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Society for the History of Natural History

SHNH newsletter archives

SHNH e-newsletter (1) November 2022

SHNH e-newsletter (1) November 2022

Dear Friends

Welcome to our first SHNH e-news. This does not replace the print edition of our newsletter but Trustees recently agreed that we would like to also keep you updated with items of news that are time-sensitive. We hope you enjoy.

PhD/Early Career Researcher Symposium
on natural history

Online, Thursday 23 February 2023

Visit to ZSL Prince Philip Zoological Library & Archives
Thursday 16th March 2023 at 2:30pm


Plans for next year’s meetings are moving ahead, and we are delighted to let you know that we are planning an ‘in person’ conference and AGM in the summer of 2023.  The final details are being worked out now and Elle Larsson will let you know venue and dates shortly.

We are also holding a conference expressly to showcase research into the history of natural history being done by doctoral and early careers researchers across the globe, building on the Society’s already successful annual William T. Stearn Student Essay Prize. The Call for Papers has been issued so do share with friends and colleagues.

For further information about SHNH meetings and to book visits see:

Awards – SHNH Natural History Book Award (Thackray Medal)

The nominations are in, and we are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2023 SHNH Natural History Book Award (John Thackray Medal). The winner will be announced next spring. Until then, why not explore some of these wonderful titles for yourself.

Don’t forget that nominations are now open for the Founders’ Medal and the President’s Award so do send your nominations in to our Secretary Will Beharrell email:


Archives of Natural History

SHNH is absolutely delighted to announce that Dr Anne Secord has taken up her post as Editor of Archives of Natural History, published by Edinburgh University Press. Anne writes:

I am an editor of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin, based in the University Library in Cambridge. When the edition is complete at the end of this year, I will have been involved in 18 of the 30 volumes, during which time I have moved from working with cards, pencil, and paper to a sophisticated TEI editing system and all the letters freely available online. Darwin has book-ended my working life so far, just as I, editorially speaking, have his. I joined the Darwin Correspondence Project soon after obtaining my MSc in History of Science and before the first volume of letters was published. This year, I edited letters written in the last month of Darwin’s life.

In between, I obtained my PhD in history of science, and was fortunate enough to be supervised by the historian Roy Porter, who was well-known to many in SHNH. Since then, I have been affiliated with the Cambridge Department of History and Philosophy of Science and had the privilege of supervising several students there. I have published a new edition of Gilbert White’s Natural History of Selborne (Oxford World’s Classics, 2016), but my own research in the history of natural history has mainly focussed on the ways in which marginal groups in the nineteenth century were able to participate in sciences like botany. This led to my involvement in two collective research projects at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin; the first on the notion of the scientific persona and the other on histories of scientific observation.

Through these projects and my work on the Darwin Correspondence Project, I have come to appreciate the value of working in a team. Archives of Natural History is also the product of teamwork, and I have already had the pleasure of working with the Associate Editors this autumn. I am sure that members of SHNH need no reminder of the amount of work that the Associate Editors put into the journal.

Anne Secord

I have been a member of SHNH since the 1990s. As vice-president of the society from 2005 to 2007, I was instrumental in establishing the W. T. Stearn Student Essay Prize. I then served as chair of the judging committee for this prize from 2007 to 2012. I welcome the prospect of participating more fully in SHNH as editor of ANH, especially as the society moves forward with its new strategic aims.

I look forward to meeting old friends and making new ones in my role as editor, and very much hope that this may be possible in person before too long.

Archives of Natural History Volume 49 part 2 is now in press and will be available online and in print shortly.

A bumper issue – articles include botanical collecting in the Eastern Cape Drakensberg, southern Africa, gazelles represented in art from Herculaneum and Pompeii, the story of ‘Kleew’ the herring gull which started life as drawings for children sent from an internment camp in The Netherlands during WWII, engravings of dwarf emus from Baudin’s voyage, the discovery of a very early hortus sicci (1595) in the Czech Republic, and 15 new book reviews.

To submit an article to Archives of Natural History please contact the Editor at

Membership Renewals

You should now have received your membership renewal information from Edinburgh University Press. If you have any difficulties in renewing, particularly if you are not based in the UK, do contact our Membership Secretary Jeanne Robinson who can help email: The contact details for EUP are as follows: or + 44 (0)131 650 4196

Some Quick News

  • Pioneers of Natural History Illustration: Exploring the Oak Spring Garden Library collection through the work of Maria Sibylla Merian and Mark Catesby. A residential course led by Henrietta McBurney & Kay Etheridge from Monday, March 27, 2023 to Friday, March 31, 2023. Booking closes on 1 December 2022.
    For course details see here.
  • Exploring our Oceans: The Challenger Expedition and Its Legacy is on at the Natural History Museum, London until 12 January 2023. More information.
  • A fresh look at Nature. Oxford University Museum of Natural History. The Life, as we know it redisplay project has involved the conservation of thousands of specimens and the development and installation of 20 exciting new displays. More information

SHNH Newsletter (print version)
I am now working also on the print version of the next SHNH Newsletter so do forward me any items of interest, new publications, articles, courses and events that you would like to share.

With very best wishes,

Elaine Shaughnessy

Newsletter Editor, Society for the History of Natural History
Email :