Robert Kerr (writer)


Robert Kerr (writer)

Robert Kerr FRS (1755 – October 11, 1813) was a scientific writer and translator from Scotland.

Kerr was born in Roxburghshire as the son of a jeweller. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practised at the Edinburgh Foundling Hospital as a surgeon. He translated several scientific works into English, such as Antoine Lavoisier's "Traitée Elémentaire de Chimie" in 1789. In 1792, he published "The Animal Kingdom", the first two volumes of a four-tome translation of Linnaeus' "Systema Naturae", which is often cited as the taxonomic authority for a great many species. (He never did the remaining two volumes.)

In 1794 he left his post as a surgeon to manage a paper mill. He lost much of his fortune with this enterprise. Out of economical necessity he began writing again in 1809, publishing a variety of minor works, for instance a "General View of the Agriculture of Berwickshire". His last work was a translation of Cuvier's "Recherches sur les ossements fossiles de quadrupedes", which was published after Kerr's death under the title "Essays on the Theory of the Earth".

His other works included a massive historical study entitled "A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels" in eighteen volumes. Kerr began the series in 1811, dedicating it to Sir Alexander Cochrane, K.B., Vice-Admiral of the White. Publication did not cease following Kerr's death in 1813; the latter volumes were published into the 1820s.

Selected writings

*( The link is to volume 4.)

*( The link is to volume 16.)

Further reading

*- The introduction by Douglas McKie has information on Robert Kerr, the book's translator.

External links

* [http://www.mala.bc.ca/~johnstoi/cuvier3.htm Contemporary review] of the "Essays on the Theory of the Earth"
* [http://www.gutenberg.net/catalog/world/authrec?fk_authors=3594 Author Record for Robert Kerr on Project Gutenberg] - Links to "A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels"
* [http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/kerr_robert.htm Significant Scots: Robert Kerr] from ElectricScotland.com.
*


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