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Society for the History of Natural History

Awards, Honours and Medals

The John Thackray Medal

The John Thackray Medal

Instituted in 2000 to commemorate the life and work of John Thackray, Past President of the Society, this medal is awarded for a significant achievement in the preceding three years in the history of those areas of interest to the Society, that is the biological and earth sciences in the broadest sense.

Nominations for the 2020 award are invited from individuals using the form below. Nominations should be sent to the Honorary Secretary, with an accompanying letter.

Download entry form

The deadline for submissions is 31 July 2020.

Nominations must indicate the item and the producer to be nominated and include the name and contact details of the person submitting the nomination. Please include a brief statement on the nature of the significant achievement involved and describe how the Prize Committee can obtain supporting evidence, such as publication details or photographs of exhibitions, etc. The Committee may ask for the loan of such evidence to support the Committee in its discussions.


Rules governing The John Thackray Medal

16.2 John Thackray Medal

  • (a) Individuals or groups of individuals demonstrating significant achievement in the previous three years in the field of the history and/or bibliography of natural history may be awarded the John Thackray Medal.
  • (b) Significant achievement may be recognised by the completion of a major piece of critical research or scholarship.
  • (c) The Council will call for nominations annually by issuing a nomination form that will indicate a closing date.
  • (d) All the nominations (which may include self-nominations) will be reviewed by a Committee appointed by the Council of the Society. The decision of the Council as to the recipient of the award is final.
  • (e) The award of the John Thackray Medal shall take place at a General Meeting of the Society. All awards of this medal shall be reported to the membership in a timely fashion.
  • (f) Normally only one medal, individual or institutional, will be made in any one year but exceptionally a second award may be made if the Committee and Council think fit.
  • (g) The Council reserves the right not to make an award in any given year if it is judged that no submission is of sufficient merit.

John Thackray Medal Winners

  • 2018
David Mabberley Painting by Numbers: The life and art of Ferdinand Bauer (New South Publishing, 2017).
  • 2017
Anna Marie Roos The Correspondence of Dr Martin Lister (1639-1667). Vol.1: (1662-1667)  (Brill, 2015).
  • 2016
Tom Kennett The Lord Treasurer of Botany: Sir James Edward Smith and the Linnaean Collections  (Linnean Society of London, 2016).
  • 2015
Mary Terrall Catching Nature in the Act: Réaumur and the Practice of Natural History in the Eighteenth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
  • 2014
E. C. Dickinson, L.K. Overstreet, R. J. Dowsett & M. D. Bruce Priority! The Dating of Scientific Names in Ornithology  (Aves Press, 2011).
  • 2013
Alexandra Cook Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Botany: The salutary science  (The Voltaire Foundation, 2012).
  • 2012
Philip H. Oswald and Christopher D. Preston (trans & eds)
John Ray’s Cambridge Catalogue (1660) (Ray Society, 2011).
  • 2010
The Biodiversity Heritage Library The Biodiversity Heritage Library. The Biodiversity Heritage Library improves research methodology by collaboratively making biodiversity literature openly available to the world as part of a global biodiversity community.
  • 2009
Charlie Jarvis  Order out of Chaos: Linnaean plant names and their types (Linnean Society of London, 2007).
  • 2008
University of Cambridge The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online Project
  • 2006
Peter Marren
 The New Naturalists (2nd Edition) (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 82) (Collins, 2005).
  • 2005
David E. Allen & Gabrielle Hatfield Medicinal Plants in Folk tradition: An ethnobotany of Britain and Ireland (Timber Press, 2004).
  • 2004
The American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, USA Stuffing Birds, Pressing Plants, Shaping Knowledge: Natural History in North America, 1730-1860. Exhibition, together with web site, catalogue, accompanying educational materials, and programme of school events.
  • 2003
Clemency Fisher
The Earl & the Pussycat. Exhibition and associated publication A Passion for Natural History:The Life and Legacy of the 13th Earl of Derby(Liverpool University Press, 2002).
  • 2002
T. G. Valance, David T. Moore & Eric W. Groves Nature’s Investigator. The Diary of Robert Brown in Australia, 1801–1805 (Australian Biological Resources Study (Flora), 2001).
  • 2001
Karl Schulze-Hagen & Amin Geus
 Joseph Wolf. Exhibition and accompanying publication Joseph Wolf:(1820-1899): Animal Painter / Tiermaler (Basilisk Press, 2001).
  • 2000
Tony Rice & Natural History Museum, London
Voyages of Discovery. Exhibition and accompanying book Voyages of Discovery(Natural History Museum, London, 2001).