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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. E. Gray   21 February 1862

21 Feb 1862

My Dear Darwin

I do not know if the enclosed has any interest to you   when read please return it.1

A curious incident has occurred here   Gerrard has compiled a catalogue of the Bones of mammalia2   he also aded where these skeletons had been figured & gave a list of those that had been figured we had not

I printed the Catalogue & put Gerrard name in the title

My report had to go through Owen as usual3   He objected to the name being there because the list was on a system now made by Gerrard himself   there[fore] it could not be catalogue[d] & his name should only be mentioned in the Preface   I replied that the system adopted was that on which the Bones & stuffed skins were arranged & any other system would not be so usefull to the Museum   He persisted in his objection & the Trustees have ordered the name to be errased!4

Adieu | Ever Yours sincerely | J. E Gray


The enclosure has not been identified.
J. E. Gray ed. 1862b. Edward Gerrard, curator of the galleries and storerooms of the British Museum natural history collections, was Gray’s ‘right hand man’ (Gunther 1975, pp. 268–9). As there was not room in the zoological department for Gerrard to have a desk, he wrote the catalogue on a board across his knees (Gunther 1975, p. 275 n. 11).
Richard Owen was superintendent of the natural history collections at the British Museum.
Only Gray’s name appeared on the title-page.


Cites case of Owen’s getting compiler’s name removed from title of a British Museum catalogue.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Edward Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 165: 207
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3456,” accessed on 25 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10