Guide to the Autograph letters and collections of the British Museum (Natural History), General Library (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

British Museum of Natural History. General Library
Natural History Museum: Autograph Letters and Collections of the General Library (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1809 - 1946
Collection Number
143 items
Language of Materials
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP) online portal was created with the assistance of the Australian Public Service Modernisation Fund, 2017-2020. The National Library of Australia gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the other foundation AJCP partners, the State Library of New South Wales and The National Archives of the UK, and all other organisations which supported the work of the AJCP, the world's most extensive collaborative copying project, operating from 1948 to 1997.


Scope and Contents

Autograph letters or fragments of handwriting of biologists and geologists, including W.B. Clarke, Sir Edgeworth David, John B. Brazier, Robert Etheridge, Richard Daintree, Henry B. Guppy, Charles Hedley, Sir William MacGregor and Bernard Woodward.

Letters to and from malacologists 1882-1959, including Joyce Allan, Edwin Ashby, C.E. Beddome, Bernard Cotton and A.W. Powell.

Papers 1824-1898 of naturalist on HMS Blonde, Andrew Bloxam, including diary, notes and other papers relating to the voyage.

Papers of Charles Darwin, specimens collected during voyage of HMS Beagle.

Letter-book 1880-1881 of F.D. Godman concerning butterflies and other specimens from New Guinea. The recipients are A. Goldie and W.M. Macleay.

Diaries 1835-1839 and 1836-1840 of naturalist Richard B. Hinds on the voyages of HMS Sulphur with Captain E. Belcher. Subjects include sugar cane, local languages and population, flora, birds and shells.

Australian landscapes 1860-1861 by Conrad Martens.

Sowerby Family Papers 1865-1907, including letters of James E. Bryant and his wife Ellen F. Bryant to his parents, James and Charlotte Bryant, and other family members concerning voyage to Australia on the Countess of Elgin, economic conditions and specimens sent.

Letters 1856-1858 of Alfred R. Wallace to Samuel Stevens, discussing a new bird of paradise, butterflies, monkeys, and cultivation of Bali and Lombok islands.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Many of the records digitised as part of the AJCP are still in copyright. Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the owner of the original material.

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the location of the original material and to the Australian Joint Copying Project.

Items from this collection should include references to the location of the original material and to the AJCP nla.obj number, which serves as the online identifier for the digital copy.

Example: M Series: Journal of Capt. James Cook, 18 February 1770, British Library Add. MS 27885 (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Material selectively filmed at the General Library, British Museum (Natural History), London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1992 (AJCP Reels: M2709-M2713125-138, 156). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Natural History Museum was formerly known as British Museum (Natural History).

Existence and Location of Originals

General Library, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London.

For further information see the Autograph letters and collections at the Natural History Museum.

Existence and Location of Copies

The original AJCP microfilm of the records filmed from this collection is available at the National Library of Australia [] as well as other institutions holding AJCP microfilm.

Finding-aid Notes

This finding aid is a revised online version of the original finding aid prepared by the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP), published by the National Library of Australia in 2019. The original AJCP finding aids were unpublished typescripts or photocopies available from libraries that held copies of the original microfilm.

Dates used in this finding aid refer to the date range of the records selected for filming rather than to the date range of the Series or Files.

This Finding Aid retains the identifiers present at the time it was filmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project. The new control numbers applied by the Natural History Museum have been identified where possible.

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal, Pacific and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this Finding Aid contains material and descriptive information which may be considered culturally sensitive and may cause distress, including names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased. This Finding Aid contains terms that reflect authors' views or those of the historical period, but which may not be considered appropriate today. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.


Allan, Joyce; Artists; Ashby, Edwin; Australia; Australia: economic conditions; Bali, Indonesia; Beagle, HMS (ship); Beddome, C.E.; Belcher, Sir Edward; Biologists; Birds; Birds: Papua New Guinea; Blonde, HMS (ship); Bloxam, Andrew; Brazier, John B.; Bryant, Charlotte; Bryant, Ellen F.; Bryant, James; Bryant, James E.; Butterflies; Clarke, William B., Rev.; Cotton, Bernard; Countess of Elgin (ship); Daintree, Richard; Darwin, Charles; David, Sir T. Edgeworth; Etheridge, Robert; Geologists; Godman, F.D.; Goldie, A.; Guppy, Henry B.; Hedley, Charles; Hinds, Richard B.; Lombok, Indonesia; Macgregor, Sir William; Macleay, W.M.; Malacologists; Martens, Conrad; Monkeys; Naturalists; Paintings, drawings and prints: Australia; Papua New Guinea: flora and fauna; Powell, A.W.; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Sowerby Family; Stevens, Samuel; Sulphur, HMS (ship); Wallace, Alfred R.; Woodward, Bernard


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 62, p21. []

Item Descriptions

Fonds. Autograph Letters or Fragments of Handwriting of Biologists and Geologists, 20 April 1843 - 23 November 1937

82 items

Filmed selectively.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2709.

D.J. Adcock (Adelaide) to [unknown], 30 January 1894 (File)

Re problems identifying shells and mollusca.

Robin S. Allan [of New Zealand] (Cambridge) to Sherborn, 25 October 1926 (File)

Re break in his studies due to ill health.

Karl A. Anderson (Uppsala) to Professor Harmer, 14 September 1905 (File)

Re Siboga expedition and his work studying Antarctic Cephalodiseus.

Thomas A. Balfour (Edinburgh) to Trustees, 11 March 1878 (File)

Reference for R. Etheridge Junior. for position in Geological Department of British Museum.

Charles Barrett (Elsternwick) to Sherborn, 28 March 1923 (File)

That to exchange shell specimens with W.J. Writle.

Edward Bartlett (Sarawak) to E.A. Smith: re shells from Borneo, 1895-10-17; 1896-03-19; 1899-01-16 (File)

Charles E. Beddome (Hobart) to [unknown], 12 March 1883 (File)

Requesting he look at a collection of Tasmanian shells.

R. Bedford (Kyancutta Museum, South Australia) to Alexander Townsend, 7 November 1935 (File)

Forwarding copy of Memoirs of Kyancutta Museum.

William T. Bednall (Knightsbridge, South Australia) to E.A. Smith, 30 October 1911 (File)

Sending shells for identification.

Includes: Obituary Register 26 July 1915.

William B. Benham (Dunedin) to S. Harmer, 30 April 1902 (File)

Re preparation of specimens.

John Bigsby [] to Trustees on behalf of Robert Etheridge, 19 March 1878 (File)

"In both Scotch and Australian paleontology, my obligations to Mr Ethridge Jnr. are very great".

Thomas Blackburn (Adelaide) to Waterhouse: re description of coleoptera, 27 November 1888 (File)

John W. Brazier (Sydney) to E.A. Smith, 12 June 1893 (File)

That after thirteen years working at the Australian Museum, he has been told that his services are no longer required; problems at the Museum; 'nearly all the trouble of the place is brought about by the Curator never being in his place and a busybody of a Trustee coming about the place and finding fault with everyone in it'.

Includes: Two photographs of Brazier, 1879 and 1887.

Henry Bristow (London) to Etheridge, 16 June 1875 (File)

'Your connection with the Geological Survey at home and in the colony of Victoria, under Mr Selwyn, has been highly creditable to you.'

T. Lindsay Buick (Wellington) to Miss Bate: re his work on moa bones, 14 November 1932 (File)

Includes: Obituary and photograph.

George W. Card (Sydney) to F.A. Bather, 24 February 1901 (File)

Acknowledging receipt of publications, the Museum (of Geological Survey) is housed 'in an old Exhibition shed'.

Joseph E. Carne (New South Wales Court, Crystal Palace) to A. Smith Woodward, 27 August 1890 (File)

That he hopes to visit the Museum soon.

Frederick Chapman (London) to Sherborn: re sorting out specimens, 9 September 1889 (File)

Includes: Three photographs of Chapman, 1900, 1916 and 1925.

James Chumley (Edinburgh) to Andrews, 13 April 1897 (File)

Re Christmas Island rocks; hopes he will have a successful expedition.

Reverend W.B. Clarke (St. Leonards) to Professor T.R. Jones, 19 May 1863 (File)

Re fossils from Newcastle coal beds.

James C. Cox [] to E. Smith re joining Conchological Society, 24 July 1893 (File)

James Croll (Edinburgh) on behalf of Robert Ethridge, 22 June 1875 (File)

Richard Daintree (Bournemouth) to Carruthers, 7 February 1874 (File)

Re Queensland fossils and discovery of coal near mouth of Endeavour River.

Edgeworth David (London) to Smith Woodward re meeting, [n.d.] (File)

Edgeworth David (Sydney) to Taylor sending testimonials, 10 July 1907 (File)

Does not include testimonials. Includes: Flyer for biography of Edgeworth David by M. Edgeworth David.

Arthur Dendy (Melbourne; Christchurch, New Zealand) to Kirkpatrick and Woodward, 1888-03-22;1897-07-07; 1898-06-16 (File)

Re his work on New Zealand sponges; work of J.B.Magne; he is building a house on Port Hills. (9p.)

William Doherty (Calcutta, Timor, Ternate), 1891-01-24; 1892-04-18; 1893-08-29 (File)

Re collecting shells in Sumatra; shells from Amboyna; plans to collect in New Guinea. (14p.)

Robert Etheridge (Edinburgh, Sydney) to Waterhouse, Woodward and Smith, 1878-04-03; 1887-04-26; 1898-09-20 (File)

Re discovery of fish in Hawesbury [Hawkesbury?] Rocks; his position at the Australian Museum - needs more money and more space.

Robert Etheridge (Sydney) to Woodward with news of other scientists, 11 February 1892 (File)

Alfred Hart Everett (London, Borneo) to Godwin Austen, Oldfield Thomas and Smith, 1890-12-17 (Answered); 1892-03-24; 1897-01-09 (File)

Re collecting in Lubuan; sending Tupaia from Dulit Mountain.

Hartley T. Ferrar (Wellington) to Sherborn congratulating him on his DSc, 8 September 1931 (File)

H.J. Findlay (Dunedin) to Sherborn, 4 November 1924 (File)

Congratulating him on publication of Index Animalium.

Henry Forbes (Liverpool) to Sherborn, 2 March 1894 (File)

Advice on going out to Java; Buitenzorg is a better place to stay than Batavia.

Includes: Photograph.

Charles French (Melbourne): re obtaining Spondylus shells, 13 June 1899 (File)

Walter W. Froggatt (Sydney) to editors of Natural Science, 12 May 1894 (File)

Re Australian gall making insects.

Ludwig Glauert (Perth, Sheffield) to Woodward and Sherborn, 1909-12-06; 1919-12-23 (File)

Requesting Woodward's advice 'I am only a beginner in the wide field of Palaeontology'; spending Christmas holidays with his mother.

Henry B. Guppy (London), 15 October 1885 (File)

Introducing C.M. Woodford who is going to Solomon Islands from Fiji.

Julius von Haast (New Zealand Court, London): re J.A. Wollet, 8 May 1886 (File)

T.S. Hall (Melbourne) to Sherborn: re publications, 23 March 1903 (File)

R. Hanitsch (Singapore): re shells collected in British North Borneo, 27 July 1894 (File)

William A. Haswell (Sydney) to Harmer, 9 June 1900 (File)

Re lost specimens; his current work.

Charles Hedley (Sydney) to Woodward and Sykes, 1893-03-21; 1905-08-28; 1921-08-12 (File)

Re his work; his official misfortunes 'I have been most unjustly and unfairly treated'.

Includes: Photograph of Hedley, 1891.

Charles Hedley (Sydney) to Bullen Newton, 1891-02-17; 1924-05-22 (File)

Re collecting in Tasmania; that Australian Museum 'fallen under control of business men'; scientific work to be cut out.

John Hewitt (Sarawak) to Smith: sending shells, 1905-01-31; 1905-11-21 (File)

Edwin S. Hills (Kew, Victoria) to Sherborn, [n.y.]-11-08; 1933-11-21; 1937-11-23 (File)

Sending Christmas greetings, his work; family news.

Charles Hose (Baram, Purley) to Editor of Natural Science and C.W. Andrews, 1894-04-23; 1920-04-04 (File)

Re publications; Andrew's work on Christmas Island.

Walter Howchin (North Adelaide): acknowledging publication, 21 November 1892 (File)

Includes: Obituary of Howchin, The Age 30 July 1938.

Reginald Hurd (Brisbane) to E.A. Smith: re his work on Australian shells, 1897-05-27; 1897-09-27 (File)

Frederick Hutton (Auckland, Christchurch) to Jones and E.A. Smith, 1866-01-11; 1891-11-15 (File)

Re mapping Waikato District; problem in identifying specimens 'in the colonies with very limited libraries'.

Tom Iredale (Sydney) to Sherborn, 1932-06-28; 1933-06-27 (File)

Re fieldwork; the use made of Sherborn's work by Australian scientists.

Includes: Photograph of Iredale, 1923.

Robert L. Jack (Brisbane, London) to A. Smith Woodward and R. Bullen Newton, 1894-03-14; 1901-07-18 (File)

Re identification of Scarus; Malayan fossils.

Elizabeth Jelly (Red Hill) to Kirkpatrick, 23 August [n.y.] (File)

Re fossil specimens of New Zealand Eschara obliqua of MacGillivray.

J.B. Jukes (H.M.S. Fly, Cape Upstart) to Waterhouse, 20 April 1843 (File)

Re work on voyage; his dredge was eaten by rats; opossum mouse caught in Van Diemen's Land 'he is rather addicted to biting'; other specimens collected - birds and corals; problems working in a naval vessel.

Agnes F. Kenyon (Richmond) to E.A. Smith, 1900-07-31; 1901-05-27 (File)

Re specimens sent to British Museum by McCoy.

C. Boden Kloss (Singapore) to Sherborn with comments on his Index Animalium, 2 September 1931 (File)

Constance Knox, daughter of 5th Earl of Ranfurly (London), [n.d.] (File)

That the specimen of mollusca found on Admiralty Islands was given to Hutton.

J. Krefft (Sydney) to R.L. Playfair: re fish specimens (Xerox), 18 October 1867 (File)

Edgar Layard (Noumea) to E.A. Smith: re work on New Caledonian shells, 23 October 1883 (File)

F. McCoy (Melbourne) to Gray: re Gray's account with the National Museum, 25 November 1862 (File)

Sir William MacGregor (British New Guinea): re specimens from Woodlark Island, 16 December 1890 (File)

Charles Maplestone (Eltham), 11 January 1901 (File)

That Professor Spencer has persuaded him to take up the work of MacGillivray on polyzoa on his retirement from government service.

T.P. Moody (Whangarei) to Sherborn: that has left Bay of Islands, 12 March 1895 (File)

R. Murdock (Wanganui) to E.A. Smith: sending New Zealand shells, 1894-04-30; 1894-08-30 (File)

Charles Musson (Narrabri): re work on shells, 28 April 1888 (File)

C.H. Oestingh (Sumatra): re freshwater shells of Sumatra, 13 April 1929 (File)

Thomas J. Parker (Dunedin) to Bell, 1886-02-26; 1897-06-08 (File)

Re sending specimens of New Zealand invertebrates to the Colonial Exhibition.

William F. Petterd (Launceston) to Oldfield Thomas: that will send him a Thylacium, 20 July 1887 (File)

F.A. Rodway (Nowra) to Major Austin, 10 November 1927 (File)

Sending specimens of insects; about to leave for Barrier Reef.

Ernest Willington Skeats (Melbourne) to Sherborn, 16 November 1908 (File)

Re his work at the University; visits to Sydney, Tasmania and Adelaide; University funding; his accommodation at the University; Gregory's views on artesian water.

Includes: Photograph, 1906.

Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer (Melbourne) to Smith Woodward and Editor Malacological Journal, 1891-04-13; 1900-06-26 (File)

Re papers and type specimens.

Henry Suter (Christchurch, Auckland) to Smith and Woodward, 1915-07-10; 1898-01-22; 1901-08-17; 1903-09-11 (File)

Re his work on shells, 'In New Zealand a scientific man is simply buried alive', Hutton's bad health.

Ralph Tate (Adelaide) sending mollusca collected in Central Australia by Horn Expedition, 28 May 1895 (File)

J. Allan Thomson (Wellington) to Sherborn: re corrections to his paper, 6 October 1919 (File)

C.W. de Vis (Queensland Museum) to Oldfield Thomas with his opinion of P. canina, 29 November 1907 (File)

Alfred R. Wallace (Sarawak) to Waterhouse, 8 May 1855 (File)

He is working hard collecting insects; hopes to get specimen of orangoutan.

Copy also: Photograph.

G.G. Waterhouse (Adelaide) to George Waterhouse, 13 February 1854 (File)

Sending a box of insects; strange spiders found in reed beds. (Faint)

William H. Webster (Auckland) to E.A. Smith: sending Mactra shell, 1903-04-24; 1904-07-08 (File)

John Whitehead (Singapore) to Grant, 18 October 1893 (File)

That is proceeding to Manila; death of collector during Pehang Expedition.

Thomas Whitelegge (Sydney) to Harmer: re dredgings from Holborn Island, 15 September 1899 (File)

Frederick Wood Jones (Adelaide) to Sherborn, 10 June 1923 (File)

During his trips in Australia he has discovered five new mammals and 'innumerable new insects'.

Julian E.T. Woods (South Australia), 19 March 1864 (File)

Sending shell from Muddy Creek; work at fossil beds near Hamilton.

Bernard Woodward (Perth) to Henry Woodward, Rupert Jones and others, 1900-08-14; 1896-10-02; 1897-11-25; 1895-08-30 (File)

Re publications; his work at the Museum; interest of Lady Forrest in the Museum.

Includes two photographs.

Fonds Volume 2 He-W. Thomas Belt Correspondence, 23 April 1877

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

F. Hutton (Dunedin) re fossils from Wanganui beds (incomplete letter?), 23 April 1877 (File f. 103-105)

Fonds. Arthur Blok. Collection of letters to and from Malacologists, 16 June 1882 - 1 November 1959

21 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Series. Volume 1: A-B, 16 June 1882 - 1 November 1959

6 items

Filmed selectively.

Joyce Allan (Australian Museum) to R. Winckworth (London), 19 March 1946 (File 9)

Her work in the Museum, retirement of Iredale - havoc he wrought in the collections.

Edwin Ashby (Blackwood, South Australia) to Colonel A.J. Peile: re slugs, 26 December 1928 (File 18)
C.E. Beddome (Hobart) to E.A. Smith: re shells collected from Limestone Creek, 16 June 1882 (File 35)
F. Booth (Lander's Pocket, Brisbane) to Jackson: re life on fruit farm, 6 July 1927 (File 61)
C.E.R. Bucknill (Tauranga) to Powell: re publications, 16 February 1927 (File 82)
John Burch (Los Angeles) to Blok, 1 November 1959 (File 84)

Re opinion of Bernard Cotton and his book, South Australian Mollusca.

Series. Volume 2: B-F, 20 October 1926 - 31 October 1944

3 items

Filmed selectively.

C. Montague Cooke (Honolulu) to Colonel Peile, 31 October 1944 (File 124)

Re specimens from Pacific and work of Kondo collecting shells in Cardine, Palau Islands and Fiji.

Bernard Cotton (Adelaide) to J.R. Tomlin (St Leonards): re publications, 24 January 1934 (File 127)
Cedric Dover (Kuala Lumpur) to Colonel A.J. Piele [sic], 20 October 1926 (File 163)

Re Ridley's paper on molluscs from Batu Caves.

Series. Volume 3: F-K, 30 May 1910 - 4 February 1926

3 items

Filmed selectively.

Charles Gabriel (Abbotsford) to Cooper: exchanging shells, 30 May 1910 (File 207)
Charles Hedley (Australian Museum) to G.C. Robson (British Museum), 28 November 1911 (File 253)

Will supply Australian specimens.

Tom Ireland (Australian Museum) to Winckworth: enclosing paper on Bailer shells, 4 February 1926 (File 277-278c)

Series. Volume 4: K-O, 15 October 1905 - 18 July 1945

4 items

Filmed selectively.

Yoskio Kondo (Bernice P. Bishop Museum) to Lieutenant Colonel Peile, 18 July 1945 (File 315)

Re reprints on radulae.

C.R. Laws (Auckland) to R. Winckworth (London): re war news received in NZ, 25 August 1940 (File 329)
M. Lodder (Launceston) to Mr Cooper: re tin of Tasmanian mollusca in the flesh, 15 October 1905 (File 342)
M.K. Mestayer (Wellington) to Lieutenant Colonel Peile, 29 March 1932 (File 382)

Sending specimens of NZ mollusca.

Series. Volume 5: O-S, 18 February 1926 - 5 March 1931

3 items

Filmed selectively.

C.H. Oostingh (Medan) to [unknown]: re collecting mollusca in Northern Sumatra, 14 August 1927 (File 426)
A.W. Powell (Auckland) to Tomlin: re dredging Auckland harbour, 18 February 1926 (File 462)
A.W. Powell (Auckland) to Lieutenant Colonel Peile: re NZ marine specimens, 5 March 1931 (File 463-463a)

Series. Volume 6: S-Z, 25 December 1907 - 1934

2 items

Filmed selectively.

[D. Straauum?] (Hilo) to [unknown]: re similarity of some Endodents, 25 December 1907 (File 583)
A. Welch (Bernice P. Bishop Museum) to Blok, [1934?] (File 624)

Re work on Waianae Mts. of Oahu Island.

Fonds. Andrew Bloxam. Ms. natural history notes during voyage of HMS Blonde and correspondence, 1824 - 1825

12 items

Andrew Bloxam (1801-1878) went as naturalist on HMS Blonde which was returning the bodies of King and Queen of Sandwich Islands to the islands.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Related Materials

See also Diary of Andrew Bloxam, naturalist of the Blonde on her trip from England to Hawaiian Islands, 1824-25 (Special Pub., 10). Honolulu, Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 1925.

Biographical / Historical

Andrew Bloxam (1801-1878) was educated at Rugby School and Worcester College, Oxford. He was the naturalist on HMS Blonde, commanded by Lord Byron, on its voyage to South America and the Pacific in 1824-26. On his return to England he was ordained as an Anglican minister.

[Rough diary of voyage] (File I)

Includes notes on Madeira, (rocks and insects); Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, Galapagos (humming birds), birds, fish. (30ff.)

[Transcript from rough diary of voyage] (File II)

Includes observations made at sea - birds, fish, giving latitude and longitude. (21ff.)

[First rough notes] (69ff.) (File III)

Includes birds of Chile, Galapagos, Sandwich Islands, Brazil.

[First rough notes] (33ff.) (File IV)

Includes description of birds of Sandwich Islands and sketches of Sandwich Islands, Malden's Islands and Galapagos Islands.

[no title] (14ff.) (File V)

Includes vocabulary lists for Sandwich Islands and descriptions of birds of Sandwich Islands.

Description of birds etc. at Valparaiso and Chile (File VI)

[notes transcribed from III]. (18ff.)

Conception (File VII)

Lists of birds, shells, reptiles. (2ff.)

Galapagos (File VIII)

Description of fauna. (5ff.)

[no title] (16ff.) (File IX)

Includes notes on guana of Galapagos, birds, porpoises.

[Lists of birds, insects, shells; letter to Admiralty; natural history of Sandwich Islands] (File X)

(19ff.) Includes

(a) lists of birds and other fauna from Sandwich Islands, Galapagos and Chile

(b) n.d. Bloxam (p. pl.) to Admiralty re geological and bird specimens collected by him on voyage

(c) Natural history of Sandwich Islands: notes on birds, giving native name, bats, fish, volcanoes and other geological remarks

Correspondence, 25 October 1890 - 15 June 1898 (File XI)

Alfred Newton (Cambridge) and Henry Forbes (London) to Reverend J.R. Bloxam (Andrew Bloxam's brother) and A. Roby Bloxam (Christchurch, NZ) (Andrew Bloxam's son) re Newton's interest in natural history of Sandwich Islands, and Andrew Bloxam's diary of voyage. 10 letters.

Notes re deposit. (3ff.) (File XII)

Fonds. Lucy E Cheesman. Ms. Gazetteer of New Guinea, 1941


Gives designation (Cape, District, Island, etc.) and latitude and longitude.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Biographical / Historical

(Lucy) Evelyn Cheesman (1881-1969) was appointed curator of insects at the Royal Zoological Society in 1920 and joined the staff of the British Museum (Natural History) in 1926. She had first visited the south Pacific in 1924. She subsequently undertook long collecting expeditions in the New Hebrides (1928-30) and Papua and New Guinea (1933-39). She was the author of 16 books on insects, natural history for children, and accounts of her expeditions.

Fonds. William Clift, 1809 - 1836

Memoranda relating to sale of old and duplicate specimens of Natural History and anatomical articles by the Trustees of the British Museum to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1809.

Includes specimens presented by Sir Joseph Banks.


Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Biographical / Historical

William Clift (1775-1849) was the curator of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons from 1800 to 1842.

Fonds. C. Darwin [Papers]

4 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Related Materials

See also Darwin items in Zoology Library [] and Entomology Library lists.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Darwin (1809-82) was the naturalist on the surveying voyage of HMS Beagle (1831-36) and the author of On the origin of species (1859), The descent of man (1871) and many other works.

A series of specimens showing the composition of the circular coral-reef which forms Keeling Atoll or Lagoon Island in Indian Ocean (File 1-2)

Collected by Charles Darwin during voyage of the Beagle. 2 sheets. (Larger sheet faint). Printed transcription of the larger manuscript sheet.

Photocopy of the exhibit caption (File 3)

Note by Rex Banks on the provinence of the collection, 1980 (File 4)

Fonds. F D Godman (1834-1919) Letter book, 22 May 1880 - 10 May 1881

Correspondence between Godman and W.M. Macleay and also between Godman and A. Goldie. The letters mostly discuss specimens from New Guinea, especially butterflies and birds.

Filmed selectively.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Biographical / Historical

Frederick DuCane Godman (1834-1919) attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he acquired a strong interest in ornithology. He inherited a fortune from his father and was able to spend many years travelling round the world. Together with Osbert Salvin, he produced the monumental work Biologia Centrali-Americana (1879-1915. Between 1870 and 1915 he was successively secretary and president of the British Ornithological Union.

Fonds. Richard B. Hinds. Diary of voyage of HMS Sulphur (2 vols.), 22 December 1835 - 14 July 1840

2 items

Richard Hinds (d. 1859?) went as naturalist on the round the world trip of HMS Sulphur, Captain E. Belcher.

The portions of the journal which describe Sandwich Islands have been printed in Hawaiian Journal of History II, 1968. pp. 102-135.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2710.

Biographical / Historical

Richard Brinsley Hinds (1811-1846) was a graduate of London University and a member of the Royal College of Surgeons. He was assistant surgeon on the surveying ship HMS Sulphur, commanded by Edward Belcher, on its voyage to the Pacific in 1835-40 and during the first Opium War in 1840-42. He subsequently prepared reports on the natural history discoveries made during the voyage. He migrated to Western Australia in 1845, but died the following year.

Volume 1: Journal, 22 December 1835 - 5 December 1839 (File)

Subjects and places include: Madeira; 'very good Madeira brandy'; other flora of Madeira; fish harpooned; St Catherine's; Monte Video; gales round Cape Horn, 'it was useless to attempt to sleep'; taking soundings in Pacific; Valparaiso; general remarks on coast of South America - climate, vegetation etc.; Panama; Sandwich Islands - sugar cane, languages, population, American missionaries; Prince William Sound; Sitka-Russian settlement; natives; Nootka; San Francisco; Acapulco; Caleao; Panama; Sandwich Islands - 'the king honoured us with a second visit on board'; Columbia River; California.


Volume 2: Natural History Observations, 9 January 1836 - 14 July 1840 (File)

Subjects and places include: Madeira; vegetation of Teneriffe; climate; Gorgona - botany; Sandwich Islands - flora and natural history; Nootka - vegetation; Cocos - shells and animals; Marquesas - vegetation, fauna; Bow Island - perculiarities of vegetation, flora, shells; Tahiti - vegetation, flora, breadfruit, sandalwood; Fiji - peculiarities of vegetation, shells; New Ireland - botany, birds, shells.


Fonds. Charles Hose. Sarawak, n.d.

1 item

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2711.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Hose (1863-1929), the nephew of George Hose, bishop of Singapore and Labuan, joined the Sarawak civil service in 1884. He spent twenty years in Sarawak and devoted much of his time to collecting plants, birds, fish and animals, as well as studying the local cultures and taking photographs. He was the author of The pagan tribes of Borneo (1912).

Sarawak: collection of photographs of peoples, flora, and fauna of Sarawak, n.d. (File)

Subjects include: Kuching; The Astana; Borneo Company's House; Kenyah natives; kayan natives; Sea Dayak natives; Tinjar River; Punan's heads taken by Sea Dayaks; native houses; musical instruments; animals. 170 photos

Includes: 21 May 1947. County Librarian (Bedford) to Director British Museum, re presentation of album.

Fonds. Royal Society of London [Papers], 1874 - 1875

Manuscript accounts of the petrological, botanical and zoological collections made in Kerguelen's land and Rodriguez during transit of Venus Expeditions in 1874-1875. 2 vols. [457p. and 334p.]

Original of Ms. published Philosophical Transactions, Vol. 168, 1879.


Introductory notes by Reverend A.E. Eaton

Seals and cetaceans by W.H. Flower

Crustacea by E.J. Miers

Coleoptera by C.O. Waterhouse

Diptera by G.H. Verrall

Physical features of Rodriguez by B. Balfour

Petrology by N.S. Maskelyne

Extinct birds of Rodriguez by A. Gunther

Various paginations; ms with ms. alterations and illustrations, sketches.

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2711.

Fonds. Sowerby Family Papers, 9 October 1837 - 17 February 1907

8 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2712.

Biographical / Historical

James Sowerby (1757-1822) was a natural history artist, publisher and collector of botanical and geological specimens. His son James De Carle Sowerby (1787-1871) carried on the business, publishing Mineral Conchology (1812-46) and English Botany (1831-49) and serving as librarian and curator of the Geological Society. In turn, his son, William Sowerby (1827-1906) was an artist and botanist and secretary of the Royal Botanic Society of London. One of James Sowerby's daughters, Charlotte Sowerby, married James Bryant in 1825. Their son James Edward Bryant and his wife Ellen migrated to Victoria in 1855-56 and lived at Castlemaine.

Series Box 8. Sowerby Daughters and relations by marriage, 15 September 1852 - 17 February 1907

2 items
James Edward Bryant, Ellen Freeman Bryant (d. 1872) and their children. (c. 880p.), 15 September 1852 - 16 August 1872 (File Item 4)
5 items
Letters from James Edward Bryant, his wife Ellen Freeman Bryant, from Castlemaine to his parents James and Charlotte Anne Sowerby Bryant, and other family members, 15 September 1852 - 1 February 1872 (Item 1-176)

(Some letters are undated, crossed, faint, damaged and incomplete).

Subjects include: voyage to Australia on Countess of Elgin; economic conditions (1855); Ellen Freeman's voyage on Ballarat (1856); collecting insects for George (1856); family health; birth of children; visit to Castlemaine of Sir H. Barkly (1857); his employment in Post Office; visit of comet (1858); advises against emigration to Queensland 'men of capital that are wanted there' (1862); requests letter of introduction to Mueller from Uncle James; men leaving for New Zealand gold fields (1863); celebrations for Prince [of Wales] wedding ruined by weather; visit to Mount Franklyn; visit to theatres in Melbourne to see Charles Kean; sending various specimens, including a fungus from Eucalyptus log made by larva of moth and colonial manna, which drops from leaves of white gum (1865); prices rising due to political deadlock (1865); death of Rev. Mr Hill when visiting a prisoner 'the beast hit him on the head with part of his bedstead' (1869); collecting ferns; illness and death of Ellen (Nelly) - problem finding a suitable person to look after the children 'so many of the middle aged and old women drink ... and to get a young one would only be to create scandal' (1871/1872).

Letters from their children, James W.H. and Ellen Bryant to their grandparents, 1865 - 1869 (Item 177-180)
Envelopes (Item 181)
Copies of birth certificates of children of James and Ellen - Edward, Charles and Emma, 1862 - 1868 (Item 182)
D.G. Freeman (Melbourne) to brother Henry Freeman, 16 August 1872 (Item 183)

Re death of Ellen and effect on James 'has been dismissed from the government service for his drunken habits.' (Copy)

Miscellaneous letters, 17 February 1907 (File Item 8)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Ellen Charlotte Bryant Goff (Gembrook) to William Sowerby, 17 February 1907 (Item)

Requesting return of birth certificates sent home when she applied for the money left to her by grandfather Bryant; remembers with pleasure receiving letters from the family. (2p.)

Series Boxes 12-36. Correspondence, 9 October 1837 - 10 May 1894

6 items
Subseries Box 15. Correspondence, 13 November 1865 - 2 January 1884
1 items
Folder 9: BOS-BRA, 13 November 1865 - 2 January 1884 (File)
2 items

Filmed selectively.

E Bower (Slough) to Curator Botanical Gardens, Regent Park, 13 November 1865 (Item 239-239a)

Sending leaves from tree grown from seed sent from New Zealand.

Sowerby to Lady Brassey, 2 January 1884 (Item 22-23)

With comments on Australian flora and fauna 'turned topsy turvy'. (incomplete?).

Subseries Box 18. Correspondence, 8 May 1894
1 item
Folder 17: DEL-DYE, 8 May 1894 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Charles Dicken (Agent-General Office, Queensland) to W. Sowerby, 8 May 1894 (Item [135])

Requesting supplies of Pisum (Lathyrus) maritimum.

Subseries Box 20. Correspondence, 13 July 1874 - 2 October 1878
1 item
Folder 24: GRI-HAR, 13 July 1874 - 2 October 1878 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

William Guilfoyle (Botanic Gardens, Melbourne) to W. Sowerby, 1875-01-27; 1878-10-02; 1874-07-13 (Item 156-160)

Offers to exchange Australian plants, will send seeds of gumtree; lack of good staff; sends his book on Botany; his scheme to landscape the Gardens.

Subseries Box 25. Correspondence, 9 October 1837 - 23 October 1837
1 items
Folder 39: MIT-MOR, 9 October 1837 - 23 October 1837 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

T. Mitchell (London) to James Sowerby, [1837?]-10-23; 1837-10-09 (Item 123-124)

Re meeting at Somerset House and thanking him for descriptions of shells and fossils which Mitchell will refer to in his book of travels.

Subseries Box 28. Correspondence, 10 May 1894
1 item
Folder 46: PUR-QU, 10 May 1894 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

C.S. Dicken (Queensland Government Office) to W. Sowerby, 10 May 1894 (Item 257)

Re seeds of Pisum maritimum.

Subseries Box 35. Correspondence, 1 July 1884
1 item
Folder 67: TUR-WAL, 1 July 1884 (File)
1 item

Filmed selectively.

Richardson Crowther (Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria) to Lady [Brassey], 1 July 1884 (Item 139)

Thanking her for gift of orchids.

Fonds. Alfred R. Wallace. Letters to Samuel Stevens (18p.), 10 March 1856 - 1974

6 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2713.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), who was originally a surveyor, acquired a strong interest in natural history as a young man. He went on his first collecting expedition to Brazil in 1848, followed by eight years in Malaya and the East Indies (1854-62). It was there that he developed his ideas on natural selection, which led to papers by Wallace and Charles Darwin being jointly presented to the Linnean Society in 1858. He was the author of The Malay Archipelago (1869) and The geographical distribution of animals (1876).

Wallace (Singapore): re expense of travelling, 10 March 1856 (File 1)

Equipment he needs; insects; specimens sent on Water Lily (incomplete?).

Wallace (Singapore): engaged a good man to shoot and skin birds and animals; orang skins sent on Water Lily, 12 May 1856 (File 2)

Wallace (Ampanam): cannot get passage to Macassar; nothing to collect locally, 21 August 1856 (File 3)

'nothing but dusty roads and paddy fields for miles around'; birds 'throw light on the laws of geographical distribution of animals in the east'; cultivation of Bali and Lombock Islands - production of cotton.

Wallace (Macassar): re the local countryside, 27 September 1856 (File 4)

Collecting birds, including new species; priouiturus platurus; native customs 'amok'.

Wallace (Batchian): re collecting at Kaisal Islands, 29 October 1858 (File 5)

Batchian should prove to be a good locality for collecting; new species of Loyrcorus; butterflies; new Bird of Paradise; monkeys; 'an essay on varieties which I sent to Mr Darwin has been read to Linnaean Society ... on account of an extraordinary coincidence with some views of Mr Darwin'

Notes re deposit, 1974 (File 6)

Fonds. Sir George H Wilkins (1888-1958). Undiscovered Australia, 1923 - 1925

2 items

Archival History

Originally filmed on AJCP reel M2713.

Biographical / Historical

Sir (George) Hubert Wilkins (1888-1958) was born in South Australia and became a newspaper reporter and photographer. For a period of over 25 years he was involved in the exploration of both the Arctic and the Antarctic. In 1923 he was commissioned by the British Museum (Natural History) to explore northern Australia collecting plants, insects, birds, minerals and Aboriginal artefacts. The expedition lasted two years and resulted in his book Undiscovered Australia (1929).

First and second drafts of Undiscovered Australia, 1923 - 1925 (File)

An account of Wilkin's expedition to tropical Australia to collect fauna for the British Museum (Natural History), 1923-1925.

Typescript with ms. alterations. (274pp. and 241pp., paginations erratic).

2nd draft includes: 13 Oct 1925. Wilkins (London) to Herbert Smith requesting he read the ms.

Wilkins gave the Museum the rights to Undiscovered Australia.

Related Materials

For additional material re the expedition and letters from Wilkins see Mammals list [] and Director of British Museum (Natural History) Case and Policy Files list [].

87 photographs, identified, [c. 1923-1925] (File)

Subjects include: animals; fossils; natives; Thomby Head Station; camp; emu brought to bay by dogs; rock carvings.