Guide to the Papers of Albert Gunther (as filmed by the AJCP)



National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record

Created: 2019

Collection Summary

Gunther, Albert Charles Lewis Gotthilf, 1830-1914
Papers of Albert Gunther (as filmed by the AJCP)
Date Range
1861 - 1911
Collection Number
52 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 with other zoologists and collectors concerning reptiles, birds, fishes and other specimens in Australia and the Pacific. Correspondents include Sir Walter Buller, Sir Philip Egerton, F.W. Hutton, Sir Daniel Cooper, C.M. Woodford, J. von Haast and Gerard Krefft.

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 Natural History Museum, London, as part of the Australian Joint Copying Project, 1987 (AJCP Reels: M2123). Original microfilm digitised as part of the AJCP Online Delivery Project, 2017-2020.

Existence and Location of Originals

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London.For further information see Arthur Gunther 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.


Australia; Australia: flora and fauna; Birds; Buller, Sir Walter; Cooper, Sir Daniel; Egerton, Sir Philip; Fish and fisheries; Gunther, Albert; Hutton, Frederick W.; Krefft, Johann G.; Pacific Islands; Pacific Islands: flora and fauna; Reptiles; Von Haast, Sir Julius; Woodford, Charles M.; Zoologists


Originally cited in Australian Joint Copying Project Handbook. Part 8: Miscellaneous (M) Series. Third Edition, published 1998. Entry 201, p76. []

Biographical / Historical

Albert Charles Lewis Gotthilf Gunther (1830-1914), zoologist. Born in Wurtemberg, educated at Universities of Tubingen, Berlin and Bonn. Joined staff of British Museum in 1862. Keeper of Zoological Department, British Museum, 1875-1895. President of Linnean Society 1898-1901, Vice-President of Royal Society 1875-1876. Publications include Geographical distribution of reptiles (1858), Introduction to study of fishes (1880), Catalogue of fishes in British Museum (1859-70).

Item Descriptions

Series Series 2. Letters, mainly scientific, April 1895 - 31 October 1905

10 items

Subseries Box 1. Correspondence, 6 January 1898 - 10 January 1898

3 items

Filmed selectively.

W. B. Benham (Oxford) to Gunther, 6 January 1898 (File 1/27)

Seeks support for application for Chair of Biology at Otago University.

Reference for W. B. Benham (draft) (File 1/28)
W. B. Benham to Gunther, [1898]-01-10 (File 1/29)

Thanks for reference.

Subseries Box 4. Correspondence, 29 June 1903

1 item

Filmed selectively.

W. S. Ladell to Gunther, 29 June 1903 (File 2/4/69)

Heads and skins of green fish sent from Fanning Island by Captain. Leach.

Subseries Box 5. Correspondence, 30 October 1905 - 31 October 1905

2 items

Filmed selectively.

R. Harrison (Royal Society) to Gunther, 30 October 1905 (File 2/5/122)

Seeks opinion on application of Prof. Haswell for grant for dredging in Tasman Sea.

Gunther to R. Harrison, 31 October 1905 (File 2/5/123)

Supports application of Haswell; Royal Society support might induce State Government to give additional assistance (draft) [Filed under Royal Society.]

Subseries Box 6. Correspondence, April 1895 - 15 May 1899

4 items

Filmed selectively.

H. A. Wickham (Samarai, New Guinea) to Gunther, April 1895 (File 2/6/60)

Search for sponges in Conflict Group in New Guinea; despatch of specimens.

H. A. Wickham to Gunther, 8 May 1899 (File 2/6/61)

Brief visit to England from Western Pacific.

H. A. Wickham to Gunther, 15 May 1899 (File 2/6/62)

Interest in employing expert for cultivation of pearls in Conflict Group.

C.M. Woodford (Apia) to Gunther, 7 July 1895 (File 2/6/73)

Hopes sale of liquor will never be permitted in Samoa; sn in Samoa.

Series Series 5. Letters of British Naturalists, 21 April 1870 - 10 August 1871

2 items

Filmed selectively.

M. Allport (Hobart) to Gunther, 21 April 1870 (File 5/2 F1-F2)

Acknowledges advice on Salmonoid; account of Tasmanian salmon fishery 1866-1870; despatch of specimens to Zoological Society.

M. Allport to Gunther, 10 August 1871 (File 5/3)

Miscarriage of fish sent on Ethel; peculiarities of colour in large specimen.

Series Series 6. Letters of British Zoologists, 23 May 1890 - 20 September 1890

2 items

Filmed selectively.

A. Dendy (Melbourne) to Gunther, 23 May 1890 (File 6/17 F1-F2)

Colonial life; lack of security at Melbourne University; plans to write treatise on sponges; interest in compiling British Museum Catalogue of Sponges; Russian influenza epidemic.

A. Dendy to Gunther, 20 September 1890 (File 6/18)

Seeks testimonia in case professorships at Universities of Otago or Melbourne fall vacant; work on sponges.

Series Series 10. Foreign Correspondents, 25 February 1892 - 11 May 1898

4 items

Filmed selectively.

M. H. Peracca (Turin) to Gunther, 25 February 1892 (File 10/31)

Capture of new reptile in Brothery Islands, New Zealand. (French)

M.H. Peracca to Gunther, 10 April 1892 (File 10/33)

Capture of no reptile; refers to article by A. Thomas on New Zealand sphenodontidae. (French)

M. H. Peracca to Gunther, 18 February 1893 (File 10/35)

Search for Hatteria in Cook Strait. (French)

M. H. Peracca to Gunther, 11 May 1898 (File 10/43)

Search for Hatteria in Cook Strait. (French)

Series Series 13. Letters of Overseas Travellers, 14 July 1864 - 27 October 1898

15 items

Filmed selectively.

T. Bell (Kermadec Islands) to [Gunther], 20 November 1892 (File 13/3)

British annexation of Sunday Island; petrels and other birds; offers to supply birds.

F. Clarke (New Plymouth) to Gunther, 27 October 1898 (File 13/9)

Account of discovery of extraordinary fish; inquires about Catalogue of Fishes in British Museum.

Sir Daniel Cooper (London) to Gunther, 14 July 1864 (File 13/10)

Photograph of fish caught by L. Leichhardt; Port Jackson shark.

Sir Daniel Cooper to Gunther, 16 July 1864 (File 13/11)

Hopes to bring specimen of fish from Australia.

Sir Daniel Cooper (Sydney) to Gunther, 12 July 1870 (File 13/12)

Search for specimen of Ceretodus Fosteri; fish found in branches of mangroves in North Queensland.

E. Degen (Melbourne) to [Gunther], 14 March 1898 (File 13/13 F1-F2)

Seeks appointment as curator or conservator of ornithological department of a British institution; unhappiness at Victorian National Museum.

J. von Haast (Christchurch) to Gunther, 6 November 1874 (File 13/30)

Offers British Museum mummy of New Guinea native from Darnley Island.

J. von Haast to Gunther, 6 May 1875 (File 13/31)

Exchange of specimens with British Museum; requests list of desiderata of New Zealand fishes; New Guinea mummy.

J. Hector (Wellington) to J. Gray, 20 December 1871 (File 13/34)

Despatch of skull of seal; inaccuracies of catalogue of fossil birds by Lydekker.

C. Hore (Baram Sarawak) to Gunther, 1894 - 1905 (File 13/39-13/45)

Despatch of zoological specimens; Dyak heads; trip to Celebes; photographs; tortoises. (7 letters.)

F. W. Hutton (Dunedin) to Gunther, 7 March 1876 (File 13/48)

Despatch of bones.

F. W. Hutton to Gunther, 3 April 1876 (File 13/49)

Gift of skeletons in exchange for birds.

Gunther to Sir Cecil Smith, 31 March 1893 (File 13/105 F1-F2)

Recommends H.O. Forbes for post of Curator at Singapore Museum; Forbes' resignation from Christchurch Museum.

C. Woodford (Suva) to Gunther, 27 December 1894 (File 13/121)

Sends bololo in spirits; seeks papers on fauna of Samoa.

C. Woodford (Apia) to Gunther, 24 March 1895 (File 13/122)

Collecting of birds in Samoa; stamps; reports of a snake that crows like a cock.

Series Series 16. Autograph Letters, 1861 - 1911

19 items

Subseries Box 1. Alcock-Buller, 1874 - 1889

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Sir Walter Buller (Christchurch, Wellington, London) to Gunther, 1874 - 1889 (File 16/1/150-16/1/171)

Buller's annual attempts and final success in achieving election as Fellow of Royal Society; Christchurch Museum; Sir James Hector; J. von Haast; research; reports of meetings of Wellington Philosophical Society; despatch of zoological specimens; correspondence with Sir Joseph Hooker; New Zealand ornithology; search for Notornis; new edition of The Birds of New Zealand (1888) (21 letters).

Subseries Box 3. C. Darwin, 23 November 1872

1 item

Filmed selectively.

C. Darwin to Gunther, 23 November 1872 (File 16/3/30 F1-F2)

Gunther's article in Popular Science Review on ganoid fish from Queensland. (photocopy).

Despite being listed this material was not filmed by the AJCP.

Subseries Box 5. Sir Philip Egerton, 19 July 1864 - 11 February 1874

7 items

Filmed selectively.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 19 July 1864 (File 16/5/1)

Seeks name of fish found by L. Leichhardt in Burdekin River.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 16 November 1870 (File 16/5/9)

Memoir of ceratodus by Oldham.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 16 June 1871 (File 16/5/11)

Paper on ceratodus by Gunther.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 24 December 1871 (File 16/5/13)

Paper on ceratodus by Gunther.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 17 January 1872 (File 16/5/16)

Paper on ceratodus by Gunther.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 18 July 1872 (File 16/5/17)

Photograph by G. Krefft of Thylacaloea.

Sir Philip Egerton to Gunther, 11 February 1874 (File 16/5/31)

Cast of ceratodus found on Darling Downs sent by G. Krefft.

Subseries Box 8. Godman-Hartlet, 18 May 1909 - March 1911

3 items

Filmed selectively.

Gunther to S.F. Harmer (British Museum), 18 May 1909 (File 16/8/36 F1-F2)

Seeks assistance to complete work on South Sea fishes.

S.F. Harmer to Gunther, 22 May 1909 (File 16/8/39)

Engagement of assistant.

Correspondence between S.F. Harmer and Gunther, February 1911 - March 1911 (File 16/8/47-16/8/53)

On acquisition By British Museum of Godeffroy Collection of drawings and manuscripts of South Sea fishes, (6 pp.).

Subseries Box 11. Gerard Krefft (c. 270 ff.), 1861 - 1878

2 items
G. Krefft (Sydney) to Gunther, (c. 180 ff.), 1861 - 1878 (File (i))

Collecting of Australian reptiles; despatch of specimens to British Museum; Krefft's Snakes of Australia; discovery of Ceratodus Fosteri; affairs of Australian Museum; conflict with Trustees (1874); G. Bennett, W. Macleay, Capt. A. Onslow; Supreme Court case. Includes a few letters from Gunther and one of G. Bennett. Many of Krefft's letters are in German.

Disbound volume of newspaper cuttings, Parliamentary Papers, draft letters concerning Krefft and affairs of Australian Museum, Sydney. ( 90 ff.) (File (ii))

Subseries Box 12. Lister-Murray, 3 May 1870

1 item

Filmed selectively.

Sir Charles Lyell to Gunther, 3 May 1870 (File 16/12/36A)

Revision of Elements of Geology; newly discovered fish in Australia.

Subseries Box 18. Oppel-Owen, 18 November 1873 - 20 November 1873

3 item

Filmed selectively.

R. Owen to Gunther, 18 November 1873 (File 16/18/30-16/18/31)

Paper by H. Woodward; questions accuracy of Australian observations of bipedal progression of Chlamydosaurus; encloses Abstract of Proceedings of Geological Society of London, no. 272.

H. Woodward to Gunther, 19 November 1873 (File 16/18/32)

Informan about Chlamydosaurus, including T.H. Huxley and G. Krefft.

Gunther to H. Woodward, 20 November 1873 (File 16/18/33)

Suggests doubts be resolved by asking G. Krefft to send living specimen. (draft)

Subseries Box 20. William Peel, July 1864 - 10 July 1865

3 items

Filmed selectively.

W. Peel (Llandilo) to Gunther, July 1864 - August 1864 (File 16/20/1-16/20/6)

Interest of sons in emigrating to Queensland; interview with Sir Charles Nicholson; letter of introduction to Governor of Queensland. ( 6 letters.)

W. Peel to Gunther, 4 October 1864 (File 16/20/9)

Sons to sail in December; favourable reports of Queensland; Sir Daniel Cooper.

W. Peel to Gunther, 10 July 1865 (File 16/20/17)

Account of visit to Loch Inver; news of sons in Queensland.