Papers of Sir James Edward Smith

Founder of the Linnean Society in 1788, Smith was one of the one of the most pre-eminent British botanists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was a principal founding member and first President of the Linnean Society of London.

Smith’s correspondence collection contains over 3,000 letters from 400 correspondents. The correspondence contains detailed discussion of plants, specimens, habitats, publications, and other botanists and scientists, as well as first-hand accounts and opinions on the political figures, medicine, social unrest, contemporary culture, and wars of the period.

Smith’s correspondence collection has been catalogued and digitised and is available online.

The society also holds Smith’s manuscript collection, which includes a collection of diplomas Smith received from societies and institutions from around the world, manuscript copies of several of Smith’s works, drafts of letters and papers, page proofs, notebooks, catalogues of plants, various scientific pamphlets and lists, various general papers and lists, and printed material.

Further information about Smith’s collections, including his manuscripts, library and specimen collection, are available on the Smith Collections page.