February 3, 1969

Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) Founder of the British Museum

JAMA. 1969;207(5):943. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150180073016

Hans Sloane, whose collection of plants, minerals, coins, medals, prints, pictures, manuscripts, and books formed the nucleus of the British Museum, was born at Killeleagh, County Down, in the north of Ireland.1 Of Scotch extraction, his father, receiver-general of taxes, was the leader of the colony of Scots who settled in Ulster. Sloane's inclination for natural history and subsequently medicine was strengthened by a sound education; however, a bout of hemoptysis from pulmonary tuberculosis at 16 years of age interrupted his regular course of study for three years. He studied medicine in Paris and Montpellier and took the degree of doctor of medicine in the University of Orange-Nassau in 1683. The following year Sloane acceded to the attractions of London and was befriended and tutored by Sydenham who induced him to live in his home. One year later he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

In 1687,