The members of the Leopoldina are organized in 28 sections that are grouped in four classes.
After the transfer of presidency from Johann Michael Fehr (II. President, 1666-1686) to Johann Georg von Volckamer (III. President, 1686-1693) the Leopoldina moves from Schweinfurt to a new location in the Free City of Nuremberg. There, a new library with a natural history collection is opened in 1731. Over the next two centuries the Academy moves several times as its statutes stipulate, that it must be located in the President’s place of residence. Between 1686 and 1878 the Leopoldina changes locations a total of 15 times.
The Leopoldina’s nomadic years are marked by political and social developments of the 18th and 19th century. For example, in 1686 the Academy leaves Schweinfurt after the Thirty Years’ War and is relocated in Halle during the period of industrialization in 1878. Personalities with excellent scientific, organizational and occasionally even diplomatic skills shape the Academy and help to establish its reputation. Lucas von Schroeck (IV. President, 1693-1730), Andreas Elias von Büchner (VI. President, 1735-1769) and Christian Gottfried Daniel Nees von Esenbeck (XI. President, 1818-1858) are particularly effective presidents of this era.
|1652-1686 Schweinfurt||1788-1818 Erlangen|
|1686-1693 Nuremberg||1819-1830 Bonn|
|1693-1730 Augsburg||1830-1858 Breslau|
|1730-1735 Altdorf||1858-1862 Jena|
|1735-1745 Erfurt||1862-1878 Dresden|
|1745-1769 Halle||since 1878 Halle|
In the 18th century in particular, the Leopoldina opens up to members from outside the field of science. Ministers, government officials and clergy are welcomed into the Academy as patrons or advocates. In 1789, the year of the French Revolution, Princess Yekaterina Romanovna Vorontsova-Dashkova becomes the first female member. In the five decades between 1769 and 1818, the Leopoldina selects an average of seven new members per year. However, in 1818 alone, the first year of Nees von Esenbeck’s presidency, the Academy accepts 54 predominantly younger scienists.