From Books to Bezoars

Michael Hunter, Alison Walker, and Arthur MacGregor, eds., From Books to Bezoars: Sir Hans Sloane and His Collections (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

This well-illustrated volume offers fresh perspectives on the great eighteenth-century physician, naturalist, and collector Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753), whose extensive holdings formed the basis of the British Museum and its offspring, the Natural History Museum and the British Library. The colonial milieu within which Sloane operated gets prominence here, particularly the time he spent in Jamaica. Attention is paid to his enormous network of acquaintances and correspondents throughout the world as well as to the way his collecting activities permeated every aspect of his life. Other essays consider the museum specimens accumulated by Sloane—both natural and man-made—shedding new light on his aims for acquiring and organizing them.”

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