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Wilfrid Michail Voynich (31 October (OS)/12 November (NS) 1865 – 19 March 1930), born Michał Habdank-Wojnicz, was trained as a pharmacist, and became a Polish-Lithuanian revolutionary against the Russian Empire. After being sent to Siberia he escaped and eventually ended up in London. With Sergey Stepniak (Wikipedia page [1]), a fellow revolutionary, he founded the Society of Friends of Russian Freedom (Wikipedia page [2]). After Stepniak's death he became a successful antiquarian and bibliophile, eventually moving to the US. Married to Ethel Lilian Voynich, author of The Gadfly [3] and other works, daughter of George Boole [4] the mathematician.

In 1912 he acquired what became known as the Voynich manuscript from the Villa Mondragone (though he was at times vague about where it had been acquired - sometimes referring to 'a castle in Europe'): this may have been part of his professional act, to keep his sources secure. Details of his acquisitions here [5] and here [6].


Useful websites:

  • A biography can be found on The History Files here [7].
  • The Wikipedia page [8]
  • Various documents can be found here [9].

Some information on his coat of arms and travels here [10]

  • Birth record and parents' info can be found here [11]

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