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
WALSH, Benjamin Dean 21 September 1808 – 12 November 1869 Well known American economic entomologist who worked on beetles. Mentioned here because he was born in Frome and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge before emigrating. (MD 12/04)
WALSH, George Beckworth 1880 – 1957 Published the list of Coleoptera in The Natural History of the Scarborough District, which he edited with F.C.Rimington ( 2 vols. Scarborough Field Naturalists Soc., 1956.) The first of many notes he published in EMM was ‘Leistus montanus on Skiddaw’ (46, 1910, pp.16-17) in which he refers to Newbery confirming the determination ‘with his usual kindness’. By 1914 he was living in Jarrow-on-Tyne when ‘my friend’ W.E.Sharp stayed with him. (ibid., 50, 1914, p.40). Other Coleopterist friends at this time were T.Stainforth of Hull and J.Gardner. Later in life Walsh became more interested in Lepidoptera and on these he published an important article on Industrial Melanism at Scarborough (ibid. 91, 1954, pp.231-32). His collection of beetles, amounting to some 24,000 specimens, was purchased by Scarborough Museum in 1955 and is maintained separately. It is accompanied by some diaries, catalogues, note books and record books. The Museum also has his collection of 80 volumes of bound separates and card index, and his entomological library of more than 1000 books and periodicals. Other specimens are in the general collection at Doncaster, the RHS (15 specimens: Carabids and Chrysomelids, information from Andy Salisbury) and in the Hancock Museum, Bolton (donated 1914, 1915, 1917). Gilbert (1977) p.402 mentions an account of him in the Scarborough Evening News, 25 October 1954, and there is a pen portrait in the same paper 20 March 1947 which I have not seen. (MD 12/04, 1/07)
WALTERS, O.H. 50 Coleoptera collected by Walters in Pinetown, Natal were acquired by the HDO in 1965 (Smith (1986) p.158). FESL 1920-26. (MD 12/04)
WALTON, John 23 July 1784 – 3 January 1862 Little seems to be known about Walton who was a specialist in Curculionidae. He published 15 articles on this group between 1837 and 1852, and also a separate booklet titled List of British Curculionidae with synonyma in 1856. His insects were sold by Stevens on 24 March 1863 (Chalmers-Hunt (1976) p.101) when the HDO purchased several lots including a large box of Staphylinidae (Smith (1986) p.158) and the NHM purchased ‘as complete a set as possible... of the specimens which had been the subject of his papers... these specimens are incorporated in the collection of British Coleoptera. Walton... put himself in touch with Germar, Schonherr and Chevrolet, and received numerous specimens from the. Unfortunately he did not indicate from whom the various specimens were received. A considerable number of these were purchased by the Trsutees in 1863. They are kept in two separate drawers with then original labels’ (Waterhouse, p.599). Letters to C.O. and G.R. Waterhouse (1840) are also in the NHM. FESL 1833-1863 (Vice President 1840-41, 1846-47; Council 1839-42, 1845-47, 1849). (MD 12/04)
WARD, H. The HDO acquired 12 ‘fine’ Dynastidae and Lucanidae in 1899 collected by Ward in Darjeeling. (Smith (1986) p.158). (MD 12/04)
WARNER, David C. d. February 2003 Subscriber to the Coleopterist. 1999-2002 who lived in Essex. ( Information from Peter Hodge). (MD 12/04)
WARNER, P.A.J. There are specimens bearing this name in the Kauffman collection of Cerambycids at Manchester. (MD 12/04)
WARREN, William 1839-1914 His collection of British Lepidoptera and Cerambycidae was sold by Stevens on 12 March 1888 (Chalmers-Hunt (1976) p.120). There are 60 boxes of mss in the NHM but Harvey (1996) state that these are mainly concerned with Lepidoptera. FESL 1886-1914. (MD 12/04)
WATERHOUSE FAMILY No other family could surely boast such an intimate involvement with beetles. Five members over three generations were Coleopterists, four by profession, and, through marriage, they were related to the Griesbachs with four more, and the Ryes with two. Mackechnie Jarvis (1976) illustrates a family tree (p.100). Details of each member are included below but I have added this additional note because of the confusion which surrounds the fate of their collections According to Waterhouse p. 599, ‘The types of all the species described’ by Charles Owen went to the NHM together with ‘All the type specimens that were in [George Robert’s]collection before it was broken up’. This has led to the belief not just that there were several British collections but that at least one of them (G.R.’s) was split up and sold off. In fact it would seem, at least in so far as the Coleoptera are concerned, that neither is correct. The splitting up referred to related to the separation of the British material from the foreign, and the sales concerned only books (GR on 2 July 1880) and Lepidoptera (FH and EA 18 April 1916). The main evidence is the presence in the RSM of a large beetle collection occupying one cabinet of 28 drawers with two longer, loose drawers on top (in 1979); two cabinets of 10 drawers each and a further cabinet of 15 drawers, which was acquired by the Museum from the School of Agriculture at Edinburgh University. (The accession number is 1979.086, but this is not the year of acquisition but the number given when I pointed out in that year that it had not been accessioned).. Almost no data labels are included but some specimens are inscribed with numbers and initials under the cards eg. 32.59 GRW. Those specimens which do have labels were clearly acquired from other collectors eg Champion and Bedwell. There are also Griesbach specimens included. Confirmation that this the Waterhouse family collection is provided by the presence of five accompanying ms volumes as follows: Red leather, inscribed on cover Localities CW . Lists collecting trips from 1.10.1855 to 6.66 and, after a long gap in a very shaky hand ‘August 3 1881 went to Felixstowe and Harwich. Could not get lodgings’. Earlier references include ‘6.62 April 26 1862 Wandsworth Common (w.papa)’, ‘Uncle Alex (12.59)’, ‘Ted and F. (5.60)’, ‘Papa and Annie (12xx.60)’, etc.. Red leather, inscribed inside cover G.R.Waterhouse. Includes: p.1: ‘specimens marked with a small yellow label or BM are from the grounds of the British Museum’, then follows list, ‘CP Crystal Palace – soon before the opening day.’ p.11: ‘W Specimens found in the Isle of Wight end of August and beginning of September 1854’. Then follows detailed list of what caught and how. p.12: ‘F specimens from Felixstowe, Suffolk Septr 1852’. From p.13 reverts to dates eg 1.6.55 which was applied to specimens. These continue until 1894. Each expedition was carefully recorded and from 1856 were numbered in each year eg ‘1.1856 went to the Hammersmith Marshes with Dr Power’. Red leather, inscribed on cover E.A.Waterhouse F.H.R. etc.. Lists collecting trips from 1.71 (19 February 1871) to 2.75 (June 1875). Red leather, inscribed Localities 1871. Repeats above to 14.72 only. Includes a set of loose sheets which suggest that a third copy was intended. Vellum, inscribed Edward A. Waterhouse, Fountains Hall. Ripon. April 1867. This lists expeditions and captures from September 1876 – 1914 and includes information about weather, localities, accompanying collectors, etc.. It would seem from the immaculate and very consistent mounting of the specimens that work on the collection may have involved the re-mounting of specimens by successive generations of the family. Hancock and Pettit (1981) record that there are also beetles collected by C.O.Waterhouse at Stonyhurst College. I presume that these are now in Wakefield Museum which acquired other Stonyhurst College material . The NHM houses two ms notebooks kept by Charles Owen,which include Coleoptera records with notes and letters from other entomologists, 1868-1900, and a collection of approximately 200 letters mainly to Charles Owen and George Robert from various entomologists including G.R.Crotch (1870); J.F.Stephens (1839) and J.Walton (1840) . They also have a collection of material associated with George Robert which includes: loose leaf notes on Amycterinae (Curculionidae) annotated by K.G.Blair; three ms leaves List of Coleoptera belonging to la Touche; one ms volume being a Register of his private collection of Coleoptera; 2 ms leaves listing Species of Hister from the collection of Mr Waterhouse, British Museum; and a copy of the his Pocket Catalogue (1861) heavily annotated by J.Power. (Harvey, pp.216-17). (MD 12/04)
WATERHOUSE, Charles Owen 19 June 1843 - 4 February 1917

Eldest of G.R.Waterhouse’s three sons and a godson of Charles Darwin and Sir Richard Owen. Born at Bloomsbury and lived from the age of 9 in his father’s residence in the British Museum. Educated at University College School and King’s College. Joined the staff of the Museum as a Junior Assistant in the Entomological Department on 9 July 1866. Promoted to First-Class Assistant 5 April 1879 and Assistant Keeper 10 April 1905 remaining in office until his retirement on 30 June 1910. He then stayed on at the Museum to complete the re-arrangement of the Buprestidae, including the incorporation of the Kerremans Collection, which he had nearly finished at the time of his death. (More precise details of the families he re-arranged and the dates are given in Waterhouse p.554-555). Waterhouse’s role involved preparing the Museum displays and making models as well as research work on the collections. Published more than 230 papers on Coleoptera, which were his favourite group many describing new genera and species from all over the world. The first, a note of his discovery of a specimen of Hynobius perrisii, recently introduced to England by Rye, in his father’s collection, appeared in EMM., 1, 1864, p.138, and the second, in the same periodical, p. 278, introduced Gonioctena affinis to Britain, found amongst some specimens taken by Mr Cocking of Norfolk. Perhaps his two most important publications were the volumes on Lycidae and Buprestidae (a favourite group) in the Biologia Centrali-Americana series. In later years he became interested in Hymenoptera Mymaridae on which he wrote a number of articles. Of his publications other than those on Coleoptera the best known is the two volume The History of the Collections contained in the Natural History Departments of the British Museum, (1906). There is material related to him in David Sharp’s scrapbook and autograph album in the RESL (Pedersen (2002) p.49) and an obituary in EMM 53, 1917, 67-68 which includes a portrait (opp. p.49). FESL from 1869 (President 1907-08, Vice President 1900, 1909). (MD 12/04, 2/20)