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.

The filter boxes below can be used to find individual entries or groups of entries in the table. You can filter by surname (enter a single letter to see all names beginning with that letter, or enter the first part of a particular surname), or by any part of the full name, or you can filter the main biographical text. You can use the filters in combination, e.g. to search for both a name and some biography text at the same time. Don't forget to click on the Apply button to make your filter work. To remove your filter, delete the text you typed in and then click "Apply" again.

Type in the first lettter/s of the surname
Type in any part of the name
Type in any text
Namesort descending Dates Biography
VIRTUE-TEBBS, H. I have a note that Stevens auctioned a collection of exotic Coleoptera and Lepidoptera made by an H.V.Tebbs. It seems likely that this is Virtue-Tebbs who sold Minerals, Fossils, Birds, etc on 27 June 1900 although Chalmers-Hunt (1976) p.136 does not mention that insects were included in this sale. FESL 1853-56. (MD 12/04)
W., R.B. These initials appear on specimens in the collection of Aberdeen University. (MD 12/04)
WAILES, George 1802 – 30 October 1882 Mentioned by Stephens (1828) eg. pp. 175, 178, 179. At the time of his death he was living in Gateshead. An obituary in EMM., 19,1883, pp.211-12, suggests that he was mainly interested in Lepidoptera and these certainly formed the bulk of the 20 or so notes he published between 1832 and 1862. A collection of British insects was auctioned by Stevens on 14 May 1884 (Chalmers-Hunt (1976) p. 116) and his British Coleoptera are in the Mason collection at Bolton. FESL 1843, 1854-67. (MD 12/04)
WAKE-WOOD, Margaret In a letter dated 7 November 1965, written when she was very elderly, to the RESL, Miss Wake-Wood states ‘I have been an entomologist for many years & have made big collections of Coleoptera etc’. She lived at that time in South Kensington (I am grateful to Eric Gowing-Scopes for this information). (MD 12/04)
WAKEFIELD, Harry Rowland 1861 – 19480 Founder of the Swansea Field Naturalist’s Society in June 1906. His eldest daughter Elsie was Chief Mycologist at Kew for many years. Wakefield was an all-round naturalist but in his fifties turned principally to Coleoptera collecting mainly in Wales and particularly Breconshire on which he published a paper ‘Breconshire Coleoptera’ Proc. Swansea Fld nat Soc. (Information from John Bratton). His collection of some 10,000 specimens was donated by his daughters to Swansea Museum in 1951 (but not fully accessioned until 1985). According to Fenscore ‘in the Museum register, the collector of the specimens is listed as J.R.leB Tomlin, but this contradicts details given in the paper ‘Breconshire Coleoptera’. The collector intended to produce a survey of beetle life in Breconshire comparabke to that carried out for Glamorgan by Tomlin... the beetles were collected during several excursions made into the county by the Swansea Scientific and Field Naturalists Society and during short holidays spent by the collector at some considerable distance from one another. Whilst the collection does contain specimens from Tomlin, it also contains material collected by Wakefield’s other associates as listed in the introduction to his paper, the only other major associated collector apart from Tomlin was Mr J.Williams Vaughan of Erwood.’ (MD 12/04)
WAKELY, L. This name appears on specimens in the collection of K.C.Lewis.. (MD 12/06)
WAKELY, Stanley Howard 9 July 1892 – 5 May 1976 Mainly a Lepidopterist but he also interested himself in Coleoptera and Diptera. Born in Newport on the Isle of Wight and became interested in entomology at an early age making the acquaintance of J. Lobb and H.G.Jeffrey who were to become life-long friends. Served in France during the 1914-1918 War with the Coldsteam Guards and on return lived at Tiptree in Essex where he worked as a printer. Later he moved to various parts of south London in the same trade. He was much involved with the SLENHS of which he was a Council member and President (1942). His collection of 15,000 specimens was acquired by Cambridge on 1 May 1972. There are also specimens collected by him in the Gilmour collection at Doncaster. There is an obituary with full bibliography and portrait photograph in Proc.BENHS., 10, 1977, pp.36-39. (MD 12/04)
WALCOT(T), W.H.L. 10 April 1790 – 1869 Published a couple of notes on collecting and preserving Coleoptera in Zool., 1845 and 1858. Lived at Clifton, Bristol. 19 drawers of British and other insects, chiefly Coleoptera and Hymenoptera , collected by Walcot were given to Birmingham Museum (27.ix. 1912) by his granddaughter Miss A.H.Malcolm, who lived in Bath. They are now amalgamated into the general collection. FESL 1862-68. Gilbert (1977) lists an obituary by Edward Newman in Ent., 4, 1869, p.294, which I have not seen. (MD 12/04)
WALKER John James 16 May 1851 – 12 January 1939 Born at Sheerness, the son of James Samuel Walker of the Royal Naval Dockyard there. After his father’s death in 1865 he entered the Dockyard as an engineer apprentice and student. His subsequent career involved promotion to Chief Engineer on 2 April 1888, Staff Engineer on 2 April 1892 and Fleet Engineer on 2 April 1896. During this time he travelled extensively around the world . Following his retirement from the Navy in 1904 he moved to Oxford, where he became a constant visitor to the Hope Department. A series of amusing accounts of Walker’s life at sea and also of his stalwart collecting, by Hugh Scott and Edward Poulton, are included in his obituary (by Poulton) in EMM., 75, 1939, pp.64-70. These include the observation that there were two things in life he could not resist: sharpening pencils and stroking pussy cats. Apart from his interest in Coleoptera, Walker also collected Lepidoptera and was a good botanist (he claimed to have eaten almost every English berry poisonous or otherwise). Walker’s daughter, by his marriage to Angelina Kerry (d.1887), married G.C.Champion, his close friend of 57 years (on their first meeting, see Champion, G.C.) They had three sons all of whom were educated at Oxford so able to keep their grandfather company after the death of his wife. After his retirement from the Navy, Walker was appointed one of the editors of the EMM , in which post he worked in close collaboration with Champion and R.W.Lloyd (he was made Editor-in-Chief from 1927). This appointment co-incided with his move to Oxford where he lived at Summertown, calling his house Aorangi after a favourite mountain in New Zealand visited on his cruises. He was granted an MA honoris causa by Oxford University on 10 August 1905. Walker’s publications on entomology, the majority of which concerned Coleoptera , amounted to some 180 notes and articles. Most are listed in Poulton’s ‘A selected and classified bibliography of J.J.Walker’s publications 1872-1939’ (EMM., 75, 1939, pp.79) Three of the more important were his ‘Preliminary List of Coleoptera observed in the neighbourhood of Oxford 1819-1907’ (Report Ashmolean Natural History Society, 1906, pp.49-10 plus six later supplements; ‘Coleoptera of the Rochester District’ (Rochester nat., 2, 1897-1900, pp.441-650); and the annotated list of the Isle of Sheppey’s fauna in Trans. Ent. Soc. S. Eng., 7, 1931-32, pp.81-140. He also wrote Practical Hints on the Formation of a Collection of Coleoptera (extract from Trans. SE Union of Scientific Societies, 1899, pp.18-35). The species Tachys walkerianus and Helophorus walkeri were named after him by Sharp. According to Poulton, Walker’s collections were bequeathed to the HDO together with any books and printed papers which were wanted. He also states that he left his manuscript diaries and £100 to the RESL; and that the collections he made on his voyages were presented to the NHM, whilst most of his Australian, New Zealand and Mediterranean species were left to his brother-in-law, G.C.Champion, who bequeathed them to the same institution. Poulton also makes special reference to his British beetle collection ‘with the accompanying Catalogue by Hudson Beare and Donisthorpe to which four different marks have been added, indicating whether the series of each species is complete, incomplete, represented by two specimens or by one, absentees being left blank. A glance at these pages at once shows the wonderful results attained by the Commander’s power as a collector...’. The NHM insects are detailed more precisely in Waterhouse p.573: ‘Mr J.J.Walker who from time to time, since 1884, had presented specimens from his collections to the Museum, commenced in 1890 the transmission of the important series obtained by him as Chief Engineer of H.M.S. Penquin (presented by the Lords of the Admiralty), 778 insects of various orders being secured during the voyage between Aden and Australia. In 1891, 3825 Coleoptera were added; in 1892, 3173 Coleoptera; in 1893, 1114 Coleoptera...’ Harvey (1996) p.210 record that the NHM also houses 16 ms leaves listing insect collecting localities from around the world, 15 written from HMS Penquin, c.1890-92 . In regard to the collections at the HDO Smith (1986) p.156 has a detailed account which includes ‘rare Coleopterous insects from Chatham (1897)’ and ‘Collection of British Coleoptera and Lepidoptera, 87 boxes of foreign butterflies, and 42 boxes of Australian and New Zealand Coleoptera, books, separata (1939). Donated much British material while associated with the Department. Statement by Hope Professor in Annual Report: ‘The British Beetles will be kept intact, as he wished, as far as possible’’. In regard to mss, she lists (p.90): a collection of letters to Poulton 1896-1901; 24 notebooks covering the years 1870-1911 containing information about his captures in Great Britain and overseas (the latter places are listed with dates) and a photograph taken on board ship. I have also seen specimens bearing Walker’s name in the Dyson Perrins Collection at Birmingham (from Ashe), general collection at Doncaster, RSM, and at Manchester. In regard to the last Johnson (2004) notes that the collection includes 6,000 duplicates from the Campletown area of Scotland; central and southern England, especially Oxford district, Isle of Sheppey and New Forest. Andy Salisbury tells me that there are also 30 specimens, mainly carabids, in the RHS’s collection and K.C. Lewis that there are specimens in his collection collected by Walker. Michael Cooper informs me that the database of Nottingham Museum includes 493 records of Coleoptera relating to Walker and a few Hemiptera. These last refer to 687 specimens in all of c.290 species from the New Forest, Sheppey, Sheerness, Chatham, Chesil, Deal, Oxford, etc., 1887-1992, mostly recorded as JJW. About half of this material came from the A. Thornley collection. Journals of his voyages in HMS Kingfisher (September 1880-August1884); HMS Grappler (October 1886-April 1889); an unnamed vessel sailing from Port Said to Freemantle, and from Colombo to Northern Australia (n.d.); HMS Ringarooma (Australian journal and observations of natural history, December 1899-July1902) and HMS Penguin (1890-1893) are in the RESL, where there is also correspondence with Herbert Druce (6 January 1895), correspondence with C. Blair including papers concerning his late friend G.C.Champion, and correspondence with C.J. Wainwright (Pedersen (2002)). Tachys walkerianus was named after him by Sharp in 1913 and Helophorus walkeri also by Sharp in 1916 FESL from 1878 (President 1919-20; Vice President 1916, 1921; Secretary 1899, 1905-18; Council 1894,1921, Special Life Fellow 1933). SLNHS from 1880) FLS from1889 (Council 1913-17). Society for British Entomology from 1933 (Vice President 1937). A portrait photograph is included in the obituary cited above. Gilbert (1977) lists nine other obituaries and other notices. (MD 12/04)
WALKER, J.A. This name appears on specimens in the collection of K.C.Lewis. (MD 12/06)