Friday, 12 October 2012

Paper in Ibis on Professor Alfred Newton's contribution to ornithology

Professor Tim Birkhead and Peter Gallivan, from the University of Sheffield, have published a paper, Alfred Newton's contribution to ornithology: a conservative quest for facts rather than grand theories, in Ibis (2012), 154, 887-905.

Alfred Newton (1829-1907), Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge, was a founder of the Balfour & Newton Libraries in the Department. He bequeathed his collection of rare books (dating from the 15th century) and his archive to the Department.

This essay gives a fascinating insight into Newton's personality and highlights his considerable achievements in the field of ornithology. It covers his life, his role as one of the founders of the British Ornithological Union (BOU), his Dictionary of Birds, and his other interests such as extinct birds (the solitaire and dodo), migration, the cuckoo, conservation, and William Yarrell's History of British Birds, and his connections with Charles Darwin. The paper really does place Newton in context in the history of ornithology.

Find out more about Newton and his collections on the library's Special Collections website here:

The Ibis article can be found here: