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 ascending Dates Biography
BAGNALL, Richard Siddoway b. 14 July 1889 Primarily known for his work on minor insect groups and terrestrial invertebrates, but he did publish one or two articles about beetles including: 'Notes on some Coleoptera imported into our northern ports’, EMM., 42, 1906, pp.36-38. Coleoptera and other insects collected by him were donated to the Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne between 1904-1909. For a biographical note, etc. see L.A.Mound, ‘A review of R.B.Bagnall's Thysanoptera Collections’, Bull. BMNH. (Ent. Suppl.) 2, 1968, pp.1-180. (MD 9/01)
BADHAM, Charles David 1806-1857 Published two books which mention beetles: The Question concerning the Sensibility, Intelligence and instinctive Actions of Insects, Paris, 1837 and Insect Life, 1845. In the latter he describes himself as ‘Late Radcliffe Travelling Fellow of the University of Oxford, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of London and Member of the Entomological Society of France.’ (MD 9/01)
BADGLEY, W.F Collected Platyrhopalopus badgleyi in Assam which W.W.Fowler named after him. He served as a colonel in the army. (MD 9/01)

The NHM purchased beetles from Badgerley on 20 Sept. 1849. (MD 8/17)

BACKHOUSE, J.O Various references in Stephens (1828-1831) eg. 1, p.56 (MD 9/01)
BABINGTON, Charles Cardale.C. 23 November 1808-22 July 1895 Born at Ludlow, Shropshire, the son of Joseph Babington (1768-1826), a physician. Educated at Charterhouse and at Cambridge where he obtained B.A.(1830), M.A.(1833) and first became interested in plants, the study of which eventually led him to become Professor of Botany at Cambridge from 1861-1895. Babington’s work on botany also involved him in entomology, and in 1833 he was a founder member of the Entomological Society. It would appear, however, that it was the extensive field work all over Britain (he also visited Iceland in 1846) which he undertook in connection with the publication of his magnum opus the Botanical Manual, (eight editions in the 19th century alone) that really fired his interest in the Coleoptera in particular. By 1860 the Ent.Ann. listed Coleoptera as his only interest but noted that he had stopped collecting, and was 'happy to give information'. Babington was clearly known to Charles Darwin as is clear from a letter in the latter’s published correspondence to W.D.Fox dated 1 April 1829: ‘I have caught Mr Harbour letting Babington have the first pick of the beettles [sic]..’ It is not surprising, therefore, that he should have been chosen to describe some of the beetle species (Dytiscidae) from the ‘Beagle’ voyage. Babington was an enthusiastic Committee man. Whilst at Cambridge he became Secretary of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, a position he held for many years, and in 1830 he joined the Linnean Society. Three years later, on the occasion of the first meeting of the British Association at Cambridge, he was appointed Secretary of the natural history section, and from that time until 1871 he was rarely absent from their annual meetings. From 1853-1861 he acted as President of the section. In 1836 he was one of the founder members of the Ray Club, of which he acted as Secretary for fifty five years, and he was on the Council of the Ray Society. In 1840 he was one of the founders of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, and in 1850 he joined the Cambrian Archaeological Association, serving as Chairman of its committee from 1855 to 1885, He was also a member of many other national and local societies. Babington married Anna Maria the daughter of John Walker on 3 April 1866. There is a portrait of him by William Tizard in St, John's College. The best account is his autobiographical: Memorials, Journal and Botanical Correspondence, Cambridge, 1897; and there are shorter notices in DNB (Supplement), and in Alumni Cantabrigiensis II (1), 1940. (MD 9/01)
Duff (1993), p.3 records that Babington ‘was probably the first resident Somerset coleopterist as he came to live in Bath at the age of 14’. (MD 10/03)
B., C.G. Tony Irwin informs me that there are a number of insects bearing the initials GCB in E.A.Butler’s foreign collection of Coleoptera and Hemiptera at Norwich Museum. (MD 10/03)
AUSTIN, W. Coleoptera from Scotland bearing this name and the date 1875 are in the collection of C.G.Hall at Oldham Museum. (Information from S.Hayhow) (MD 7.01)
AUSTEN, Edward Ernest 1867 - 16 January 1938

Primarily known as a Dipterist and Hymenopterist but 295 Coleoptera collected by him during the expedition to the River Amazon and the Cape Verde Islands on board the  S.S.'Faraday' 13 December 1895 - 14 April 1896 were acquired by the NHM in 1896 and 126 Coleoptera were among the insects from Sierra Leone the NHM acquired from him in 1899. There is an obituary by K.G.Blair in EMM, 74, 1938, 42-43. (MD 6/18)

AUBROOK, Edward Wrigley 1 September 1915 – 18 April 1990 There is a full obituary by Colin Johnson, upon whom he was a formative influence, in EMM, 127, 1991, pp.91-95, including a complete bibliography and photograph. The following is extracted from it. Born in Oldham and educated at Hulme Grammar School which he left at the age of 16. Acquired his interest in insects at the age of ten and joined the Oldham Natural History Society in his youth. His first job was in the carpet department at Ryland’s Warehouse, Manchester. In his lunch hours he visited the Manchester Museum where he befriended Harry Britten who became an important influence on him. Joined the Manchester Entomological Society in 1932 and was a regular exhibitor at meetings. Britten obtained for him the job of Laboratory assistant in the University in 1934, the year in which he published his first article ‘Water beetles under Ice’ (Nwest.Nat. 26, 1934, 55) and he found an unusual beetle at a chrysanthemum show in Manchester, subsequently named after him by Horace Donishtorpe: Micrambe aubrooki. When Joseph Collins, a friend of Britten’s, retired from the Hope Department at Oxford in 1935, Aubrook was appointed to succeed him as a junior assistant, and he left Manchester in October. He remained there until 1939 when, after a brief period as Assistant Curator at Paisley Museum, he joined the Tolson Memorial Museum, Huddersfield, where he was to remain for the rest of his working life, being appointed Director in 1946. After the war he started collecting beetles again becoming FRES in 1946. As a member of the Yorkshire Naturalists Union from 1959 he led field meetings, gave talks and acted as Coleoptera Recorder. In 1968 he published (with Johnson) ‘Oxypoda nigricornis Mots. new to Britain’ (Ent., 101, 1968, pp.71-72) and in 1970 ‘Cis dentatus Mell. an addition to the British list’ (ibid, 103, 1970, pp.250-51).In all Aubrook’s publications amounted to 39 in total. During the 1960s and 70s Aubrook was a regular member of survey teams working on insect recording in Scotland and, after his daughter moved to New Zealand in 1968, he visited her six times making many insect collections there too. These included the Ptiliid Notoptenidium aubrooki which Johnson named after him. Johnson records that Aubrook was a determined Coleopterist, particularly in regard to difficult groups, and that they enjoyed more than fifty days in the field, including trips to Scotland and to East Anglia. Aubrook’s British insect collections, mostly beetles, (over 12,000 specimens) are divided between the museums of Huddersfield and Manchester, and his notebooks and New Zealand collection (6,300 specimens) are in the Manchester Museum. Johnson (2004) records that the collection includes that of F. Hawkin and duplicates from J.H.Flint and E.J.Pearce. He also notes that most families are represented and that the main collecting localities were Yorkshire; Rhum, Inverpolly, Speyside and Deeside. The second half of this collection (6000 specimens) is in the Tolson Museum, Ravensknowle, Huddersfield, and there are also some specimens in the York Museum. Simon Hayhow informs me that there is also material bearing his name in the collection at Oldham Museum. FRES 1946 until death. (MD 7/01)