Welcome to The Linnean Collections

LINN 3948 Papilio sp. (Ins Linn)

To provide worldwide access to its priceless collections of specimens, manuscripts, letters, books and artwork, the Society is constantly adding to its Online Collections.

Specimen collections

The Linnean Society holds several important 18th century animal and plant collections - including some 40,000 original specimens from the collection of Carl Linnaeus purchased from the estate of the Society's first President, Sir James Edward Smith - as well as Smith's own plant and "carpological" collection.


The library, correspondence and manuscripts of Carl Linnaeus

With the specimens, James Edward Smith also acquired the private library of Carl Linnaeus (some 1,600 volumes), and a major collection of his correspondence (over 4,000 letters from 600 different correspondents) and manuscripts (ca. 300 manuscripts).

Alfred Russel Wallace's notebooks

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), like Charles Darwin a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, is most famous for his work on natural selection, independent of Charles Darwin, which may have impelled the latter to publish his own theory.

We hold ten manuscript notebooks of Alfred Russel Wallace, including two field notebooks and four journals in which he records his travels around the Malay archipelago. The notebooks are undergoing conservation treatment before digitisation and will be available in June 2013, in time for the centenary of Wallace's death.

Buchanan-Hamilton Collection

One of the premier collections of drawings is a series of watercolours of Indian and Nepalese plants and animals, probably painted by Indian artists, which were collected by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton between 1794 and 1815.

Browse our Online Collections

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