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
TOZER, Donald 12 April 1907 – October 1993

Donald 'Don' Tozer was educated at Wyggeston School in Leicester, where he met Claude Henderson who was to become his life-long friend and collection companion. After leaving school and although suffering from the severe lameness contracted from polio in childhood, he was able to join his father as a painter and decorator, the profession in which he remained for the rest of his life. His mobility was improved by the use of a motorbike and bicycle.

Derek Lott, in his obituary of Tozer in Col, 2(3), 1994, 88, records that his interest in insects stretched to both Lepidoptera, of which he built up an outstanding collection, but particularly Coleoptera as a result of being inspired by S.O.Taylor during a visit to Leicester Museum with Henderson. His favoured collecting areas were mainly local: Leicestershire, Sherwood Forest and the Peterborough area, and he is recorded to have had an 'uncanny knack' of picking up rare species from roadside verges and hedges. He was a prolific breeder of beetles.

Tozer's first publication appears to have been a list of rare beetles captured in 1925 in Trans. Leicester Lit. and Phil. Soc.. and his first in the EMM, 'Rediscovery of Agrilus biguttatus F. in Sherwood Forest', 75, 1939, 88. This was followed by further papers in EMM from 1942 - 1947. Later he made important contributions to the Monks Wood list.

His collection of beetles, field notebooks and correspondence were donated to Leicester Museum by John Dacey, his nephew, and his Lepidoptera collection was sold at auction in 1993. Trevor Forsythe, 'The Donald Tozer Collection', in Col., 13(4), 2004, 148, noted that the collection consisted of 15,000 specimens, 'all British, and is housed at Barrow on Soar. A catalogue covering the collection has been compiled and the notebooks transcribed. Steele R.C. and Welch, R.C. [1973] record the presence of a MS file dated 1958 at Monks Wood relating to Tozer which contains 'much information concerning the period 1937-1953'. There are specimens bearing his name in the general collection at Manchester, and there is material from Sherwood in the general collection at Doncaster Museum; 33 specimens from the Midlands area are in the Glasgow Museum (1977-66) and K.C.Lewis tells me that there are specimens in his collection.

Tozer was an active member of the Amateur Entomologists Society from its foundation and served on the beetle identification panel up until his death. Lott records that 'he was a good-natured character and visitors were always greeted with a mug of tea and pleasant conversation... he always retained a character of independence and it was fortunate that he was able to remain living in his own house until his final illness.' (MD 12/04, 12/06, 1/22)

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)
TURTON A Doctor. Mentioned by Stephens (1828) p.47. (MD 12/04)
TUTT, James William 26 April 1858 – 10 January 1911. The famous Lepidopterist. His ‘Migration and Dispersal of Insects: Coleoptera’ in ERJV,13, 1901, 353-58, is simply a series of quotations from articles and notes by Coleopterists. (MD 12/04)

Published ‘Anaglyptus mysticus and Harpalus obscurus in Cambridgeshire’ in EMM., 88, 1952,155, and 'A further Brish record of Troglops cephalotes (Olivier) (Melyridae) in Col, 2(1), 1993, 26-27. (MD 12/04)

TYLDEN, W. A Reverend. Published 8 notes on Curculionidae in EMM.,1865-1873. Foreign insects and a collection of Coleoptera, mainly Curculionidae, were given by his wife to the HDO in 1875. (Smith (1986) p.155 and plate 17 which reproduces a note pasted to the door of his insect cabinet). (MD 12/04)