Order from Chaos: Linnaeus Disposes

An Introduction



Portrait of Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) engraved by C. E. Wagstaff from an oil painting by L. Pasch after an original by A. Roslin (1775) at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm. HI Archives portrait no. 20.


Exhibition organized by Charlotte Tancin, Librarian; Angela Todd, Archivist, Gavin D. R. Bridson, Bibliographer; Lugene Bruno, Assistant Curator of Art; James J. White, Curator of Art; and Alain Touwaide, Visiting Scholar, History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine, and Scientific Collaborator, Section of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, with assistance by Scarlett Townsend, Editor; Frank Reynolds, Graphics Manager; and Lisa Ferrugia, Archival Assistant. Online exhibition designed by Kristina Lamothe, Research Assistant. The exhibition hung in the Hunt Institute gallery from 28 April to 31 July 2002.
Order from Chaos: Linnaeus Disposes
"God creates, Linnaeus disposes"

Carolus Linnaeus (also Carl von Linné, 1707–1778) was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist whose work laid the foundations of modern biological systematics and nomenclature. Long before Linnaeus, classical science was important in the shaping of subsequent science in the West. Transmitted through the cultures of the Mediterranean area, classical science was recovered during the Renaissance and ensuing Scientific Revolution, and undergirded the search for a new botanical system. Drawing on the work of his predecessors and contemporaries, Linnaeus developed a coherent system for describing, classifying and naming organisms. Linnaeus’ students traveled the globe to explore and collect information and specimens. Aspects of the Linnaean system have enabled amateurs and professionals worldwide to identify, name and describe plants for more than two centuries.