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Society for the History of Natural History

Latest news

Announcing the 2023 SHNH Natural History Book Prize shortlist (Thackray Medal)

Announcing the 2023 SHNH Natural History Book Prize shortlist (Thackray Medal)

We are delighted to announce the shortlist nominations for the SHNH Natural History Book Prize (John Thackray Medal), awarded for the best book published on the history or bibliography of natural history in the preceding two years.

We send our warmest congratulations to the authors and their publishers Helen Cowie (Cambridge University Press), Henrietta McBurney (Paul Mellon Centre) and Nicholas Menzies (University of Washington Press).

Helen Cowie, Victims of Fashion: Animal Commodities in Victorian Britain

Cambridge University Press, 2021

In this innovative study, Helen Cowie examines the role of these animal-based commodities in Britain in the long nineteenth century and traces their rise and fall in popularity in response to changing tastes, availability, and ethical concerns.




Henrietta McBurney, Illuminating Natural History: The Art and Science of Mark Catesby

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 2021

Explores the life and art of the celebrated 18th-century naturalist explorer, artist and author Mark Catesby (1683–1749) and his pioneering work depicting the flora and fauna of North America, in vibrant detail.




Nicholas K. Menzies, Ordering the Myriad Things: From Traditional Knowledge to Scientific Botany in China

University of Washington Press, 2021

Relates how traditional knowledge of plants in China gave way to scientific botany between the mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, when plants came to be understood in a hierarchy of taxonomic relationships to other plants and within a broader ecological context.


Winner of the SHNH Natural History Book Prize 2022



Read more on the SHNH Natural History Book Prize and on the 2022 winner  Dr Jordan Goodman for his wonderful publication

Planting the World: Joseph Banks and his Collectors: An Adventurous History of Botany 

Harper Collins, 2021, ISBN 978-0-00-757883-2.