Biographical dictionary

The Biographical Dictionary of British Coleopterists is compiled and maintained by Michael Darby. The Dictionary can be accessed below, and see also the additional information provide by Michael:

Michael would be pleased to hear from anyone wishing to make corrections or alterations to the Dictionary, which will be fully acknowledged. Email Michael Darby or write to Michael at 33 Bedwin Street, SALISBURY, Wiltshire, SP1 3UT.

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Namesort descending Dates Biography
BAILEY, James Harold 1870-22 March 1909

Received his education in Manchester, firstly in a school under the well-known conchologist Dr Adams, and later at Owens College where he graduated in 1891. Married in 1895 and after practising as a Doctor of Medicine in Manchester, moved to the Isle of Man in about 1902 because of his wife's ill health. There J.R.le B. Tomlin records that he was a 'trenchant and convincing speaker in the local Debating Society, (Ent.mon.Mag., 45, 1909, 260-61). He had one son, and died at the early age of thirty-nine, in Port Erin.

Bailey published his first article on 'Coleoptera in Middlesex' in Ent., 19, 1886,187-88 and followed this with various notes in the Ent.mon.Mag., including an obituary of his friend Joseph Chappell. It was through Chappell and Samuel Stevens that he is recorded to have switched his early interest in Lepidoptera to Coleoptera. Bailey's great forte was his knowledge of the fauna of the Isle of Man. In December 1907 he delivered his Vice-Presidential address on this subject to the Lancashire and Cheshire Entomological Society and at the time of his death he is recorded to have almost completed a book on the Manx Coleoptera.

A collection of mainly Isle of Man material in twenty-two drawers was purchased by the Manx Museum in 1910 and is maintained separately. Further information about this collection is given in Hancock & Pettit (1981).

There are obituaries in Ent.mon.Mag., 45, 1909, 260-61 (by J.R. le B. Tomlin); Dt.ent.Ztschr., 1909, 112 (by W. Horn) and Ent.Rdsch., 27, 1910, 10. (MD 9/01)

BAINBRIDGE, William d. November 1841

This is probably the same Bainbridge who is mentioned by Stephens (1828-1831), I, 11, 12, etc.) He was a Fellow of the Entomological ,Society from 1833 until his death, and in 1836 was appointed Curator of the collections. Neave & Griffin (1933), 66-67, record that his wages were initially six shillings a day for three days a week and that his main task was to add red labels to distinguish the Kirby collection from the rest. A committee of Messers Hanson, Shuckard and Westwood was set up to supervise his work.

Bainbridge exhibited at the meetings of the ESL., e.g. 2 March 1840 when he showed a 'monstrous Lucanus cervus one of the mandibles of which was strangely distorted', and published one article in the Transactions 'On several species of Balboceras Kirby from New Holland in the collection of the Rev. Hope’, (39, 1842,79-83). He also published 'Some new species of Cetonidae in the collection of the Rev. F.W. Hope with observations on the genus Osmoderma’, in Ann.Mag.nat.Hist., 6, 1841, 481-82.

A copy of Dejean's Catalogue, 4th edition 1837, signed and dated by Bainbridge is in the RES library (MD 9/01, 6/18)

BAINBRIGGE FLETCHER, Thomas see Fletcher, Thomas

Smith (1986),101, notices that a collection of Coleoptera made by Bairstow in the Cape of Good Hope was acquired by the HDO in 1882. (MD 9/01)


There are beetles collected by him in the Museum at Colombo, Sri Lanka. (all bear printed labels dated 1916) and various references in G.J. Arrow’s FBI volumes. (MD 9/01)

BAKER, Henry 8 May 1698 -25 November 1775

Born in Chancery Lane London, the son of William Baker, a clerk in Chancery. Apprenticed at the age of 15 to John Parker a bookseller. At the close of his indentures in 1720 he became involved with the education of deaf-mutes, and ‘his services being in great demand among the upper classes, he soon realised a substantial fortune'. His remarkable success attracted the attention of Daniel Defoe whose daughter Sophia Baker he subsequently married in April 1729.

Until the late 1730s Baker wrote and published poetry, and in 1728, under the name Henry Stonecastle he began, with Defoe, the Universal Spectator and Weekly Journal. He is said to have been responsible for the introduction of rhubarb into England.

Baker had a wide-ranging interest in natural history which resulted in his becoming involved in microscopy, a subject on which he published books in 1743 and 1753, both of which went through several editions, and in beetles which he appears to have collected. He published a note on 'Some curious experiments and observations on a beetle that lived three years without food' in Phil.Trans.R.Soc., 41, 1740, 441-448.

Chalmers-Hunt (1976) records that Baker’s antiquarian and natural history collections were sold at auction 13-23 March 1775, shortly before his death in the same year.

Baker was elected FSA and FRS in 1740, and was involved with the establishment of the Society of Arts in 1754. He is listed in DNB. which records other sources. (MD 9/01)

BAKER, John R.

Collections of insects, mainly Coleoptera, made in the New Hebrides and adjacent groups were given by Baker and the Percy Sladen Memorial Fund to the HDO in 1923 and 1927. Identifications for the 1923 collection exist in the archives (Smith, 1986). (MD 9/01)

BAKEWELL, Robert 1810-25 December 1867

Worked in the wool trade at Nottingham before moving to Australia where he lived for many years and built up a large collection of insects. Returned to England where he continued to collect.

The Register of the insect collections in the NHM records that they acquired 515 Buprestids and 2,430 Llamellicorns from Bakewell's collection after his death, and that Bakewell 'bought Laferte’s collection in 1860. This collection of Llamellicorns was purchased by Mr Bakewell of M. de Laferte. It was founded on Dejean's collection and was amalgamated with the collections of MM. Reiche, Dupont, Buquet etc., Gory'. The labels from the collection are pasted to the pages of the Register. Another two collections of Australian beetles amounting to some 1179 specimens were given to the NHM in 1849, the labels on the specimens stating that they were chiefly given by Mr MacLeay through whose hands Mr Bakewell's collection passed. I have not found any reference there to the collection of Heteromera which Musgrave (1932) records the British Museum Trustees purchased in 1871. Bakewell is recorded to have left Australian insects to Dr Howitt of Melbourne.

FES from 1857 and a member of the French Entomological Society from 1860. There is an obituary notice in Ent.mon.Mag., 4. 1868, 211 and references to him in O. Janson’s Journal in the Zoological Museum at Cambridge. (MD 9/01, 8/17)


Published an 'Account of insects injurious to Forest Trees, especially the larch and pine’ in Prize Essays and Transactions. Highland Society., (n.s.) 8, 1843, 114-125. (MD 9/01)

BALE, S.(or J.)

Stephens (1828-1831), 1,13, mentions that a Reverend S. Bale caught a specimen of Cicindela which was in the collection of A.H. Haworth. Other mentions by the same author give his initial as J. (MD 9/01)