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Edwin Rose

PhD student

College: Churchill

Supervisor: Jim Secord, Nick Jardine

Thesis topic: Managing nature in the age of enlightenment: the practice of natural history in Britain, 1760–1820

My current doctoral research is on the management of information in British natural history collections between 1760 and 1820, examining the relationship between physical objects, printed books and manuscripts. These are surveyed through naturalists’ use of books in the field; the use of natural history collections to produce and distribute publications on a global scale and the circulation of specimens, prints and books to produce natural knowledge. This research examines how different systems of classification shaped natural historical research practices, collections and publications, especially after the establishment of the Linnaean system of classification in Britain from the early 1760s. The primary collections being concentrated on are those of Joseph Banks (1743–1820), who travelled on James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific and had particular interests in botany; Thomas Pennant (1726–98), a pioneering zoologist, who undertook numerous journeys across Britain; and Gilbert White (1720-93), famed for authoring The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789).

Research interests: History of natural history c.1650–1900; histories of the book; collecting; museums; classification; scientific images; print culture and ephemera; the earth sciences

Websites: Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership;


Position (Forthcoming, October 2020)

From October 2020 I will be Munby Fellow in Bibliography at Cambridge University Library and a research fellow at Darwin College, Cambridge. 

Key Publications

Peer Reviewed Articles

'Publishing Nature in an Age of Revolutions: Joseph Banks, Georg Forster and the Plants of the Pacific', Historical Journal (published online 14 April, 2020).

'From the South Seas to Soho Square: Joseph Banks's Library, Collection and Kingdom of Natural History', Notes and Records: The Royal Society journal of the history of science, 73:4 (2019), pp.499-526. (Part of a special issue entitled 'Rethinking Joseph Banks'). 

'Gilbert White, John Ray and the construction of the Natural History of Selborne', Archives of Natural History 46.1 (2019), pp. 105-112.

'Lives and Afterlives of the Lithophylacii Britannici ichnographia (1699), the First Illustrated Field Guide to English Fossils', Nuncius: Journal of the Material and Visual History of Science, 33 (2018), pp. 505-536 (co-authored with Anna Marie Roos)

'Specimens, Slips and Systems: Daniel Solander and the classification of nature at the world's first public museum, 1753-1768', The British Journal for the History of Science, 52: 2 (2018), pp. 205-237. 

'Natural history collections and the book: Hans Sloane's A Voyage to Jamaica (1707-25) and his Jamaican plants'Journal of the History of Collections, 30: 1 (2018), pp. 15-33.


'Cook's Voyages to the Pacific after 250 years. Exhibition review of James Cook: The Voyages, at the British Library, London, April-August 2018. British Library, £14.00'Endeavour, 42 (2018), pp. 204-205. 

'James Delbourgo, Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (London: Allen Lane, 2017)', The British Journal for the History of Science, 50 (2017), pp. 731-732.

Exhibitions, Talks and Public Engagement (selected)

'The Roots of Disorder: Botany became an unlikely battlefield in the Age of Revolution'History Today, 70:6 (2020), pp. 70-83. 

'Applying Structure to the South Sea: Joseph Banks, Daniel Solander and the practice of natural history on the Endeavour voyage to the Pacific, 1768-1771', Encounters and Exchanges Conference, University of Otago, New Zealand, 3 December 2019. 

Public Lecture and Display, entitled 'An Age of Discoveries: 250 Years since Captain Cook's Endeavour voyage to the Pacific', Cambridge University Library, Wednesday 8 May 2019. 

Blog Post for Cambridge University Library: 'Before Endeavour: Joseph Banks and his travels in England and Wales', Cambridge University Library Special Collections Blog, 22 February, 2019. 

'An age of Discoveries: 250 Years since the Endeavour Voyage to the Pacific', Cambridge University Library, Cambridge, 28 August - 29 September 2018. 

'From Specimen to Print: Constructing and Publishing Thomas Pennant's British Zoology, 1766-1812', Linnean Society of London, 16 November 2018. 

'Publishing, Printing and Circulating Books Across the Botanical World of Joseph Banks', History of Science Society Annual Conference, Seattle, 3 November 2018. 

Other Professional Affiliations and Activities (selected)

Postgraduate Member of the Royal Historical Society (elected in July 2019).

Visiting Fellow, Harvard University History of Science Department, October 2018.  

Affiliate of the Natural History Museum, London, 2016-

Convener for the Cabinet of Natural History Research Seminar, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, 2016-2017