Thomas Brown (naturalist)

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Captain Thomas Brown (1785 – October 8, 1862) was a British naturalist and malacologist.

Born in Perth, Scotland, he was educated at the Edinburgh High School. At the age of twenty, he joined the Forfar and Kincardine Militia, raising to the rank of captain in 1811. When he was quartered in Manchester, he became interested in nature, and edited Oliver Goldsmith's Animated Nature. After his regiment was disbanded he bought the Fifeshire flax mill. But this burned down before Thomas Brown had the opportunity to insure it and he then started to write books about nature for a living.

In 1840 he became curator of the Manchester Museum for twenty-two years.

He wrote several natural history books, a few dealing with conchology. He became a fellow of the Linnean Society, a member of the Wernerian, Kirwanian and Phrenological Societies, and president of the Physical Society. Material from his books was used by United States naturalist Thomas Wyatt for his book Manual of Conchology. Wyatt in turn hired Edgar Allan Poe to edit, compile, and "arrange" a revised, condensed, simplified, and less expensive version: The Conchologist's First Book (1839).

A species of sea snail, a marine gastropod, was named after him: Zebina browniana d'Orbigny, 1842.

Selected works[edit]

  • Illustrations of the American ornithology of Alexander Wilson and Charles Lucien Bonaparte (1831–1835). These illustrations were also used in the three-volume "Jameson edition" of Wilson's American ornithology (published between 1801 and 1814)
  • The taxidermist's manual, or, The art of collecting, preparing and preserving objects of natural history (Glasgow: Archibald Fullarton ... [and 3 others], 1833) xii, 150 p., VI leaves of plates
  • Brown T. 1849. Illustrations Of The Fossil Conchology Of Great Britain And Ireland, With Descriptions And Localities.

References[edit]

  • Sherborn, C. D., The conchological writings of Captain Thomas Brown. -- Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 1905
  • Reynell, A., Notes on the dates of publication of the earlier parts of Captain Thomas Brown's Illustrations of the Conchology of Great Britain and Ireland, 2nd edition. -- Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London, 1921