The Society for the History of Natural History is delighted to announce that Charles Nelson has been elected an Honorary Member of the Society
It is with great pleasure the Society for the History of Natural History announces that Charles Nelson has been elected an Honorary Member of SHNH for his signal services to the Society over many years.
Charles acted as the Editor of Archives of Natural History from 1999–2012, and as copy-editor from 2013–2019; he still makes a significant contribution to our journal as an Associate Editor. These roles add up to many years of crucial service. Added to that are the many other tasks he carried out simultaneously that almost nobody else could have done, including the compilation of History and Mystery, the Cumulative Index for Archives, and publication of Darwin in the Archives (2010). Charles has supported development of our websites and social media activities and has also been a regular contributor to our Newsletter.
Charles is a prolific researcher and writer. He is the author or editor of over 24 books and more than 150 research papers. As well as his editing of Archives of natural history, he was honorary editor of Heathers (the yearbook of The Heather Society) for 23 years until 2017. He was one of the founding members of the Irish Garden Plant Society, chairing the inaugural meeting. His interest in the history of Irish gardens and their plants continues, and he writes frequently on Irish garden history for The Irish Garden magazine. His more recent publications include a biography of John Scouler, a Scottish naturalist who was Professor of Mineralogy to the Royal Dublin Society, published in June 2014 by the Glasgow Natural History Society. In April 2014 the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland issued Charles’s biography of the botanical artist and plantsman, Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe; entitled Shadow among splendours: the adventures of Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe among the flowers of Burma 1897–1921. The book is illustrated with examples of Lady Cuffe’s paintings and lengthy extract from her correspondence to her mother. In collaboration with David J. Elliott, Executive Director of the Catesby Commemorative Trust, Charles edited the Trust’s book The curious Mister Catesby – a naturalist explores new worlds which was published for the Trust by the University of Georgia Press in April 2015. The Catesby Commemorative Trust has been reformed (2020) as the Mark Catesby Centre, University of South Carolina, and Nelson is now the (honorary) Senior Research Director of the Centre.
In May 2013, Charles received the Society for the History of Natural History’s Founders’ Medal which is awarded in recognition of having made a significant contribution to the fields of the history and/or bibliography of natural history. More recently, Charles has also been awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal (RHS, 2015), the Award of Merit (Heather Society, 2016) and also in 2016, the Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland’s Medal of Honour.