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Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

HUXLEY, Thomas Henry (1825-1895)


Reference code(s): GB 0098 B/HUXLEY

Held at: Imperial College of Science Technology and Medicine

Title: HUXLEY, Thomas Henry (1825-1895)

Date(s): Created 1839-1931

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 216 volumes/boxes

Name of creator(s): Huxley | Thomas Henry | 1825-1895 | scientist and educationalist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, Ealing, London, 1825; studied medicine; Assistant Surgeon, surveying ship HMS RATTLESNAKE around Australia, 1846-1850; Lecturer in Natural History, School of Mines, 1854; Naturalist to the Geological Survey, 1854; Hunterian professor, Royal College of Surgeons, 1863-1869; Fullerian professor, Royal Institution, 1863-1867; Professor of Biology and Dean, Normal School of Science (later Royal College of Chemistry), 1881-1895; Dean, Royal School of Mines, 1881-1895; Honorary Professor of Biology, 1885-1895; foremost advocate in England of Darwin's theory of evolution; died, 1895.
Publications: include: On the educational value of the natural history sciences (London, 1854); The Oceanic Hydrozoa; a description of the Calycophoridae and Physophoridae observed during the voyage of HMS "Rattlesnake" in the years 1846-50 (London, 1859); Lectures on the Elements of Comparative Anatomy vol 1 (London, 1864); A catalogue of the collection of Fossils in the Museum of Practical Geology, with an explanatory introduction with Robert Etheridge (London, 1865); Lessons in Elementary Physiology (London, 1866); An Introduction to the Classification of Animals (London, 1869); Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews (London, 1870); A Manual of the Anatomy of vertebrated animals (London, 1871); More Criticisms on Darwin, and Administrative Nihilism (D Appleton & Co, New York, 1872); A course of practical instruction in elementary biology assisted by H N Martin (London, Cambridge [printed], 1875); A Manual of the anatomy of Invertebrated Animals (London, 1877); Physiography: an introduction to the study of nature (London, 1877); Fish Diseases (London, 1883); Evolution and Ethics (The Romanes Lecture, 1893) (Macmillan and Co, London, 1893); Man's Place in Nature, and other essays [1906]; Collected Essays 9 vol (Macmillan and Co, London, 1894-1908); The Scientific Memoirs of T H Huxley edited by Professor Michael Foster and Professor E Ray Lankester 5 vol (Macmillan & Co, London, 1898-1903).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Thomas Henry Huxley, 1839-1931, comprising scientific and general correspondence, 1846-1911; Huxley family letters, 1842-1931; personal papers, 1839-1891; working papers, 1846-1900, largely comprising notes, drawings, lectures and unfinished essays, relating to anthropology and ethnology, 1866-1890, biology, 1846-1900, including voyage of HMS RATTLESNAKE, 1846-1850, education, 1861-1893, geology and palaeontology, 1854-1891, philosophy and ethics, 1871-[1893], theology and biblical criticism, [1859-1895]; papers of the Fisheries Commissions and Scottish Fishery Board, 1858-1864; appointment diaries, 1857-1894; drawings, [1849-1872]; caricatures and cartoons, [1852-1883]; photographs and engravings, [1846-1890]; posthumous papers, [1895-1925];

scientific papers, 1846-1898, comprising notebooks made whilst with HMS RATTLESNAKE, 1846-1850; scientific notebooks, containing drawings, notes, correspondence and lectures, [1855-1888], principally relating to zoology and largely organised by zoological classification; drawings, [1847-1895], many relating to the notebooks;

correspondence between Huxley and Henrietta Anne Heathorn, 1847-1854.


Language/scripts of material: English, German, French

System of arrangement:

The papers have been listed as three groups; papers catalogued by W R Dawson, scientific papers and correspondence with Henrietta Heathorn.

Conditions governing access:

Researchers wishing to consult the Archives should first contact the College Archivist, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, for an appointment.

Conditions governing reproduction:

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Archivist. Photocopies are supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Catalogues are available in the reading room of the College Archives.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were accumulated by the College from a purchase made in 1937, and from various subsequent deposits by the Huxley family. Most of the scientific papers were presented to the Department of Science and Art by T H Huxley from 1886, and after his death by his widow, and were transferred to the College Archives.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Papers of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay (KGA RAMSAY), Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair of St Andrews (B/PLAYFAIR), held at Imperial College.

Lecture notes, 1861-1862, held at the National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records (reference: Sir John Williams MSS 358); lecture notes, 1867, and letters to James Thomas Knowles, 1871-1895 (reference: MS 5271), held at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine; lecture notes, 1869-1871, held at Oxford University, Department of Zoology; letters to Sir Henry Cole, 1857-1887, and to Sir Charles Lyell, 1859-1868, held at the American Philosophical Society Library; correspondence with Charles Darwin, 1859-1880, held at Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: Darwin); letters to Sir Michael Foster, 1875-95, held at the Royal College of Physicians of London; letters to Sir Archibald Geikie, 1860-1888, held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections (reference: Gen 525); letters to George Gordon, 1857-1892, held at the Elgin Museum (reference: NRA(S)1989); letters to George Holyoake, 1871-1891, held at the Co-Operative Union Archive (reference: MM/96636/1-12); letters to Sir Norman Lockyer, held at Exeter University Library; correspondence with Macmillans, 1866-1894, held at the British Library, Manuscript Collections (reference: Add MS 55210); letters to Trenham Reeks, 1856-1879, held at the British Geological Survey Library (reference: IGS1); correspondence with Herbert Spencer, 1860-1875, held at London University Library (reference: MS 791); correspondence with Sir George Stokes, 1864-1893, held at Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: Add 7342, 7656); letters to Sir John Tyndall, held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain; correspondence and papers relating to the Huxley Memorial Committee, 1895-1900, held at the Natural History Museum; letters, 1856-1893, held at the Huntington Library.

Publication note:

A man who did his best to help the people-Thomas Henry Huxley Charles Hargrove (Leeds, Goodall & Suddick, 1895); Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Leonard Huxley 2 vol (Macmillan & Co, London, 1900); Thomas Henry Huxley Edward Clodd (W Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh & London, 1902); T H Huxley as a Man of Letters Aldous Leonard Huxley (Macmillan & Co, London, [1932]); Huxley [A biography of Thomas H Huxley] Clarence Edwin Ayres (W W Norton & Co, New York, [1932]); T H Huxley's Diary of the voyage of HMS Rattlesnake edited from the unpublished MS by Julian Huxley (Chatto & Windus, London, 1935); T H Huxley: scientist, humanist and educator Cyril Bibby (Watts, London, 1959); Thomas Henry Huxley Albert Ashforth (New York, Twayne Publishers, [1969]); Scientist extraordinary: the life and scientific work of Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895 Cyril Bibby (Pergamon, Oxford, 1972); Huxley. The Devil's disciple Adrian Desmond (Michael Joseph, London, 1994); Huxley. Evolution's high priest Adrian Desmond (Michael Joseph, London, 1997); Huxley. From devil's disciple to evolution's high priest Adrian Desmond (Penguin, London, 1998).



Archivist's note: Sources: Webster's Biographical Dictionary (G & C Merriam Co, 1961); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: November 2000

Caricatures | Drawings | Visual materials
Cartoons | Films
Essays | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Ocean exploration | Oceanographic research | Oceanography
Photographs | Visual materials
Scientific expeditions | Field work | Research work
Natural philosophy x Science philosophy
Natural sciences

Personal names
Huxley | Henrietta Anne | 1825-1914 | née Heathorn | wife of Thomas Henry Huxley x Heathorn | Henrietta Anne
Huxley | Thomas Henry | 1825-1895 | scientist and educationist

Corporate names
HMS Rattlesnake
Scottish Fishery Board