HUXLEY, Thomas Henry (1825-1895)

Scope and Content

Papers of Thomas Henry Huxley, 1839-1931, comprising scientific and general correspondence, 1846-1911; Huxley family letters, 1842-1931; personal papers, 1839-1891; working papers, 1846-1900, largely comprising notes, drawings, lectures and unfinished essays, relating to anthropology and ethnology, 1866-1890, biology, 1846-1900, including voyage of HMS RATTLESNAKE, 1846-1850, education, 1861-1893, geology and palaeontology, 1854-1891, philosophy and ethics, 1871-[1893], theology and biblical criticism, [1859-1895]; papers of the Fisheries Commissions and Scottish Fishery Board, 1858-1864; appointment diaries, 1857-1894; drawings, [1849-1872]; caricatures and cartoons, [1852-1883]; photographs and engravings, [1846-1890]; posthumous papers, [1895-1925]; scientific papers, 1846-1898, comprising notebooks made whilst with HMS RATTLESNAKE, 1846-1850; scientific notebooks, containing drawings, notes, correspondence and lectures, [1855-1888], principally relating to zoology and largely organised by zoological classification; drawings, [1847-1895], many relating to the notebooks; correspondence between Huxley and Henrietta Anne Heathorn, 1847-1854.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born, Ealing, London, 1825; studied medicine; Assistant Surgeon, surveying ship HMS RATTLESNAKE around Australia, 1846-1850; Lecturer in Natural History, School of Mines, 1854; Naturalist to the Geological Survey, 1854; Hunterian professor, Royal College of Surgeons, 1863-1869; Fullerian professor, Royal Institution, 1863-1867; Professor of Biology and Dean, Normal School of Science (later Royal College of Chemistry), 1881-1895; Dean, Royal School of Mines, 1881-1895; Honorary Professor of Biology, 1885-1895; foremost advocate in England of Darwin's theory of evolution; died, 1895. Publications: include: On the educational value of the natural history sciences (London, 1854); The Oceanic Hydrozoa; a description of the Calycophoridae and Physophoridae observed during the voyage of HMS "Rattlesnake" in the years 1846-50 (London, 1859); Lectures on the Elements of Comparative Anatomy vol 1 (London, 1864); A catalogue of the collection of Fossils in the Museum of Practical Geology, with an explanatory introduction with Robert Etheridge (London, 1865); Lessons in Elementary Physiology (London, 1866); An Introduction to the Classification of Animals (London, 1869); Lay Sermons, Addresses, and Reviews (London, 1870); A Manual of the Anatomy of vertebrated animals (London, 1871); More Criticisms on Darwin, and Administrative Nihilism (D Appleton & Co, New York, 1872); A course of practical instruction in elementary biology assisted by H N Martin (London, Cambridge [printed], 1875); A Manual of the anatomy of Invertebrated Animals (London, 1877); Physiography: an introduction to the study of nature (London, 1877); Fish Diseases (London, 1883); Evolution and Ethics (The Romanes Lecture, 1893) (Macmillan and Co, London, 1893); Man's Place in Nature, and other essays [1906]; Collected Essays 9 vol (Macmillan and Co, London, 1894-1908); The Scientific Memoirs of T H Huxley edited by Professor Michael Foster and Professor E Ray Lankester 5 vol (Macmillan & Co, London, 1898-1903).

Access Information

Researchers wishing to consult the Archives should first contact the College Archivist, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, for an appointment.

Acquisition Information

The papers were accumulated by the College from a purchase made in 1937, and from various subsequent deposits by the Huxley family. Most of the scientific papers were presented to the Department of Science and Art by T H Huxley from 1886, and after his death by his widow, and were transferred to the College Archives.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogues are available in the reading room of the College Archives.

Separated Material

Lecture notes, 1861-1862, held at the National Library of Wales, Department of Manuscripts and Records (reference: Sir John Williams MSS 358); lecture notes, 1867, and letters to James Thomas Knowles, 1871-1895 (reference: MS 5271), held at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine; lecture notes, 1869-1871, held at Oxford University, Department of Zoology; letters to Sir Henry Cole, 1857-1887, and to Sir Charles Lyell, 1859-1868, held at the American Philosophical Society Library; correspondence with Charles Darwin, 1859-1880, held at Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: Darwin); letters to Sir Michael Foster, 1875-95, held at the Royal College of Physicians of London; letters to Sir Archibald Geikie, 1860-1888, held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections (reference: Gen 525); letters to George Gordon, 1857-1892, held at the Elgin Museum (reference: NRA(S)1989); letters to George Holyoake, 1871-1891, held at the Co-Operative Union Archive (reference: MM/96636/1-12); letters to Sir Norman Lockyer, held at Exeter University Library; correspondence with Macmillans, 1866-1894, held at the British Library, Manuscript Collections (reference: Add MS 55210); letters to Trenham Reeks, 1856-1879, held at the British Geological Survey Library (reference: IGS1); correspondence with Herbert Spencer, 1860-1875, held at London University Library (reference: MS 791); correspondence with Sir George Stokes, 1864-1893, held at Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives (reference: Add 7342, 7656); letters to Sir John Tyndall, held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain; correspondence and papers relating to the Huxley Memorial Committee, 1895-1900, held at the Natural History Museum; letters, 1856-1893, held at the Huntington Library.

Conditions Governing Use

A photocopying service is available at the discretion of the Archivist. Photocopies are supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Related Material

Papers of Sir Andrew Crombie Ramsay (KGA RAMSAY), Lyon Playfair, 1st Baron Playfair of St Andrews (B/PLAYFAIR), held at Imperial College.


A man who did his best to help the people-Thomas Henry Huxley Charles Hargrove (Leeds, Goodall & Suddick, 1895); Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley Leonard Huxley 2 vol (Macmillan & Co, London, 1900); Thomas Henry Huxley Edward Clodd (W Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh & London, 1902); T H Huxley as a Man of Letters Aldous Leonard Huxley (Macmillan & Co, London, [1932]); Huxley [A biography of Thomas H Huxley] Clarence Edwin Ayres (W W Norton & Co, New York, [1932]); T H Huxley's Diary of the voyage of HMS Rattlesnake edited from the unpublished MS by Julian Huxley (Chatto & Windus, London, 1935); T H Huxley: scientist, humanist and educator Cyril Bibby (Watts, London, 1959); Thomas Henry Huxley Albert Ashforth (New York, Twayne Publishers, [1969]); Scientist extraordinary: the life and scientific work of Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895 Cyril Bibby (Pergamon, Oxford, 1972); Huxley. The Devil's disciple Adrian Desmond (Michael Joseph, London, 1994); Huxley. Evolution's high priest Adrian Desmond (Michael Joseph, London, 1997); Huxley. From devil's disciple to evolution's high priest Adrian Desmond (Penguin, London, 1998).