigatie op Nederlandse schepen. (Haarlem: Hollandia, 2012). by W.F.J. Mörzer Bruyns and H. Hooijmaijers.
Major Articles and Contributions to Books
- "Prime Meridians used by Dutch Navigators: A Survey of prime meridians used for Dutch navigation and hydrography prior to 1884," in Vistas in Astronomy vol. 28 (1985), pp. 33–39.
- "The Crone Collection of Nautical Instruments," in Hubert J.M.W. Peters, The Crone Library (Nieuwkoop: De Graaf Publishers, 1989).
- "Navigation on Dutch East India Company ships around the 1740s," in The Mariners' Mirror vol. 78, no. 2 (1992), pp. 143–154.
- "Techniques and methods of navigation"; "Sources of knowledge: charts and rutters"; "The development of navigational methods and techniques, 1740-1815"; "The application of navigational and hydrographical knowledge, 1740-1815", in John B. Hattendorf, ed., Maritime History: The Eighteenth Century and the Classic Age of Sail (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing, 1996).
- "Photography in the Arctic, 1876-84: the work of W.J.A. Grant," in Polar Record vol. 39 (2003), pp. 123–130.
- "Frederik Muller & Co and Anton Mensing: The first international art auction house in Amsterdam, and its director," in Quærendo: A Quarterly Journal from the Low Countries Devoted to Manuscripts and Printed Books vol. 34, no. 3-4 (2004), pp. 211–239.
- "Octants from the Frisian Island of Föhr for Dutch and German Whale Men, 1760-90," in The Mariner's Mirror, vol. 92, no. 4 (2006), pp. 412–426.
- "Dead Reckoning"; "Douwes, Cornelis"; Prime Meridians", and "Western Navigation" in John B. Hattendorf, ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
- "Conrad's Navigation: Joseph Conrad as a Professional Sailor" in International Journal of Maritime History XIX, 2 (2007), pp. 201–222.
- "Research in the History of Navigation: Its Role in Maritime History" in International Journal of Maritime History XXI, 2 (2009), pp. 261–286.
- "Trade Labels: Evidence of English Octants and Sextants in America up to about 1860" in Rittenhouse: Journal of the American Scientific Instrument Enterprise 23, 1 (2009), pp. 1–37.
- On his retirement Mörzer Bruyns was presented with a festschrift Koersvast: vijf eeuwen navigatie op zee : Een bundel opstellen aangeboden aan Willem Mörzer Bruyns bij zijn afscheid van het Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam in 2005 edited by Leo Akveld, Remmelt Daalder, Frits Loomeijer, and Diederick Wildeman (Zaltbommel: Aprilis, 2005). "Bibliography of works by Willem F. J. Mörzer Bruyns", pp. 19–29.
- Dutch Submarine Commanders
- Oxford University Press news release, July 2009
- Research at the National Maritime Museum, Autumn 2010-Summer 2011