Downtown’s Lloyd Library & Museum, a fascinating private nonprofit institution that collects books, journals and archival material related to natural history, botany, pharmacy, medicine and scientific history, recently faced a dilemma. How should it recognize the 350th anniversary of the birth of Hans Sloane, a pioneering scientist and physician whose name is not really on the tip of everybody’s tongue?
Maggie Heran, director of the library, says, “We knew we had good material, but we wanted something to catch people's interest.” That something turned out to be chocolate.
The Chocolate Connection: Hans Sloane & Jamaica utilizes the scholarly depth of the library's collection and gives chocolate lovers something to see and think about.
Irish-born Sloane made his name in London, partly as a result of extensive travels in the New World. He was deeply interested in botany and natural history. In Jamaica he gave close attention to the cacao tree and became convinced, as a physician, that drinking chocolate was good for one’s health. Chocolate as it comes from the tree is bitter, but Sloane reduced that effect by advocating a drinkable milk chocolate.
The Chocolate Connection: Hans Sloane & Jamaica continues at the Lloyd Library & Museum Downtown through Jan. 31. Go here for Jane Durrell's full review, hours and location details.