Papers and correspondence, 1846-1974, of David Meredith Seares Watson and his family, largely comprising biographical material and family papers, scientific correspondence, and photographs, also including a few Exchequer receipts, 1568-1622.
Biographical material, 1886-1974, includes Watson's birth certificate, 1886; documentation, including certificates and correspondence, of Watson's career, honours and awards over a period of forty years, including election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society, 1922, the award of its Darwin medal, 1942, and the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society, 1965; correspondence about the Directorship of the British Museum (Natural History), 1937; correspondence about the presentation album on his retirement from the Jodrell Chair, 1951; correspondence and papers relating to his final retirement from research, 1965; obituaries, 1973; F R Parrington and T S Westoll's memoir of Watson from 'Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society', 1974; an account of Watson's early days and family background by his daughter Janet Vida; recollections by his research assistant Joyce Townsend; Watson's curriculum vita and bibliography.
Family papers include the birth certificate of Watson's father, David, 1846, correspondence with his wife Mary, 1888, and a letter of condolence to Mrs Watson on her husband's death, 1899; diaries of Mary Watson, 1881, 1885; birth certificate of their daughter Constance, 1888, letters from Constance to her brother David Meredith Seares Watson, 1905-1909 and undated; papers relating to Katharine Margarite Watson (née Parker), Watson's wife, including her birth certificate, 1891, marriage certificate, 1917, death certificate, 1969, and various correspondence; papers relating to Watson's daughter Katharine Mary, including letters of congratulation on her birth, 1918, and letters to her parents, 1950, 1955; material relating to Watson's mother's family, including letters of her father Samuel M Seares, 1871, 1879-1882; papers of Charles J B Hutchinson, 1879-1880, who emigrated to Australia after his engagement to Watson's mother was broken off but who remained in correspondence with her aunt, Fanny Rossiter; other Parker family papers, 1929-1972; miscellaneous other personal correspondence, 1896-1965.
Four Exchequer receipts dated 1568, 1580, 1616 and 1622 were found enclosed with a letter to Watson's wife.
Scientific correspondence of Watson, sometimes including photographs of fossil specimens, with leading palaeontologists in Africa, 1947-1953, America, 1915-1964, Australia, 1931-1962, China, 1926-1927, 1935-1964, England, 1913-1914, 1920, 1926-1960, France, 1930-1936, 1945-1956, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, 1920-1962, Russia, 1920-1962, and Scandinavia, 1922-1964, and with the palaeontologist Robert Broom, 1911-1950, and Watson's research assistant Joyce Townshend, 1929-1973, also including a few letters from Watson's wife and scientific colleagues, and an obituary of Watson, 1974; correspondence and papers on bones found at Qau, Egypt, 1930-1957, 1972; miscellaneous other palaeontological correspondence, 1912-1967. There are few copies of Watson's outgoing letters before the end of the Second World War.
Photographic material comprises photographs documenting Watson's career, -1965 and undated, some including colleagues; photographs of scientific colleagues, 1911-1951 and undated, including Watson's predecessor as Professor at University College London, J P Hill, and Robert Broom; album of photographs and signatures presented to Watson, 1951; undated family photographs, including a photograph of Watson as a boy, photographs of members of the Seares and Parker families, and photographs of Watson's wife, Katharine Margarite, and daughter, Katharine Mary; photographs of unidentified fossil specimens.
Royal Society Darwin Medal Award given to Watson, 1942.