Samuel Hartlib was born in Elbing, Prussia (now Elbag, Poland), and settled in England in 1628. He briefly attended Cambridge University and became the center of what came to be known as the "Hartlib circle," a large group of intellectuals that included Calvinist minister and philosopher John Dury, chemist Robert Boyle, Robert's sister Katherine Boyle, Lady Ranelagh, and her aunt Dorothy Moore. His circle of contacts and correspondents served as one of the foundations of the future Royal Society of London. Hartlib had many ideas on religious and school reform and teacher training. He persuaded his friend John Milton to write the pamphlet "Of Education" (1644), which Milton dedicated to him.
Among the more than 30 works that Hartlib published, the most notable are Macaria (1641) a utopian vision based on the philosophy of Francis Bacon and Comenius, Considerations Tending to the Happy Accomplishment of England’s Reformation in Church and State (1647), and Essay for Advancement of Husbandry (1651). His True and Readie Way to Learne the Latine Tongue (1654) attempted to make education available to all.
For his achievements, Samuel Hartlib was awarded a pension by Oliver Cromwell, but it ended with the Restoration in 1660.