Carl Linnaeus' correspondence

In the database Alvin you will find letters to and from Carl Linnaeus with detailed descriptions and in many cases even with digital copies. The original letters are scattered around different institutions around the world.

Linnaeus received approximately 3000 letters from Europe, America, Asia and Africa. All in all, Linnaeus had just over 600 correspondents. The letters came from fellow naturalists, but also from the disciples who were sent on expeditions all over the world. Most of the letters to Linnaeus are today at the Linnean Society of London. Together with the approximately 2000 letters that have been preserved from Linnaeus himself, and which are now scattered in various collections at libraries and archives, this is a valuable source for anyone who wants to study the natural science and scientific culture of the eighteenth century.

Thanks to the Linnaean Correspondence Project, many of the original letters have been digitised and are available in the database Alvin. There you also find a selection of letters that already has been published in various printed editions and translations. For each letter in the Linnaean Correspondence there is detailed English summaries with links to biographical and bibliographic databases. Because most of the letters are written in either Latin or Swedish, the summaries and all the surrounding texts are written in English.

In all records by the project Linnaean Correspondence in Alvin, Uppsala University Library is set as archive institution, even though a large number of these letters are kept at other institutions. In the accompanying record for each letter, under the headline "Notes" and subheadline "Original location", you find which institution holds the original (or copy, if no original is extant). 


The Linnaean Correspondence Project aimed to publish all known letters to and from Carl Linnaeus in digital form. A similar project had begun 100 years earlier in printed form, Bref och Skrifvelser af och till Carl von Linné, but the publication stopped after ten volumes due to lack of funds. The project started in 1995 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, was for a time managed by the Swedish Linnean Society, until the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences took over the management once again, and ran the project until the end in 2019. Despite the fact that the project is formally completed, more information is still being added in the records of the Linnaean Correspondence in Alvin.

The publication of the Linnaean correspondence is funded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala University Library and The Linnean Society of London.

Last modified: 2021-06-30