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Clift, William and Owen, Sir Richard: Correspondence from C D Sherborn's Collection

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0114 MS0254
Held at: Royal College of Surgeons of England
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Full title: Clift, William and Owen, Sir Richard: Correspondence from C D Sherborn's Collection
Date(s): 1816-1886
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 1 volume
Name of creator(s): Clift | William | 1775-1849 | naturalist
Owen | Sir | Richard | 1804-1892 | Knight | comparative anatomist and palaeontologist
Blizard | Sir | William | 1743-1835 | Knight | surgeon
Brodie | Sir | Benjamin Collins | 1783-1862 | 1st Baronet | surgeon
Clift | William Home | 1803-1832 | museum curator
Cline | Henry | 1750-1827 | surgeon
Cooper | Sir | Astley Paston | 1768-1841 | 1st Baronet | surgeon
Cooper | Bransby Blake | 1792-1853 | surgeon
Cooper | William White | 1816-1886 | surgeon and oculist
Guthrie | George James | 1785-1856 | surgeon
Home | Sir | Everard | 1756-1832 | 1st Baronet | surgeon
Keate | Robert | 1777-1857 | surgeon
Lawrence | Sir | William | 1783-1867 | 1st Baronet | surgeon
Skey | Frederic Carpenter | 1798-1872 | surgeon
South | John Flint | 1797-1882 | surgeon
Travers | Benjamin | 1783-1858 | surgeon


Administrative/Biographical history:

William Clift was born in 1775. He was apprenticed to John Hunter in 1792 and had sole charge of his museum after his death. He made copies of many of Hunter's manuscripts before the destruction of the originals by his brother-in-law Sir Everard Home. Clift was then conservator of the Hunterian Museum after the collection was transferred to the Royal College of Surgeons in 1800. He continued in this role for nearly 50 years compiling an osteological catalogue of the museum and researching the collections. He died in 1849.

Sir Richard Owen was born in 1804. He studied at the University of Edinburgh Medical School from 1824. He moved to London and became apprenticed to John Abernethy, in 1825. He was made Assistant Curator to the Hunterian Museum, in 1826. Owen engaged in private practice, lectured in comparative anatomy, worked with the collections in the museum, founded various societies, and made discoveries such as the identification of a sub-order of Saurian reptiles which he named Dinosauria. Owen became Joint Conservator of the Hunterian Museum with William Clift, in 1842. Owen worked on the natural history collections of the British Museum, and campaigned for them to form a separate museum, which was opened in 1881 (now the Natural History Museum). Owen was knighted in 1884 and died in 1892.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to William Clift and Sir Richard Owen, 1816-1886, comprising a volume of 157 letters written to William Clift or Sir Richard Owen from various correspondents, relating mainly to work carried out in the Hunterian Museum, although some are of a more personal nature. Correspondents include members of the Abernethy family; Sir William Blizard; Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie; Henry Cline; William Cooke; Sir Astley Cooper; Bransby Blake Cooper; William White Cooper; George James Guthrie; Sir Everard Home; Robert Keate; Sir William Lawrence; Frederic Carpenter Skey; John Flint South; and Benjamin Travers.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The letters are arranged alphabetically by author and are numbered in sequence.

Conditions governing access:

By written appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the librarian.

Finding aids:

Additional manuscripts catalogue.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented by the Royal Society of Medicine, in 1958.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Sir Richard Owen: MS0007/1/3 - Lecture of Sir Charles Bell written by Richard Owen; MS0025 - Owen, Sir Richard (1804-1892); MS0233 - Memoir of William Clift by Richard Owen; MS0245 - William White Cooper - Notes of Richard Owen's lectures 1838-1839; MS0246 - Letter from Jean Pierre Flourens to Richard Owen, 1834; MS0247 - Letter from Lyon Playfair to Richard Owen, 1857; MS0248/2 - Thomas Wormald - Letters from Richard Owen to Thomas Wormald, 1856-1859; MS0249 - Two letters from Richard Owen to Sir Astley Cooper and the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1837-1863; and MS0250 - Richard Owen commemorative stamps and postcards, 1991

Hunterian Museum: Queckett papers - Histology of Animals plates with manuscript notes by Richard Owen.

William Clift: MS0007 - Clift, William papers; MS0233 - Sherborne Collection Papers; MS0122 - Manuscript notes of lectures delivered by Joseph Henry Green; MS0128 - Maiden, William (1768-1845) collection including letters and papers by William Clift; MS0234 - Autograph letters from William Clift to Dr Usher Parsons of Boston; MS0235 - Autograph letter from William Clift to Philip Syng Physick; MS0237 - Scrappiana or extracts various by William Clift; MS0238 - Correspondence and Papers of the Clift and Owen families.

For details of Richard Owen material in other repositories, please see the main Richard Owen collection description at MS0025.

For details of William Clift material in other repositories, please see the main William Clift collection description at MS0007.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with 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:
Sep 2008

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