Call Number: Mss 242 (A.06-85)
Title: G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton fonds.
Extent: 0.12 m of textual records.
Biographical sketch: Major Gerald Edwin Hamilton Barrett-Hamilton (1871-1914) was a renowned British zoologist. He was born in 1871 and received a science degree at Trinity College, Oxford, in 1896. That same year Lord Salisbury commissioned him and Prof. D'Arcy Thompson to the British Behring Sea Fur Seal Enquiry on the Pribiloff Islands. As the commissioner he traveled extensively throughout Japan, Kamachatka, and the North Pacific Islands.
In 1901-02, he served in South Africa in the Boer War. In 1903, he married Maud C. Eland of Ravenshill, Transvaal, with whom he had six children.
He lived in Kilmanock, England for the period 1903-1913, where he collected material on the mammals of the British Isles. He published several articles about his research expeditions in journals like "The Irish Naturalist", "Ibis", & the Royal Society's "Geographical Journal".
His major work was A History of British Mammals, issued in 21 parts between 1910 & 1921. This monumental fragment, continued by Martin A. C. Hinton of the British Museum & illustrated first by Edward Adrian Wilson [who also perished in the Antarctic in 1912], and later by Guy Dollman, is still considered a valuable reference source & available in reprint editions to this day.
In October 1913 he was commissioned by the Colonial Office and the British Museum to investigate the killing of whales in the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. While on this research expedition, he contracted pneumonia and died of sudden heart-failure on January 17, 1914, at the age of 43.
For a detailed obituary preceded by a signed photograph, see v. 3, Pt. 15 (march 1914) of Barrett-Hamilton's A History of British Mammals (QL 727 H38 1910 RBR, v.3)
In 2005, the Major G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton Memorial Scholarship was established by Michael Nesbitt, G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton's grandson. Nesbitt wanted to pay tribute to his grandfather and his mother, Geraldine Margaret Barrett-Hamilton Nesbitt, the first woman in Winnipeg to graduate with honours in zoology and chemistry.
Custodial history: The fonds was donated to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by Michael Nesbitt in 2006.
Scope and content: The fonds consists of G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton's articles, publications and correspondence about the G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton Scholarship. -- Three items, including the 21 parts of A History of British Mammals bound in 3 vols. of 7 issues each, & Hinton's 1925 "Reports on Papers left by the late Major G. E. H. Barrett-Hamilton relating to the Whales of South Georgia" have been catalogued in BISON & placed in the Rare Book Vault.
Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.
Accruals: No further accruals to this fonds are expected.
Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available in the Archives reading room and an on-line finding aid is available at the link below: