Johann Joachim Becher (1635-1682). His works could be found in the Curwen home library in Providence. Becher, a German chemist, physician, and economist, was born in Speyer, Germany. He founded a chemical laboratory in Munich and attempted to change sand of the Danube into gold. But not all his work was alchemical. The phlogiston theory of combustion advanced by German chemist and physician Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734) was based on Becher's views as set forth in his "Pysica Subterranea" ("Subterranean Physics") (1669), a study of the nature of minerals and other substances.
[The Case of Charles Dexter Ward - H.P.L.]