Thomas Brown (naturalist)

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

Brown was born in Perth, Scotland and educated at the Edinburgh High School.

When he was twenty, he joined the Forfar and Kincardine Militia, rising 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. That, however, burned down before Brown had the opportunity to insure it. He then started to write books about nature for a living.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1818, one of his proposers being James Jardine.[1]

In 1840 he became curator of the Manchester Museum, where he served 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.

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

Selected works[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