Hodgkin family

  • Fox, Sarah, 1804-1890
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The collection comprises correspondence, diaries, notes and drafts from the personal papers of members of the Hodgkin and Howard families. The bulk of the material dates from the nineteenth century.

The single largest accumulation of material relates to Thomas Hodgkin MD (1798-1866), the pathologist and philanthropist: almost half of the collection. Around the papers of this one individual, however, are numerous smaller tranches of material generated by related persons, resulting in the dividing of the archive into numerous sections dealing with other individuals or groups of people. A brief outline of the history of the family will help to explain the structure of the collection, and to set out the links between the Hodgkins and the various other Quaker families that occur in it.

The Hodgkin family were for many generations resident in Warwickshire; since the middle of the seventeenth century they had been Quakers. A handful of documents from the early eighteenth century represent this phase (section A), leading down the generations as far as John Hodgkin of Shipston (1741-1815), the grandfather of the pathologist. The first individual concerning whom there is substantial documentation is John Hodgkin of Pentonville (1766-1845), the father of the pathologist and thus referred to in the catalogue as John Hodgkin senior, who left Warwickshire for London and set up as a tutor (section B). He married Elizabeth Rickman (1768-1833), and some papers of this Sussex Quaker family are also in the collection as section C; they include material on her sister Lucy Rickman (1772-1804) who married the architect Thomas Rickman (1776-1841) and her apothecary-preacher uncle Joseph Rickman (1745-1810). Her sister Mary (1770-1851) married John Godlee (1762-1841) and had several children who occur as correspondents in this collection.

John Hodgkin senior and Elizabeth Rickman Hodgkin had four sons, of whom the first two (John and Rickman) died in infancy; the third and fourth survived. The elder of these, Thomas Hodgkin MD (1798-1866) or "Uncle Doctor" as he was known to succeeding generations, has already been mentioned. His papers, covering the wide range of his medical, general scientific and philanthropic activities, are held as section D of the archive.

Thomas Hodgkin MD married relatively late and left no children: it is from his younger brother, John Hodgkin junior (1800-1875), that the contemporary Hodgkin family descends. The latter practised law into his early forties but then, like his brother, devoted himself to philanthropic activity. His papers constitute section E of the collection. He married three times and left children by each marriage. His first wife, Elizabeth Howard Hodgkin (1803-1836), died in childbirth in 1835, her fifth child surviving only a few days. Her four other children all lived to marry and have descendants of their own. John Eliot Hodgkin (1829-1912) became an engineer and a collector of books and manuscripts; a small collection of his papers constitutes section F. Thomas Hodgkin junior (1831-1913) founded a bank (later merged with Lloyds) and had a parallel career as a historian; it was he who cared for the family archive now listed here. Documentation relating to him constitutes section G. Mariabella Hodgkin (1833-1930) married the lawyer, Edward Fry (her children included Roger Fry the art critic) and Elizabeth Hodgkin (1834-1918) married the architect Alfred Waterhouse. John Hodgkin junior's second marriage, to Ann Backhouse (1815-1845), joined the Hodgkins with a prominent Quaker family in the North-East (the Backhouses of Darlington were bankers and were based in Darlington), but the marriage lasted only a few years before her death of Bright's disease. The one child of this marriage, Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin (1843-1926), appears in this collection chiefly as a small boy; later, he was to marry into the Pease family, a North-Eastern Quaker family of industrialists and bankers several of which occur in the archive as correspondents. Likewise, the six children of John Hodgkin's third marriage, to the Irish Quaker Elizabeth Haughton Hodgkin (1818-1904), are on the whole thinly represented here. What papers there are in this collection relating to children other than Hodgkin's two elder sons are all grouped together as section H.

Two more sections complete the Hodgkin material: I brings together miscellaneous pre-twentieth-century material that was found amongst the Hodgkin papers but not attributable to any specific individual, whilst J deals with twentieth-century members of the family, chiefly descendants of Thomas Hodgkin junior since it was his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who administered the collection until its presentation to the Wellcome Library.

John Hodgkin junior's first marriage, to Elizabeth Howard, linked the Hodgkins to another important Quaker family. Elizabeth was the daughter of the meteorologist and chemist Luke Howard (1772-1864), best known for his system of describing clouds which, with a few modifications, is that which is used today, and Mariabella Eliot (1769-1852), whose forename and surname recur in the Hodgkin and Howard families. The bulk of the Howard family papers are deposited elsewhere, but the family is well represented in this collection: there are papers relating to Luke Howard (section K) and to his daughters Elizabeth (section L) and Rachel (1804-1837) (section M).

Elizabeth Howard's brother Robert (1801-1871) married Rachel Lloyd (1803-1892), member of a Birmingham Quaker banking family, who was known in the family as Rachel Robert Howard to avoid confusion. Rachel "Robert" Howard was to play a notable role in the upbringing of the children of John Hodgkin junior's first marriage after the death of their mother. Her sister, Sarah Lloyd (1804-1890), married Alfred Fox (1794-1874) of Falmouth - a link to yet another significant Quaker family. Their daughter Lucy Anna Fox (1841-1934) was to marry Thomas Hodgkin junior. Correspondence of the sisters Rachel and Sarah Lloyd, and other family members, constitutes section N.

Finally, a few papers relating to the later history of the Howard family are held as section O.



Physical description

54 boxes and 11 outsize items


The collection is divided into basic sections as follows:

A: Early history of the Hodgkin family

B: John Hodgkin senior (1766-1805)

C: Rickman family

D: Thomas Hodgkin MD (1798-1866)

E: John Hodgkin junior (1800-1875)

F: John Eliot Hodgkin (1829-1912) and his family

G: Thomas Hodgkin DCL (1831-1913) and his family

H: Children of John Hodgkin junior other than John Eliot Hodgkin and Thomas Hodgkin DCL

I: Miscellaneous pre-twentieth century material found with Hodgkin papers

J: Late nineteenth-century and twentieth-century Hodgkin material

K: Luke Howard FRS (1772-1864)

L: Elizabeth Hodgkin (née Howard) (1803-1836)

M: Rachel Howard (1804-1837)

N: Lloyd family

O: Twentieth century material relating to Howard family

Acquisition note

Most of this collection is the Hodgkin family's archive, presented to the library at Wellcome Collection in 1990 (acc. 348374).

Seven letters to Thomas Hodgkin MD, purchased in 1990 (acc. 348317), may have come originally from Professor Christopher Scaife, the descendant of Hodgkin's stepson.

Four hundred or so letters of Thomas Hodgkin junior (and other very miscellaneous documents) appear to have entered circulation after his death and were purchased from a manuscript dealer in 1992 (acc. 348941).

Two letters to his wife from Josephine Butler were purchased in 1992 (acc. 349085).

Two letters from Thomas Hodgkin to members of the Statham family were purchased in September 2007 (acc.1538) and added to the collection as PP/HO/D/A2361E.

Two letters to Thomas Hodgkin DCL were found in April 2008 in a volume of J.B. Bury's History of the Later Roman Empire purchased for the library at Wellcome Collection's Asian Collections and were added to the papers as PP/HO/G/A180A-B (acc.1588).

Biographical note

See the description of the collection for details of the family history, where it is set out as part of an explanation of how the collection is divided into various sections.

Related material

At Wellcome Collection:

MSS.5680-5686 comprise correspondence and papers of Thomas Hodgkin and of the Scaife family, 1730-1979 and n.d. Acquired with this material were an oil painting of Hodgkin, and a copy of his Lectures on the means of promoting and preserving health (London, 1835), with the bookplate of C.H.O. Scaife, now in the Early Printed Books collection.

MSS.2845-2850 comprise material relating to John Eliot Hodgkin (1857-1930): glossaries and notes chiefly related to Hodgkin's collecting of cookery books, c.1900-1925. Hodgkin's copy of Considerations Philosophiques de la Gradation Naturelle, by J.B. Robinet (Paris, 1768) is held by the Early Printed Books department, and contains an autograph letter to Hodgkin from Thomas Henry Huxley (dated 7 December 1873).

GP/25 comprises papers of Keith Hodgkin (b.1918), general practitioner.

MSS.7654 and 7736 comprise material relating to Howard, Jewell and Co., the pharmaceutical firm that was founded by Luke Howard.

From the Pease family, John William Beaumont Pease, Lord Wardington (1869-1950), is represented in the library's archive holdings as a trustee of the National Birthday Trust (collection SA/NBT).

Material held at other repositories:

Papers relating to many members of the interlocking families represented here are held by the Society of Friends at Friends House.

Hodgkin family papers are held at Durham Record Office (collection D/HO). These include material relating to John Hodgkin senior, Thomas Hodgkin MD and John Hodgkin junior; they also complement the Hodgkin collection by focussing on the children of John Hodgkin junior's second and third marriages (who are only thinly represented in this collection), and in particular upon Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin.

Thomas Hodgkin MD (1798-1866): Notes on the geology of Morocco are held at the University of Toronto Library. Letters are held at Friends House. Correspondence with his nephew John Eliot Hodgkin is held by the British Library (Add. MS. 42502a); with Sir J.F.W. Herschel, by the Royal Society; and with the Royal Geographical Society, in the archives of that Society (p101). Material relating to the apothecaries Glaisyer and Kemp of Hove, to whom Hodgkin was apprenticed, is held at East Sussex County Record Office: prescription books from 1818 to 1927, with gaps (SAS/ACC 1203, ACC 5809), and a history of the firm from 1823 to 1853 (ACC 6077/20/2).

John Hodgkin junior (1800-1875): Letters are held at Friends House. Documentation relating to Shelleys, Hodgkin's last home, is held at East Sussex County Record Office: deeds from 1623 to 1852 that include Shelleys (AMS 3007-3080) and the lease of Shelleys to John Hodgkin junior by George Charles d'Albiac (AMS 5655). The latter years of Hodgkin's life and the children of his second and third marriages are documented in the collection at Durham County Record Office.

John Eliot Hodgkin (1829-1912): correspondence with his uncle Thomas Hodgkin MD is held in the British Library (Add. MS. 42502a).

Thomas Hodgkin DCL (1831-1913): letters are held at Friends House; letters from his sister Elizabeth and her husband, the architect Alfred Waterhouse, are held at Reading University Library. Manuscripts are held at various repositories: Italy and her Invaders at the Bodleian Library (Western Manuscripts Department, MSS Eng. hist. c274-80 and e200-10); translated letters of Cassiodorus at Durham University Library (SC/1990/91:5); and travel journals and historical papers at Newcastle-upon-Tyne University's Robinson Library. The records of the Hodgkin, Barnett, Pease and Spence Bank, from its foundation in 1859 to its takeover by Lloyd's Bank in 1903, are held in the archives of Lloyd's Bank.

Elizabeth Waterhouse, née Hodgkin: Letters to her brother Thomas Hodgkin junior are held at Reading University Library.

Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin: Letters are held at Friends House.

Lucy Violet Holdsworth, née Hodgkin: Papers and a commonplace book are held at Friends House. A memoir of Robert Bridges and Mary Elizabeth Coleridge is held at Reading University Library.

Twentieth-century family members are documented in numerous repositories. Of the family's two Nobel Prize-winners, papers of Sir Alan Lloyd Hodgkin are deposited at Trinity College, Cambridge, whilst his correspondence with A.V. Hill is in the latter's papers at the Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge University; while correspondence and papers of Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin are to be found at the Bodleian Library (Western Manuscripts Department, NCVACS 47/3/94 and 12/5/89) and the Royal Society. Papers of Henry T. Hodgkin, missionary to China, are at Friends House. Letters from Robin A. Hodgkin are held at Durham University Library (G/ /S 1095).

Howard family: the bulk of the family papers are held at London Metropolitan Archives, including extensive correspondence and papers from the period 1786-1915 (acc. 1270), the archive of the chemical firm Howard and Sons, including numerous personal papers (acc. 1037) and material relating particularly to the Eliot family to which Luke Howard's wife Mariabella belonged (acc. 1017). Through the Eliot connection the Howards came into possession of the estate of Ashmore in Dorset; papers of both the Eliot and Howard families are held at Dorset County Record Office (D/CRL B3/1-8, and Misc. D364).

Papers of individuals are also found in several other repositories. Some of Luke Howard's letters are held at Friends House, and correspondence and papers in the Science Museum Library (MS 2005). Papers of his son John Eliot Howard are held at the Natural History Museum.

Backhouse Family: accumulations of material are held at Durham County Record Office (collections D/WA, D/HO and D/X817), Durham University Library (chiefly relating to the 18th and early 19th centuries), Hereford Record Office (collection G89) and the Barclays Bank Local Head Office at Darlington.

Fox Family: letters concerning the Fox family of Falmouth and their dealings with the engineer Matthew Boulton are held in Birmingham City Archives (233/20-25, 29-102 and 105-109).

Pease Family: general family papers are held at Durham County Record Office (collections D/PE and D/HO, and items D/X914 and D/X992). Sir Joseph Whitwell Pease (1828-1903) is represented in the archive of Nuffield College, Oxford (Gainsford papers). Henry Pease (1807-1881) is represented at Friends House; his correspondence with Cobden is held in the latter's papers at West Sussex County Record Office. A ledger by Howard Pease is held by Northumberland County Record Office (annual report, 1983).

Rickman Family: documentation relating to the family is held at East Sussex County Record Office, including a family pedigree (AMS 6380), deeds of properties (AMS 358-495 and AMS 5566) and the partnership account book of Thomas Rickman the elder and younger, grain merchants, shippers and mill-owners (AMS 6041). Papers including drawings and correspondence of the architect Thomas Rickman, husband of Lucy Rickman, are scattered across numerous repositories: material occurs in the British Architectural Library (Ri T), the British Library Manuscript Collection (Add. MSS. 37793-37802 and 52587), the Bodleian Library (Western Manuscripts Department b140), Trinity College Cambridge (Whewell manuscripts) and Northumberland County Record Office (Blackett papers, ZBL).

Terms of use

This collection has been partially catalogued and the catalogued part is available to library members. Some items have access restrictions which are explained in the item-level catalogue records. Requests to view uncatalogued material are considered on a case by case basis. Please contact collections@wellcomecollection.org for more details.

Finding aids

The original typescript catalogue includes a single overall index and family trees, which help make the relationships of the various individuals documented a little clearer.

Correspondents in the collection's many letters are indexed at section level in the catalogue. Readers are advised to consult indices here, make a note of where relevant individuals occur and then navigate to the file or volume that includes the number cited there. Similarly, if a search for a particular name yields a hit in this section-level index then make a note of the relevant reference and navigate to it.

Language note


Location of duplicates

A large part of this collection, chiefly relating to Thomas Hodgkin MD, was microfilmed by E. and A. Kass, Hodgkin's biographers, whilst the material was still held by the Hodgkin family: the microfilms are held as AMS/MF/3. Because the material was filmed before its acquisition by Wellcome Collection it does not carry the references now assigned to the items; it was also not filmed in the order items are now held. As a result cross reference between the microfilm and the collection as now held is difficult.

Accruals note

The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:

Thomas Hodgkin DCL: diaries, late 19th - early 20th century.

Thomas Hodgkin DCL and family: correspondence, late 19th -early 20th century.

Miscellaneous material including some relating to Thomas Hodgkin DCL and some to earlier generations, 18th century - 19th century.

Thomas Hodgkin DCL: miscellaneous material, chiefly correspondence, and some items relating to other family members, 19th century.

Thomas Hodgkin DCL: letters and pamphlets, late 19th - early 20th century.

Thomas Hodgkin DCL and family: business correspondence, late 19th - early 20th century.

Certificates of Thomas Hodgkin MD's membership of various learned societies, 1830s.

Letters and photographs, various, relating to members of the Hodgkin and Howard families in the 19th century - they include letters by Luke Howard, by Howard Hodgkin (son of John Hodgkin junior), etc. There is one photograph thought to be of Thomas Hodgkin DCL and two of a woman not identified.

Also some items returned to the Hodgkin family by the then Wellcome Institute in early 1990s, originally felt not to be connected with archive as transferred; now seen to have a more organic connection and returned for integration into PP/HO, late 19th - early 20th century .

Total extent of uncatalogued material: 9 transfer boxes, 1 archive box, 1 metal tube containing rolled papers.

Ownership note

In the development of the Hodgkin family archive there are several pivotal points. The first comes with the death of John Hodgkin junior in 1875. The papers of earlier members of the Hodgkin family, including his father John Hodgkin senior and papers of the family of his mother, Elizabeth Rickman Hodgkin, were passed to his younger son Thomas Hodgkin junior, to care for them on behalf of the family. Together with these came some of the papers of John Hodgkin junior himself. It appears that these had been divided, with documents relating to the famliy of his first wife, Elizabeth Howard Hodgkin, and to the children of that marriage, being passed to Thomas Hodgkin junior, while papers relating to his second and third marriages and to the children of those marriages was separated out and transferred to Jonathan Backhouse Hodgkin (and now forms part of the Hodgkin collection at Durham County Record Office). Also transferred were part of the papers of Thomas Hodgkin MD, but not all; on his death in 1865 some papers had been given to his brother John Hodgkin junior but others were retained by his widow. To this group of papers was added, as a result of Thomas Hodgkin junior's marriage to Lucy Anna Fox, the papers of the latter's mother Sarah Lloyd Fox including Sarah's correspondence with her sister Rachel (who, coincidentally, had married into the Howard family and helped to bring up the young children of Elizabeth Howard Hodgkin, and is thus represented in the archive via two distinct strands of provenance).

This body of documentation was consciously preserved by Thomas Hodgkin junior as an archive of the family's history. The second and third pivotal points in its history come in 1893, when he moved from Newcastle to Bamburgh, and in 1913 when he died. Both of these occasions triggered sorting of the archive combined with a winnowing out of papers seen as unnecessary. The resulting selection passed by direct descent until its presentation to the Library.

At various points other papers passed out of the family. At the death of Thomas Hodgkin MD, as mentioned above, his widow kept a portion of his papers. After her death Hodgkin's papers passed not to the family but to her children by her first marriage. Some of these were purchased by the Library in 1989, following the death of Professor Christopher Scaife, and catalogued as MSS.5680-5686; seven letters to Thomas Hodgkin MD, purchased the following year (acc. 348317) and now reintegrated, may have come from the same source.

Other material purchased by the Library had left the family at a later stage, early in the twentieth century. The generation of Thomas Hodgkin junior preserved the previous generations' papers consciously, as a family archive, but their own documents were not invariably added to this stock: some are only now reintegrated after several decades in which they passed, presumably, from one manuscript dealer and one collector to another. Some manuscripts of John Hodgkin, collector of cookery books and grandson of John Hodgkin junior, were purchased after his death in 1930 and assigned manuscript numbers MSS 2845-2850. Four hundred or so letters of Thomas Hodgkin junior (and other very miscellaneous documents) appear to have entered circulation after his death and were purchased from a manuscript dealer in 1992 (acc. 348941). Two letters to his wife from Josephine Butler were purchased in 1992 (acc. 349085). Some letters to or from Thomas Hodgkin MD or other family members had been purchased from various dealers during the first half of the twentieth century by the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum, as it then was, and inserted into the Western Manuscripts Department's Autograph Letters Sequence.

Of the material that found its way to the Library separately from the main family collection, items already assigned manuscript numbers have not been reintegrated with the main family archive. However, papers held in the Autograph Letters Sequence and the various recently-acquired documents that, at the time of the presentation of the main archive, were still uncatalogued, have been reintegrated silently with the main archive. This procedure was followed because it was felt that it would simply confuse matters if the arrangement of the archive attempted to reflect their slightly different provenance; pencilled accession numbers on the items concerned make it possible to identify them if necessary.

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Accession number

  • 1525
  • 1538
  • 1588
  • 1700
  • 348317
  • 348374
  • 348941
  • 349085