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
BALDEN, James Published an 'Account of insects injurious to Forest Trees, especially the larch and pine’ in Prize Essays and Trans. Highland Soc., (n.s.) 8, 1843, pp.114-125. (MD 9/01)
BALE, S.(or J.) Stephens, J.F. (1828-1831, 1, p.13) mentions that a Reverend S. Bale caught a specimen of Cicindela which was in the collection of A.H.Haworth. Other mentions by the same author give his initial as J. (MD 9/01)

Published two notes on Trypodendron lineatum (Oilv.) in EMM., 98, 1962, 52 & 66. At this time he was attached to the Forest Research Station, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey. (MD 8/17)

BALFOUR-BROWNE, John ('Jack') William Alexander Francis.A.F. 15 May 1907 - 11 June 2001 Born in Larne, Northern Ireland, the son of William Alexander Francis Balfour-Browne the well known Coleopterist. Educated at Rugby School, and at Oxford (1925-1927) and Cambridge (1928-1931) Universities. Immediately after leaving Cambridge served as an economic entomologist to the Junta Geral, Madeira. In 1934 took up a post at the NHM where he worked in the Entomology Department becoming Head of the Coleoptyera Section, until his retirement in 1967. Apart from a few papers on Apion between 1942 and 1945, and an article on the nomenclature of the Cryptophagidae in 1953, almost all Balfour-Browne's work has been on the Dytiscidae (including Noteridae), Hydraenidae and Hydrophilidae. In these groups he has published some seventy articles, etc. between 1936 and 1979, covering the faunas of Fiji, China, Japan, Arabia, Africa, Tibet and other countries.This must have disappointed Guy Marshall who wrote to Colbran Wainwright 29 December 1944 ‘...I am helping Jack Balfour-Browne to make a start with the weevils, so that he can carry on my work when I get too doddery.’ (Letter in RES quoted in Pedersen (2002) p.140). He maintains a small reference collection of aquatic beetles only. His other material being deposited in collections at Paris, Tervuren, Honolulu, San Francisco, NHM, etc.. Harvey, J.M.V., Gilbert, P. and Martin, K. (1996) list various manuscript materials at the NHM including notebooks, typescripts and correspondence. FRES, FRZS and President of the Balfour-Browne Club. (Information from J.W.A.F.B-B.) (MD 9/01, 11/09)
BALFOUR-BROWNE, William ('Frank') Alexander Francis 1874 - 28 September 1967 There are detailed accounts of Frank Balfour-Browne by Robert Angus in EMM., 103, 1967, pp.286-288 and by A.R.Waterson in Yearbook of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1966-7, pp.8-10. His own autobiographical work Water Beetles and Other Things (Dumfries 1962) also gives a great deal of information. The following notes are abstracted from Angus's account: Born in 1874 the son of a distinguished Barrister, and from an early age showed a keen interest in natural history. Educated at St. Paul's School, London where he won a prize for a collection of beetles taken in the school playground. Went to Magdalen College, Oxford where he read Natural Science taking his B.A. degree in Botany in 1896 and was awarded a half blue for cycling. After graduating he decided that the Law might be a suitable career and after qualifying he was called to the Bar in 1898. A little over a year later he decided to return to natural science, this time to zoology. He had been impressed by the lack of field courses in this subject at Oxford compared with those in botany, and this influenced his decision. Appointed Assistant Naturalist at the Marine Biological Station at Plymouth, but soon after his marriage in 1902 took up the post of Director of the Sutton Broad Laboratory, famous as a pioneer freshwater biological station. It was while working at Sutton Broad that Balfour-Browne, encouraged by David Sharp, made a survey of the water beetles of the area of East Norfolk, and became aware of their distinct habitat associations. In 1906 he took up the post of Lecturer and Demonstrator in Belfast. Moved in 1913 to Cambridge where he was Lecturer in Entomology, a post which he held until 1925. His successful course was eventually published as A Text-Book of Practical Entomology (1932). In 1925 decided to retire from teaching to devote his full time to water beetles, and with this in view moved to Somerset. Shortly after, however, he was persuaded to accept the Chair of Entomology at Imperial College, where he remained until finally retiring in 1930. Balfour-Browne’s revision of the difficult section of Haliplus Latreille appeared in 1915 (ANMT., (8) 15, pp.7-124), while his first account of the Deronectes depressus-elegans complex was published in 1919 (ibid., (9) 3, pp.293-308). Full time work on the water beetles enabled him to gather together a mass of information which served as the basis for his well known three volume work British Water Beetles, published by the Ray Society between 1940 and 1958 The last decade of the Professor's life brought a small number of Papers covering such subjects as distribution and routes of arrival of British water beetles, in which he was particularly interested, and, stimulated by Kevan's revision of Helophorus F., on taxonomy. His final paper was published only weeks before his death at the advanced age of 93. Balfour-Browne's collection, including his note books and card indexes, passed to the RSM in 1962 and Pedersen (2002) lists correspondence in the RES with C. Wainwright and D.Jackson (pp.84, 137). The Balfour-Browne Club is named after him. (MD 9/01, 11/09)
BALY, Joseph Sugar 1816 - 27 March 1890

Born in Warwick the eldest son of Joseph Baly. His brother was Price Richard Baly, the engineer. Educated at the Grammar school in Warwick and subsequently at St. George's Hospital, London and the infirmary at Shrewsbury. After graduating as a Doctor of Medicine he moved to Paris before returning to England, where he lived first in Leamington and then in London where he 'secured a very large practice and formed the friendship of many scientific men of the day, including the chiefs at the British Museum'. After his health broke down he returned to Warwick in about 1868 and remained there until his death in 1890. At various times he was Medical Officer of Health for Leamington and also medical officer of the Union Infirmary. He also served as a J.P. and was Honorary Curator of the Warwick Museum.

Baly's interest in entomology appears to have been stimulated initially by his work on microscopy. David Sharp recorded that about 1850 'he visited Mr S. Stevens, in Bloomsbury Street, in search of objects for his microscope, and he purchased a small collection of Indian Hymenoptera. He entered into a correspondence with Mr H.W.Bates, who was then in the Amazon Valley, and in the course of this informed Mr Bates that the marvels of insect structure revealed by his microscope led him to devote himself more exclusively to entomology. At that time the collections made by Wallace in the Malay Archipelago and by Bates in the Amazon Valley were arriving in this country and Baly having a good series of the phytophagous Coleoptera from them, found full occupation for his leisure time...’ (Ent., 23, 1890, p.199). From this beginning Baly went on to become the foremost worker on this group of his day. He amassed a huge collection and described enormous numbers of new species in a series of articles and books which commenced with his 'Monograph of the Australian species of Chrysomela, Phyllocharis and allied genera’ in Trans.ESL.,(2)3, 1855, pp.170-186,241-263, and ended with descriptions of new species of Galerucinae in the year of his death. His best known publications are probably his Catalogue of the Hispidae in the British Museum (1858) and the 'Phytophaga Malayana, a revision of the phytophagous beetles of the Malay archipelago, with descriptions of the new species collected by Alfred R. Wallace' in Trans.ESL., 1865, pp.1-76 and 1867, pp.77-300. Baly’s collection was purchased in parts by the NHM between 1880 and 1905 and amounted in all to some 28,000 specimens including more than 1,200 types. Many Coleoptera had earlier (1855-56) been exchanged by the Museum for Baly specimens and other specimens purchased from him in 1860. Some Coleoptera and Hymenoptera were sold by Stevens on 25 November 1890. Insects other than beetles were purchased by the HDO in 1857 and March 1877. Apart from the account by Sharp already mentioned, Gilbert,P. (1977) lists a further five references. (MD 9/01, 6/18)

BANCROFT, F. A collection of beetles made by Bancroft amounting to about 800 specimens and including many given to him by K.C.Side, belonged to Ian M. White of the Nature Conservancy Council, Edinburgh in 1982. (MD 9/01)
BANKES, Eustace Ralph 1861 ?1862 - 9 December 1929 Primarily known as a Lepidopterist but did publish 'Abundance of Cetonia aurata in 1895' in EMM., 32, 1896, pp.40-41, and 'Early appearance of Cicindela campestris' in ibid., 35, 1899, p.93. Bankes was an active and successful field worker until about 1909 when he became ill. His library passed to the HDO and his Lepidoptera to the NHM, where there is also a large collection of his manuscript material. Pedersen (2002) p.118 also lists a letter, to C.J.Wainwright, in the RES.. There are obituaries in EMM.,66, 1930, p.63 (anon); Ent., 63, 1930, pp.47-48 (R. Adkin) and Proc.ESL., 5, 1931, pp.130-131 (K. Jordan). (MD 9/01, 11/09)
BANKS, Edward Published an article entitled 'Glow worm' in Scientific Gossip, 5, 1870, p.71. Is this perhaps the same E. Banks who is listed in the Ent. Ann. 1857 as 'at Mr Stubbs 1, Sadler Street, Durham’? (MD 9/01)
BANKS, H.H. Collections of Hymenopera and Coleoptera from the Federated Malay States were acquired by the HDO in 1910 and 1911 (Smith, A.Z. 1986, p.102) (MD 9/01)