Hans Sloane online

Project information:

Project coordinator: Dr Lisa Smith
Project address: http://sloaneletters.com/
Project contact: lisa.smith (@essex.ac.uk)
Online since: January 18, 2016

Access arrangements


Public content: Yes
Content with login required: No
Content with open sign up: No

Themes and Topics


Sir Hans Sloane, Medical History, the Royal Society, 18th Century life

About the project:


This pilot project was launched in 2010, the 350th anniversary of Sir Hans Sloane’s birth. The project was transferred to the University of Essex in 2015 and is being upgraded and expanded.

The Sloane Correspondence consists of thirty-eight volumes, which are held at The British Library, London and are available in microfilm at several university libraries across the world. The letters are a rich source of information about topics such as scientific discourse, collections of antiquities, curiosities and books, patients’ illnesses, medical treatments and family history.

Researchers have under-used the letters. The large collection has only been indexed by authors and catalogued by vague categories, which makes it difficult for researchers to find relevant information. The database will help researchers to use the letters effectively. This project lists the letters by author, other people mentioned, patients, subjects, diseases, themes and sex. Researchers will be able to trace, for example, the medical histories of individual patients or entire families.

To start, the project contains letter summaries for all of Sloane MSS 4037 and 4075, most of Sloane MSS 4038-4041 and some of Sloane MSS 4036, 4042-4044. Further entries will be available gradually.