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Sir Hans Sloane was a considerable figure in his time. He was the natural successor to Sir Isaac Newton as President of the Royal Society, President of the Royal College of Physicians and the friend of John Ray, Robert Boyle and other principal figures in the learned community of his day. He was also the author of a major two volume 'Natural History of Jamaica', the result of personal fieldwork on the island while a young man. However, his most valuable achievement was the establishment of his museum, a huge accumulation of natural and man made specimans complemented by a vast library. At his death in 1753 it was acquired by the nation and together with the Cottonian and Harleian manuscripts, it formed the founding collection of the British Museum. In this volume, each of the authors provide an assessment of the character and range of one aspect of Sloane's collecting activities. They provide the first systematic survey of both the specimens themselves and the series of 31 folio volumes which form the catalogue to the collection. The international network of contemporaries who sustained Sloane with acquisitions, advice and information is also explored. This reassessment of the life and work of Sir Hans Sloane re establishes him in his rightful position in the intellectual history of his era and re evaluates his greatest achievement his museum collection.
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