Johann Heinrich Samuel Formey

Johann Heinrich Samuel Formey

Born May 31, 1711 in Berlin
Died Mar 07, 1797 in Berlin


Jean Henri Samuel Formey


Born in Berlin in 1711 to French parents. Formey studied at the French college in Berlin (Collège François) from 1720 to 1727. In 1731 he was appointed Pastor of the French church in Brandenburg. Professor of Rhetoric (1736-?) and Philosophy (1739-?) at the French college in Berlin. Perpetual secretary of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin from 1748 onwards. Formey was also a contributor to the monumental French Encyclopédie, edited by Diderot and d'Alembert.

Life with Boswell: 

Boswell met Formey at Andrew Mitchell's on August 1, 1764 in Berlin. Boswell found him "facetious, but vain". On September 13 Boswell attended a meeting at the Royal Academy of Berlin at which Formey was also present and "read a letter from a physician at Truro in Cornwall concerning some astronomical phenomenon".


Formey was the author of numerous writings, of which only a small part are mentioned here. In 1756 was published Formey's Mélanges philosophiques, which was translated and published in English in 1759 as Philosophical Miscellanies on Various Subjects. He also wrote La belle Wolfienne (1741-1750/3) on the philosophy of Christian Wolff, as well as several books critical of Rousseau, including L'esprit de Julie (1762), L'Anti-Emile (1762) and Emile Chrétien (1764). Some of these books may be available via the used books search engine.