Richard Bradley. A Philosophical Account of the Works of Nature. London: W. Mears, 1721. Gift of Helen Kingsbury Zirkle ’20





British horticulturist Richard Bradley (c.1688-1732) was the first Professor of Botany at Cambridge University, reflecting the increasing importance of botany to fields beyond medicine. In his A Philosophical Account of the Works of Nature, Bradley examines minerals, flora, and fauna, and attempts to demonstrate their practical applications, particularly in agriculture. His focus on the practical modern applications of plants was criticized by those who believed that botany should be based on the writings of ancient scholars. His book is an early example of the conceptualization of the productive and profitable aspects of the natural world.


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