I would be happy to mail you a hard copy of any of the articles. Please send requests to polly [dot] winsor [at]


Shape of nature


1991.  Reading the Shape of Nature: Comparative Zoology at the Agassiz Museum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.



Starfish Jellyfish


1976. Starfish, Jellyfish, and the Order of Life: Issues in Nineteenth Century Science. New Haven: Yale University Press. Out of print, but used copies may be found through




2015. “Considering affinity: an ethereal conversation (part one of three)” Endeavour 39 (1): 69-79.

2015. “Considering affinity: an ethereal conversation (part two of three)” Endeavour 39 (2): 116-126.

2015. “Considering affinity: an ethereal conversation (part three of three)” Endeavour 39 (3-4): 179-187.

2013. “Darwin and taxonomy,” in  The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, ed. Michael Ruse. pp. 72-79. Cambridge University Press. This volume is also available as an eBook – if your local library has a hard copy, you may be able to electronically access this paper as well.

2009. “Museums,” in The Cambridge History of Science: Volume 6: The Modern Biological and Earth Sciences, ed. Peter J. Bowler and John V. Pickstone, pp. 60-75. Cambridge University Press.

2009. “Taxonomy was the foundation of Darwin’s evolution,” Taxon 58(1): 43-49

2007.  (co-author Jennifer Coggon) “The mystery of Richard Owen’s winged bull-slayer,” in Richard Owen, On the Nature of Limbs: A Discourse [1849], reprint ed. Ron Amundson, University of Chicago Press, pp. [xciii]-cii.

2006a. “The creation of the essentialism story,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 28: 149-174.

2006b. “Linnaeus’s biology was not essentialist,” Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 93(1): 2-7.

2005. “Ernst Mayr, 1904-2005,” Isis 96: 415-418.

2004. “Setting up milestones: Sneath on Adanson and Mayr on Darwin,” in Milestones in Systematics, ed. David M. Williams and Peter L. Forey. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press (Systematics Association special volume 67), pp. 1-17.

2003. “Non-essentialist methods in pre-Darwinian taxonomy,” Biology and Philosophy 18: 387-400.

2002.  “Biology” [overview essay on history of biology], in History of Modern Science and Mathematics, ed. Brian S. Baigrie, 4 vols. New York: Scribner’s [Thomson Gale], vol. 1, pp. 51-81.

2001a. “Cain on Linnaeus: the scientist-historian as unanalysed entity,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 32: 239-254.

2001b. “The practitioner of science: everyone her own historian,” Journal of the History of Biology 34: 229-245.

2000a. “Species, demes, and the omega taxonomy: Gilmour and The New Systematics,” Biology and Philosophy 15: 349-388.

2000b.  “Agassiz’s notions of a museum: the vision and the myth,” in Cultures and Institutions of Natural History, ed. Michael T. Ghiselin and Alan E. Leviton. San Francisco: California Academy of Sciences (Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, no. 25), pp. 249-271.

1999. (with Leonard G. Wilson) “The Joint Atlantic Seminar in History of Biology,” Isis, 90: S219-225.

1995a. “The English debate on taxonomy and phylogeny, 1937-1940,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 17: 227-252.

1995b. (co-author Gordon McOuat) “J. B. S. Haldane’s Darwinism in its religious context,” British Journal for the History of Science 28: 227-231.

1994. “The lessons of history” in Models in Phylogeny Reconstruction, ed. R. W. Scotland, D. J. Siebert, and D. M. Williams, (Systematics Association Special Volume No. 52), Oxford: Clarendon Press, pp. 1-9.

1987. “Robert Wallace: predecessor of Malthus and pioneering actuary,” Acta Historica Scientarum Naturalium et Medicinalium 39: 215-224.
Wallace was an Edinburgh minister whose calculations of population increase were influenced by his experience setting up the first life insurance program; his debate with David Hume directly influenced Malthus.

1985. “The impact of Darwinism on the Linnaean enterprise, with special reference to T. H. Huxley,” in Contemporary Perspectives on Carl von Linné, ed. J. M. Weinstock, University Press of America,  pp. 55-84.

1979. “Louis Agassiz and the species question,” Studies in History of Biology 4: 89-117.

1976. “The development of Linnaean insect classification,” Taxon 25: 57-67.

1972. “A historical consideration of the siphonophores,” Proceedings of the Royal  Society of Edinburgh sec. B, 73: 315-323.

1969. “Barnacle larvae in the nineteenth century: a case study in taxonomic theory,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 24: 194-209.