University of Manchester Biological Society Archive

  • Reference
      GB 133 UBS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      19 items 0.33 li.m.
  • Location
      Collection available at the University Archive and Records Centre, main John Rylands University Library.

Scope and Content

The archive comprises an incomplete set of the minutes of meetings of the Society, minutes of the committee of the Society, and copies of the Society's journal Helix, which was produced in the 1970s. There is also miscellaneous material including posters produced for meetings in the mid-1980s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Biological Society was established in December 1879 by Arthur Milnes Marshall, the recently-appointed professor of zoology at Owens College. Its objectives were "the promotion of a wider knowledge of Biological and Geological Science, and of a friendly intercourse between members." [minutes 18 December 1879]

Marshall served as first president of the Society, with William Boyd Dawkins (geology), Arthur Gamgee (anatomy), Morrison Watson (physiology) and W.C. Williamson (botany) as vice-presidents. The Society consisted of honorary members (academic staff) and ordinary members (students). In its early years the Society organised around a dozen meetings per session, and membership reached 55 ordinary members in 1893/4. The Society continued to flourish and was still holding meetings in the 1980s.

Access Information

The collection is open to any accredited reader.

Other Finding Aids


Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PP.

Custodial History

The archive appears to have been in the custody of the Department of Zoology, and was transferred to the University Archives with material from the Department of Zoology in the mid-1990s.


There may be further accruals to this archive.

Related Material

The University Archives also has custody of the archives of the departments of zoology (DZO) and botany (DBO).