Papers and correspondence of Howard Everest Hinton, 1912-1977.

Scope and Content

The collection, though small, includes significant records of Hinton's family background and early entomological research. The biographical material includes autobiographical drafts, notes made by Hinton for his Royal Society personal record, tributes and obituaries and many letters of condolence received by his widow Margaret Hinton, some with recollections of Hinton. The largest component, however, is family material. There is correspondence with his father and two brothers G.B. and J.C. Hinton, and also with more distant relations. Of particular note is that with his first cousin once removed, Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor FRS, covering the period 1947-1974. There is also historical material relating to his great-great grandfather George Boole FRS. The family papers are supplemented by photographs. Research material is particularly notable for the notebooks which cover Hinton's work collecting and classifying beetle specimens over the period 1928-1937. They are generally in the form of journals and often record not only Hinton's collecting activities but his plans for the future, social engagements, etc. The period covered by the notebooks includes Hinton's visit to South America in 1937 with the Percy Sladen Expedition to Lake Titicaca. Hinton's subsequent journeys that year to the Amazon basin and French Guiana are also documented. Other material relating to the visit includes lists of specimens and photographs. Material relating to research also includes correspondence with V.B. Wigglesworth 1947-1974, chiefly on aspects of insect physiology, and material from a visit to China in 1960.

Administrative / Biographical History

Hinton was born on 24 August 1912 in Matehuala, Mexico where his parents had moved in connection with his father's work as metallurgist and mining engineer. He was educated at schools in California and at the University of California at Berkeley (B.Sc. 1934) before doing postgraduate work at King's College, Cambridge (Ph.D 1939). He was appointed Junior Curator at the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge in 1937 and in 1939 Assistant Keeper British Museum (Natural History), a post he held until 1949 when he was appointed Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Bristol. He remained at the University of Bristol for the remainder of his career, being made Reader in Entomology in 1951, Professor of Entomology in 1964 and Professor of Zoology and Head of Department in 1970. He resigned as Head of Department in July 1977 for reasons of ill-health and resumed his personal Chair. He died on 2 August 1977.

Hinton began collecting insects from the age of nine, his interest in natural history acquired from his father, an amateur naturalist of some note. By the time he received his B.Sc. he had already seventeen published papers. His pre-war research was concentrated on the classification of beetles but Hinton's entomological interests were subsequently broadened, initially by his wartime work on insect pests of stored products, and then by his appointment as Lecturer at Bristol University, for which he was required to teach a wide range of entomological subjects new to him. Hinton developed his research interests to cover many fields such as insect metamorphosis, insect pupae, respiratory adaptations, cryptobiosis in insects (in which connection he posited a new theory of the origin of life on Earth) and insect coloration. He authored over 300 publications, his work culminating in the three volume Biology of Insect Eggs which he completed just before his death. Hinton also founded and edited the Journal of Insect Physiology and the journal Insect Biochemistry. He served as President of the Society for British Entomology 1954-1955 and the Royal Entomological Society of London 1969-1970. Hinton was elected FRS in 1961. He died on 2 August 1977. Hinton was very conscious of his distinguished family background. His paternal great-great grandfather was John Howard Hinton, author of Elements of natural history and an Introduction to systematic zoology, and his paternal great grandfathers were the mathematician George Boole FRS and James Hinton, an aural surgeon. His grandfather Charles Howard Hinton was Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. Great-great uncles included Sir George Everest FRS, the Surveyor General of India, and A.C. Haddon FRS. Hinton's first cousin once removed was Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor FRS.


By section as follows: Biographical, Research. Index of correspondents.

Access Information

No known closure or restrictions. Visits by appointment. Some form of identification required.

Other Finding Aids

Printed catalogue of the papers and correspondence of Howard Everest Hinton (1912-1977) by T.E. Powell and P. Harper, NCUACS catalogue no.59/2/96, 32pp. Copies available from NCUACS, University of Bath.

Custodial History

Received for cataloguing in June 1995 by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists from Dr James Hinton, son. Deposited in Bristol University Library, 1996.

Related Material

Associated material held by Bristol University Library consists of:

  • DM755 - Obituary in University Newsletter by C.J.M., 18 August 1977.
  • DM1012 - Drafts, reprints (by others) and notes, 1928-1979. 25 boxfiles.
  • Two sets of reprints were donated to the Special Collections by the Biological Sciences Library, and by the University Biology Department. Although both series overlap they contain enough non-duplicate material to be both worth keeping. Both contain a detailed bibliography.
  • DM1845/1/1-7 Bound reprints from the Biological Sciences Library 1930-1977. 7 volumes.
  • DM1845/2/1-16 Bound and loose reprints from the University Biology Department 1930-1977. 15 volumes and folder of reprints (1.2 linear metres).