From the announcement in the Autumn newsletter :
The Linnean Society of London is the world’s oldest active biological society. Founded in 1788 by botanist Sir James Edward Smith the Society takes its name from the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) whose botanical, zoological and library collections have been in its keeping since 1829. These unique collections are of continuing fundamental importance as a primary reference for taxonomy. They are enhanced by the Society’s own rich library which provides key resources for research.
Sir James Edward Smith acquired the Linnaean Collections from the widow of Carl Linnaeus in 1784. He then founded the Society so the collections could be preserved, studied and enjoyed by future generations. Since 1874 Burlington House has been home to the Linnean Society.
The Linnaean specimen collections comprise the specimens of plants, fish, shells and insects. The private library of Linnaeus (some 1,600 volumes) consists of the books he used as reference material, many of them given to him by fellow naturalists and admirers all over the world. Linnaeus’s library also includes all the students’ dissertations that he supervised.
The Linnaean correspondence collection contains over 4,000 letters from 600 different correspondents. The earliest letters date from the 1730s, when Linnaeus was still a relatively young man.
It also comprises working papers, drafts for publication, lecture notes, and miscellaneous manuscripts of other naturalists, among others of his close friend and famous Dutch botanist Herman Boerhaave (1668 – 1738).
Please join us for a guided tour to learn more about the world’s oldest and active biological society. After an introduction about the history of the Society, we will see the Linnaean collections including his books, manuscripts (hopefully also of Boerhaave) and specimens. The visit will end in the Library, with more information concerning Burlington House and the temporary exhibition (Linnaeus’ Lapland journal).