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
WHITEHEAD, John 1861 – 1899 Lived c.1889-93 in Java, Malakka, Palawan, Borneo and the Philippines, when he collected beetles which were sold via Jansons. (MD 12/04)
WHITEHEAD, John M. Gave and sold more than 1,800 beetles to Glasgow Museum in three lots between 1917 and 1926; 676 were described as foreign and the remainder as British and European. (MD 12/04)
WHITTACKER, O. His Coleoptera records are listed in Sharp (1908). FESL from 1913. (MD 12/04)
WHITTON, Miss M.E. Recorded by Lott (2009) as a collector in Leicestershire before 1901 (p.25). (MD 11/09)

He is listed by James,T.J. (2018) as providing a special contribution either in the form of a comprehensive site list or a substantial number of records (MD 1/22)

WILDING, Richard 19 June 1858 - 2 December 1949 Born at Croston, near Preston. Became interested in entomology at an early age. Collected both Lepidoptera and Coleoptera but the latter were always his main interest. Philip Harwood said of him that he was indefatigable worker and that he was indebted to him for such rarities as Aegialia rufa, Leiodes ciliaris and L. furva (EMM.,86, 1950, p.95). Wilding’s records are included in Willoughby Ellis (1889) and Sharp (1908). He wrote 8 notes in EMM. between 1884-88 but after that appears to have published most of his material through the LCES. Wilding’s collection amounting to some 10,000 specimens in 34 wooden store boxes, was purchased by Liverpool Museum for £75 after his death (50.36). It includes material from Bennett, Kinder, Newbery, Collins, J.J.Walker, Tomlin, Hallett, Bullock, M.L.Thompson and Harwood. The Museum also possesses a folder of ms material associated with it including a letter from R.W.Lloyd to Wilding’s daughter, Mrs Pritchard, asking about her father’s death, and a portrait. There are also beetles collected by him in the Kidson Taylor collection at Manchester. Member LCES from 1881 (Council 1890,; Vice President 1901,1904,1905; President 1914, 1919, 1924, 1927, 1932-34, 1946). (MD 12/04)
WILKIN, Simon 1790 – 1862 The wealthy Norwich naturalist and printer who employed John Curtis to curate his private museum and offered him a home, and who published Denny (1825). Some of his finds of beetles are recorded by Stephens (1828) pp.60, 158. He published a Catalogue of some rare insects in the collection of S. Wilkin, 1816, which I have not seen, and is recorded to have started a Catalogue of British Insects which was never published, but which formed the basis for Curtis’s Guide to the Arrangement of British Insects, 1829. (MD 12/04)
WILKINSON, Thomas c.1818 – 13 April 1876

Well-known Scarborough Micro-Lepidopterist who studied Coleoptera in later life. He published 8 notes in EMM starting with ‘Ant’s nests beetles at Scarborough’ 2, 1865,14 and finishing with ‘Helophorus tuberculatus in Yorks’ 11, 1875, 235. He is mentioned in the Gorham diary at Birmingham and the Janson diary at Cambridge eg. February 1870. Rye, Ent.Ann., 1869, 26, records that Wilkinson sent him beetles for naming. His main collection of beetles is in the Mason collection at Bolton (the specimens are marked in purple) and Simms (1968) records material in the W.C. Hey collection at York. There is an obituary in EMM, 12, 1876, 279. (MD 12/04, 12/21)

WILKINSON, W. Lived at Goldthorpe near Doncaster and was a member of the Doncaster Naturalists Society from 1947 (information from Peter Skidmore). Specimens collected by him and mounted on glass are in the general collection there. (MD 12/04)
WILLIAMS, Basil Samuel 13 April 1891 – 12 February 1941 Born at Finchley, the nephew of B.S.Williams, author of several books on plants including the Orchid Growers Manual. His first interest was in the Lepidoptera ,of which he formed a good collection, but after the First World War, in which he received a serious head injury, he turned his attention to Coleoptera. Following a meeting with Philip Harwood at the Verrall Supper in 1924 the two became firm friends and often collected together travelling as far as the Scottish Highlands. From 1931 Williams turned his attention mainly to the Hemiptera. He married Olive Kingsbury and they had a single child Brenda who married Charles Mackechnie-Jarvis. Among his other interests was philately and the growing of cacti. Four of the species described by Williams are now considered junior synonyms of older names but Atheta harwoodi, Gyrophaena williamsi and G. munsteri still stand.. The holotypes of the species described by Williams are in the NHM. At one time he had in his possession the F.Bates collection which he passed to the Plant Pathology Laboratory at Harpenden together with many specimens of his own after keeping ‘the pick’ of the specimens for himself. His collection (including the Bates’ specimens) was purchased by Liverpool Museum (42-13). A folder of ms material accompanying it includes a letter from Harry Britten to Dr Allan at the Museum ‘Have just had the offer of B.S.Williams Coleoptera collection... My friend E.C.Bedwell has seen Mrs Williams and tells me she appears inclined to entertain the idea of them going to Liverpool for say £50 I knew many of Williams smaller beetles as we did an extensive correspondence over many of them, he added many species to the British list and the greater part of his smaller beetles have been dissected...’ Other notes in this folder by Ian Wallace indicate: that Britten worked on the collection; that the main period covered is 1924-30 but that specimens from other collectors including Joy, Fowler, Donisthorpe, Newbery, and Sharp fall outside those dates; that his major interest was the Staphylinidae, particularly Atheta; and that F.Balfour Browne, Deville, Britten, Gridelli, Strand and others all made determinations for him. There is also a note by P.F.Lingwood dated 1976 which states that Williams was unfamiliar with the concept of types. Four collecting diaries covering the periods May 1909 -1914, September 1921 - August 1923, September 1923 - May 1926 and May 1926 – 1931 are also at Liverpool. I have also seen specimens collected by Williams in the Museum at Cambridge. There is an obituary by Philip Harwood in EMM., 77, 1941, p.93. (MD 12/04)