12 The Hudson’s Bay Company and its Collectors

In: Naturalists in the Field


Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) fur traders can claim an honourable place in the history of natural history. They supplied bird specimens that were painted by George Edwards in England in the 1740s, which were then given Latin names by Linnaeus – second only to Catesby’s Carolina collections. In the 1820s the HBC supplied Franklin’s two Arctic land expeditions, especially the first. John Richardson’s collections “provided a more complete pre-Caucasian inventory of natural history than … anywhere else in North America.” In the 1860s HBC factor Roderick Ross MacFarlane extended studies to the sub-arctic to record almost everything now known about the (apparently now extinct) Eskimo Curlew. 

Naturalists in the Field

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



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