The collection is composed of: letter from Mrs Melville Fleming, widow, to William Carruthers, Keeper of the Dept. of Botany, British Museum, 1865, within a copy of The lithology of Edinburgh; box of scientific papers mainly delivered at meetings of learned societies, 1808-1857; letters of S. W. Carruthers to Adam Mitchell Hunter, 1930 and 1931, contained within Memoir of Rev. John Fleming, D.D., F.R.S.E.; also loosely inserted within latter are, Fleming's observations on the formation of submarine forests in general and in the Firth of Tay in particular, material on the state and prospects of the Chair of Natural Science in New College, 1856-1857, paper by William Carruthers on superficial deposits and his pencil notes on Fleming.
Papers of the Rev. John Fleming, Professor of Natural Philosophy (1785-1857)
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- ReferenceGB 237 Coll-749
- Dates of Creation1808-1931
- Name of Creator
- Language of MaterialEnglish.
- Physical Description2 volumes, 3 letters, 1 box, miscellaneous notes and off-prints. Access to records in a fragile condition may be restricted.
- LocationMSS FLE 1-3
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
John Fleming was born near Bathgate, West Lothian, on 10 January 1785. Although he studied in preparation for the Church he was also deeply in interested in natural history and science, and he managed to follow the two throughout his life. By conducting a mineralogical survey of Orkney and Shetland for Sir John Sinclair he became acquainted with the clergy in Shetland and managed to find a vacancy in the Parish of Bressay in 1808. During this time he published Economical mineralogy of the Orkney and Zetland islands (1807) and On the narwhal or sea-unicorn. In 1810 he went to the Parish of Flisk, Fife, and after many papers on local natural history he became known as Scotland's first zoologist. In 1814, Fleming was awarded the degree of D.D. from St. Andrews University and in 1822 he published The philosophy of zoology. This was translated into Italian by Zandrini and it became a standard work in Italy in the nineteenth century. In 1832 he went to the Parish of Clackmannan, and in 1834 he was appointed to the Chair of Natural Philosophy at Aberdeen University. Fleming also published British animals (1828) and The lithology of Edinburgh (1859). In 1843 after the Disruption, he joined the new Free Church of Scotland. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. The Rev. John Fleming died on 18 November 1857.
Generally open for consultation to bona fide researchers, but please contact repository for details in advance.
The biographical/administrative history was compiled using the following material: (1) Stephen, Leslie. and Lee, Sidney (eds.). Dictionary of national biography. Vol. 7. Finch-Gloucester. London: Smith, Elder and Co., 1908.
Compiled by Graeme D Eddie, Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections Division.
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