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Zoological Society of London

Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1800-1894)


Reference code(s): GB 0814 ZFA

Held at: Zoological Society of London

Title: Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1800-1894)

Date(s): 1824-1874

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 21 files

Name of creator(s): Hodgson | Brian Houghton | 1800-1894 | Indian civil servant and naturalist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born in 1800 or 1801; educated at Macclesfield grammar school until 1814; Richmond, Surrey, 1814-1816; nominated for the Bengal civil service, 1816; East India Company training college, 1817; arrived in Calcutta early in 1818; studied Sanskrit and Persian at Fort William College; assistant commissioner of Kumaon, 1819; assistant residentship at the Nepalese capital, Katmandu, 1820; acting deputy secretary in the Persian department of the Foreign Office, 1822; Katmandu, residency postmaster, 1824; assistant resident, 1825; studied Nepalese institutions and commerce and became proficient in Nepali and Newari, 1820-1821; retained at his own expense a group of local research assistants, training himself and some of his staff as naturalists, specializing particularly in ornithology; he described 39 new mammalian and 150 bird species and published 127 zoological papers; collector of Buddhist scriptures in Sanskrit and Tibetan and was the first to reveal to the West the Sanskrit literature of northern, or Mahayana, Buddhism; acting resident, 1829-1831; resident, 21 January 1833, resigned from the civil service and returned to England, 1844; returned to India in 1845; continued work on zoology and the physical geology of the Himalayas, but concentrated in particular on the ethnology of the peoples of northern India, relying extensively on linguistic comparisons; the botanist Joseph Hooker stayed with him from 1848 to 1850; left India in 1858 and retired to Gloucestershire; died 1894. Member of the Royal Asiatic Society (1828), elected a fellow of the Linnean Society (1835) and of the Royal Society (1877), made a chevalier of the Légion d'honneur (1838), and awarded the honorary degree of DCL at Oxford University (1889).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Brian Houghton Hodgson, 1824-1874, comprising annotated British Museum Catalogues, " Brief Notices of Several New or Little-Known Species of Mammalia", 1855; List of specimens sent to British Museum, [1846]; notebook by Archibald Campbell in Nepal and annotated by Hodgson, 1833; catalogue of a collection of Mammalia from Nepal, Sikim, and Tibet, 1856; copies of printed papers, 1846-1848; correspondence, 1836-1874; correspondence and lists concerning the proposed publication of drawings, 1836-1845; descriptions of the animals of Nepal, Sikim and Tibet, 1830-1857; letters from Joseph Hooker to Brian H Hodgson, 1848-1850; lists of drawings and specimens, 1835-1838; lists of drawings and specimens sent to various recipients, 1842-1874; manuscripts of journal articles, 1831-1847; 'Memoranda of manners and habits of the birds of my Collection (according to the numbers attached to the drawings). Done by my native sportsmen or Shikarees and translated by my Writer', 1846-1857; miscellaneous journal articles, 1843-1846; notebook containing copies of letters to Hodgson, 1833-1842; Zoological Memos of 1846 made on the way from Monghys to Darjiling, 1846; Zoology Nepal notebooks, 1824-1827.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Arranged in 20 series.

Conditions governing access:

Available. Please make an appointment in advance of your visit.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

For series level descriptions see The Zoological Society of London website


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:




Archivist's note: Entry transcribed by Sarah Drewery, April 2011. Sources: Oxford DNB.

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: April 2011

Anatomy | Biology
Drawings | Visual materials
Native animals | Organisms
Natural history museums | Science museums | Specialized museums | Museums
Ornithology | Zoology

Personal names
Ball | Robert | 1802-1857 | naturalist
Burnett | Sir | William | 1779-1861 | Knight | physician
Campbell | Archibald J | fl 1833 | surgeon
Eden | George | 1784-1849 | Earl of Auckland | Governor General of India | statesman
Gray | John Edward | 1800-1875 | naturalist
Gunther | Albert Charles Lewis Gotthilf | 1830-1914 | zoologist
Hodgson | Brian Houghton | 1800-1894 | Indian civil servant and naturalist
Hume | James | fl 1848 | Secretary of the Agricultural Society
Mitchell | David William | 1814-1859 | zoologist
Ogilby | William | 1808-1873 | ZSL Secretary
Stanley | Edward Smith | 1775-1851 | 13th Earl of Derby x Derby | 13th Earl of
Strickland | Hugh Edwin | 1811-1853 | geologist and zoologist
Waterhouse | George Robert | 1810-1888 | naturalist

Corporate names
British Museum (Natural History) x Natural History Museum
East India Company
Royal Asiatic Society
Royal College Of Surgeons of England
Zoological Society of London

Himalayas | South Asia
India | South Asia
Nepal | South Asia
Sikkim | South Asia
Tibet | China | East Asia