8 “Take with you a small Spudd or Trowell”: James Petiver’s Directions for Collecting Natural Curiosities

In: Naturalists in the Field
Charles E. Jarvis
Search for other papers by Charles E. Jarvis in
Current site
Google Scholar

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



James Petiver (c.1665-1718), a London apothecary, expended considerable effort on establishing contact with travellers who might be able to enhance his extensive natural history collections. To this end, he provided detailed collecting instructions for his many correspondents. This contribution documents the changing character of Petiver’s specifications, from individual comments in his letters, through the first (rather brief) printed instructions, to the later well-known ‘Brief Directions’ handbill. It will also assess the success of this approach in persuading individuals, often in far-flung places in both the New and Old World, to make collections on his behalf, drawing on Petiver’s correspondence and particularly on the surviving natural history material itself, now chiefly among Hans Sloane’s collections at the Natural History Museum in London.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Naturalists in the Field

Collecting, Recording and Preserving the Natural World from the Fifteenth to the Twenty-First Century

Series:  Emergence of Natural History, Volume: 2


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 130 66 5
Full Text Views 3 2 0
PDF Views & Downloads 14 5 0