Catalogue description Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of HOWARD EVEREST HINTON FRS (1912-1977)

This record is held by Bristol University Information Services: Special Collections

Details of NCUACS 59.2.96
Reference: NCUACS 59.2.96
Title: Catalogue of the papers and correspondence of HOWARD EVEREST HINTON FRS (1912-1977)





The material is presented in the order given in the List of Contents. The collection, though small, includes significant records of Hinton's family background and early entomological research.


Section A, Biographical, includes autobiographical drafts, notes made for his Royal Society personal record, tributes and obituaries and many letters of condolence received by his widow Margaret Hinton, some with recollections of Hinton. The largest component of the section, however, is family material. There is correspondence with his father and two brothers G.B. and J.C. Hinton, and also with more distant relations. Of particular note is that with his first cousin once removed, Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor, covering the period 1947-1974. There is also historical material relating to his great-great grandfather George Boole. The family correspondence and papers are supplemented by photographs of family members.


Section B, Research, is particularly notable for its notebooks which cover Hinton's work collecting and classifying beetle specimens over the period 1928-1937. The notebooks are generally in the form of journals and often record not only Hinton's collecting activities but his plans for the future, social engagements etc. The period covered by the notebooks includes Hinton's visit to South America in 1937 with the Percy Sladen expedition to Lake Titicaca. Hinton's subsequent journeys that year to the Amazon basin and French Guiana are also documented. Other material relating to the visit includes lists of specimens and photographs. The section also includes correspondence with V.B. Wigglesworth 1947-1974, chiefly on various aspects of insect physiology, and material from a visit to China in 1960.


Compiled by Timothy E. Powell and Peter Harper


The work of the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and organisations:


The Biochemical Society


The British Library


The Geological Society


The Institute of Physics


The Royal Society


The Royal Society of Chemistry


The Wellcome Trust

Related material:

For a fuller account of Hinton's life and work see the biographical memoir by G. Salt (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society24 (1978), 151-182, a copy of which may be found at NCUACS 59.2.96/A.3.

Held by: Bristol University Information Services: Special Collections, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Hinton, Howard Everest, 1912-1977, scientist and entomologist

Access conditions:








Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers were received in June 1995 from Dr James Hinton, son.

Administrative / biographical background:

Howard Everest Hinton was born on 24 August 1912 in Matehuala, Mexico. His parents had moved to Mexico in connection with his father's work as metallurgist and mining engineer. From the age of 15 Hinton was educated at schools in California before going on to the University of California at Berkeley where he was awarded his B.Sc. in 1934. He did postgraduate research at King's College Cambridge and was awarded his Ph.D. in 1939 (Sc.D. 1957). Hinton was appointed Junior Curator at the University Museum of Zoology in Cambridge in 1937. In 1939 he was made Assistant Keeper at the British Museum (Natural History), a post he held until 1949 when he was appointed Lecturer in Zoology at the University of Bristol. He remained at the University of Bristol for the remainder of his career, being made Reader in Entomology in 1951, Professor of Entomology in 1964 and Professor of Zoology and Head of Department in 1970. He resigned as Head of Department in July 1977 for reasons of ill-health and resumed his personal Chair. He died on 2 August 1977.


Hinton began collecting insects from the age of nine, his interest in natural history acquired from his father, an amateur naturalist of some note. By the time he received his B.Sc. he had already seventeen published papers. His pre-war research was concentrated on the classification of beetles but Hinton's entomological interests were subsequently broadened, initially by his wartime work on insect pests of stored products, and then by his appointment as Lecturer at Bristol University, for which he was required to teach a wide range of entomological subjects new to him. Hinton developed his research interests to cover many fields such as insect metamorphosis, insect pupae, respiratory adaptations, cryptobiosis in insects (in which connection he posited a new theory of the origin of life on Earth) and insect coloration. He authored over 300 publications, his work culminating in the three volume Biology of Insect Eggs which he completed just before his death. Hinton also founded and edited the Journal of Insect Physiology and the journal Insect Biochemistry.


Hinton served as President of the Society for British Entomology 1954-1955 and the Royal Entomological Society of London 1969-1970. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1961.


Hinton was very conscious of his distinguished family background. His paternal great-great grandfather was John Howard Hinton, author of Elements of natural history and an introduction to systematic zoology, and his paternal great grandfathers were the mathematican George Boole FRS and James Hinton, an aural surgeon. His grandfather Charles Howard Hinton was Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University. Great-great uncles included Sir George Everest FRS, the Surveyor General of India, and A.C. Haddon FRS. Hinton's first cousin once removed was Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor FRS.

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