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Holland, Thomas Henry (1868-1947)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0117 MS 768
Held at: Royal Society
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Full title: Holland, Thomas Henry (1868-1947)
Date(s): 1944-1966
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 boxes
Name of creator(s): Holland | Sir | Thomas Henry | 1868-1947 | Knight | geologist and educational administrator


Administrative/Biographical history:

Thomas Henry Holland was born on 22 November 1868 at Helston, Cornwall, of John Holland and Grace Treloar Roberts, one of eight children. Educated first at a dame's school at Helston, he later studied under John Gill, a schoolmaster at Helston, who, recognising his promise, prepared him for a scholarship to the Royal College of Science at South Kensington which he won at the age of sixteen. He won a London Associate 1st Class with Honours in Geology in 1888, and the Murchison Medal and Prize. Thomas Henry Huxley was then the Dean, and Holland became a lifelong admirer. After a period as assistant to Professor Judd at the Royal College of Science, he became a Berkeley Fellow at Owens College Manchester in 1889. In 1890, at the age of twenty one, he was appointed Assistant Superintendent in the Geological Survey of India. He travelled there via the United States, Canada and the Far East, arriving in Calcutta in October 1890 where he was made Curator of the Geological Museum and Laboratory, holding the post until 1896. He soon established a reputation as a petrographer and one interested in the economic side of geology, his energy and organizing ability soon becoming evident to the Government of India, being appointed Director of the Geological Survey of India 1903-1909. His work put the Geological Survey into a position of prestige in India, both with the Government and public, which it never lost. His outstanding service in India was recognized by the award of KCIE in 1908. He was appointed to the Chair of Geology and Mineralogy at Manchester University in 1909, taking it up in 1910. With Rutherford and Elliot Smith he formed the dominant trio, while influencing heavily the interest in petrology, geodesy and mineral deposits, and revifying the rather moribund mining department. He returned to India in 1916 as President of the Indian Munitions Board, resigning his professorship in favour of membership of the Advisory Council of the University. He married Frances Maud Chapman (died 1942), daughter of Charles Chapman, Deputy Commisisoner in Oudh, on 23 December 1896, and had one son, Major General John F C Holland, and one daughter, Margaretta, widow of Colonel A G Shea. In 1946 he married Helen Eileen, daughter of Frank Verrall, of Bramley, near Guildford, with whom he took a house in Surbiton in Surrey. She survived him and was, from 1948 until 1954, an active member of Surrey County Council. Holland was awarded KCIE for scientific services in 1908; KCSI for war services in 1918; and elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1904.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers relating to Thomas Henry Holland's relations with Russia and visit to the 220th anniversary of the Academy of Sciences of USSR in 1945. Also papers relating to a National Trust visit where Lady Holland was a member of the group in 1966.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

First part relating to Sir Thomas Henry Holland's relations with the USSR; second part relating to Lady Holland's visit in 1966.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids:

List in Library. Detailed catalogue available at

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited at the Royal Society in 1967.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Imperial College Library, London University: letters to his family, 1887-1918.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description produced by the Royal Society and revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

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:
Created 27/11/2001, modified 27/05/2002, September 2002

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