Reference numberMS/252
Previous numbersMS 252, MS 253, MS 254, MS 255, MS 256
TitleWilliam Sherard papers
CreatorSherard, William (1659-1728) Botanist
DescriptionThe five volumes of letters indicate Sherard's wide circle of correspondents and show his generosity in gifts of specimens, seeds, living plants, books and subscriptions. One volume consists of copies of letters from Sherard during his time as Turkey Company's Consul at Smyrna. (MS/108) The great majority of these letters are concerned with botanical subjects: a fair number relate to Greek and Roman coins: a very few are of an official character, and there are some addressed to James Sherard, William's younger brother. There are also many rough drafts of William Sherard's own letters included.
MS/252/1 covers letters 1 - 151
MS/252/2 covers letters 152 - 306
MS/252/3 covers letters 307 - 464
MS/252/4 covers letters 465 - 600
MS/252/5 covers letters 601 - 764
Extent5 volumes, 764 items, MS Large
Physical descriptionBound volumes, size 15.5 x 10.5 inches
ArrangementRoughly alphabetical by author across the volumes
Finding aidsAuthor index at the start of each volume
Access statusOpen
Administrative historyBorn in 1659 at Bushby, Leicestershire, educated at Merchant Taylors School, and elected in 1677 to St John's College Oxford where he developed an interest in botany. In 1683 he was elected a law Fellow of St John's College, and in 1694 received the degree of Doctor of Common Law. With the permission of the college, he began a series of foreign tours. He studied botany in Paris under Tournefort (1686-1688) and in 1688 spent time in Leiden with Paul Hermann. The plants he listed in the Swiss Alps, Geneva Roma and Naples were sent to Ray to publish in his 'Stirpium Europeaorum' of 1694, and those from Cornwall and Jersey in his 'Synopsis methodica Stirpium Britannicarum' of 1690. He wa a tutor to Sir Arthur Rawdon, living mainly at Moira, County Down, then tutor to Charles Viscount Townsend on his continental tour, and in 1695 to Wriothesley, eldest son of William Lord Russell in France and Italy. During this period he began his revision of Gaspard Bauhin's 'Pinax', a project which remained unfinished at his death. Until 1702 he was tutor to Henry, second Duke of Beaufort at Badminton. In 1702 he had a short appointment as Commissioner for the Sick and Wounded, and the Exchange of Prisoners, followed in 1703 with his appointment by the Levant Company as Consul in Smyrna. Here he indulged his botanical and antiquarian interests, collecting plants, copying anitquarian artefacts and collected coins. In 1717 he returned to England a wealthy man. In 1718 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and served on the council for two years. He made three further trips to the continent, in 1721, 1723 and 1727, visiting Boerhaeve in Holland and bringing Dillenius back to assist him with the 'Pinax'. He had been hampered in this by a quarrel with Sir Hans Sloane, who refused him his herbarium, but a reconciliation took place in 1727. Sherard died in 1728, leaving his books, drawings and paintings, and his manuscript of 'Pinax' to the library of the 'Physic Garden' at Oxford, the rest to St John's College. In addition, he left £3000 to establish the Sherardian Chair of Botany, naming Dillenius the first Sherardian professor. Sherard occupied a high position among botanists of his time, although the only work he himself wrote was 'Schola Botanica' (1689).
Related materialSee also MS/88 and MS/108; Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, correspondence and papers; Manuscript Collections, British Library, notes on Asia Minor 1705-1716, Journal of Bernard Mouls of a journey in Asia Minor, undertaken by him and Sherard (1 volume) 1716-1717, 17 letters to James Petiver, 1700-1715, 49 letters to Sir Hans Sloane, 1690-1724
Fellows associated with this archive
NA5817Sherard; William (1659 - 1728)1659 - 1728
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