Collected Archives

Diverse series of papers produced by, about or owned by Fellows of the Linnean Society, including unpublished manuscripts, artwork, diaries, notebooks, and correspondence.

Particular highlights include the notebooks and journals of Alfred Russel Wallace, the artwork of Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, John Forster’s descriptions of animals seen during Cook’s second voyage, Pehr Kalm’s descriptions of North American plants, Solander’s catalogue of Banks’s shells, and Patrick Browne’s catalogue of the plants of Jamaica and other sugar colonies.

Journals and diaries, particularly of voyages, include Alexander Anderson’s visits to the West Indies in 1803; Joseph Omer-Cooper’s diary of an expedition to Abyssinia in 1926; transcripts or facsimiles of Archibald Menzies’ journal of Vancouver’s voyages between 1790 and 1794; and Olof Rudbeck’s diary of a journey to Lapland in 1695.

It also includes important correspondence collections of key Society figures such as William Swainson, Richard Pulteney, George Bentham, Alexander MacLeay, William Sharp MacLeay, Peter Collinson and John Ellis.

Archives of other organisations

The Linnean Society also owns the archives of other organisations, such as the Linnean Club, the Zoological Club, the Society for Promoting Natural History, the Botanical Society of London Minutes from 1844-1851 and H.M. Treasury Committee on Botanical Work of 1900-1901.

Recent acquisitions include important collections of wildlife conservation manuscripts and archives, including the papers of the British Coelenterata Society, the Council for Nature archives, and papers from several Fellows who were closely involved with the founding and development of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the World Wide Fund for Nature.

We also hold John Hooper's bat archive, containing invaluable field data.

The Society stores (but does not own) the archives and manuscripts of the Selborne Society, which includes Gilbert White’s correspondence and sermons. Permission for access to this must be obtained from the Selborne Society.