Autobiography of Arthur Henry Gibson, New Zealander

Scope and Content

Typewritten autobiography of Arthur Henry Gibson, describing his childhood in Manchester and his later life in New Zealand from 1879. The account contains a good deal of information on many aspects of life in New Zealand, including descriptions of the Maoris, the landscape, farming, etc. Enclosed are two letters from Gibson to the John Rylands Library, offering and then forwarding the autobiography.

Administrative / Biographical History

Arthur Henry Gibson was born in Cheetham, Manchester in 1861, the son of Robert Henry Gibson, a Unitarian minister. The family emigrated to New Zealand in October 1878. From 1886 until 1891 he worked as a solicitor's clerk in Wellington. For the next thirty years he was involved in a variety farming and business ventures, living at New Plymouth, Crofton (Ngaio), Clareville, Karere, Shannon and Manunui. Gibson was a founding member of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand. He married Annie Ellen Chew in the early 1890s; their son, Esmond Allen Gibson (1896-1981), was a civil engineer and aviation administrator.

Conditions Governing Access

The manuscript is available for consultation by any accredited reader.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the John Rylands Library by the author, A.H. Gibson of Ngaio, New Zealand, in November 1935.


Description compiled by Henry Sullivan, project archivist, and Elizabeth Gow, with reference to the catalogue of the National Library of New Zealand at

Other Finding Aids

Catalogued in the Supplementary Hand-List of Western Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library, 1937 (English MS 867).

Alternative Form Available

A microfilm copy is available for use within the Reading Room.

Related Material

The National Library of New Zealand also holds a copy of the autobiography along with other material relating to Gibson.