John Van Voorst (1804–1898) was an English publisher, especially of natural history books.[1]


Born in Highgate to a family of Dutch descent, he served a six-year apprenticeship in Wakefield from the age of 16 before returning to London to work for publishers Longman, Green, Orme, Hurst & Co. until he set up his own business in Paternoster Row in 1833. He soon began to specialise in natural history books, often illustrated, and was appointed bookseller to the Zoological Society in 1837. Some of his most noted publications were British Fishes (by Yarrell, 1835), British Quadrupeds (by Bell, 1836), British Birds (by Yarrell, 1837), but he worked with most of the noted naturalists of his day including Wallace, but not Darwin. He also published several children's books, including the anonymously published works of author and sanitary reformer Anne Bullar. He retired in 1886, his assistants taking over as Gurney and Jackson.

He was a founder member of the Royal Microscopical Society in 1839, and a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1853.