Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7112
Westwood, J. O. (John Obadiah), 1805-1893
J. O. (John Obadiah) Westwood Papers, 1816-1890
John Obadiah Westwood (1805-1893) was a naturalist, illustrator, paleographer, antiquarian, and the first Hope Professor of Zoology at Oxford University. One of the most important nineteenth-century British entomologists, he was also well-known for his minute illustrations of insects and reproductions of illuminated manuscripts, especially of the Anglo-Saxon and medieval periods.
In 1833, Westwood helped found the Entomological Society in London, and later served in various administrative positions, notably as Secretary, from 1834 to 1847, and as Honorary Life President, from 1883 to 1893. Westwood wrote and illustrated many entomological monographs and also did illustrations of insects for the works of other entomologists, some of which were published for the Entomological Society.
In 1858, Westwood was appointed Keeper of the Hope entomological collection and library at Oxford. The collection and library were donated between 1847 and 1858 by Frederick William Hope, who was the first president of the Entomological Society and a close friend of Westwood. Westwood subsequently added his own entomological collection to Hope's. When Hope established the Hope Professorship in Zoology in 1861, Westwood was appointed to the chair. Westwood served as professor of zoology from 1861 to 1893.
These papers consist of correspondence to Westwood from entomologists including Alexander Henry Haliday, Sidney Smith Saunders, and George Henry Kendrick Thwaites on fig insects; and Thomas Whitmarsh on isosoma and gall flies; correspondence between Thwaites and Stanford Green concerning fig insects in Ceylon, 1877, collected by Westwood; letters and notes collected by Westwood as part of his collection of autographs of his entomological contemporaries, 1816-1837, including Jean Baptiste Armand Louis Leonce Elie Beaumont, Jean Baptiste Alphonse Boisduval, Leon Dufour, Etienne Laurant Joseph Hippolyte de Fonscolombe, Leonhard Gyllenhal, Thomas Say, and others; and an autograph collection consisting of signatures only.
The manuscript collection, 1840-1890, consists of handwritten notes and drawings, some in color, mostly by Westwood (most were published); proof plates with notations by Westwood; correspondence concerning the disposition of Haliday's entomological collection after Haliday's death, 1882, and notes on the Haliday collection by Westwood; correspondence and drawings from Charles Robert Osten-Sacken and notes by Westwood concerning Diptera; and correspondence concerning corrections on manuscripts and proof plates to be sent for publication; handwritten manuscripts of a catalog of British insects by James Francis Stephens; entomological notes by Walter Elliot; and reprints. In addition, there are photographs of insects seen through the microscope.
The John Obadiah Westwood Papers were donated to Oxford University in May 1982. The Smithsonian Institution Archives retains a microfilm copy of the papers, and color transparencies of the color drawings.
The John O. Westwood Papers were donated to Oxford University in May 1982; (2) the Archives retains a microfilm copy of the papers, and color transparencies of the color drawings.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Westwood, J. O. (John Obadiah), 1805-1893
- Haliday, Alexander Henry, 1806-1870
- Saunders, Sidney Smith
- Thwaites, George Henry Kendrick, 1811-1882
- Whitmarsh, Thomas
- Green, Stanford
- Osten-Sacken, C. R. (Carl Robert), 1828-1906
- Stephens, James Francis, 1792-1853
- Elliot, Walter
- Hope, F. W. (Frederick William), 1797-1862
- University of Oxford
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7112, J. O. (John Obadiah) Westwood Papers