Guide to the Papers of Thomas Henry Huxley (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2018

Collection Summary

Huxley, Thomas Henry
Papers of Thomas Henry Huxley (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1827 - 1908
Collection Number
177 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

General and scientific correspondence (ca. 4500 letters), the 850 correspondents including John Tyndall, Sir Joseph Hooker, Michael Foster, Charles Darwin, Sir Charles Lyell, Alexander Agassiz, Rev. Benjamin Jowett and Herbert Spencer (arranged in alphabetical order); nearly all the letters exchanged between T.H. Huxley and his wife from 1847-1895; letters written to Mrs Huxley and to his son, Dr Leonard Huxley; notes, drawings and photographs used in the preparation of scientific papers and lectures; diaries and sketchbooks kept on the voyage of Rattlesnake; manuscripts of a number of his books and contributions to journals; engagement diaries; newspaper cuttings and other printed material.

Conditions Governing Access

Available for Access.

Conditions Governing Use

Readers wishing to publish or reproduce documents should seek permission, in the first instance, from the Imperial College London. For more information visit: College Archives, Imperial College London [].

Preferred Citation

Acknowledgement of use of this material should refer to the Imperial College of Science and Technology 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: HMS Rattlesnake Notebook, 1846-1850, Imperial College of Science and Technology (AJCP ref:

Archival History

Filmed as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1972 (AJCP Reel: M876-M916). Original microfilm digitised as part of the NLA AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

The Imperial College of Science and Technology holds three collections of papers of Thomas Huxley, each of which was filmed in its entirety.

In 1937 the College purchased from Rosalind Huxley, the widow of Leonard Huxley, a large collection of correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, diaries, drawings and photographs of Thomas Huxley. They were arranged and catalogued by Warren R. Dawson in 1945-46.

In 1961 Rosalind Huxley presented to the College the family correspondence of Huxley. They comprised nearly all the correspondence between Huxley and his wife Henrietta from 1847 to 1895, Henrietta's correspondence with her sister-in-law Mrs Scott, and letters from Huxley's mother and brothers. The 1847-54 correspondence of Huxley and his future wife were microfilmed and are described it this finding aid.

Huxley was closely associated with the Royal School of Mines from 1854 until his death and with the Normal School of Science (later the Royal College of Science) from its formation in 1881 until his death. Both institutions were located at South Kensington. Together with the City and Guilds Central Technical College, they merged in 1907 to form the Imperial College of Science and Technology, affiliated with London University. Huxley donated many of his scientific papers to the Royal College of Science in 1890 and further papers were received from his wife after his death. For many years they were held in the library of the Zoology Department, located in the Huxley Building, but were transferred to the College Archives in 1961.

When the Australian Joint Copying Project approached the College Archives, it found that most of the Huxley Papers had been already microfilmed. Rather than re-film those papers relating specifically to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, it was decided to incorporate a complete set of the film into the AJCP. As the papers are fully described in three publications, this finding aid is focussed largely on the voyage of HMS Rattlesnake and other letters, manuscripts and drawings which refer to the Australian-Pacific region.

Existence and Location of Originals

Imperial College London, formerly Imperial College of Science and Technology, College Archives, London.

For more information see Thomas Henry Huxley at Imperial College London (

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 Note

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 in 2018. 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.


Agassiz, Alexander; Biologist; Darwin, Charles; Royal Navy: exploration and surveys; Foster, Michael; Great Barrier Reef; Hooker, Sir Joseph D.; Huxley, Henrietta A.; Huxley, Sir Leonard; Huxley, Thomas H.; Jowett, Benjamin, Rev.; Louisiade Archipelago; Lyell, Sir Charles; Palaeontologist; Paintings, drawings, and prints; Papua New Guinea; Photographs; Rattlesnake, HMS (ship); Surgeons: Royal Navy ships; Surgeons; Royal School of Mines, London; Spencer, Herbert; Torres Strait; Tyndall, John; Royal Navy: voyages; Zoologists; Zoology

Advisory Statement

Australian Aboriginal 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.


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 244, p. 91

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) was born in London, the son of a schoolteacher. He was educated briefly at Ealing School, before the family moved to Coventry in 1835. In 1841 he enrolled in an anatomy school in London and in 1842 he gained a scholarship to Charing Cross Hospital. He studied medicine at London University, and won a gold medal for anatomy and physiology, but did not have the means to complete the course. In 1845 he joined the Royal Navy, in order to repay debts, and worked at the Haslar Naval Hospital at Gosport.

In 1846 Huxley was recruited by Captain Owen Stanley to be the assistant surgeon on the surveying voyage of HMS Rattlesnake. The expedition spent three years exploring the inner passage of the Great Barrier Reef, the southern coast of New Guinea, and some of the southern coasts of Australia. Throughout the voyage he pursued his scientific studies, investigating pelagic jellyfish, sea nettles, sea anemones and other marine animals. In Sydney he discussed his ideas with the naturalist William Sharp Macleay. It was also in Sydney that he met Henrietta Heathorn. They became engaged almost immediately, but did not marry until 1855.

In 1850 Huxley returned to London and was soon acquainted with leading scientists such as Sir Charles Lyell and Richard Owen. He was made a fellow of the Royal Society in 1851 and received funds to write a book on oceanic hydroza. He failed, however, to gain a chair at Sydney University and other universities. He left the Navy in 1854, became a lecturer in natural sciences and palaeontology at the School of Mines in London, gave lectures at the London Institution, and wrote articles and reviews for the Westminster Review and other journals. He became deeply interested in evolution, corresponded frequently with Charles Darwin, and after the publication of The origin of species in 1859 became the foremost publicist of evolution and its social and religious implications. Huxley was made Hunterian professor at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1862, held the Fullerian chair at the Royal Institution (1866-69), and in 1868 became the principal of a working men's college in south London. Huxley remained professor of natural history at the Royal School of Mines at South Kensington until 1881 and was then was appointed dean and professor of biology at the Normal School of Science. He was president of the Royal Society in 1883-85. A committed agnostic and rationalist, he remained a controversial figure and one of Britain's greatest public intellectuals until the end of his life.

Item Descriptions

Series 1. The Huxley Papers, 1827 - 1925

52 items

Where a correspondence extends beyond 1895, it can be assumed that the recipient of the later letters was Henrietta Huxley (who died in 1915).

Related Materials

For a detailed description of the papers see Warren R. Dawson, comp. The Huxley Papers: a descriptive catalogue of the correspondence, manuscripts and miscellaneous papers of the Rt. Hon. Thomas Henry Huxley, P.C., D.C.L., F.R.S., preserved in the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, Macmillan, 1946 (


Originally filmed on AJCP reels M876-M895.

Subseries Section I. Scientific and General Correspondence, 1849 - 1908

30 items

Archival History

Recorded as Series 1 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 1: Correspondence with John Tyndall, 1851 - 1894 (File ff.1-219)
Volume 2: Correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker, 1854 - 1895 (File ff.1-462)

Items of interest include:

f.196 Huxley to Joseph Hooker, 17 Nov. [1855]: distress of Mrs MacGillivray, widow of John MacGillivray; Huxley is trying to obtain for her a passage to Australia.

Volume 3: Correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker, 1854 - 1896 (File ff.1-429)

Items of interest include:f.320 Sir William Hooker to Huxley, 28 September 1893: Huxley's autobiography and other essays; Hooker has made a transcript of Joseph Banks' journal on the Endeavour.

f.406 Sir William Hooker to Huxley, 10 July 1893: Hooker has written for Nature article on Admiral Wharton's edition of Captain Cook's journal; Hooker is about to edit Sir Joseph Banks' journal.

Volume 4: Correspondence with Sir Michael Foster, 1865 - 1902 (File ff.151-394)
Volume 5: Correspondence with Charles Darwin, 1851 - 1882 (File ff.1-376)
Volume 6: Correspondence with Sir Charles Lyell, 1853 - 1869 (File ff.1-142)
Volume 7: Correspondence with Herbert Spencer, 1852 - 1900 (File ff.94-240)
Volume 8: Correspondence, c.1856-1893 (File)

Items of interest include:ff.288-455 Typescript copies of correspondence between Sir Joseph Hooker and John Tyndall, 1856-1893.

Volume 9: Correspondence with John Tyndall, 1851 - 1893 (File ff.1-190)

Items of interest include:f.1 Huxley to John Tyndall, 4 December 1851: Toronto chair; would prefer chair at Sydney University.

Volume 10: Correspondence A-B, c. 1869-1888 (File)

Items of interest include:f.12 R.D. Adams (Sydney) to Huxley, 1 August 1888: sends notes of scientific investigation.

f.14 R.D. Adams to Huxley, 16 April 1888: notes were also sent to Cambridge.

f.272 J. Wood Beilby (Beechworth, Victoria) to Huxley, 18 February 1884: sends pamphlet Eureka as a new interpretation of certain scientific phenomena.

f.296 Pierre van Beneden (Louvain) to Huxley, 26 May 1869: inquires about cetacean bones from New Zealand.

Volume 11: Correspondence B, c.1870-1894 (File)

Items of interest includes:f.31 James Bonwick to Huxley [3 March 1870]: promise of Huxley to have Bonwick's book The last of the Tasmanians reviewed in Nature or The Academy.

f.32 Huxley to James Bonwick, 3 March 1870: denies he made such a promise. (draft)

f.33 James Bonwick to Huxley, 5 March 1870: Huxley's letter is the last ounce for the camel's back

f.34 Huxley to James Bonwick [6 March 1870]: wishes success to book, but surprised that Bonwick has not withdrawn false statement. (draft)

f.35 James Bonwick to Huxley, [7 March 1870]: apology.

f.36 James Bonwick to Huxley, 8 March 1894: work as archivist for NSW Government; has produced a work on Irish history and religion.

Volume 12: Correspondence C (File ff.1-375)
Volume 13: Correspondence D, c.1867-1900 (File)

Items of interest includes:ff. 156-305 Correspondence with Anton Dohrn, 1867-1900.

Volume 14: Correspondence D, c.1870-1897 (File)

Includes:ff.1-201 Correspondence with Sir John Donnelly, 1870-1897.

Volume 15: Correspondence D-E (File)
Volume 16: Correspondence F, c.1847-1877 (File)

Items of interest include:f.120 William Flower to Huxley, 27 November 1877: publication by R. Owen of Researches on the fossil remains of the extinct animals of Australia without acknowledgment to the Royal Society.

f.154 Huxley (Sydney) to Edward Forbes, September 1847: paper on Physalia sent from Cape of Good Hope; subsequent observations. (draft)

Volume 17: Correspondence G-H, c.1850-1886 (File)

Items of interest includes:f.72 Huxley to John Goodsir, 20 January 1850: sends paper on Medusae with account of his work on HMS Rattlesnake (draft)

f.104 Charles Gould (Singapore) to Huxley, 19 July 1880: reminiscences of Huxley's former pupil; seeks information on fossil reptiles; crayfish of Tasmania.

f.109 James Gray (Sydney) to Huxley, 17 March 1856: death of his sister Mrs MacGillivray.

f.232 Horatio Hale (Clinton, Canada) to Huxley, 11 October 1886: his work on South Seas used by Huxley in combating J. Crawfurd's ethnological error.

Volume 18: Correspondence H, c.1851-1852 (File)

Items of interest includes:f.91 G.P. Heath (Sydney) to Huxley, 17 August 1851: news from an old shipmate on HMS Rattlesnake.

f.312 Richard House (Newcastle-on-Tyne) to Huxley, 2 February 1852: specimens of Eulima and method of collecting them in the South Seas.

Volume 19: Correspondence I-K, c.1850-1888 (File)

Items of interest include:f.9 George Inskip (Plymouth) to Huxley, 13 June 1881: HMS Rattlesnake shipmate sends photograph of a painting of the ship.

f.152 Philip G. King (Sydney) to Huxley, 8 February 1888: thanks for photograph; has read Life and letters of Charles Darwin and is glad to find his name mentioned; reminiscences.

f.154 Captain Philip P. King to Huxley, 30 April 1850: sends letters; J.L. Stokes.

f.152 Robert King (Parramatta) to Huxley, 8 July 1863: old HMS Rattlesnake shipmate; seeks a flint implement of the post-Pilocene man; C.Lyell's Antiquity of Man; reminiscences.

f.291 Johann Krefft (Sydney) to Huxley, 30 December 1872: sends photographs of Australian skulls.

Volume 20: Correspondence K, c.1871-1908 (File)

Items of interest includes:ff.1-208 Correspondence with Sir James Knowles, 1871-1908.

Volume 21: Correspondence L, c.1872-1907 (File)

Items of interest includes:ff.39-170 Correspondence with E. Ray Lankester, 1872-1907.

f.181 Huxley (Cape York) to Goode and Lawrence, Navy Agents, 12 October 1849: banking affairs (draft)

f.268 Huxley to Joseph Lockyer, 13 August 1875: sends a communication from N. Miklucho-Maclay to A. Dohrn about a zoological station in Malaya.

Volume 22: Correspondence L-M, c.1849-1893 (File)

Items of interest include correspondence with Archibald McClatchie, William S. Macleay, Walter Mantell, A. Patchett Martin and Nicholas von Miklucho-Maclay.

Volume 23: Correspondence M-O, c.1879 (File)

Items of interest includes:f.109 Sir Ferdinand von Mueller (Melbourne) to Huxley, 8 June 1879: asks Huxley to support candidature of Prof. F. McCoy at Royal Society.

Volume 24: Correspondence P-Q, c.1893-1896 (File)

Items of interest include:f.25 Thomas Parker (Dunedin) to Huxley, 30 October 1893: Sends anatomical papers; biography of his father William K. Parker FRS.

f.29 Thomas Parker to Henrietta Huxley, 8 July 1895: condolences on death of Huxley.

f.27 Thomas Parker to Henrietta Huxley, 23 May 1896: thanks for account of Huxley's last days and for gift of his compasses.

Volume 25: Correspondence R, c.1849 (File)

Items of interest includes:f.68 Huxley (Sydney) to Sir John Richardson, [1849]:Sends paper on Medusae for acceptance by the Royal Society. (draft)

Volume 26: Correspondence S, c.1851-1875 (File)

Items of interest include:f.235 Reverend Arthur Stanley to Huxley, 20 October 1875: requests references to accounts of survey of New Guinea by his brother Captain Owen Stanley.

f.253 Eliza Stanley to Huxley, 12 February [1851]: sends books which belonged to Captain Owen Stanley.

Volume 27: Correspondence S-T, c.1851-1880 (File)

Items of interest include:ff.293-318 Letters (8) from Charles Thomson written during HMS Challenger expedition, 1873-1875.

f.324 Sir Charles Thomson (Bonsyde) to Huxley, 14 January 1880: vacant professorship at Otago University.

f.328 John Thomson (Edinburgh) to Huxley, 11 July 1851: photography; news of HMS Rattlesnake shipmates.

f.332 William C. Thomson (Melbourne) to Huxley, 26 November 1873: sends manuscript on anatomy of a gorilla; hostility of Prof. G.B. Halford.

Volume 28: Correspondence T-W, c.1894 (File)

Items of interest include:f.32 Thomas Townend to Huxley, 1 August 1894: asks Huxley to contribute article to Melbourne Argus.

Volume 29: Correspondence W-Z, c.1860-1874 (File)

Items of interest include:f.31 Rudolph von Willemoes-Suhm (Cape York) to Huxley, 2 September 1874:would like to remain in England after voyage; new species found.

f.33 Rudolph von Willemoes-Suhm (Sydney) to Huxley, 5 June 1874: collections in Antartica life in Sydney, results of dredging in harbour.

ff.102-239 Correspondence with Edward P. Wright, 1860-1874.

Volume 30: Correspondence W-Z, c.1850-1873 (File)

Items of interest include correspondence with Admiralty, Col. Edward Sabine, W.S. Macleay, Duke of Northumberland, Sir Charles Lyell and Philip Sharpe.

Subseries Sections II-III. Supplementary Letters and Personal Papers, 1845 - 1849

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 2 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 31, 1848 - 1849 (File)


Account book and Rough Memoranda, Photographs of sketches

Letter from Huxley (Sydney) to his brother George Huxley, 1848-1849,describing incidents on voyage of HMS Rattlesnake.

Letter from Huxley (Sydney) to his mother Rachel Huxley, 1 Feb 1849, voyage of HMS Rattlesnake, describes settlement at Port Essington.

Subseries Section IV. Anthropology and Ethnology

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 4 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 33 (ff. 1-246) (File)

Subseries Section V. Biology, c.1848

5 items

Archival History

Recorded as Series 5 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 34, c.1848 (File)

Items of interest include:f.1 On the anatomy and physiology of Physalia, and its place in the system of animals, [1848].

f.38 Observations on the anatomy of Diphydae and the unity of organisation of the Diphydae and Physophoridae, [1848].

f.119 Description of Sphenia, a new genus of Diphydae, with a determination of the male organs of the Diphydae, March 1848.

f.127 On the anatomy and affinity of the family of the Medusae [1848]

Volumes 35-38 (File)
Volume 39 (File)
Volume 40 (File)

Items of interest include:f.132 List of scientific papers and drawings left on board HMS Challenger by the late R. Willemoes-Suhm.

f.249 W.C. Thomson. The Gorilla on its last legs: letter to the Melbourne Argus.

f.251 W.C. Thomson. On the anatomy of the foot of the gorilla.

Volume 41 (File)

Subseries Section VI. Education

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 6 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 42 (File)

Subseries Section VII. Fisheries

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 7 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 43 (File)

Subseries Section VIII. Geology and Palaeontology

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 8 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 44 (File)

Subseries Section IX. Philosophy and Ethics

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 9 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 45 (File)

Subseries Section X. Theology and Biblical criticism

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 10 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volumes 46-48 (File)

Subseries Section XI. Various Subjects

1 item

Archival History

Recorded as Series 11 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volume 49 (File)

Subseries Section XII. Notebooks and Diaries

3 items

Archival History

Recorded as Series 12 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Volumes 52-55, 57-59 (File)
Volume 62 (File)

Items of interest include:Commonplace book of Henrietta Huxley, including reminiscences of her first meeting with Huxley in Sydney in 1847.

Volume 68-70 (File)

Subseries Section XII. Drawings, 1827 - 1870

3 items

Archival History

Recorded as Series 13 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Sketchbook (File Vol.71)

Sketchbook containing about 50 original drawings and watercolours by Huxley and four lithographs from drawings of Huxley. The subjects are chiefly Australian landscapes and Indigenous Australians and Maoris. There are also sketches of the Kennedy Expedition (1848) and a painting of 'Holmwood', the home of Henrietta Heathorn. The lithographs, published in 1852 comprise (1) Funeral screen, Mount Ernest, Torres Strait (2) Hut on Brierly Island, Louisiade Archipelago (3) Village of Tassai, New Guinea (4) Catamaran and natives of Bremer Island.

Pocket sketchbooks containing watercolours made in Egypt, 1827 (File Vol.75-76)
Pocket book containing pen and pencil sketches, 1870 (File Vol.77)

Subseries Section XVI. Posthumous papers, 1895 - 1925

3 items

Archival History

Recorded as Series 16 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Newspaper cutting book containing obituaries and articles on Huxley, 1895 (File Vol.81)
Newspaper book containing articles about Huxley (File Vol.82)
Other articles, 1895 - 1925 (File Vol.83)

Includes newspaper articles about Huxley's life as well as papers regarding T.H. Huxley and General Booth.

Series 2. Correspondence with Henrietta Heathorn, 1847 - 1854

The correspondence between Huxley and Heathorn dates from October 1847 to November 1854 and comprises 289 letters. In addition, there is a copy of Huxley's diary on HMS Rattlesnake, April – October 1850 (item 128). 127 of the letters were written in 1847-50. In this period Huxley mostly wrote to Heathorn while he was at sea or visiting such places as Moreton Bay, Rockingham Bay, Trinity Bay, Cape York, Port Phillip, the Bay of Islands and the Falkland Islands. A few were written when he was staying in Sydney. Most of his post-Rattlesnake letters were written from London. Heathorn wrote from her home, 'Holmwood', in Newtown, Sydney, except in 1850-53, when she was living in Bathurst.

Huxley's 1847-50 letters refer to shipboard life, the cruises of HMS Rattlesnake in northern waters, his relations with the surgeon John Thomson, the exploring expedition of Edmund Kennedy (1848), his love for Henrietta, Huxley's character, the inadequacies of his education, his views on religion, novels and other books, his departure from Australia, and the return voyage to England via the Bay of Islands in New Zealand and the Falkland Islands. His 1850-54 letters deal with his arrival in England, meetings with William Fanning and other members of Heathorn's family, the problems of his own family, the death of his mother (1852), news of Rattlesnake friends, his election as a fellow of the Royal Society, meetings with Sir Roderick Murchison, Colonel Edward Sabine, Sir John Richardson and other scientists, his efforts to obtain a grant and an academic appointment, lectures at the Royal Institution, meetings of the British Association, the possibility of returning to Australia, and his appointment to posts at the Museum of Economic Geology and the School of Mines (1854). There are no letters dating from 1853.

Heathorn's letters refer to her love for Huxley, her daily routines and reading, family anecdotes, social events, news of revolutions in Europe (1848), her move to Bathurst (1850), the gold rushes, her fear of ticket of leave men, her father's business affairs, her return to Sydney, the dearth of servants, difficulties arising from her long separation from Huxley, a visit from the artist Thomas Woolner (1854), her father's intention of returning to England, and the plans for sailing.

Archival History

Recorded as Series 22 in Imperial College London finding-aid. Originally filmed on AJCP reel M896.

Related Materials

For a detailed description of the correspondence see Jeanne Pingree, comp. Thomas Henry Huxley: list of his correspondence with Miss Henrietta Anne Heathorn, later Mrs Huxley, 1847-1854, London, Imperial College of Science and Technology, 1969 (

Biographical / Historical

A few weeks after his arrival in Sydney in July 1847, Huxley met Henrietta (Nettie) Heathorn at the home of the merchant William Fanning, who was married to her stepsister. She had emigrated to the colony in 1843. After a few meetings, they became engaged, but they did not marry until Henrietta and her family returned to England in 1855.

Series 3. Scientific Papers, 1840 - 1894

124 items

Recorded as Series 17-19, 21 in Imperial College London finding-aid.

Related Materials

For a detailed description of the collection see Jeanne Pingree, comp. Thomas Henry Huxley: a list of his scientific notebooks, drawings and other papers, preserved in the College Archives, London, Imperial College of Science and Technology, 1968 (


Originally filmed on AJCP reels M897-M916.

Subseries. Voyage of HMS Rattlesnake, diaries and sketchbooks, 1846 - 1850

1 item
HMS Rattlesnake Notebook, 1846 - 1850 (File)

Originally comprising bound notebooks and drawing books which were rebound into one volume. The AJCP filmed these documents as one volume.

Includes observations, sketches and notes on specimens of Hydrozoa, Mollusca and Crustacea. Some of these drawings were reproduced in Huxley's The Oceanic Hydrozoa, published by the Ray Society in 1858.

Subseries. Scientific notebooks, papers and correspondence, 1st Series, 1855 - 1885

16 items
Botanical, 1870 - 1882 (File Vol. 1)
Invertebrata (File Vol. 2)
Invertebrata, 1855 - 1885 (File Vol. 3)
Crustacea, 1878 - 1881 (File Vol. 4)
Vertebrata, 1874 - 1878 (File Vol. 5)
Marsipobranchii and Pisces, 1858 - 1862 (File Vol. 6)
Teleostei, 1882 - 1884 (File Vol. 7)
Amphibia, 1858 (File Vol. 8)
Reptilia and Aves (File Vol. 9)
Mammalia, 1879 (File Vol. 10)
Rodentia, Hyrax, Sirenia and Proboscidea (File Vol. 11)

Includes notes on the dugong and a sketch of the heart of a dugong

Carnivora, chiefly Canidae, 1856 - 1880 (File Vol. 12)
Carnivora and Cetacea with Zeuglodon, 1857 - 1880 (File Vol. 13)
Primates, 1859 - 1864 (File Vol. 14)
Volume 15: Notes and Correspondence: Anthropology, 1866 - 1872 (File Vol. 15)

Items of interest includes:f.113 Lord Canterbury (Melbourne) to Lord Granville, 20 May 1870: difficulties of obtaining photographs of Australian Aboriginals for Huxley. (Copy)

f.116 Prof. Frederick McCoy (Melbourne) to Chief Secretary, 16 April 1870: expenses and difficulties of obtaining photographs of Aboriginals. (copy)

f.117 Robert Brough Smyth (Melbourne) to Chief Secretary, 17 May 1870: difficulties of photographing naked Aboriginals: his own forthcoming book on Aboriginals. (Copy)

f.124 Robert Meade (Colonial Office) to Huxley, 27 June 1871: sends despatch from Governor of the Falkland Islands; last of the Tasmanian Aboriginals.

Volume 16: Notes and Correspondence: Anthropology, 1864 - 1875 (File Vol. 16)

Items of interest include:

f.1 Notes on the ethnology of Australasia, New Caledonians etc.

f.86 Sir James Fergusson (Adelaide) to Lord Granville, 30 March 1870: sends photographs of Aboriginals. (copy)

f.118 Sir Frederic Rogers (Colonial Office) to Huxley, 27 May 1870: sends copies of despatches from Australia and Gibraltar.

f.143 C.d'Oyly Alpin (Melbourne) to Huxley, 16 December 1864: details of Aboriginal skulls he has sent to Huxley.

f.145 Gerard Krefft (Sydney) to Huxley, 24 September 1866: information about skulls in the Australian Museum.

f.175 William Turner. Notes on an Australian male pelvis.

f.181 William B. Clarke (Sydney) to Huxley, 6 May 1864: sends photographs of a skull found near Bondi beach; details of an excavation; news of old friends.

Subseries. Scientific notebooks, papers and correspondence, 2nd Series, 1840 - 10 October 1894

99 items
Mycological (File Vol.1)
Bacteria (File Vol.2)
Yeast (File Vol.3)
Penicillium, 1874 - 1875 (File Vol.4-5)
Infusoria, 1874 (File Vol.6)
Hirudinea, 1877 (File Vol.7)
Crustacea, 1879 - 1880 (File Vol.8-9)
Molluscan development (File Vol.10)
Lamellibranchiata, 1847 - 1882 (File Vol.11)
Polyplacophora (File Vol.12)
Gasteropoda, 1876 (File Vol.13)
Aplysia (File Vol.14)
Cephalopoda, 1880 (File Vol.15)
Amphioxus, 1875 (File Vol.16)
Marsipobranchii, 1876 (File Vol.17)
Petromyzon, 1876 (File Vol.18)
Raia (File Vol.19)
Ganoidei (File Vol.20)
Sturiones (File Vol.21)
Teleostei, 1883 - 1884 (File Vol.23-24)
Salmonidae, 1880 - 1883 (File Vol.25-26)
Physiostomi (File Vol.27)
Clupeidae, 1881 (File Vol.28-29)
Cyprinidae (File Vol.30)
Lectures, 1872 - 1873 (File Vol.31)
Amphibia (File Vol.32)
Labyrinthodontia, 1865 - 1867 (File Vol.33)
Lectures, 1872 - 1873 (File Vol.34)
Lectures, 1872 - 1873 (File Vol.35)
Sauropsida (File Vol.36)
Chelonia (File Vol.37)
Ophidia (File Vol.38)
Lacerta, Crocodilia, Ratitae (File Vol.39)
Aves (File Vol.40-43)
Mammalia (File Vol.44-45)
Mammalia, especially Monotremata (File Vol.46)

Includes observations on an Australian specimen of Echidna [1880]

Insectivora (File Vol.47)
Rodentia (File Vol.48-50)
Lepus (File Vol.51-52)
Mammalia, 1875 (File Vol.53-54)
Canidae, 1880 (File Vol.56)
Saprolegnia, 1882 (File Vol.57)
Lectures, 1862 - 1866 (File Vol.58)
Lectures, 1866 - 1868 (File Vol.59)
Fullerian Lectures, 1866 - 1867 (File Vol.60)
Lectures, 1866 - 1876 (File Vol.61)
Lectures, 1869 (File Vol.62)
Lectures, 1869 - 1870 (File Vol.63)
London Institution lectures, 1869 (File Vol.64-65)
Lectures, 1869 (File Vol.66)
Lectures, 1871 (File Vol.67)
London Institution lectures, 1872 (File Vol.68)
Lectures, 1872 - 1878 (File Vol.69)
Edinburgh lectures, 1875 (File Vol.70)
Lectures, 1877 - 1878 (File Vol.71)
Lectures, 1878 - 1879 (File Vol.72)
Lectures, 1879 (File Vol.73)
Lectures, 1880 - 1881 (File Vol.74)
Lectures, Sauropsida, 1881 - 1882 (File Vol.75)
Lectures, summer course, 1882 (File Vol.76)
Lectures, physiology, 1882 (File Vol.77)
Lectures, 1882 - 1883 (File Vol.78)
Lectures, mainly Lepus, 1883 - 1886 (File Vol.79)
Lectures, 1885 (File Vol.80)
Lectures, Fungi (File Vol.81)
Lectures, Species and races, 1860 - 1863 (File Vol.82)
Various papers (File Vol.83)
Some unsolved problems in geology (File Vol.84)
Geography and geology (File Vol.85)
Fossil fishes (File Vol.86-88)
Labyrinthodontia (File Vol.89)
Crocodilia (File Vol.90-91)
Fossil Crocodilia (File Vol.92)
Dinosauria (File Vol.93)
Pterodactylia (File Vol.94)
Plesiosauria (File Vol.95)
Dicynodontia (File Vol.96)
Glyptodon (File Vol.97)
Cetacea (File Vol.98)
Ceratochelys Sthenurus (File Vol.99)
Fossil mammals (File Vol.100)
Notes on Italian prehistory (File Vol.101)
Ethnology (File Vol.102-103)
Anthropometry (File Vol.104-105)
Origins of biology (File Vol.106)
Drawings of plants (File Vol.107)
Gentiana (File Vol.108-113)
Coniferae (File Vol.114)
Pinus and Larix (File Vol.115)
Deep sea soundings (File Vol.116-117)
Primates (File Vol.118-120)
Correspondence (File Vol.121)

Includes a letter to Austin N. Cooper (Tamworth, NSW), 10 October 1894 enclosing a photograph of the skull of an Australian Aboriginal individual.

Miscellaneous papers (File Vol.122)
Notebook, 1840 (File Vol.123)
Notebook, 1847 (File Vol.124)
Notebook, 1856 (File Vol.125)
Notebook, 1867 (File Vol.126)
Drawing book (File Vol.127)
Notebook, 1884 (File Vol.128)

Subseries. Drawings and photographs, March 1847 - 1870

8 items
Protozoa and Botany (File Box A)
Coelenterata, Brachiostomata, Echinodermata, Mollusca, c.1847-1849 (File Box B)

Items of interest include:f.28.2 Oliva, 23 April 1848

f.29.1 Patella, 25 March 1847

ff.30.1-30.3 Pteroceras, [August 1848]

f.31.2 Sigaretus, 24 August 1848

f.39.1 Helix from Port Molle [1847?]

f.43.2 Ochidium, 5 July 1848

ff.46.1-46.2 Aplysia, July 1848

f.53 Bulloea, 18 February 1848

ff.56-57 Nudibranchiata, 28 July 1848

ff.58-63 Pteropoda, 1848-1849

f.113.1 Pinna, 26 November 1847

Vermes and Arthropoda with Peripatus (File Box C)
Pisces with Tunicata and Amphioxus (File Box D)
Amphibia, Reptilia, Aves (File Box E)
Mammalia (File Box F)
Anthropological photographs (File Box G)

Items of interest:ff.32-71 Includes Pelew and Caroline Islands.

Anthropological photographs, 1864 - 1870 (File Box H)

Items of interest include:ff.91-101 C.A. Woolley. Australian Aboriginals, August 1866.

ff.102-106 West Australians, 1870. (9 Photographs)

ff.107-115 South Australians, 1870. (32 Photographs)

ff.116-124 Maoris. (49 Photographs)

ff.140-142 The 'Bondi Skull,' 1864. (5 Photographs).