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Library and Collections of Linnaeus

The Society preserves the books, correspondence and manuscripts of Carl Linnaeus, collectively known as the Linnaean Library.

For information about the zoological and botanical specimen collections of Carl Linnaeus (Herbarium, Insects, Fish, Shells) click HERE.


Linnaean Books

The private library of Linnaeus (some 1,600 volumes) consists of the books Linnaeus used as reference material, many of them given to him by fellow naturalists and admirers all over the world.

The oldest book in Linnaeus’ Library is a beautifully restored Herbal dating from 1488.

It also contains all theses of his students that he supervised. Most importantly, it contains Linnaeus’ own copies of his works, many of them copiously annotated in his own hand. Recognising the importance of these notes and revisions, the Society has undertaken a project to digitise these volumes and make them available as part of the Society's Online Collections .

Explore the digital Linnaean Annotated Library!

Bibliographic records of the Linnnaean library can be searched via our Online Library Catalogue.


Linnaean Correspondence

The Linnaean Correspondence collection held by the Linnean Society contains over 4,000 letters from 600 different correspondents.

The letters are an invaluable source of information for interpreting other parts of the collections.

The earliest letters date from the 1730s, when Linnaeus was still a relatively young man.

They continue up to his death in 1778 and beyond, as it took time for news of his demise to reach more distant correspondents.

View the Linnaean Correspondence online.


Linnaean manuscripts

The uniquely important collection of manuscripts is closely related to the Linnaean Collection of botanical and zoological specimens.

It comprises working papers, drafts for publication, lecture notes, and miscellaneous manuscripts of other naturalists covering almost all aspects of the botanical, zoological, mineralogical, museological, medical, and bibliographical interests of Linnaeus, father and son.

A highlight of these are the famous travel diaries made in Lapland, Oland and Gotland.

A selection of the manuscripts is now available online as part of our Online Collections: Sixteen Manuscripts that Re-Wrote Nature.

Other Linnaean material:


Linnaeus portrait

The Society owns several portraits of Linnaeus at different stages of his life, and two large portfolios containing hundreds of engravings and reproductions of images of Linnaeus, as well as images associated with him. There is a published catalogue of Linnaean portraits.

The entries for the portraits of Linnaeus make use of the reference numbers in the published catalogue by:

Tycho Tullberg, Linnéporträtt vid Uppsala Universitets Minnefest…, Stockholm, Aktiebolaget, 1907.

Medals, Sculpture and Seals

Linnaeus medals

As well as the paintings and works on paper, there are numerous commemorative portrait medallions and statues. There is a collection of seals which includes impressions made from the seals of the many scientists with whom Linnaeus corresponded.

A useful bibliography for Linnaean medallions, medals, etc is:

Wisehn, Eva, Images of Linnaeus: coins, medals and banknotes (Stockholm: The Royal Coin Cabinet & London: The Linnean Society of London)