Founder of the Linnean Society
Today is the birthday of James Edward Smith, who was born on this day in 1759.
In 1784, on the recommendation of Joseph Banks, Smith purchased the entire collection of Carl Linnaeus.
When the King of Sweden learned of the purchase, he attempted to intercept the ship before it reached London. But he was too late.
With the collection securely in his possession, Smith founded the Linnean Society, and he also served as the first President.
The Linnean Society is the oldest biological society in the world. During the 18th and 19th century, the society was an important hub for scientific progress.