The Linnean Correspondence (1735–78)

views updated

The Linnean Correspondence


SITE SUMMARY: This Correspondence, the focal point of an ongoing electronic project titled Project Linnaeus, features letters (eventually 7,000) that Carolus Von Linnaeus (also known as Carl Von Linne) sent to, or received from, more than 500 people, including his students, other scientific thinkers, and organizations. The letters, arranged by date, are written in English and in other languages. They reveal Linne's thoughts (especially on botany) and his influence. There are summaries in English of some of the letters written in other languages. Links go to a guide (actually detailed information about the project), an introduction (to features of Linne's life), a bibliography, and biographical notes on the correspondents. The project is overseen by an Advisory Board headed by Bengt Jonsell (of the Bergius Foundation of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences).


  1. Find and read a letter written in English to Linne (e.g., by Peter Collinson). Identify at least one (if available, state two or three) science-related comment(s). Find Linne's letter written as a response. Tell what Linne answered. Indicate how Linne influenced the letter's writer. Provide the letter writer's profession and/or connection to Linne.
  2. Find and read a summary/translation of a letter written to Linne in a language other than English (e.g., by Francois Boissier de La Croix de Sauvages). Apply activities in Question/Activity no. 1 above to the chosen letter and the letter's writer.
  3. Find, and click link to, a detailed summary/translation of a letter, or detailed summaries/translations of letters, that Linne wrote to Christian Gottlieb Ludwig, a German physician; and one or more letters Ludwig wrote to Linne. Find also biographical data on Ludwig. After reading all, identify three science subjects written about in the letter or letters. (Note: Be sure at least one subject in each letter is a response to something said in the other letter.)
  4. Find and read a translation/summary of a letter Linne wrote to an organization (e.g., the Royal Swedish Society, the Consistorium of Uppsala University, or the Kungliga Vetenstapssocieteten). Identify what he wrote about, and why.
  5. Find and read references to some of Linne's thoughts at the Linnean Society of London Web site. (Its url is cited in the Related Internet Sites section below.) Explain why you think these thoughts cause scientists to claim that the book in which these thoughts are found marks the start of modern botanical nomenclature, as stated at the Society's Web site. (Note: As you read these thoughts, note that nomenclature is defined at the Linnean System of Nomenclature Web site, found as cited in the Related Internet Sites section below.)
  6. Write two letters. Write one to a scientist working in a science that interests you. Write the other letter to a science teacher in whose class you have been a student, and that class was interesting for you. State in each letter how this scientist/teacher inspires your interest; and perhaps has influenced you to consider pursuing a career in the science or some aspect of it. (Hint: For help, see any Web site on a scientist cited in this book.)


Of Project Linnaeus

This Web page provides a detailed overview of Project Linnaeus; the focal point of it being the Linnean Correspondence Web site. This page reveals which texts will be featured, and how; plus what these texts show; and how the online project will utilize the Web. Note also when the Project was started, the collaborators who are responsible for the Project, and the reason for the Project.

Linnean Society of London

Via the History link, visit the page with links (e.g., to a Linne biography featuring information on the floral clock Linne created, the plant Linnaea borealis [named after Linne], and a description of his classification of plants, based on what is in his book Species Plantarum, published 1735, with a 1758 tenth edition that is considered to be [as of 1910] the document starting modern botanical nomenclature, which Linne expanded on in his Fundamenta Botanica and Classes Plantarum). Note also links to Linnean Society publications with citations of articles for non-members, and full-text articles for society members, from The Linnean Journal, Biological Journal, and Zoological Journal, plus links to news and events, collections, library, search, and welcome.

The Linnean System

This site features detailed information on the Linnean Taxonomic Hierarchy and What's in a Name? It also has links to the International Codes of Botanical and Zoological Nomenclature, Linne biographies, and Linnean Links (e.g., Taxonomy Methodology, and Taxonomy of Life; plus parts of the "Proceedings of a Mini-Symposium on Biological Nomenclature in the Twenty-First Century" which are opposing critical analyses and overviews of the Linnean System).

Linnaeus at History of Horticulture, Ohio State University Online

Click link for, then browse, Archives—Eighteenth Century, then its name links, for link to a biography of Linnaeus, which cites his works, quotes about him by other scientists of his time, plus links (e.g., to biographical materials at the Department of Systematic Botany, University of Uppsala, Sweden).

Strandell Collection of Linne's Documents at Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation

This Institute, at Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, houses the Strandell Collection of Linnaean Documents, the largest collection outside of Linne's native Sweden, and donated in 1968 by Dr. Birger Strandell, a direct descendant of Linne. An online bibliographic catalog of these documents will be provided, and will have more than three thousand documents including Linne's writings, translations of them, his students' dissertations and other publications, plus clippings and secondary literature that reveal his impact on science.

Databases of Linne-Related Documents at Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation

Click links under databases area to Index to Binomials Cited in the First Edition of Linne's Species Plantarum, Index to Scientific Names of Organisms Cited in Linne Dissertations, and Original Linne Dissertations.

About this article

The Linnean Correspondence (1735–78)

Updated About content Print Article