University of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers of Walter Stiles

Scope and Content

A. Biographical and Personal, 1875-1967: obituaries; memoirs of Stiles; family papers; personal souvenirs including school certificates, invitations, correspondence; photographs of family and colleagues; letters of congratulation on Stiles' election to the Royal Society; papers relating to a visit made by Stiles to Czechoslovakia in 1958; account books; royalty statements; articles.

B. Notes and Working Papers, 1906-1909: Notes on lectures at Cambridge delivered by Professor H. Marshall Ward and Sir Rowland Biffen.

C. Publications and Addresses, 1911-1963: Speech drafts; reviews; typescript drafts of some of Stiles' early papers; published works.

D. Correspondence: Relating to the Natural Sciences Tripos, Cambridge, 1925-1926 (Stiles was examiner in Botany, 1926 and 1927); Final Honour School of Natural Science, Oxford, 1927 (Stiles was External Examiner); with I.B. Pole Evans, South Africa Department of Agriculture, suggesting a visit from Stiles (the visit did not take place); with the Royal Society; other correspondence, 1948-1961.

Administrative / Biographical History

Walter Stiles, 1886-1966, botanist. Stiles was educated at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith, London, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he graduated in the Natural Science Tripos Part I 1907 (First Class), Part II 1909 (First Class). From 1910-1919, Stiles was assistant lecturer in the Department of Botany, University of Leeds, and from 1918-1920 he undertook work for the Food Investigation Board. From 1919-1929 he was Professor of Botany at the University of Reading, and from 1929-1951 he was Mason Professor of Botany at the University of Birmingham. Stiles' awards were many: he won the Walsingham Medal at Cambridge in 1911, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1928 and was awarded an Honorary D.Sc by the University of Nottingham in 1953.

Stiles wrote many books and articles, and his contributions on 'Recent advances in plant physiology' , published in Science Progress , 1919-1963, based on his own meticulous reading and evaluation of the literature, helped to guide and inform research, especially in permeability, salt absorption, trace elements and nutrition deficiency in plants.

Reference: The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Report on Correspondence and Papers of Walter Stiles ( 1978 ).

For further reading about the University of Birmingham see: Eric Ives, Diane Drummond, Leonard Schwarz The First Civic University: Birmingham 1880-1980 An Introductory History ( The University of University of Birmingham Press. 2000 ).


The collection is arranged in the following series: A. Biographical and Personal; B. Notes and Working Papers; C. Publications and Addresses; D. Correspondence.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited by Professor Stiles' family.

Other Finding Aids

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Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students.