Harold S. Ferguson

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Harold Stuart Ferguson M.B.E. (10 February 1851 – 5 January 1921)[1] was a Scottish zoologist who worked in the south Indian princely state of Travancore, contributing to the local museum.


He was born in Park Street, near Grosvenor Square, London,[2] the fourth child of Robert Ferguson (1799–1865) and Mary Mcleod of Skye. His father was born in India, a close friend of Sir John Macpherson, Governor-General of India and Sir Walter Scott. Robert was an eminent physician who also took an interest in insects, literature and other matters becoming Physician Extraordinary to Queen Victoria. Harold spent most of his life in India in Travancore.

He was married to Isabel Julia Maxwell, niece of Field Marshal Lord Roberts and daughter of Colonel Hamilton Maxwell of the Bengal Staff Corps.[3]

Military career[edit]

He joined the Royal Artillery and around the mid-1880s was a lieutenant in command of the Nair Brigade of the Rajah of Travancore.[4]

Sporting career[edit]

He made two appearances for the Scottish XI against England in the football pseudo-internationals in 1871 and 1872.[5]

Career as zoologist[edit]

He was connected to the State Museum at Trivandrum from 1880 onwards, and from 1894 until his retirement from India in 1904 was director of the museum. Ferguson was interested in all aspects of natural history of the region and he contributed to the herpetology of the state.[6]

He became a member of the British Ornithologists' Union in 1886[4] and was elected a fellow of the Zoological Society in 1891.[7] Ferguson's toad Bufo scaber is named after him.[8][9] He discovered a species of butterfly endemic to the southern Western Ghats, the Travancore evening brown butterfly (Parantirrhoea marshalli) as well as Mycalesis oculus.[10]

He contributed numerous specimens to the collections of the British Museum.[11]


  1. ^ "Fergusson of Drumachoir". Fergussons in Athole. DNA Project. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Andy (17 November 2009). "24/2/1872 teams?". www.scottishleague.net. Retrieved 6 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Ferguson, J & RM Fergusson (1895). Records of the Clan and Name of Fergusson, Ferguson and Fergus. David Douglas, Edinburgh. pp. 193–197. 
  4. ^ a b Anon. 1890. British Ornithologists' Union. Ibis. Volume 6 part 2. page 7
  5. ^ "HS Ferguson". Scotland international footballers. www.londonhearts.com. Retrieved 24 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Ferguson, H.S. (1904). A list of Travancore Batrachians. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society. Vol. 15(3): 499-509
  7. ^ Anon. 1902. A list of the fellows of the Zoological Society of London. page 44
  8. ^ Boulenger, GA (1891) Description of a new species of frog obtained by Mr H S Ferguson in Travancore, South India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 6:450
  9. ^ Boulenger, GA (1892) Description of a new toad from Travancore. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 7:317-318
  10. ^ Marshal, GFL & L de Niceville (1882). The butterflies of India, Burmah and Ceylon. 1. Calcutta Central Press. p. 4. 
  11. ^ Anon. 1906. The history of the collections contained in the natural history departments of the British Museum. Volume 2. British Museum, London. pp. 351, 670, 673

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]