Rand, Isaac (DNB00)

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RAND, ISAAC (d. 1743), botanist, was probably son of James Rand, who in 1674 agreed, with thirteen other members of the Society of Apothecaries, to build a wall round the Chelsea Botanical Garden (Field and Semple, Memoirs of the Botanic Garden at Chelsea, p. 12). Isaac Rand was already an apothecary practising in the Haymarket, London, in 1700. In Plukenet's ‘Mantissa,’ published in that year, he is mentioned as the discoverer, in Tothill Fields, Westminster, of the plant now known as Rumex palustris, and was described (p. 112) as ‘stirpium indagator diligentissimus … pharmacopœus Londinensis, et magnæ spei botanicus.’ He seems to have paid particular attention to inconspicuous plants, especially in the neighbourhood of London. Thus Samuel Doody [q. v.] records in a manuscript note: ‘Mr. Rand first showed me this beautiful dock [Rumex maritimus], growing plentifully in a moist place near Burlington House’ (Trimen and Dyer, Flora of Middlesex, p. 238), and Adam Buddle [q. v.], in his manuscript flora (Sloane MSS. 2970–80), which was completed before 1708, attributes to him the finding of Mentha pubescens ‘about some ponds near Marybone,’ and of the plant styled by Petiver ‘Rand's Oak Blite’ (Chenopodium glaucum). In 1707 Rand, and nineteen other members, including Petiver and Joseph Miller, took a lease of the Chelsea garden, to assist the Society of Apothecaries, and were constituted trustees; and for some time prior to the death of Petiver in 1718 Rand seems either to have assisted him or to have succeeded him in the office of demonstrator of plants to the society. In 1724 he was appointed to the newly created office of præfectus horti, or director of the garden. Among other duties he had to give at least two de monstrations in the garden in each of the six summer months, and to transmit to the Royal Society the fifty specimens per annum required by the terms of Sir Hans Sloane's donation of the garden. Lists of the plants sent for several years are in the Sloane MSS. Philip Miller [q. v.] was gardener throughout Rand's tenure of the office of præfectus, and it was in 1736 that Linnæus visited the garden. Dillenius's edition of Ray's ‘Synopsis’ (1724) contains several records by Rand, whose assistance is acknowledged in the preface, and he is specially mentioned by Elizabeth Blackwell [q. v.] as having assisted her with specimens for her ‘Curious Herbal’ (1737–9), which was executed at Chelsea. He is one of those who prefix to the work a certificate of accuracy, and a copy in the British Museum Library has manuscript notes by him. In 1730, perhaps somewhat piqued by Philip Miller's issue of his ‘Catalogus’ in that year, Rand printed an ‘Index plantarum officinalium in horto Chelseiano.’ In a letter to Samuel Brewer, dated ‘Haymarket, July 11, 1730’ (Nichols, Illustrations, i. p. 338), he says that the Apothecaries' Company ordered this to be printed. In 1739 Rand published ‘Horti medici Chelseiani Index Compendiarius,’ an alphabetical Latin list occupying 214 pages. The year of his death is given by Dawson Turner as 1743 (Richardson Correspondence, p. 125); but he was succeeded in the office of demonstrator by Joseph Miller in 1738 or 1740. His widow presented his botanical books and extensive hortus siccus to the company, and bequeathed 50s. a year to the præfectus horti for annually replacing twenty decayed specimens in the latter by new ones. This herbarium was preserved at Chelsea, with those of Ray and Dale, until 1863, when all three were presented to the British Museum (Journal of Botany, 1863, p. 32). Rand was a fellow of the Royal Society in 1739. Linnæus retained the name Randia, applied by Houston in Rand's honour to a genus of tropical Rubiaceæ.

[Field and Semple's Memoirs of the Botanic Garden at Chelsea, 1878, pp. 41–63; Trimen and Dyer's Flora of Middlesex, 1869, pp. 388–9.]

G. S. B.