George Charles Champion
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Encouraged by J. Platt-Barret, G C Champion began collecting beetles when he was 16. Champion's initial work was mainly in the Home Counties. Recognized as a serious coleopterist, he accepted a post as collector for Frederick DuCane Godman and Osbert Salvin to work on Biologia Centrali-Americana. Champion left England in February 1879 for Guatemala, where he arrived on 16 March. Then commenced four years of journeys and intensive collecting, which are described in a series of articles he wrote to the Entomologists' Monthly Magazine. Successful as a collector, he returned to England in 1883 with 15,000 species of insects. A former watchmaker, he was employed by Godman and Salvin as a secretary, and he saw through the press the 52 volumes of the Biologia. Champion also prepared the Coleoptera sections for publication and wrote the volumes and parts covering the Heteromera, the Elateridae and Dascillidae, the Cassidinae, and Curculionidae. He described more than 4,000 species new to science in this work.
He published 426 articles, some in Annals and Magazine of Natural History, which he also edited. Much of his work was with exotic Coleoptera, but he also wrote faunistic papers, mainly on beetles from Woking, Surrey, where he lived.
From 1871, he was a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society of London, and a member of the Entomological Society Council from 1875 to 1877. He was Librarian from 1891 to 1920, and appointed Vice President in 1925. He compiled the Catalogue and Supplement of the Library. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Zoological Society of London. He also helped to found the South London Entomological and Natural History Society .
Champion’s beetle collection, including over 150,000 specimens and a very large number of types, is housed at the Natural History Museum, London. His specimens can be found in other major collections, such as the Hope Department of Entomology, Oxford.
- Gallery of eminent English coleopterologists of first half of XX century: Photo of G.C. Champion
- Digital version of Biologia Centrali-Americana
Further information on G C Champion, and the journey of his great grandson James Champion can be found at: *