Guide to the Correspondence of the British Museum (Natural History): Correspondence of the Arachnida Section (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

British Museum (Natural History)
British Museum (Natural History): Correspondence of the Arachnida Section (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
9 December 1891 - 8 May 1940
Collection Number
25 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

Correspondence 1892-1903 of R. Pocock, relating to spiders, scorpions and other specimens from Australia, New Zealand, Malaya, New Guinea and Fiji.

Correspondence 1906-1934 concerning spiders, scorpions, mites and other specimens. Correspondents include A. Dixie, J.B. Cleland and Gilbert Archey.

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 British Museum (Natural History), London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1992 (AJCP Reel: M2708). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Natural History Museum was formerly a section of the British Museum and was known as the British Museum (Natural History).

Existence and Location of Originals

Archive Section, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London.

Collection Reference: Correspondence of R.I. Pocock DF ZOO/250 and Arachnida Correspondence DF ZOO/255. For further information, see Zoology at the National 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.


Arachnologists; Archey, Gilbert; Australia; Austalia: flora and fauna; Cleland, J.B.; Dixie, A.; Great Britain; Malaya; Malaya: flora and fauna; Natural History Museum, London; New Zealand; New Zealand: flora and fauna; Papua New Guinea; Papua New Guinea: flora and fauna; Pocock, R.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 59, p20. []

Biographical / Historical

The class consists of the correspondence of successive heads of the Arachnida Section, and covers the acquisition, loan and exchange of specimens, enquiries from amateur and professional zoologists, medical men, furniture dealers and others, and arachnid research.

The Arachnida Section was formally set up in 1913 when the old Invertebrate Section was split up on the retirement of E.A. Smith, and was renamed Arachnida and Myriapoda Section in 1932. However, correspondence in the class dates from 1904, just before the appointment of Arthur Stanley Hirst (1883-1930) to succeed R.I.Pocock. Hirst, who had read zoology at University College London, worked in the mammal collection for a short time before transferring to the arachnids. He described new spiders, harvestmen, scorpions and millipedes, but concentrated most of his attention on the Acari (mites and ticks). Early items include many letters addressed to W.T. Calman which he passed on to Hirst. Hirst resigned due to ill health in 1927, and was succeeded by Susan Finnegan (b.1903), who continued Hurst's work on Acari until she resigned in 1936 to marry Walter Campbell Smith of the Mineralogy Department. She was followed by Richard James Whittick (b. 1912), who worked mainly on ticks from 1936 to 1940, and Gwilym Owen Evans (b. 1924), who published some sixty papers on Acari during his tenure as Head of Section from 1950 to 1967. John Gordon Sheals (1923-1990) was appointed to the Section in 1958, and applied computer techniques to acarine taxonomy, until his appointment as Keeper of Zoology in 1971.

Item Descriptions

Series DF250. Invertebrate Section Correspondence, 1891 - 1903

3 items

Subseries DF250/22-24. R. Pocock correspondence, December 1891 - September 1903

3 items
A-E, 14 May 1892 (File 250/22)
2 items

Filmed selectively.

W. Barham (Dunedin) requesting papers, 29 August [n.y.] (Item)
C. Chilton (Port Chalmers), 14 May 1892 (Item)

Sending specimen Myriapoda, his work on Crustacea.

F-L, 9 December 1891 - 30 May 1903 (File 250/23)
6 items

Filmed selectively.

P. Goyen (Dunedin): sending specimens of New Zealand spiders, 21 October 1893 (Item)
H.R. Hogg (Upper Macedon): re his work classifying Australian spiders, 12 January 1896 (Item)
Charles Hose (Baram): re collecting spiders in North Celebes, 15 April 1896 (Item)
F.W. Hutton (Christchurch), 9 Dec 1891; 6 May 1901 (Item)

Sending specimens of a new myriapod and New Zealand spiders.

George Johnstone (Borneo): sending specimen of King Crab, 15 October 1895 (Item)
Agnes Kenyon (Melbourne): sending specimen care of Mr Morris, 8 April 1902; 3 Feb 1903; 30 May 1903 (Item)

Three letters.

M-Z, 2 September 1893 - 28 September 1903 (File 250/24)
5 items

Filmed selectively.

John MacPherson (Sydney): sending scorpions and Myriapoda, 27 August [n.y.] (Item)
J. Ridley (Singapore): re characteristics of Galeodes, 14 June 1902 (Item)
Herbert C. Robinson (Liverpool), 4 November 1902 (Item)

Enclosing a paper - Mimetic Spiders from Bukit Besar, Naumchik and Gedong, Perak. (15p)

George M. Thomson (Dunedin), 2 Sep 1893; 21 Nov 1894; 6 Jan 1898; 4 May 1903 (Item)

That no scorpions have been found in New Zealand; sending scorpions from Fiji; sending other specimens from Tasmania and Macquarie Islands.

C. Howard Tripp (Timaru): re spider that has been named after him, 25 June 1903; 28 Sep 1903 (Item)

Series DF255. Arachnida Section Correspondence, 1906 - 1940

22 items

Correspondence, 24 January 1906 - 16 July 1906 (File 255/1)

3 items

Filmed selectively.

British Museum (Natural History) to E.Glanville Corney (Fiji): re ticks, 24 January 1906 (Item)
George Pernet (London): re Acarid cysts found in Rosella from Sydney, 30 June 1906; 6 July 1906; 16 July 1906 (Item)
E.L. Trouessart (Paris): re Acarid cysts found in Rosella, 7 July 1906; 14 July 1906; 16 July 1906 (Item)

Correspondence, 25 March 1907 - 2 December 1908 (File 255/2)

2 items

Filmed selectively.

M.Oliver (Christchurch), 25 March 1907 (Item)

Sending a description of a spider from Pitt Island, New Zealand.

Frederick Wood Jones, 14 November 1908 - 2 December 1908 (Item)

Re specimens of spiders he collected in Cocos Keeling Islands.

Correspondence, 12 January 1910 - 2 October 1910 (File 255/3)

2 items

Filmed selectively.

S.K. Capper (London): re spider's nest he brought back from Western Australia, 12 January 1910 (Item)
A. Dixie (3rd Middlesex Regiment, Singapore), 2 October 1910 (Item)

Asking advice on best method of sending to England a black crab scorpion.

Correspondence, 13 July 1910 - 19 January 1911 (File 255/4)

2 items

Filmed selectively.

Privates Digby and A. Dixie (Lebong, India): re circumstance of catching scorpion, 19 January 1911 (Item)
W.F. Howlett (Eketakuna, NZ), 13 July 1910 [sic] (Item)

That he will send Harvestmen; methods of preserving (blue pencil).

Correspondence, 29 June 1913 - 10 July 1914 (File 255/5)

4 items

Filmed selectively.

Charles Barnard (Rockhampton): sending scorpions, 29 June 1913 (Item)
British Museum (Natural History) to Barnard: identifying specimens sent, 23 August 1913 (Item)
J.B. Cleland (Department of Public Health, Sydney): sending mites obtained from rats, 24 March 1914 (Item)
Eustace Ferguson (Department of Public Health, Sydney), 10 July 1914 (Item)

Acknowledging identifications. (Filed with Cleland).

Correspondence, 21 May 1915 (File 255/6)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

J.B. Cleland (Department of Public Health, Sydney), 21 May 1915 (Item)

That the mites giving them trouble are the same as found in Egypt and that gave trouble in Fremantle in 1908.

Correspondence, 17 April 1918 - 25 July 1919 (File 255/7)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

J.B. Cleland (Department of Public Health, Sydney), 25 July 1919 (Item)

Sending demodex from a bull and a pig, Dr Ferguson is still on military service.

William Greenwood (Botany): re his interest in Fijian spiders, n.d. (Answered 31 October 1918) (Item)
Lieutenant Charles Hamblin (Harrow), 3 April 1919 (Item)

Requests facilities to study Acardia while awaiting repatriation to Australia.

British Museum (Natural History) to H.R. Hogg, 17 April 1918 (Item)

Asking if he has the collection of spiders P.D. Montagu made in Montebello Islands; death of Montagu.

H.R. Hogg (Ross), 20 April 1918 (Item)

That he still has the Montebello Islands spiders collected by Montagu, also those collected by Haynes which survived the hurricane which blew his home into the sea.

Correspondence, 23 August 1920 - 17 November 1921 (File 255/8)

4 items

Filmed selectively.

Walter Froggatt (Department of Agriculture, Sydney), 17 November 1921 (Item)

Hopes to be able to send red spiders.

J.C. Moulton (Raffles Museum, Singapore) to Superintendent (Government Museum, Madras), 23 August 1920 (Item)

Re spider caught by Captain Turner of South Staffordshire Regiment. (Filed with letters from Gravely).

Gerald Hill (Australian Institute Tropical Medicine, Townsville), 29 August 1921 (Item)

Will send specimens from Northern Territory.

J.C. Moulton (Raffles Museum and Library, Singapore), 25 January 1921 - 13 May 1921 (Item)

Re millipede from Kelantan used by Malays to make poisons (4 letters).

Correspondence, 15 March 1922 - 29 December 1923 (File 255/9)

3 items

Filmed selectively.

S. Butler (St Kilda): requesting name of specialist on Australian spiders, 1923-05-19 (received) (Item)
H. Laurence (Melbourne): re his work on Demodex, 29 December 1923 (Item)
C.H. Tripp (Timaru): re spiders from a bee's nest, 15 March 1922 (Item)

Correspondence, 18 March 1924 - 29 September 1925 (File 255/10)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

H.C. Abraham (Topo Survey Office, Perak), 18 April 1925; 5 May 1925; 29 September 1925 (Item)

Sending plant mites and other parasites.

Gilbert Archy (Christchurch): acknowledging receipt of Chilopoda (2 letters), 18 March 1924 (Item)
Charles Chilton (Christchurch), 10 May 1924; 11 June 1924 (Item)

Re collection of NZ spiders sent to late H.R. Hogg.

L. Glauert (Perth): re Australian scorpions, 17 February 1925; 18 May 1925 (Item)
R. Speight (Christchurch): re spiders from sub-antarctic islands sent to Mr Hogg, 8 May 1924 (Item)

Correspondence, 31 January 1926 - 22 September 1927 (File 255/11)

19 items

Filmed selectively.

H.C. Abraham (Perak): introducing Captain Sworder, sending parasites, 31 January 1926 (Item)
A.H. Baldwin (Townsville): re mites from a flying fox, 15 October 1926 (Item)
P.A. Buxton (London): re scorpions from Samoa and New Hebrides. (7 letters), 29 June 1926 - 9 December 1926 (Item)
G. Dennes (Townsville): re mites, 18 August 1926 (Item)
Cedric Dover (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur), 15 May 1926 - 20 December 1926 (Item)

Re his work on pitcher-plants, mites from bat guano from Batu caves, visits to Batu caves (6 letters).

R. Hamlyn-Harris (Brisbane): re mites entering houses on birds, 7 December 1926 (Item)
[Acknowledgement] from British Museum (Natural History), 21 January 1927 (Item)
F.G. Holdaway (Adelaide Uni): re mites taken from pinetrees. (4 letters), 18 February 1926 - 8 September 1926 (Item)
C. Boden Kloss (Singapore): re collection from Mentawi Islands, Sumatra, 15 May 1926; 10 September 1926 (Item)
H.M. Pendlebury (Kuala Lumpur): re pseudoscorpions found in nest of Bremus, 8 July 1926 (Item)
Frank H. Taylor (Townsville): sending mites, 23 November 1926; 8 December 1926 (Item)
Cedric Dover (Kuala Lumpur): re material from Batu caves, 19 July 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From loose material at front of file.

Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine (Townsville): sending spiders, 27 June 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From loose material at front of file.

British Museum (Natural History) to F.C. Backhouse (Rabaul): identifying specimens, 22 September 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

F.C. Backhouse (Rabaul): sending acarines, 4 July 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

A.H. Baldwin (Townsville): sending mites from grocers stores where there was typhus, 9 March 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

L. Glauert (Perth): sending new species of millipede, 27 May 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

British Museum (Natural History): memo re Rodway, 7 June 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

F.A. Rodway (Nowra): sending spiders from a wasp's nest, 5 June 1927 (Item)

Archival History

From arranged material.

Correspondence, 19 March 1927 - 2 October 1928 (File 255/12)

9 items

Filmed selectively.

Gilbert Archey (Auckland): re identification of centipedes, 30 August 1928 (Item)
Gerald F. Hill (East Melbourne): re mites infesting gelatine industry, 2 October 1928 (Item)
G. Dennes (Townsville): sending mites collected from his legs while near Gordon's Creek, 10 October 1927 (Item)
To Dennes: re Larval ticks, 2 March 1928; 19 March 1927 (Item)
R. Hamlyn-Harris (Department of Health, Brisbane City Council), 25 January 1928; 21 April 1928; 31 May 1928 (Item)

Re mites from mosquito.

Anthony Musgrave (Sydney): requesting publication, 18 June 1928 (Item)
British Museum (Natural History) [acknowledgement], 8 August 1928 (Item)
Prof. G.H.F. Nuttall (Cambridge): identifying mites sent by Dennes. (5 letters), 2 March 1928 - 19 March 1928 (Item)
C.E. Pemberton (Honolulu): re sugarcane rust mite, 27 December 1927; 1 February 1928; 5 March 1928 (Item)

Correspondence, 18 January 1927 - 9 September 1929 (File 255/13)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

R.J. Tillyard (Canberra): re the evolution of insects, 12 May 1929 (Item)

Copy of part letter.

G. Dennes (Townsville): sending ticks and other parasites, 30 August 1929 (Item)
Dr F.C. Backhouse (London): re ticks from New Guinea. (9p), 21 February 1929 - 14 March 1929 (Item)
H.C. Abraham (Perak): sending spiders, 11 August 1929 (Item)
Frank H. Taylor (Townsville), 18 January 1927 - 9 September 1929 (Item)

Re new species of 'Scrub itch-mite' and its importance as a possible vector of Mossman Fever. (8 letters).

Correspondence, 27 May 1930 - 18 September 1930 (File 255/14)

2 items

Filmed selectively.

R.E.R. Grimmett (Wellington): re his work on New Zealand opilionids, 13 July 1930; 18 September 1930 (Item)
Gilbert Archey (Auckland): re New Zealand Chilopoda, 27 May 1930 (Item)

Correspondence, 5 March 1931 - 10 December 1931 (File 255/15)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

V.V. Hickman (Launceston): re Tasmanian spiders, 29 May 1931; 23 July 1931 (Item)
L. Glauert (Perth): re species of Polyxenidae and their habitat, 9 March 1931; 11 April 1931; 28 May 1931 (Item)
C. Anderson and Susan Finnegan (Sydney): re spiders of Great Barrier Reef, 12 August 1931; 26 October 1931; 10 December 1931 (Item)
Gilbert Archey (Auckland): re specimens of centipede lost in post. (5 letters), 7 May 1931 - 19 November 1931 (Item)
C.S.M. Hopkirk (Wellington): re mite used in apiary, 5 March 1931 (Item)

Correspondence, 26 January 1932 - 8 November 1932 (File 255/16)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

F.N. Chasen (Singapore): sending mites from Mt Kinabalu, 30 June 1932; 5 August 1932; 3 September 1932; 4 October 1932 (Item)
F.A. Rodway (Nowra): sending specimens from Comerong Island, 20 September 1932; 8 November 1932 (Item)
G.M. Heydon (Sydney): re porocephalids found in wild rabbit, 18 August 1932; 3 October 1932 (Item)
British Museum (Natural History) Note, 9 April 1932; 12 April 1932 (Item)

Note of a letter from Bishop Gilbert White of Epping with observations on South Australian spider. (Letter lacking).

R.A. Lever (Tulagi): re collecting in British Solomon Islands, 26 January 1932; 13 September 1932 (Item)

Correspondence, 20 April 1934 - 17 November 1934 (File 255/18)

6 items

Filmed selectively.

Gilbert Archey (Auckland): re identification of centipedes, encloses drawings, 14 November 1934 (Item)
B.A.R. Gater (Singapore): re larval trombidiids, 13 June 1934; 25 October 1934; 17 November 1934 (Item)
R.A. Lever (Tulagi): re mites from B.S.I, 28 June 1934; 20 April 1934; 28 August 1934; 21 July 1934 (Item)
N.C.E. Miller (Kuala Lumpur): sending ticks from a tapir, 18 July 1934 (Item)
South Australian Museum (Adelaide), 3 May 1934; 11 June 1934; 2 May 1934 (Item)

Re specimen of Australian Polyxenid Symxenus novahollandiae. Silv. 1923.

Dr Morris M. Wall (Dunedin): re his work on ticks, 3 July 1934; 15 July 1934 (Item)

Correspondence, 12 October 1934 - 2 December 1935 (File 255/19)

7 items

Filmed selectively.

Gilbert Archey (Auckland): re type specimen of New Zealand Centipedes, 5 February 1935; 20 August 1935 (Item)
F. Cam Backhouse (Rabaul): sending rats ticks and mites from New Guinea, 16 January 1935 (Item)
E.H. Bryan and Herbert Gregory (Honolulu), 4 June 1935 - 15 October 1935 (Item)

Re scorpions from the Pacific collected by Mangarevan expedition in 1934. (19p).

Herbert Hale (Adelaide): sending spider, 11 November 1935 (Item)
R.A. Lever (Tulagi), 12 October 1934 - 2 December 1935 (Item)

That he has started an ecological survey of the island; hopes to collect more specimens from inland areas; sending specimens.

H. Wormsley (Adelaide): sending papers on Australian and New Zealand acarina, 29 January 1935; 29 October 1935 (Item)
British Museum (Natural History) [acknowledgement], 6 March 1935 (Item)

Correspondence, 22 April 1936 - 9 December 1936 (File 255/20)

3 items

Filmed selectively.

John R. Baker (Oxford), 12 June 1936 - 18 June 1936 (Item)

Re specimens of Pedipalp and Phalangid collected in New Hebrides by Oxford University Expedition. (5 Letters)

R.A. Lever (Tulagi): re his work on fauna of the island, 22 April 1936; 17 June 1936; 22 June 1936 (Item)
British Museum (Natural History) to Surgeon Lieutenant P.D.D. de Labilliere (HMS Leith, New Hebrides), 9 December 1936 (Item)

Re specimens sent.

Correspondence, 1937-01-06; 1937-04-10 (File 255/21)

1 item

Filmed selectively.

M.C. Mutus (Batavia): re spiders found in nose of a Chinese man, 6 January 1937; 10 April 1937 (Item)

Correspondence, 23 December 1937 - 8 December 1938 (File 255/22)

5 items

Filmed selectively.

R.A. Lever (Suva), 22 February 1938; 1 April 1938; 12 May 1938 (Item)

That his spiders from Solomon Islands to be described by Dr Berland of Paris.

B.J. Marples (Dunedin): re his work on Katipo spiders, 4 May 1938; 20 June 1938; 8 December 1938 (Item)
Gilbert Archey (Auckland), 19 May 1938; 27 June 1938 (Item)

Re spiders caught by soldiers during exercise at Wanganui.

W.B. Gurney (Sydney): re identification of ticks, 14 October 1938; 1 December 1938 (Item)
H. Womersley (Adelaide): re specimen of Latrodectes hasselti, 23 December 1937; 25 January 1938 (Item)

Correspondence, 14 December 1938 - 8 May 1940 (File 255/23)

6 items

Filmed selectively.

Carl E.M. Gunther (Bulolo), 31 January 1940; 8 February 1940; 8 May 1940 (Item)

Re his work on larval Trombidiid mites and their relation to endemic typhus.

Arthur W. Parrott (Christchurch): re his work on New Zealand opiliones, 26 November 1939; 8 March 1940 (Item)
V.V. Hickman (Hobart): sending spiders, 6 May 1939; 6 June 1939 (Item)
Allan Barrie (Selangor): re spiders from Batu Caves. (5p), 21 April 1939 - 23 June 1939 (Item)
A.O. Watkins (Guernsey), 1 September 1939 - 25 October 1939 (Item)

Re 'nest' of spider in Western Australia weighted down by lead shot. Includes: 21 June 1928 Watkins (Perth) to Prof. Nicholl (University of Western Australia) describing the nests and the habitat of the spiders. (5p).

B.J. Marples (Dunedin): sending Katipo spiders, 14 December 1938; 14 February 1939 (Item)