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Edwin Rose

Edwin Rose

Department: History and Philosophy of Science

Supervisor: Prof. Jim Secord

College: Churchill

AHRC Subject Area: History

Title of Thesis: The creation and use of Private libraries in relation to the practice of natural history, 1740-1830


Edwin graduated with a first class BA (Hons) in history (2015), and went on to extend his interests in the sciences and humanities further by embarking on an MPhil. in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge, where he specialised in eighteenth century natural history. Edwin completed a thesis entitled 'From Chelsea to Montague House: Hans Sloane's collection of Jamaican plants, 1742-1768', which examines the founding natural historical collections of the British Museum, part of which has recently been published.

Leading on from this, Edwin's current Ph.D. research is on natural historical libraries from 1740-1830, examining the relationship between printed books, book collecting and specimen collections. In this work, he is examining the use of natural historical books in the field, investigating the emergence of the concept of fieldwork during this period, and in the library, particularly in relation to their associated natural historical collections, systematic classification of specimens and publication. The libraries and collections being concentrated on are those of Hans Sloane (1660-1753), Thomas Pennant (1726-98), Gilbert White (1720-93) and Joseph Banks (1743-1820). All of these naturalists owned extensive working natural historical library collections which were directly associated with their collections of natural historical specimens, all of which were connected to one another through extensive networks of exchange. 


Other Academic Interests

History of the life sciences, history of natural history, history of the book, history of collecting, early modern history, history of museums, history of classification, history of the earth sciences, the material culture of natural history

Key Publications

Rose, Edwin D., 'Natural history collections and the book: Hans Sloane's A Voyage to Jamaica (1707-25) and his Jamaican plants'Journal of the History of Collections, 30: 1(2018), pp. 15-33.

Rose, Edwin D., 'Specimens, Slips and Systems: Daniel Solander and the reclassification of nature at the world's first public museum, 1753-1768', The British Journal for the History of Science (In Press, 2018).

Rose, Edwin D., 'Gilbert White's copy of John Ray's Synopsis Methodica Avium & Piscarum and the construction of the Natural History of Selborne', Archives of Natural History (In Press, October 2018)