Daniel Solander, the 18th century Swedish naturalist and traveller was a pioneer of the scientific study of natural history and one of the earliest collectors in New Holland.
For many years a colleague of Joseph Banks, he sailed to the Pacific with Banks and James Cook in the 'Endeavour' in 1768. With Banks, he described and classified more than a thousand new species, and he was the first man to write a scientific description of the kangaroo.
When Banks broke with the Admiralty over preparations for Cook's second great voyage, Solander joined Banks' party on its expedition to the Hebrides, Iceland and the Orkneys. He became the first taxonomist to describe and catalogue the natural history collection of the British Museum, prepared the plant classification for Kew Gardens, and arranged the Duchess of Portland's collection. He wrote the naturalhistory descriptions for many important books of his time, assisted leading scientists and was influential in implanting the Linnean system of taxonomy in the British Isles.
Solander's letters offer important insights ino some of the foremost scientific issues of the day and his close association with such remarkable men as Carl Linnaeus, Banks, John Ellis and William Hunter.
The letters give little hint that English was not his native tongue. His warm and relaxed style reveals considerable linguistic ability and explains why the novelist Fanny Burney fondly called him a 'philosophical gossip' and why James Boswell declared, 'Throw him where you will, he swims'. This collection is based on research in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the United States , Spain, Germany and Scandinavia. Some 180 letters written either by or to Solander were located and copied and appear in their original language (English, Swedish, Danish, Latin or German) and mmost are reproduced in English for the first time.
Part I: Sweden 1753-1760
Part II: London, Early Years 1760-1762
Part III: British Museum, 'Endeavour', Iceland 1763-1772
Part IV: Solander Lionized 1773-1782
Part V: Ancillary Correspondence 1772-1813
Swedish Terms and Titles
Calendar of Correspondence