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Carl Linnaeus's botanical paper slips (1767-1773).

Charmantier I, Müller-Wille S - Intellect Hist Rev (2014)

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Affiliation: Department of History, University of Exeter , Exeter , UK.

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Towards the very end of his academic career, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) – best known today for his “sexual” system of plant classification and his binomial nomenclature – used little paper slips of a standard size to process information on plants and animals that reached him on a daily basis... Both volumes had nearly 600 pages; the first Mantissa alone contained 25 new genera and – as Linnaeus explained himself – “more than 400 of the rarest species, which partly have never been referred to a particular genus, and partly are completely new. ” It is likely, then, that the title rather expressed the fact that Linnaeus had failed to integrate new information into further complete and updated editions of his taxonomic works, thus reducing the value of the book... As we will see in the next part of our paper, it was Mantissa plantarum altera for which Linnaeus first used his paper slips, and the quoted passage from the preface to this book is the only instance, as far as we can see, where Linnaeus makes explicit reference to this new working method... Linnaeus initially seems to have used the paper slips much like he had used loose sheets for his Species plantarum in the late 1740s, that is, as a preparatory manuscript... In the case of specimens sent by collectors, it is often possible to relate the respective slip to the letter sent by the correspondent and to a specimen that is still preserved in Linnaeus's herbarium... On the likely assumption that Linnaeus processed information contained in letters shortly after their receipt, it is possible to conclude that Linnaeus started the process of collecting information on paper slips just after the publication of the first Mantissa in 1767, and that he did not stop using paper slips after Mantissa plantarum altera was published in 1771... In this case, a pair of slips drawn up from different sources was used over a period of more than two years to systematically collate information and settle on taxonomic assignments (Figure 3)... It is highly likely, although impossible to demonstrate conclusively, that this went along with a re-shuffling of the paper slips... Linnaeus now had two herbarium specimens carrying the same name, and a letter to Bäck on 12 September 1773 mentions that he had “received so many of this genus [i.e. Ixia] that they need close examination. ” In the course of this examination, Linnaeus apparently reached the conclusion that the two specimens of Ixia crispa actually represented different species, since he changed the trivial name of Sparrman's specimen from Ixia crispa to Ixia undulata... They bear a striking resemblance to Linnaeus's later slips (Figure 7)... It is tempting to conclude that, while cataloguing the Queen's collection, the first seeds were planted for the later independent “invention” of paper slips by Solander and Linnaeus... In the stages of Linnaeus's working process, they occupied a sort of middle ground: while the first step was to draw up a list of specimens provisionally assigned to species, the paper slips allowed Linnaeus to note down their characteristics, to compare species with each other, and to allocate names to them.

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Two pages from Linnaeus the Younger, “Supplementum plantarum”, Library of the Linnean Society, 44–44a. This preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa, eventually published by Carl Linnaeus the Younger as Supplementum plantarum in 1781, is based on the content of some of his father's paper slips copied out by two amanuenses onto the pages of a folio notebook. Both father and son then amended the text, either directly entering corrections and additions in the text, or by gluing or pinning paper slips into the manuscript (cf. 4.c for an enlarged view of the entry for Hydrocotyle ranunculinus on the left-hand side). By permission of the Linnean Society of London.
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Figure 0005: Two pages from Linnaeus the Younger, “Supplementum plantarum”, Library of the Linnean Society, 44–44a. This preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa, eventually published by Carl Linnaeus the Younger as Supplementum plantarum in 1781, is based on the content of some of his father's paper slips copied out by two amanuenses onto the pages of a folio notebook. Both father and son then amended the text, either directly entering corrections and additions in the text, or by gluing or pinning paper slips into the manuscript (cf. 4.c for an enlarged view of the entry for Hydrocotyle ranunculinus on the left-hand side). By permission of the Linnean Society of London.

Mentions: The paper slips took another dimension when Linnaeus became too ill and fragile to work on his own after his stroke in the summer of 1774. The preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa demonstrates that towards the end of the 1770s Linnaeus was working in close collaboration with his son and two amanuenses. While the amanuenses neatly copied out Linnaeus's paper slips in a notebook, Linnaeus himself corrected some of the text.73 At the same time, his son continued the practice of drawing up paper slips for new species of plants. The manuscript is a mixture of tidy handwriting, and paper slips from both father and son inserted, glued, or pinned on the pages (Figure 5). Some of these slips are Linnaeus's original paper slips, while others are roughly cut, and were clearly written up while someone else was working on the manuscript, to be inserted later. Working from and on loose paper slips meant that up to four people worked on one piece of work simultaneously without impinging the copying process.Figure 5.


Carl Linnaeus's botanical paper slips (1767-1773).

Charmantier I, Müller-Wille S - Intellect Hist Rev (2014)

Two pages from Linnaeus the Younger, “Supplementum plantarum”, Library of the Linnean Society, 44–44a. This preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa, eventually published by Carl Linnaeus the Younger as Supplementum plantarum in 1781, is based on the content of some of his father's paper slips copied out by two amanuenses onto the pages of a folio notebook. Both father and son then amended the text, either directly entering corrections and additions in the text, or by gluing or pinning paper slips into the manuscript (cf. 4.c for an enlarged view of the entry for Hydrocotyle ranunculinus on the left-hand side). By permission of the Linnean Society of London.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4837604&req=5

Figure 0005: Two pages from Linnaeus the Younger, “Supplementum plantarum”, Library of the Linnean Society, 44–44a. This preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa, eventually published by Carl Linnaeus the Younger as Supplementum plantarum in 1781, is based on the content of some of his father's paper slips copied out by two amanuenses onto the pages of a folio notebook. Both father and son then amended the text, either directly entering corrections and additions in the text, or by gluing or pinning paper slips into the manuscript (cf. 4.c for an enlarged view of the entry for Hydrocotyle ranunculinus on the left-hand side). By permission of the Linnean Society of London.
Mentions: The paper slips took another dimension when Linnaeus became too ill and fragile to work on his own after his stroke in the summer of 1774. The preparatory manuscript for the third Mantissa demonstrates that towards the end of the 1770s Linnaeus was working in close collaboration with his son and two amanuenses. While the amanuenses neatly copied out Linnaeus's paper slips in a notebook, Linnaeus himself corrected some of the text.73 At the same time, his son continued the practice of drawing up paper slips for new species of plants. The manuscript is a mixture of tidy handwriting, and paper slips from both father and son inserted, glued, or pinned on the pages (Figure 5). Some of these slips are Linnaeus's original paper slips, while others are roughly cut, and were clearly written up while someone else was working on the manuscript, to be inserted later. Working from and on loose paper slips meant that up to four people worked on one piece of work simultaneously without impinging the copying process.Figure 5.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of History, University of Exeter , Exeter , UK.

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Towards the very end of his academic career, the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) – best known today for his “sexual” system of plant classification and his binomial nomenclature – used little paper slips of a standard size to process information on plants and animals that reached him on a daily basis... Both volumes had nearly 600 pages; the first Mantissa alone contained 25 new genera and – as Linnaeus explained himself – “more than 400 of the rarest species, which partly have never been referred to a particular genus, and partly are completely new. ” It is likely, then, that the title rather expressed the fact that Linnaeus had failed to integrate new information into further complete and updated editions of his taxonomic works, thus reducing the value of the book... As we will see in the next part of our paper, it was Mantissa plantarum altera for which Linnaeus first used his paper slips, and the quoted passage from the preface to this book is the only instance, as far as we can see, where Linnaeus makes explicit reference to this new working method... Linnaeus initially seems to have used the paper slips much like he had used loose sheets for his Species plantarum in the late 1740s, that is, as a preparatory manuscript... In the case of specimens sent by collectors, it is often possible to relate the respective slip to the letter sent by the correspondent and to a specimen that is still preserved in Linnaeus's herbarium... On the likely assumption that Linnaeus processed information contained in letters shortly after their receipt, it is possible to conclude that Linnaeus started the process of collecting information on paper slips just after the publication of the first Mantissa in 1767, and that he did not stop using paper slips after Mantissa plantarum altera was published in 1771... In this case, a pair of slips drawn up from different sources was used over a period of more than two years to systematically collate information and settle on taxonomic assignments (Figure 3)... It is highly likely, although impossible to demonstrate conclusively, that this went along with a re-shuffling of the paper slips... Linnaeus now had two herbarium specimens carrying the same name, and a letter to Bäck on 12 September 1773 mentions that he had “received so many of this genus [i.e. Ixia] that they need close examination. ” In the course of this examination, Linnaeus apparently reached the conclusion that the two specimens of Ixia crispa actually represented different species, since he changed the trivial name of Sparrman's specimen from Ixia crispa to Ixia undulata... They bear a striking resemblance to Linnaeus's later slips (Figure 7)... It is tempting to conclude that, while cataloguing the Queen's collection, the first seeds were planted for the later independent “invention” of paper slips by Solander and Linnaeus... In the stages of Linnaeus's working process, they occupied a sort of middle ground: while the first step was to draw up a list of specimens provisionally assigned to species, the paper slips allowed Linnaeus to note down their characteristics, to compare species with each other, and to allocate names to them.

No MeSH data available.