John Coakley Lettsom

Date 1744 - 1815
Biographical NotesPhysician, philanthropist and entomologist. Born in the Virgin Islands, to a Quaker family, but sent to England for his education. Apprenticed to a surgeon and apothecary in Yorkshire. Trained in medicine at St. Thomas's Hospital London. Upon his father's death Lettsom returned to the Caribbean to take possession of the family plantation. After freeing his slaves he went into medical practice in the West Indies. Returning to Europe he then embarked upon a medical career, studying at Edinburgh, visiting several continental universities and graduating MD at University of Leiden in 1769. Lettsom set up a successful medical practice in London, in addition to which he was a prominent philanthropist, and prolific author of medical and moral improvement tracts, pamphlets and books on topics as diverse as drunkenness, education, soup kitchens, poverty, and the evils of tea drinking. He was a founding member of the Medical Society of London in 1773.
Work(s)Author of The Naturalist's and Traveller's Companion. Containing Instructions for Discovering and Preserving Objects of Natural History, Under the Following Heads: I. The Method of Catching and Preserving Insects for Collections, Illustrated with a Copper-Plate. II. The Method of Preserving Birds and Other Animals. III. Directions for Bringing over Seeds and Plants from Distant Countries. IV. Method of Analysing Medicinal or Mineral Waters. V. Experiments for Discovering the Contents of the Air. VI. Directions for Collecting Fossils, Including Earths, Stones, Salts, Inflammables, Minerals, and Metals. VII. Directions for Taking off Impressions or Casts, from Medals and Coins (1772)