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
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)
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)
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)
TOMLIN, John Read Le Brockton 1864 – December 1954 Very little appears to have been written about Tomlin who is probably better known for his work on conchology than on beetles. There is a short and un-informative obituary in Proc.RESL., 19(C)., 1954-55, pp.69-70 but no other of which I know. His first interest appears to have been Lepidoptera which were the subject of his first publication in Ent.16, 1883, p. 162. What follows is mostly taken from some notes kindly given to me by Adrian Amsden. Tomlin did most of his entomological work in Glamorgan whilst a teacher in the Llandaff Cathedral School 1890-99 and it was work done during this period that led to the publication of one of the works for which he is best known amongst Coleopterists: ‘The Coleoptera of Glamorgan’ (in Trans. Cardiff Nat.Soc.). (This followed earlier works on Coleoptera in the Cardiff district in EMM. from 29,1893, and ‘Coleoptera of the Llandaff District’ in Trans.Leics.Lit.Phil.Soc. 5, 1899, pp.187-91) He then moved to Darley Dale where he remained until 1902. He was able to spend more time and money on entomology and conchology after benefiting under the wills of relatives and in 1906 moved to Reading on getting married. In 1922 he moved to St Leonards-on-Sea by which time he seems to have been concentrating almost entirely on conchology, although the Woolhope Naturalists Field Club did publish his Herefordshire Coleoptera from 1949. His main collection of 83,000 specimens is at Cardiff and includes a number of other collections which he either purchased or which were given to him: Phytophaga and Curculionidae of Stephen Barton, mostly from Bristol, part of the collection of Hadfield of Newark, and the Staphylinidae of George Robert Crotch, were all purchased at Stevens in 1899; Amsden’s notes indicate that E.G.Elliman’s Staphylinidae, including many specimens from the Chesham area, were given to him in 1929 but there is a receipt for their purchase for £14 together with a letter in the Museum collection. William Chaney’s collection which included specimens from George C. Champion and that of J.S.White who lived at Droylsdon were both gifts. A few specimens collected by Tomlin are in the D.G.Hall collection at North Hertfordshire Museums (Information from Trevor James). A collection from the Forest of Dean is in the Dyson Perrins collection at Birmingham and there are some specimens in the general collections at Doncaster and Manchester. Hancock and Pettit (1981) mention that there is also a Sicilian collection, 1906-1914, at Manchester acquired either via Hincks, W.D. or Leeds Museum (post war) and that it is accompanied by lists and letters from E.A.Newbery about certain specimens. A ms list (in triplicate) of Beetles taken in Sicily by J.R.le B. Tomlin in March and April 1911 is amongst the Sharp material at Liverpool (D.7.8.19). The Sharp correspondence, vol 1, in the same museum contains 2 letters from Tomlin (p.238). There are photographs of Tomlin collecting with Norman Joy and George Champion in the NMW. FESL from 1897 (Council 1911-13). (MD 12/04)
TODD, John Tweedy 1789 – 4 August 1840 Born in Berwick. Published ‘An inquiry respecting the nature of the luminous power of some of the Lampyridae, particularly of L.splendidula, italica and noctiluca’ in Quart.J.Sc and Arts., 17, 1824, pp.269-270 and 21, 1826, pp.241-251. (MD 12/04)
TINKER, Jethro Sharp (1908) lists Tinker, who lived at Staleybridge, as one of the earlier students who ‘left any records of their labours, in fact many of them owed the only education they possessed to that training which Nature herself afforded... These men were the first of the group of whom any record exists, and had died out by the middle of the last century.’ He states that Tinker’s collection existed at that time in Liverpool Museum. (MD 12/04)
TINDALL, A.R. Published ‘Records of Coleoptera at South Wigston, Leicester’ in EMM., 79, 1943,113. Lott (2009) p.29 suggests that he may have had some professional involvement with entomology. (MD 11/09)
THORNTON, Joseph Norman 13 June 1892 – 8 August 1965 A senior Transmission Engineer in the Electricity Board who was a member of the Chester Natural History Society. Not specifically interested in Coleoptera but collected them with other insects in Yorkshire, North Wales and Hampshire. His collections passed to the Leeds Museum. FRESL from 1846. (MD 12/04)
THORNLEY, Alfred 20 November 1855 – 5 January 1947 Born near Preston and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Merton College, Oxford. He was ordained in 1879 and worked in several parishes in Nottingham, including South Leverton, near Retford, until relieved of parochial work to take up a position training teachers of natural history. Not long after he found himself responsible for supervising the teaching of this subject in more than 700 schools throughout Nottingham and Leicestershire. In 1922 he was appointed Chaplain and Professor of Economic Entomology at the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester, but in 1925 he retired to live in Cornwall. There he worked with his second wife, Marjorie (nee Fulleylove), for fifteen years to collate all former lists of Cornish insects and to add to them. Although Thornley’s main interest was in the Diptera (19,000 specimens out of the 26,000 comprising his collection in the NHM), Walsh (1956) states that knowledge of Nottinghamshire Coleoptera at that time was ‘due mainly’ to him and he is mentioned in E.C.Riggall’s ‘Address’. These stem in particular from the articles ‘Lincolnshire Coleoptera’ he published with W.Wallace in Trans. Lincolnshire Nat.Union 1, 1907 to 3, 1915. He published at least four articles on Coleoptera from the summit of Ben Nevis one of which: ‘On some Coleoptera from the Summit of Ben Nevis, collected by Mr W.S.Bruce’ in Ann.Scot.Nat.Hist., January 1896, pp. 28-37 appears to have been the inspiration for J.W.Tutt’s only publication on Coleoptera. There is a small collection of Coleoptera from various localities world-wide which he made when travelling with Mrs Imray (who also presented specimens in 1903) in the HDO (Smith (1986) p.154) and another collection of beetles made by Thornley at Nottingham Natural History Museum which includes material from William Evans and J.J.Walker. His obituary in EMM. 83, 1947, p.110 states ‘Parts of the comprehensive card index [of Cornish insects which he made with his wife] were sent to the British Museum (Natural History) with Thornley’s collection, journals and notebooks in September, 1946, but some sections remained for completion with his friend Miss Marion Grace Hocken FZS, FRES of Lelant, Cornwall’. Harvey et. al. (1996) p.205, however, state that only some loose leaf Cornish collecting notes are in the NHM. The locality of the thirteen diaries, which his obituary mentions that he kept while living in Cornwall, is not known. There is correspondence with C.J.Wainwright dated 1898-1937 in the RESL (Pedersen (2002) p.130)). FESL from 1892; FLS from 1895 There is a brief biography in Proc.RESL (C) 12, 1948, p.64 and an obituary in The Times, 8 January 1947 (which incorrectly states that his collection comprised 126,000 specimens). (MD 12/04, 12/06, 11/09)
THORNCROFT Fowler (1887-91) records that he took the only English specimen of Leptura rufa at Holme Bush in the Summer, 1856. (MD 12/04)

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