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Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892)

  • Owen, Richard, Sir, 1804-1892.
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


Collection of letters from Owen to various correspondents, including the physiologist Frédéric Cuvier, the painter H W Pickersgill and the nature writer Charles Ottley Groom Napier, together with a small number of letters received by Owen and a few ephemeral items from Owen's papers. The papers are bound in chronological order and are described individually below. Unless otherwise noted, the list names recipients of letters sent by Owen together with their address where known:

Dr. Frédéric Cuvier, Jardin des Plantes, Paris, 22 October 1835, ff.1-2.

Annotated drawing by Owen of kangaroo ovum and foetus, with accompanying anonymous note concerning its publication, 19 June 1837, ff.3-5

M. Le Baron Ferussac, 28 November 1835, ff.6-7

Dr. Frédéric Cuvier, Jardin des Plantes, Paris, 14 December 1835, ff.8-9

[Dr. Frédéric Cuvier] concerning his publication on cetacea (presumably De l'histoire naturelle des cétacé, Paris, 1836) and requesting an article for Todd's Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, Royal College of Surgeons, 25 January 1836, ff.10-11

Dr. Frédéric Cuvier, 26 December 1836; 15 August 1837; 13 September 1837; ff.12-17

Unnamed correspondent concerning the correction of text for publication, 18 February 1838, f.18

Dr. Frédéric Cuvier, Jardin du Roi, Paris, 3 June 1938, ff.19-20

Son of Dr. Frédéric Cuvier on the death of the latter, 18 January 1839, ff.21-22

Samuel Simpson, Lancaster, 10 April 1839, ff.23-24

Viscount Cole M.P., 1 February 1840, ff.25-26

Mr. H. Stutchbury, 6 October 1840, ff.27-28

To Owen from William Ogilby, Zoological Society, 11 May 1841, ff.29-30

Samuel Simpson, 25 May 1841, ff.31-32

John Van Voorst, Paternoster Row, 10 February 1842, ff.33-34

E.H. St. Quinton, 21 October 1842, ff.35-36

Samuel Simpson, Lancaster, 10 January 1843, ff.37-38

To Owen from Jan van der Hoeven, Leiden, 26 September [1842], ff.39-40

To Owen from Sir Charles Augustus Murrary, Windsor Castle, 31 January 1943, ff.41-42

Lovell Augustus Reeve, King William Street, 4 March 1843, ff.43-44

[Samuel Simpson], Royal College of Surgeons, 11 March 1843, ff.45-46

John Garle, 23 May 1844, f.47

R. Clarke, 'Curator of the College of Surgeons', 29 May 1844, f.48

Henry W. Pickersgill, 30 May 1844; 11 June 1844; 24 June 1844; ff.49-53

Professor [Rudolph] Wagner, 27 September 1844, f.54

Owen's sister Grace, 29 October 1844, ff.55-56

Henry W. Pickersgill, 18 Soho Square, London, 17 December 1844; 25 December 1844; ff.57-59

Professor Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, [ ] 1844, ff.63-64

To Owen from Sir Charles Augustus Murray, Buckingham Palace, 25 March [c.1844], ff.65-66

Count Paul Edmond de Strzelecki, 21 May 1845, ff.67-68

Unnamed correspondent concerning a paper on fossil bones of birds from the Wealden, 13 December 1845, ff.69-70

Henry W. Pickersgill, 27 December 1845, ff.71-73

[ ] Barlow, 28 January 1846, ff.74-75

Mrs. Barlow, 22 March [1846], ff.76-77

Unnamed correspondent concerning the cervical vertebra of a rorqual whale, 25 October [1846], ff.78-79

Henry W. Pickersgill, 4 February 1846, ff.80-81

Mr. J. de Carle Sowerby, 15 September 1847, ff.82-83

Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, 25 July 1848, ff.84-86

Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, 31 July 1849, ff.87-89

Envelope addressed to Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, [5] February 1846, f.90 (see ff.80-81)

[Samuel Simpson], 23 August 1849, ff.91-92

Henry W. Pickersgill, 18 Soho Square, 29 April 1850, ff.93-95

Saint Redgrave, 23 May 1850, ff.96-97

Mrs. Dixon (widow of Frederick Dixon, 1789-1849), 11 November 1850, f.98

Henry W. Pickersgill, 22 December 1850, ff.99-100

Envelope addressed to Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, [June] 1844, f. 101 (see ff.51-53)

Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, 31 December [1850], ff.102-104

Henry W. Pickersgill concerning a bottle to be used as a model [?in Pickersgill's portrait of Owen], [early 1850s], ff.105-107

Henry W. Pickersgill, Soho Square, 30 [June] 1846,ff.108-110

Henry W. Pickersgill, 18 Soho Square, [late 1840s/early 1850s], ff.111-112

Charles Robert Leslie, R.A., 19 December 1851, ff.113-114

Unnamed female correspondent answering various natural history queries, 6 January 1852, ff.115-116

[George C. Lewis] concerning his book Treatise on the Methods of Observation and Reasoning in Politics (1852), 15 May 1852, ff.117-118

Unnamed correspondent in Grundisbrugh, Suffolk, 9 December 1852, ff.119-120

Henry Brass, 12 May 1854, f.121

Unnamed correspondent concerning Owen's fulfilment of an unspecified request, 12 October 1854, ff.122-123

[George Henry] Lewes concerning his biography of Goethe, 31 October 1855, ff124-125

[Luther Holden] concerning his publication Human Osteology, 31 January 1856, ff.126-127

[?Thomas Livingstone] Mitchell, 8 March 1856, ff.128-129

Unnamed correspondent concerning Owen's relationship with Georges Cuvier, 24 April 1856, ff.130-131

[James] Paget, Royal College of Surgeons, 20 May 1856, 132-133

Luther Holden, 23 September 1856, ff.134-135

Mr. Blackwall, 7 October 1856, f.136

Unnamed correspondent concerning a certificate for a candidate for the Fellowship of the Society of Arts, 21 January 1857, ff.137-138

Unnamed correspondent concerning George Cuvier's Discours Préliminaire sur les Révolutions du Globe [sic], 3 March 1847, ff.139-140

Mr. Cooke, 12 September 1857, ff.141-142

Alfred Wills, 19 November 1957, ff.143-144

[Charles Robert Leslie], 25 November 1957, ff.145-146

S.P. Woodward, 2 December 1857, f.147

Mr. Cooke, 8 February 1858, ff.148-149

B[ ] concerning Donati's Comet, 28 September 1858, ff.150-151

[ ] Barlow, 30 December 1858, ff.152-153

[Sir Roderick] Murchison, 21 January 1859, f.154

Mr. Baillie, 1 March 1859, ff.155-156

Unnamed correspondent accepting dinner invitation, 2 April 1859, f.157

John [W.] Parker Junior, 17 June 1859, ff.158-159

Sir John [ ], 2 August 1859, ff.160-161

J[ohn] W. Parker Junior, 25 August 1859, f.162

Mr. Parker, 4 December 1859, f.163

Ed[ ] Jesse, 17 July 1860, f.164

Unnamed correspondent concerning courses in geology and zoology, 10 September 1860, ff.165-166

Fr[ ] Curzon, 12 October 1860, ff.167-168

'Part of the press manuscript of a Monograph for the History of British Fossil Reptiles' addressed to Mr. Vitts, 6 December 1860, f.169

Mr. [Charles] Kingsley, 2 January 1861, ff.170-171

[ ] Fowler, 7 February 1861, ff.172-173

[ ] Bell, 11 July 1861, f.174

Mr. Eyton, 18 October 1861, f.175

[ ] Sandwith, 9 December 1861, f.176

[ ] Linton, [1861], f.177-178

[ ] Bowman, 18 December 1861, f.179

Mrs. Jeffreys, 13 March 1862, ff.180-181

Mr. Selater, 15 April 1862, ff.1821-183

Unnamed correspondent declining an invitation, 17 August 1862, f.184

Letter by Owen entitled 'The Brain of Man and Apes' submitted to the Medical Times and Gazette, 28 October 1862, ff.185-187

Owen's sister Maria, 29 October 1862, ff.188-189

Mrs. Johnson, 17 January 1863, ff.190-191

[ ] Fowler, 14 July 1863, f.192

Unnamed correspondent requesting permission to reproduce a 'table of strata' in a published lecture, 30 November 1863, ff.193-194

Unnamed correspondent concerning a photograph of a cast, 16 March 1864, f.195

Mrs. Charlotte Taylor, Douglas, Isle of Man concerning her natural history drawings, 4 April 1864, ff.196-198 (see also ff.212-213)

Unnamed correspondent declining an invitation to open the Institute of Science and Art at Wolverton, 4 May 1864, f.199

Unnamed female correspondent concerning inter alia a lecture by Owen which was suppressed as heretical, 7 May 1864, ff.200-201

[ ] Cooke, 28 June 1864, ff.202-203

Unnamed correspondents concerning inter alia human remains at Bruniquel, 6 September 1864, ff.204-205

Dr. Gray, 5 December 1864, f.206

Mrs. King, 6 April 1865, ff.207-208

[John] Winter Jones, 6 June 1865, ff.209-210

Lady Shelley, 14 September 1865, f.211

[?Samuel] Simpson, 20 December 1965, ff.212-213

Charles Ellis, 6 August 1865, f.214

Admiral [ ] mentioning 'sun-pictures' of Knowsley Cottage, 7 August 1866, f.215

Unnamed correspondent declining an invitation to give a lecture in Norwich, 7 December 1866, ff.216-217

Charles Ottley Groom Napier, Southwell Cottage, Kingsdown, Bristol, 18 December 1866, ff.218-219

Mrs. King, 29 May [1867], ff.220-221

Lady Grey, 17 June 1867, ff.222-223

Lady Bovrill, 27 April 1867, ff.224-225

Mr. Slade, 13 October 1867, f.226

Mr. Law, 28 November 1867, ff.227-228

Charles Ellis, 7 January 1868, ff.229-230

J.H. Chamberlain, 10 February 1868, f.231

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.232-233) now kept with Henry Lee papers (see MSS.5376-5401)

Charles Ottley Groom Napier, 28 July 1869, ff.234-235

Charles Ottley Groom Napier, 20 Maryland Road, Paddington, 26 January 1870, ff.236-237

Mr. Venn, 23 February 1870, ff.238-239

Baron Heath, 24 April 1870, ff.240-241

Mrs. Fowler, 18 May 1870, f.242

Letter to J.B. Reade (formerly ff.243-244) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Mrs. Layard, 31 October 1870, ff.245-246

Letter to J.B. Reade (formerly ff.247-248) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Letter to unnamed correspondent from Caroline A. Owen, Owen's wife, promising to forward a note to Owen in Cairo, 7 December 1870, ff.249-250

Charles Ottley Groom Napier, 18 December 1870, ff.251-252

Mr. Tupper, 10 February 1871, f.253

[ ] Cholmondely Pennell, Admiralty, Whitehall, 25 March 1871, 254-255

Mr. Selater, 15 November 1871, ff.257-258

Rev. F.W. Farrer, 18 March 1872, ff.259-260

Mr. Rougier, 18 March 1872, ff.261-262

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.263-264) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Unnamed correspondent regarding a possible visit to Stonehenge, 26 April 1872, ff.265-266

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.267-268) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

R.H. Duke of Edinburgh accepting lunch invitation, 10 May 1872, f.269

Lady M[ ] concerning her son's honourable mention in despatches regarding the taking of Moscow, 10 September 1872, ff.270-271

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.272-275) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

[ ] Cooke, 19 December 1873, ff.276-277

[Luther] Holden, 9 May 1874, ff.278-279

Bishop of [ ], 4 July 1874, ff.280-281

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.282-283) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Mrs. Hale, 2 October 1974, ff.284-285

Unnamed correspondent containing inter alia an open invitation to dinner, 2 October 1874, 286-287

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.288-295) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

[F.] Tarn, 25 November 1874, f.296

[ ] Owen, 9 December 1874, f.297

[ ] Cooper, 30 April 1875, f.298

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.299-300) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Lady M[ ] on the birth of her first grandchild, 5 December 1876, ff.301-302

[ ] Cooke, 24 March 1877, f.303

[H. Line] regarding unspecified permission to be sought from the Duke of Cambridge, 4 July 1877, ff.304-305

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.306-309) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Paper sent to Charles Ottley Groom Napier setting out Owen's views on the theory of evolution, with covering letter to Napier, 19 March 1878, ff.310-313

Mr. Wiltshire, 28 March 1878; 15 April 1878; ff.314-317

Mr. Halle, 29 April 1878, ff.318-319

Mr. Wiltshire, 6 May 1878, ff.320-321

'Rev. Warden', 15 June 1878, ff.322-323

[William Sweetland] Dallas, 3 April 1879, f.324

Charles Ottley Groom Napier, 3 April 1879, 324

Charles Ottley Groom Napier (addressed as Prince of Mantua and Montserrat), 18 Elgin Road, St Peter's Park, 4 July 1879, ff.325-326.

Professor Stauch, Imperial Academy of Sciences, [St] Petersburgh, 3 November 1879, ff.327-328

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.329-332) now kept with Henry Lee papers (MSS.5376-5401)

Envelope (in Owen's hand) addressed to Sir Richard Owen, Sheen Lodge, Richmond Park, Mortlake, [8 June 1888], f.333

Unnamed correspondent sending condolences on the death of a spouse, 22 November 1880, ff.335-335

Letters to Henry Lee (formerly ff.336-337) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

William Sweetland Dallas, 11 January 1881, f.338

Unnamed correspondent concerning inter alia financial obstacles to arrangements for the [Natural History] Museum, 14 March 1881, ff.339-340

Charles Ottley Groom Napier (addressed as Prince of Mantua and Montserrat), 18 Elgin Road, St Peter's Park, 28 April 1881, ff.341-342

Mr. Gambier Parry, 20 June 1881, f.343, with obituary notice of Richard Owen, 1892, f.344

Letter toErnest Abraham Hart, 8 August 1881 (formerly f.345) now kept with Ernest Hart papers (seeMS.5424)

[Thomas] Rupert Jones, 29 November 1881, ff.346-347

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.348-349) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Charles Ottley Groom Napier (addressed as Duke of Mantua and Montserrat), 18 Elgin Road, St Peter's Park, 25 March 1882; 13 May 1882; 26 May 1882; 15 September 1882; 10 October 1882; 14 November 1882; ff.350-361

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.362-363) now kept with Henry Lee papers (MSS.5376-5401)

Mrs. Holt, 11 March 1883, f.364

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.365-366) now kept with Henry Lee papers (MSS.5376-5401)

Charles Ottley Groom Napier (addressed as Duke of Mantua and Montserrat), 18 Elgin Road, St Peter's Park, 8 May 1883, 367-368

Letters to Henry lee (formerly ff.369-372) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Unnamed correspondent sending condolences on the death of Mr Emmerson, 17 September 1883, ff.373-374

[Thomas] Rupert Jones, 20 November 1883, ff.375-376

Mr. Noble, 17 July 1884, ff.377-378

Colonel [ ], 24 August 1884, ff.379-380

[ ] Stuart Poole, 1 December 1884, ff.381-382

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.383-384) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Mrs. Annie Owen, Frodsham, 10 April 1885, ff.385-386

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly ff.387-388 now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

[ ] Noble, 23 December 1885, ff.389-390

Unnamed correspondent concerning illustrations for a paper on Megalonia Prisca, 11 March 1886, ff.391-392

Frederick G. Kitton, 8 West Kensington Terrace, West Kensington, 23 October 1886, ff.393-395

Letter to Henry Lee (formerly f.396) now kept with Henry Lee papers (seeMSS.5376-5401)

Charles Ellis, Chudleigh Knighton, Devon, 26 December 1888, ff.396-398

[ ] Noble, 19 January 1889, ff.390-440

Charles Ottley Groom Napier (addressed as Prince of Mantua and Montserrat), 18 Elgin Road, 20 January 1891; 23 March 1891; ff.401-404

Receipt from Sir Thomas Brock R.A. to the Committee of the Sir Richard Owen Memorial Fund for payment towards a bronze statue of Owen, with covering letter from Brock to Sir William Flower, 14 June 1897, ff.405-406

Signatures of Richard Owen, mid 19th century-late 19th century, ff.407-409

Card signed by Owen admitting Charles West to lectures on comparative anatomy, 10th century, f.410

Envelope addressed to Henry Lee (formerly f.411) now removed

[ ] Cooper, 19th century, f.412

Mrs. Buxton, 19th century, ff.413-414

Unnamed correspondent accepting dinner invitation, 17 April [19th century], f.415

Note to unnamed correspondent from 'J.W.P.' [?John W. Parker Junior] including a copy of Owen's list of the four divisions of mammalia, 1857, ff.416-417

Mr. Jordan, 19th century, f.418-419

Joseph Dinkel, 19th century, ff.420-421

Envelope addressed to Frédéric Cuvier, Banque de France, Paris, [1834], f.422

Fragment of a manuscript by Owen on the anatomy of the king crab, 19th century, f.423

Undated letter to Thomas Joseph Pettigrew (formerly f.424) now kept in Harriott Cuff White Autograph Collection (seeMS.5509)

[ ] Fowler, 3 November [?not later than 1867], f.425

'Lord John', 19th century, ff.426-427

Note (in French) stating 'Letter from Mr. Richard Owen addressed to my father in the course of reading which he died.', 19th century, ff.428-429



Physical description

c. 200 items Bound in one folio volume: 432 × 380 mm., 429 ff.


Chronological order

Acquisition note

Collected from many sources.

Finding aids

Database description transcribed from Richard Palmer, Catalogue of Western Manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine: Western Manuscripts 5120-6244 (London: The Wellcome Library for the History & Understanding of Medicine, 1999).


  • English
  • French

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