Papers of Sir William Flower

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Sir William Henry Flower, [1845-1883], comprising papers largely created and compiled as Curator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, relating to preparations, salaries, collections etc. There are also papers relating to preparations of specimens.

Administrative / Biographical History

William Henry Flower was born in Stratford-on-Avon, 30 November 1831. He studied at University College London and studied medicine and surgery at Middlesex Hospital, becoming a doctor in 1851. He did medical service at Scutari in 1854 and was Assistant Surgeon, as well Lecturer in Anatomy and Curator of the museum at Middlesex Hospital. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1857.

Flower was Curator of the Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons of England, 1861-1884 as well as Hunterian Professor of Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, 1870. He was a member of Council, 1862-1899, and President, 1879-1899, of the Zoological Society. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society, 1864; President of the Anthropological Institute, 1883-1885; Director of the British Museum (Natural History) (now the Natural History Museum), 1884-1898; and he was elected to the Royal Society for Education in 1897. Flower married Georgina Rosetta, daughter of Admiral William H. Smyth, in April 1858. They had three sons and three daughters together. He died in London, 1 July 1899.

His publications include: Diagrams of the Nerves of the Human Body, exhibiting their origin, divisions and connections (London, 1861); An Introduction to the Osteology of the Mammalia: being the substance of a course of Lectures delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1870 (London, 1870); Introductory Lecture to the course of Comparative Anatomy, delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, February 14, 1870 (London, 1870); Catalogue of the Specimens illustrating the Osteology and Dentition of vertebrated animals ... contained in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons (1879); The Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. (Address, etc.) [1879]; Races of Men [1880]; A general guide to the British Museum. Natural History (1887); The Horse: a study in natural history (1891); An introduction to the study of Mammals, living and extinct with Richard Lydekker (A & C Black, London, 1891); Essays on Museums and other subjects connected with natural history (Macmillan & Co, London, 1898).

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For a more detailed description of this collection, please see the RCS England Archives online catalogue.