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Royal College of Surgeons of England

Ellis, John (c 1710-1776)


Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0038

Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England

Title: Ellis, John (c 1710-1776)

Date(s): c 1755

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 1 volume, 1 ms list

Name of creator(s): Ellis | John | c 1710-1776 | zoologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

John Ellis was born in Ireland in c 1710. He was a merchant in London until 1764, when he became an agent for West Florida, and subsequently for Dominica in 1770. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and published his An Essay towards the Natural History of the Corallines in 1755. He was awarded the Copley medal of the Royal Society in 1768, for his research in this area. He published various other works on aspects of natural history, including descriptions of the coffee-tree, the mangostan and the breadfruit. Linnaeus named a group of boraginaceous plants 'Ellisia' in his honour. He died in 1776.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of John Ellis, 1755, comprising a manuscript copy by an unknown author, of John Ellis An Essay towards the Natural History of the Corallines (1775); and an undated manuscript list by an unknown author, of desiderata in the West Indies, found at the end of a tract by John Ellis held in the Library A description of the mangostan and the bread-fruit (1775) TRACT B. 272 (3).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Access available by appointment with the Deputy Librarian.

Conditions governing reproduction:

No photocopying permitted from ms volume.

Finding aids:

Catalogue of Manuscripts in the Library of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (1928) by Victor G Plarr.

Card catalogue.



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The provenance of the items in the collection is unknown.


Existence and location of originals:

Original printed volume of An Essay towards the Natural History of the Corallines is availble in the Library.

Existence and location of copies:

A microfilm copy of the ms volume is available.

Related material:

Published works by John Ellis:

An Essay towards a Natual History of the Corallines (1775); Directions for bringing over seeds and plants, from the East-Indies (1770); 'Copies of two letters, I - to Dr Linnaeus FRS. II - To Mr William Ailon. 2 plates' (1771); Some additional observations on the method of preserving seeds from foreign parts (1773); An historical account of coffee (1774); A description of the mangostan and the bread-fruit (1775).

Published work about John Ellis:

Solander, D The natural history of many curious and uncommon Zoophytes, collected from various parts of the globe by the late John Ellis. Systematically arranged and described by the late Danial Solander. (1786); Harmer, Sir S F John Ellis and the Linnaean species of polyzoa; John Ellis and the animal nature of Zoophytes (1930); Harmer, Sir S F The original drawings of John Ellis (1931); Savage, S John Ellis and his manuscripts (1934).

Material by John Ellis:

Correspondence and Papers - Linnaean Society of London.

Papers 1752-1776 - The Royal Society.

Letters to Thomas Birch 1754-1759 - British Library Manuscript Collections.

Letters to Danial Solander 1760-1763 - British Library Manuscript Collections.


Archivist's note: Compiled by Anya Turner.
Sources: Information summarised from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Aug 2008

Fruit | Plant products | Agricultural products

Personal names
Ellis | John | c 1710-1776 | zoologist

Corporate names