Exploring the manuscripts in the Museum Library and Archives: Dru Drury (1725-1804) | Library and Archives

In the eighteenth century, trade and exploration flourished as the British Empire expanded. However, it wasn’t all about creating colonies and importing produce. Dru Drury (1725-1804), an eighteenth-century London silversmith, naturalist and author, saw the chance to develop an insect collection of unprecedented scope.

Photoof a yellowed page showing the handwritten list
A list of equipment provided by Drury to ships heading all over the world, to assist in insect collecting (Library Entomology special collections)

In the manuscript collection of the Library and Archives, we hold a number of Drury’s unpublished papers which consists of letters, instructions to ships’ captains, and private notebooks. His correspondence is interesting for many reasons as he was in contact with many of the great naturalists of the time including Carl Linnaeus but also his business dealings with goldsmiths all over Europe – the letters of which are more business-like, and quite formal.

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