Harry Godwin Papers

Scope and Content

Manuscripts and proofs of his autobiography published as "Clare and Cambridge " in 1985 with related papers, also correspondence relating to his scientific work, lectures and awards and matters relating to Clare and the retirement of the Master, Eric Ashby; various journals etc. These papers are often referred to as "The Godwin Papers".

Additional donation in 2017 of his field notebooks from 1930s.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Harry Godwin 1901-1985, Fellow of Clare College and Professor of Botany, University of Cambridge 1960-1968. He was born on 9th May 1901 at Holmes, Rotherham, Yorkshire and later won an open scholarship from his school at Long Eaton and came to Clare College in 1919 where he read Botany, Geology and Chemistry for the first part of the Natural Science Tripos. He began work on the vegetation of Wicken Fen which saw the start of his contributions on the history of the British Flora. In 1925 he was elected Fellow of Clare and became well established in the Department of Botany. He became Secretary of the British Ecological Society in 1932 and later edited The New Phytologist. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1945 in recognition of his achievements in ecology and also helped to establish the University Subdepartment of Quaternary Research which flourished under his directorship. During this time new fields of investigation were established such as radiocarbon dating. He also wrote his classic work at this time, The History of The British Flora. Eventually he was appointed Professor of Botany in 1960, a year after he had been Acting Master at Clare (1958-1959). He was knighted ten years later in 1970 and two years afterwards he retired in 1968. See obituary in Clare Association Annual, 1984-5, pp. 76-79; Obituary by Prof. Richard West in Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society Vol 34, 1988.

Related Material

See also CCHR/2/GOD for other Godwin related material.


Cambridge and Clare (CUP 1985); Obituary in Clare Association Annual 1984/5