Catalogue description Papers of Cyril Crossland

This record is held by Natural History Museum Library and Archives

Details of Z MSS CROS
Reference: Z MSS CROS
Title: Papers of Cyril Crossland

The collection spans the period 1884 - 1940 and is comprised of notes, drafts for publication, correspondence, drawings and photographs concerning coral and protozoa. With the exception of two parts of the collection, the papers transferred from the Copenhagen Museum, and a box of material on Polychaeta, which have been kept intact, the records have been divided into categories which reflect the type and function of the record. Arrangement within these categories is generally alphabetical, and italics are used to denote original titles.

Date: 1884-1940
Held by: Natural History Museum Library and Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Crossland, Cyril, 1878-1943

Physical description: 9 series
Administrative / biographical background:

Cyril Crossland (1878-1943) was born in Sheffield, the son of landscape painter James Henry Crossland. He studied and worked with marine flora and fauna in a variety of UK and overseas locations, summarised below:


1894-1900 Student at University of London (gained BSc. in 1900)


1897-1900 Student at Cambridge University (gained Masters degree in 1902)


1900-Mar 1902 Assistant to Sir Charles Eliot (British Consul-General at Zanzibar, Commissioner for East African Protectorate, and specialist in nudibranches, collecting and studying marine fauna in Zanzibar


1902-1904 Assistant to Professor MacIntosh at St Andrews University


Jul-Sept 1904 Collecting in the Cape Verdi Islands, assisted by a grant from the Carnegie Institution


Oct 1904-May 1905 Selected by Professor W A Herdman to investigate fauna and flora of the Sudan Coast of the Red Sea


1905-1922 Director of the Sudan Pearl Fishery


1923 Scientific research in England


1924-1926 Joined the St George expedition to the South Pacific in 1924, visiting the Panama region, Galapogas and Marquesas, before leaving the expedition at Tahiti, where he continued to study marine ecology and coral


1927 Scientific research in England


1928 Returned to Tahiti, to study coral reefs


1930-38 Established and directed a marine biological station at Ghardaqa on the Red Sea Coast, at the request of the Egyptian Government. During this time, he also participated in an oceanographical expedition to the North West Indian Ocean, in the Egyptian Steamer 'Mabahiss'


1938-1943 Moved to Denmark with his wife and son, continuing scientific work at the University of Copenhagen's Zoological Museum until his death


Crossland discovered over one hundred new species; two genera and around twenty-five species are named after him. Including small notes, he published about fifty titles, thirty of which are purely scientific in nature.


Crossland's interest in protozoa, begun during his years as assistant to MacIntosh, continued throughout his career. He published seven papers on protozoa, all concerning species from the Red Sea, East Africa, Zanzibar the Maldives and the Cape Verdi Islands. However, Crossland is best known for his influential work on corals and coral reefs, including his important paper 'On Forskals's Collection of Corals in the Zoological Museum of Copenhagen', and his ecological studies of Zanzibar, Tahiti and the Red Sea. Few scientific papers result from his stay on the Sudan Coast; his large manuscript on the biology and cultivation of the pearl oyster never found publication.


Biographical Reference:


Brown, AF: Cyril Crossland: In Memoriam, Dansk Naturhis Forening CVI, Copenhagen, 1943, p.xii-xvi

Link to NRA Record:

Have you found an error with this catalogue description?

Help with your research