A One Man Botanical Repository

#OTD We’ve got a big birthday today: Sir Hans Sloane, (16 April 1660 – 11 January 1753), was an Irish physician, naturalist, and collector.

He bequeathed his collection of 71,000 items to the British nation thus singlehandedly establishing the British Museum, the British Library and the Natural History Museum, London.

How was his collection so large? First, he lived into his 90’s and outlived many of his collecting friends. Second, when his friends passed away, they gave Hans Sloane their herbariums and other materials. He was a one-man repository for horticultural knowledge.

Fun fact: Sloane is credited with adding milk to cacao to make drinking chocolate.

There are many botanical birthdays today. Perhaps Hans Sloane has blessed this day.

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Sir Hans Sloane by Stephen Slaughter 1736
Sir Hans Sloane by Stephen Slaughter 1736
Leaflet featuring Sir Hans Sloane
Leaflet featuring Sir Hans Sloane