Papers of: Lillie, Denis Gascoigne (1888-1963)

Scope and Content

MSS.3259-3285 comprise chiefly scientific material; they include student notebooks on zoology, botany and geology (MSS.3259-3280); scientific logs from the British Antarctic Expedition (MSS.3281-3283), specifically a biological log (MSS.3281-3282) and a log of whales sighted (MS.3283), both spanning 1910-1913; an address delivered in 1913 to the New Zealand branch of the British Medical Association on Mendel's principle of heredity (MS.3284); and some notes on fish and fishing (MS.3285). MSS.5252-5254 comprise more personal and more miscellaneous material. MS.5252 is a scrapbook kept by Lillie, containing news cuttings, photographs and miscellaneous papers, spanning the period c.1845-1910 and including cuttings (with portrait prints) on science and scientists, 1845-1901; caricatures by Lillie of lecturers and staff at Birmingham University, 1904-1905; geological photographs, 1907-1909; family photographs (including a group class portrait at United Services' College, Westward Ho!, c .1892); and ephemera from Cambridge, 1909-1910. MS.5253 comprises cuttings from newspapers and illustrated magazines, spanning 1910-1914 and mainly relating to Robert Falcon Scott's British Antarctic Expedition. Finally MS.5254 comprises correspondence and very miscellaneous papers from the period 1824-1938 (plus some undated material) among them letters to his grandfather John Lillie D.D. (1806-1866), and to his maternal relatives the Macaire family, and letters to Lillie from E.A.N. Arber, Caroline Oates and others.

Administrative / Biographical History

Denis Gascoigne Lillie was born in 1888. He studied zoology at Birmingham University and at St. John's College, Cambridge, in the years 1903-1910. In 1910 he was appointed marine zoologist to the British Antarctic Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott (1868-1912). He died in 1963.


There is a broad division between MSS.3259-3285, comprising chiefly scientific material, and MSS.5252-5254, comprising more personal and more miscellaneous material. Items in the former block are arranged in chronological order of composition. The arrangement of the latter is: MS.5252, scrapbook kept by Lillie; MS.5253, loose cuttings kept by Lillie; MS.5254, very miscellaneous correspondence and papers kept by Lillie but including material relevant to earlier generations of his family.

Access Information

The papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at Stevens' London, February 1935 (accession no.68563).

Other Finding Aids

Described in: S.A.J. Moorat, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts on Medicine and Science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library (London: Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, 1962-1973) and Richard Palmer, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine: Western Manuscripts 5120-6244 (London: The Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine, 1999).

Collection level description available on-line on the Wellcome Library website

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

volumes and loose papers; holograph and printed cuttings.

Archivist's Note

description compiled by Christopher Hilton based upon those in the Library's published finding aids by S.A.J. Moorat and Richard Palmer.

Separated Material

The Wellcome Library holds MSS.3286-3287, comprising lectures on science delivered in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania, by Lillie's grandfather, John Lillie D.D. (1806-1866).

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.