Papers relating to Dr Henry Faulds (1843-1930)

Scope and Content

Correspondence between Sheriff G W Wilton and Dr J S Faulds, Dr J S Faulds and Dr G B Manning (a consultant Pathologist at Bolton Royal Infirmary) and between Sheriff G W Wilton and John Hewitt, Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, 1961-1962; pamphlets by Sheriff G W Wilton relating to fingerprints 1951-1957; newspaper cuttings relating to Dr Henry Faulds and fingerprinting, 1955-1964.

Administrative / Biographical History

Henry Faulds was born in Ayrshire in 1843. He studied medicine at Anderson's College in Glasgow and qualified as a Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow in 1871. He became a Church of Scotland Missionary to India and Japan. He began studying fingerprints in Japan in the 1870's and is credited with the earliest fingerprint identification. His research was published in Nature Magazine in 1880. He asked Charles Darwin (1809-1882) for help in publicising his research but Darwin involved his cousin, Sir Francis Galton 1822-1911), who later claimed the credit for the discovery of fingerprinting. Faulds died in obscurity in 1930.

This collection mainly contains correspondence relating to the campaign led by Sheriff George W. Wilton to gain civil list pensions for the two daughters of Dr Henry Faulds. The campaign involved establishing that Dr Faulds had made a significant contribution in the discovery and development of fingerprinting in criminal investigations.


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to some items may be restricted. Please contact the Archivist at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Acquisition Information

Gift from depositor's family.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Archivist. We will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Appraisal Information

Appraised in accordance with GB 250's collection policy.

Custodial History

Held with depositor's family.


Not expected.

Location of Originals

This material is original.


No known publications.


Geographical Names