Henry Clifton Sorby was one of the pioneers of the microscopic study of rocks in thin section, and pioneered the microscopic study of etched metal surfaces. He was also one of the first to study sedimentological problems by experimental means, and later in life did much original research on blood, marine biology and archaeology. This paper records the discovery of the diary of his father Henry Sorby (1790-1846) covering the years 1845-1846, which documents new biographical data and sheds new light on Henry Clifton Sorby's formative years as a scientist. Most important, the diary records that HCS's primary interest up to 1846 was in chemistry, with a secondary interest in geology, in both of which in intended to further himself by studying under Justus von Liebig and John Phillips. Following a tour of southern England in 1846 which led him to pursue a considerable amount of geology, geology became a more active interest upon his return home. Members of his family, their friends, and friends of his own making with special interests in geology and other sciences can be identified, who were influential in encouraging HCS's own scientific interests.

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