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Society for the History of Natural History


Awards, Honours and Medals

SHNH Book Prize


Society for the History of Natural History Book Prize 2023

John Thackray Medal

The prize is awarded for the best book published on the history or bibliography of natural history in the preceding two years.

Winners receive the John Thackray Medal, instituted in 2000 to commemorate the life and work of John Thackray, a Past President of the Society.

Closing date is 30 June 2022.


SHNH Natural History Book Prize 2022

Jordan Goodman

The Society for the History of Natural History is very pleased to announce that our prestigious Book Prize (the John Thackray Medal) will this year be awarded to Dr Jordan Goodman for his Planting the World: Joseph Banks and his Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany (Harper Collins, 2021, ISBN 978-0-00-757883-2). Dr Goodman is Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London.

It was a bumper year for nominations and no fewer than eight books were put up for the award. The Awards Panel unanimously agreed however, that Planting the World was the clear winner.

The work tells the story of how Sir Joseph Banks sent collectors and gardeners overseas to find and acquire plants new to Europe. They could then be studied and grown at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is a very thoroughly researched and referenced work, full of detail which, according to one judge, ‘sparkles with the untold stories of many unknown collectors’.  This was echoed by another judge who said ‘I enjoyed the fact that the book was pulling together the stories of so many different botanists and gardeners’.

Winner of the SHNH Natural History Book Prize

This detail, as all the judges agreed, means that as well as being an impressive and satisfying monograph, the book is very useful as a reference work. One judge said they had ‘looked up a couple of things in it already!’

All in all, Planting the World: Joseph Banks and his Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany is a very impressive book and we are very happy to award our Society for the History of Natural History Book Prize (Thackray Medal), and our congratulations, to Dr Jordan Goodman.

In speaking of the award, Dr Goodman said: ‘I am delighted to be the recipient of the John Thackray medal for the Best Book Prize of 2021 and humbled to join a long list of previous and distinguished winners. Natural history is more important now than it has ever been and the Society needs to be commended for keeping it firmly in the public eye with this award and its many other activities’.

For those interested in reading more about Planting the World you can access a recent review by Professor Arthur Lucas in the Society’s Journal, Archives of Natural History https://www.euppublishing.com/doi/full/10.3366/anh.2021.0741

 

Guidelines

  • Prize winners are chosen by a panel of 3 judges (all members of the Society).
  • Competition opens on 1 January 2022.
  • Nominations may be made by SHNH members, or submitted by publishers.
  • All books must be received by 30 June. Three copies of the book you wish to considered should be sent to the Chair of the Book Prize Panel.  Contact  Geraldine.Reid@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk to obtain the Chair’s name and address.
  • All books should have been published in the two calendar years preceding the year the award will be presented. For instance, works published in 2020 and 2021 will be eligible for the 2022 award.

Selection Criteria

The prize will be awarded to the book which contributes most significantly to the history of natural history. Significance will be assessed on the basis of:

  • Originality
  • Organisation and presentation of information
  • Excellence of intellectual content
  • Contribution to the literature of the field.

Submission

 Nominations must be sent to the Chair of the Book Prize Panel and include the following:

  • Your name as a nominator and your contact details.
  • The nominee’s name and contact details.
  • A supporting statement (up to 600 words) describing why the nominee should receive the award.

Download nomination form.

Painting by Numbers: The life and art of Ferdinand Bauer by David J Mabberley (NewSouth Publishing 2017).

The Correspondence of Dr. Martin Lister (1639-1712). Volume One: 1662-1677 by Anne-Marie Roos (Brill 2015)

The Lord Treasurer of Botany: Sir James Edward Smith and the Linnaean Collections by Tom Kennett (Linnean Society of London, 2016).

The Society for the History of Natural History Book Prize

  • 2021
Jordan Goodman Planting the World: Joseph Banks and his Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany (Harper Collins, 2021).
  • 2019
David J. Mabberley Painting by Numbers: The life and art of Ferdinand Bauer
(NewSouth Publishing, 2017).
  • 2017
Anna Marie Roos The Correspondence of Dr Martin Lister (1639-1667). Vol.1: (1662-1667)
(Brill, 2015).
  • 2016
Tom Kennett The Lord Treasurer of Botany: Sir James Edward Smith and the Linnaean Collections  (Linnean Society of London, 2016).
  • 2015
Mary Terrall Catching Nature in the Act: Réaumur and the Practice of Natural History in the Eighteenth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
  • 2014
E. C. Dickinson,
L.K. Overstreet, R. J. Dowsett
& M. D. Bruce
Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology
(Aves Press, 2011).
  • 2013
Alexandra Cook Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Botany: The salutary science
(The Voltaire Foundation, 2012).
  • 2012
Philip H. Oswald & Christopher D. Preston (trans & eds)
John Ray’s Cambridge Catalogue (1660)
(Ray Society, 2011).
  • 2010
The Biodiversity Heritage Library The Biodiversity Heritage Library.
The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
  • 2009
Charlie Jarvis  Order out of Chaos: Linnaean plant names and their types
(Linnean Society of London, 2007).
  • 2008
University of Cambridge The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online Project
  • 2006
Peter Marren
 The New Naturalists (2nd Edition)
(Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 82) (Collins, 2005).
  • 2005
David E. Allen
& Gabrielle Hatfield
Medicinal Plants in Folk tradition: An ethnobotany of Britain and Ireland
(Timber Press, 2004).
  • 2004
The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, USA Stuffing Birds, Pressing Plants, Shaping Knowledge: Natural History in North America, 1730-1860. Exhibition, together with web site, catalogue, accompanying educational materials, and programme of school events.
  • 2003
Clemency Fisher
The Earl & the Pussycat Exhibition and associated publication
A Passion for Natural History:The Life and Legacy of the 13th Earl of Derby
(Liverpool University Press, 2002).
  • 2002
T. G. Valance, David T. Moore & Eric W. Groves Nature’s Investigator. The Diary of Robert Brown in Australia, 1801–1805
(Australian Biological Resources Study (Flora), 2001).
  • 2001
Karl Schulze-Hagen
& Amin Geus
 Joseph Wolf. Exhibition and accompanying publication
Joseph Wolf:(1820-1899): Animal Painter / Tiermaler
(Basilisk Press, 2001).
  • 2000
Tony Rice & Natural History Museum, London
Voyages of Discovery. Exhibition and accompanying book
Voyages of Discovery
(Natural History Museum, London, 2001).

John Thackray

The award was instituted in 2000 to commemorate the life and work of John Thackray (1948–1999), Past President of SHNH, an outstanding scholar of the history of science with an enviable knowledge of natural history. He served as an Officer of the Society for the History of Natural History for 24 years (1973–1997) and in 1999 became the Society’s President. He authored 30 books and articles including Guide to the Official Archives of the Natural History Museum (1998).