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Jean Paul Bignon

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Abbé Jean Paul Bignon was a French ecclesiastic, statesman, writer and preacher and librarian to Louis XIV of France. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1734. In 1693 he was made commendatory abbot of Saint-Quentin-en-l’Isle and preacher to King Louis; he was also appointed to succeed to Seat 20 in the French Academy. He was charged by the minister Colbert to head the Bignon Commission, which… Read more »

August 21, 2017


de Chammorel

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A de Chammorel wrote letter 4262 to Sloane, regarding a number of books that Sloane sent him. The only de Chammorel of this time that could be indentified was a reference to a Mons. Chammorel, Secretary to the French Embassy.   Reference: de Chammborel to Hans Sloane, 1731-04-28, Sloane MS 4051, f. 226, British Library,… Read more »


Thomas Paine

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Thomas Paine was a lecturer/professor at Trinity College, Cambridge, who wrote letter 4259 to Sloane, concerning a whale’s tooth that was dug up by a river in Bedfordshire. He sends it to Sloane as an offering as part of his collection, so that Sloane may better identify it.   Reference: Thomas Paine to Recipience, 1731-04-11,… Read more »


Elizabeth Welwood

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Elizabeth Welwood (c. 1670-1732), nee Tregonwell Seymour, married the physician and writer James Welwood (1652-1727) in 1703. She wrote letter 2457 to Sloane, recommending he aid a young women who was in need of financial and medical help.   Reference: Elizabeth Welwood to Hans Sloane, 1731-04-03, Sloane MS 4051, ff. 219-220, British Library, London. (Elizabeth… Read more »


Looking to the Edge, or Networking Early Modern Women

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It all started when someone noticed a blog post on Anglo-Saxonist Allen J Frantzen’s website titled “How to Fight Your Way Out of a Feminist Fog”…

January 31, 2016


Grading Sir Hans Sloane’s Research Paper

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It’s that time of year when grading is on an academic’s mind. With first-year assignments still fresh in my head, I recently found myself frustrated by Sir Hans Sloane’s “Account of Symptoms arising from eating the Seeds of Henbane” (Philosophical Transactions, volume 38, 1733-4). Letters by Sir Hans rarely feature on this blog—and that’s for… Read more »

December 3, 2015


Sloane becomes a BBC Radio 4 Natural History Hero

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By Victoria Pickering On Monday 28th September at 1:45pm, BBC Radio 4 aired the first segment of their ten-part series about Natural History Heroes and what would be my very first foray into sharing my research on national radio. It was a lot more nerve-racking than I expected, but also an interesting learning experience. In… Read more »

November 10, 2015


Beginnings and Endings: History Carnival 150

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It’s been one month since I started my new job at the University of Essex. Settling in has been a busy and fun process. The moving company now tells me that my boxes should be in England by the weekend. One month and a new start in life has simply become life… Being in a… Read more »

October 1, 2015


A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

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By James Hawkes Saving lives may have been Sir Hans Sloane’s day job as a physician, but in one case he even saved a friend from the hangman: Patrick Blair, who had been sentenced to death for high treason. A Scottish surgeon and botanist, Blair had known Sloane since 1705 after persuading a fellow Scotsmen… Read more »

September 19, 2015


Changes… and a History Carnival!

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If you’re still around, dear readers, then you will have noticed that the blog has remained quiet–despite the end of my maternity leave. There is a reason for this: I have been caught up in a flurry of paperclips and packing. At the start of September, I began a new job as Lecturer in Digital… Read more »

September 18, 2015


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