The Zoology Archive is a collection of research, lecture and laboratory notes, illustrations and papers from Oxford Zoologists and the Department of Zoology, dating from the late 19th century to the 1990s. One of the eminent Oxford Zoologists whose papers are included in the archive is the naturalist Henry Nottidge Moseley (1844-1891). Moseley, with much experience in research and laboratory work abroad, had in 1871 accompanied the English Government Eclipse Expedition to undertake observation of the total eclipse from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and India on 12 December 1871. Although Moseley’s papers contain some photographs of this journey, including the equipment and expedition staff in-situ at the observation station in Baikur, India , it is the collected photographs of the four year Challenger Expedition voyage which predominate in his photographic albums.
H.M.S Challenger embarked December 1872 to conduct global oceanic research; the expedition is seen as the foundation of modern oceanography. Five years after returning to England’s shores in May 1876, Moseley would succeed George Rolleston as the Linacre Professor of the Department of Human and Comparative Anatomy (now, Zoology). These photographic albums comprise copies from the glass plates selected for Moseley’s collections and feature Moseley’s contemporary captions alongside the photographs. An entire list of photographs and holding collection information for Challenger Expedition photographs can be found in Brunton, E.V. (1994) ‘The Challenger Expedition, 1872-1876: A Visual Index.’ The Natural History Museum, London. The first panoramic camera was not invented until 1898, so for those interested in capturing overviews of an entire landscape, like Moseley, it was a case of manually arranging photographic plates of two landscapes together to create the perspective of a panorama. The content of the photographs collected by Moseley also shed light on how the natural history of his environment piqued his interests. Moseley, appointed expedition botanist, was said to always be the last one to return from shore to ship, such was his zeal for the natural history and landscapes in their location . As well as early photography, modern photographs relating to Oxford and Zoology in the archive include Zoology department photographs, 1960s, and photographs of the opening of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund [ICRF] Laboratory, 1987.
Retro-conversion work is currently being undertaken on the Zoology Archive, including enhancement of file and collection level cataloguing descriptions, re-housing and a publication of a new online catalogue to be made available in the coming months of 2022.
- Bodleian Libraries, ZOO MA 199 (Challenger 3)
- Department of Zoology archive copy available at ZOO MA 198b
- Bodleian Libraries, ZOO 200 (Challenger 2)
- Bodleian Libraries ZOO MA 207 (Challenger 10) pp. 12-13
- Moseley, H.N. entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography available at https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/19389
- Bodleian Libraries, ZOO MA 204 (Challenger 8)