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Hodgson, Brian Houghton (1800-1894)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0814 ZFA
Held at: Zoological Society of London
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Full 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.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

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 Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

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

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