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Strandell Collection of Linnaeana

Linnaean Dissertations database

Linnaean Dissertations English summaries

Michel Adanson Library
Digitized books

Account of 814 Plants & Insects, Most of Which Are Reckoned Medicinal by the Chinese (ca.1800)

Friedrich von Berchtold and Jan Svatopluk Presl, O Prirozenosti Rostlin aneb Rostlinár (1823–1835)

John Ellis, Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants (1770)

François L'Anglois, Livre de Fleurs (1620)

 Strandell Collection of Linnaeana

The Strandell Collection includes all published works, in almost every known edition and translation, by the great Swedish naturalist-physician Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linné) as well as many of those by his many students, and much of the world's literature about Linnaeus and his students.

Detail of the frontispiece from Linnaeus' Flora Lapponica (Amsterdam, S. Schouten, 1737), drawn by Martin Hoffman and engraved by Adolph van der Laan.
HI Library call no. DS218 L758f.

This is the largest assemblage of such materials outside Uppsala, Sweden, and it includes approximately 3,000 volumes. The Institute acquired the collection in 1968 from Dr. Birger Strandell, who was a Stockholm physician and direct descendant of Linnaeus. The collection includes:

Publications by Linnaeus, as first and later editions and as reprints and translations in published collections
The 186 student dissertations that he supervised, now being digitized. See our Original Linnaean Dissertations database for access to digital versions as they become available. English summaries are also available.
Many of the publications by Linnaeus' students
A considerable amount of secondary literature discussing Linnaeus' impact on the natural sciences and medicine
A large collection of clippings relating to Linnaeus and his scientific and cultural impact, primarily relating to Sweden

Carolus Linnaeus

Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) is generally credited with ushering in the era of modern biology. His work in classification, nomenclature, and descriptive method and terminology covered all the species of plants and animals then known to the Western world, and comprehensively correlated most all the biological information that had been published previously in Europe. In this manner he brought order out of the chaos of what was an information explosion in the natural sciences.

Linnaeus, a born classifier, devised a comprehensive system of classification for all animals, plants, and minerals, which he published in 1735 as Systema Naturae. His subsequent Species Plantarum, originally published in 1753, was the first work to account for all plants then known, to classify them according to a simple system by which they could be easily identified, and to provide for each a name of only two words. The binomial system of nomenclature did not originate with Linnaeus, nor was it the main purpose of his publication, but the comprehensive use of unique, easy-to-remember binomial names alongside the traditional diagnostic polynomials (which he still regarded as the "true" names of plants) eventually led to the designation of Species Plantarum as the starting point for modern botanical nomenclature. The binomial system is used to this day in zoology as well as in botany, and modern zoological nomenclature dates from the 1758 edition of Systema Naturae.

Linnaeus in His Lapland Dress,
oil on canvas by Eleonora Lindstrom-Hennig, 1907,
after Hollander's adaptation of Martin Hoffman's original portrait, 1737. HI Archives portrait no. 27.

Linnaeus divided the plant kingdom into 24 classes, based on the number and disposition of stamens, and 67 orders, based on the number and disposition of pistils. This expedient but botanically simplistic classification by reproductive organs was controversial and not widely accepted at first. Many botanists were searching for a natural classification, and Linnaeus' scheme was artificial, grouping plants by what seemed to be arbitrarily chosen characters. Also working against it were what were widely perceived as scandalous allusions to sexual reproduction in plants, an idea that many at the time found difficult to believe or tolerate. In fact, Linnaeus' lasting fame rests not on his classification itself but on his contributions in nomenclature and description, and on his having provided a comprehensive and effective information system for burgeoning knowledge about the world's biota.

Access to the Collection

The Strandell Collection is fully catalogued and available for use by researchers. At present the catalogue records for this collection are accessible only on-site in the form of a printed catalogue, but eventually the Institute hopes to make them available online as well. Contact the Library for additional information or to arrange for a visit.

Strandell Room, Hunt Institute. Photo by Frank Reynolds.
A corner of the library was remodeled to create the room in 1972 to house the collection.

Other Collections and Additional Information

In addition to the Strandell Collection of Linnaeana, there are several other collections of Linnaean material of possible interest to researchers.

The library of the Linnean Society of London holds Linnaeus' own collections of plant and animal (fish, insects, shells) specimens as well as his personal library (books, manuscripts, correspondence).

The Institut de France, Paris, holds the plant specimens that Linnaeus collected in Lapland.

The Natural History Museum in London holds several collections of plant specimens and drawings consulted by Linnaeus.

The Botanical Museum at Uppsala University, Sweden (now Botany Section of the Museum of Evolution), contains plant specimens consulted by Linnaeus.

The University Libraries at Kansas State University, in Manhattan, Kansas, hold the Mackenzie Linnaeana collection, formerly at the New York Horticultural Society, which consists of books and dissertations.

A short biography of Linnaeus can be found at the Web site of the Department of Systematic Botany, Uppsala University.

A brief biography, plus a portrait and a synopsis of his scientific thought, can be found at the Museum of Paleontology, University of California, Berkeley site.

Information on the Linnaean herbarium at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, is available.

The Linnaeus Link project is an international collaboration based at The Natural History Museum in London. The project aims to improve access to Linnaean collections in a number of institutions through the creation of an on-line union catalogue of Linnaean material on the Web.

The Linnaean Society of New York was founded in 1878 as a natural history society and serves interested amateurs and professional scientists. Their public lectures, meetings and membership are open to persons with an active interest in ornithology, natural science and conservation, with a focus on the northeast United States. In the spirit of the society's namesake Carl Linnaeus, they maintain several funds promoting field work and scientific research and they also grant awards.

Available on the Hunt Institute's Web site are databases of the index and the bibliography from Robert W. Kiger, Charlotte A. Tancin and Gavin D. R. Bridson's Index to Scientific Names of Organisms Cited in the Linnaean Dissertations together with a Synoptic Bibliography of the Dissertations and a Concordance for Selected Editions (Pittsburgh, Hunt Institute, 1999).

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