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
TOMLIN, Lilian E. Wife (?) of J.R.le B.Tomlin (see above). Collected 279 Coleoptera in Cheshire, Flintshire and Denbighshire now in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester, which she submitted for the Kingsley Memorial Prize of the Chester Society of Natural Science, Literature and Art, 1888. (Hancock and Pettit (1981)). )(MD 12/04)
TOTTENHAM, C. E. 22 February 1895 – 30 June 1977 Born at Seldmere, Yorkshire. After acquiring his BA (1917) and MA (1922) he was ordained in the Diocese of Chichester and his early curacies included St John sub Castro and Bexhill on Sea; Coveney, Cambridgeshire; Hanley, Staffordshire; Richmond, Surrey; Rous Lench, Worcestershire; and East Ardsley, Yorkshire. He also lived at Thorpe Bay, Essex where he was Headmaster of Southend Grammar School. He gave up Holy Orders in September 1937, moved to London and then to West Ewell, Surrey, and again to Cambridge where took up another teaching post in 1942 and also became Curator of the Zurich collection at Cambridge University Museum. His interests apart from entomology included music, swimming and philately. Tottenham is best know to British Coleopterists for his volume on Piestinae to Euaesthetinae (1954) in the Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects series. This was part 1 of a proposed two or more volume publication on the British Staphylinidae and he was working on part 2 at the time of his death. He is also known for adding a number of new species to the British list including two which were new t o science: Philonthus jurgans and Gynpeta rubrior. His major work on the Staphylinids, however, was largely confined to African Philonthus, to which he added many new species and sorted out several complications. At the time of his death he was re-organising the NHM’s collections of this genus, which had been arranged in alphabetical order, and he was also working on Peruvian Staphylinidae. A complete list of his publications is appended to his obituary by Horace Last in EMM.,113, 1977, pp.174-75. Last states that Tottenham ‘kept his specimens in small ‘trays’ made by himself and which fitted into the shallow drawers of his home made cabinets. Each tray contained specimens of one species and were edged with differently coloured paper based on his own geographical key, but whole drawers were allocated to one species of British material, often a very common one, with each locality in its little tray with the county or vice-county symbol. These are now in the NHM and Max Barclay provided the following further information about them in March 2003 on the Beetles-BritishIsles web site: ‘From memory Tottenham wrote data underneath the card, two letter vice-county code on top of card, pinned flat on the balsa wood of his home made unit trays... [he] usually wrote data on the first specimen of each series only, and left the remaining members of that series without data. This means that if specimens are moved from their original position in his collection, their data will be lost. Luckily it is in ‘unit trays’ of a sort. For smaller species he used a label, and larger (5mm up) wrote on the underside of the card. His habit of leaving most specimens without data has greatly slowed the incorporation of his collection. A volunteer, Miriam Thomas, has spent many years printing individual data labels and adding them to his specimens. His collection also needs to be re-pinned as he used copper-based cabinet points which have corroded.’ There are also specimens collected by Tottenham in the general collection at Doncaster Museum eg Haliplidae. The Sharp Correspondence at Liverpool (vol. 1.) contains a letter from Tottenham dated 19 April 1923 from 47 Lichfield Street, Hanley. (p.560). (MD 12/04)
TOTTENHAM, H.R. Published his rediscovery of Harpalus obscurus on the Devil’s Dyke in EMM., 26, 1890, p.83. He gave his address at the time as St John’s College, Cambridge. A 20 drawer cabinet of insects and a number of store boxes acquired by Cambridge from Mrs M.L.Dacle, Tottenham’s sister, in February 1937, included 11 drawers of Coleoptera collected by him. All data was reported at that time to have been lost. (MD 12/04)

Lived in Cheltenham and collected mainly around the town, in 1944-47, especially Carabidae and Staphylinidae. Atty (1983, v-vi) records that many of his specimens are in the Gloucester Museum, and that he published two papers in the Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club: 'A list of the Carabidae of Glos.' (1947, 149-158) and The Staphylinidae of Pselaphidae of Glos (1948, 51-62) adding 'These included some notable additions to the county list, though unfortunately the older records of Davis and (and Morse) which he incorporated are faulty in places, being derived from Lifton's manuscript and not from the original authentic sources. His Atheta were checked by Dr Malcolm Cameron but some of the rarer species are not extant in the Gloucester Museum collection and others, like Astenus melanurus, were wrongly named. Other references: Miscellaneous entomological notes: Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club Proceedings, 1947, 159-60; 'The Coleopterous and Heteropterous fauna of a dry carbon-tip', EMM., 81, 1945, 166-68, and 'Glos. water-beetles' NGNS. Journal, 2, 1951, 10 and 3, 1952, 2.' (MD 8/17)

TOZER, Donald 12 April 1907 – October 1993 specimens in the general collection at Manchester; material from Sherwood is in the general collection at Doncaster Museum; [deleteand] there are 33 specimens from the Midlands in Glasgow Museum (1977-66) and K,C.Lewis tells me that there are sopecimens in his collection. (MD 12/04, 12/06)
TRUEMAN Mr Trueman is mentioned by T.Desvignes in Ent., 1,1840-42, p.189. (MD 12/04)
TUCKER Mentioned by Stephens (1828), p.48. Is this perhaps the same Tucker, of Regent street, London, whose stock of exotic insects was sold by Stevens on 8 December 1848? And who was FESL in 1847 for that year only? (MD 12/04)
TUPPER, Martin F. Published ‘Beetles’ in Ent.Ann. 1867, pp.165-66.
TURNER, Charles c.1808 – May 1868 Professional collector who died in great poverty and whose discoveries, principally of saproxylic beetles, are regularly mentioned by Rye in his series of Ent Ann articles on additions to the British fauna. A short account in EMM,5, 1868, p.25 mentions that ‘for some years since he earned a precarious livelihood by gathering moss for the bird stuffers. When engaged in this pursuit he fell in with the late James Foxcroft, who induced him to collect insects.’ This is expanded in Ent., 4, 1868-69, p.107 where he is described as a collector of tact, intelligence, perservering and successful, possessed of a most accurate eye and with the ability to impress a rarity on his memory ‘taking only rough notes (intelligible to himself only) which seemed to guide him aright’. A rather different picture is given by Rye who devoted a couple of pages to him in the Ent.Ann., 1869 (pp.9-10) ‘only those who, like myself, have heard from the inhabitants of the distant localities in which he worked, accounts of his ways and means, and have seen his colossal ravages in situ, can be aware of the hardships and toil he endured in pursuit of these good things. There can be no doubt that he possessed strong determination and perseverance, ability to work very hard under very discouraging circumstances, an extremely quick eye and retentive memory (which enabled him to profit by the instructions of the ‘book learned’ for whom, however, he in unguarded moments expressed a copious contempt), great natural shrewdness, and a power of concealing his innate artful nature beneath an apparent frankness of manner. For, to use the mildest language, his natural mental bias was very distinctly in an oblique direction. But for this, he would have been supported to any extent by his patrons, whom , inspite of repeated condonements, he perpetually again deceived. I suppose it will never be known how many actual specimens of his rarities were taken by himself and his genial partner; but they must certainly have been very much larger in number than is generally believed. And it is sad to think how the contents of many ‘screws’ of his finest New Forest, Scotch and Sherwood beetles are probably now ‘wasting their sweetness and desert air’ of unappreciating possessors, or have been lost or destroyed as valueless... he had at times rudimentary instincts of justice, which impelled him to make good former deficiencies...’. Mackechnie-Jarvis (1976) states that Turner’s discoveries added 12 insects to the British list including Zeugophora turneri which he found in Scotland and which was named after him by Power in 1863, and added 35 others known only by single specimens or being mentioned by early authors as British. Mentioned in Janson diary at Cambridge eg. Dec 1866. There is a portrait photograph in Mackechnie-Jarvis (1976) pl.8. (MD 12/04)
TURNER, James Aspinall 1797- 28 September 1867 Member of Parliament for Manchester from 1857-65. His interest in Coleoptera centred on the Cetoniidae of which he is said to have built up a collection which was almost unrivalled (EMM, 4, 1867, p.141). Sold Coleoptera at Stevens on 25 March 1862 and a collection of exotic Coleoptera made by him was sold at the same auctioneers on 11 February 1881. His Elateridae passed via E.W.Janson and Godman and Salvin to the NHM. Gave insects including Coleoptera from South America to Hope in 1829 now in the HDO which are accompanied by a letter (Smith (1986) p.154).Davis and Brewer (1986) records that insects donated by him in 1837 are in the Hancock Museum .FESL 1854 - 66. (MD 12/04)