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Society for the History of Natural History

Latest news

History & Mystery now published

History & Mystery now published

History & Mystery is an anthology of notes and queries from Newsletters of the Society for the History of Natural History. Naturalists, books, collections, works of art, societies, even a mermaid, are contained here. Some of the notes are witty commentaries. Some of the topics are unexpected, even bizarre. Some of the reprinted queries are still unanswered. More information.  History & Mystery celebrates SHNH’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Professor Geoff Moore, the Society’s President, writes:

‘As a more ephemeral publication than the Society’s journal Archives of natural history and not being available online (except for the most recent issues), the Newsletter is much less readily available for consultation; few are likely to have access to the full run since 1977. If you’ve ever wondered what Broadwood pianos, criminals, wrapping paper, forged wills, the Secret Service, bad lighting, or Blandings Castle have ever had to do with natural history, then read on. There is erudition aplenty in the contributions made by stalwarts of the Society to the Newsletter. It seemed a shame that the scholarship encapsulated in its back-numbers had so limited a present circulation.’

Compiled by Charles Nelson, it is 208pp and the beautiful cover features paintings by the artist Rebecca Jewell. For more information on the contents, visit the Index [PDF].

Council has now fixed a retail price of £15 (including postage and packing) for UK members, and £18 for the rest of the world (ROW).  We hope that as many members (and non-members; or “soon-to-be” members?) as possible will avail themselves of this fascinating read (excellent Christmas present material!). 

Please do not be shy either about sending a donation as much in excess of the asking price as you feel able to afford!  Proceeds from the sale of this volume will help replenish the Alwynne Wheeler Bursary to support young scholars in attending SHNH conferences and meetings. 

Ordering Information

History & Mystery is exclusively available direct from the SHNH. As this is a fund-raising project, we regret that trade or other discounts are not available. For addresses in UK £15 (post paid); elsewhere £18 (post paid). ISBN 978-0-901843-09-8 208pp.

If you would like to reserve a copy, download the order form and forward to the  Honorary Editor, Dr Charles Nelson.  His address details are given on the form.


We have set up a facility to allow donations to be made to the Society via PayPal.  To order through Paypal – please use the donate button located on this page link