James Delbourgo will give a Brown Bag Lunch presentation on Thursday, November 14, at 12:15 pm. His talk is entitled “Ten Things You Didn’t Know about Hans Sloane, Founder of the British Museum, and Wanted To.”

This talk explores global natural history collecting in the age of enlightenment and empire through the extraordinary career of Sir Hans Sloane, which culminated in the foundation of the British Museum in 1753. It examines Sloane’s career from his background in Ulster and voyage to the slave society of Jamaica to his creation of a network of collectors who gathered curiosities throughout the world, making possible the establishment of the British Museum, which first opened its doors in 1759.

James Delbourgo is Professor of History at Rutgers University, where he teaches the histories of science, collecting and museums, and Atlantic world history. He studied at East Anglia, Cambridge, Penn, and Columbia and previously taught at McGill and Harvard. He is the author most recently of Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum (Penguin and Harvard, 2017), winner of the American Historical Association’s Leo Gershoy Award and the Louis Gottschalk and Annibel Jenkins Prizes of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. His current projects include the history of pathological collectors; the global history of science; and the cultural history of water. He writes regularly for the Literary Review and Times Literary Supplement.