- 1895 - 1992 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
small collection: 2 boxes of ephemera
Name of creator
Born Orkney 1856; died Orkney 1939
Educated at Dollar Academy and the Edinburgh Collegiate School, Henry Halcro Johnston took a degree in medicine at Edinburgh University. While at university he played rugby for Scotland, gaining an international cap in 1877. He served in the Army Medical Department in Mauritius, Sudan, The North West Frontier and South Africa from 1881, rising to the rank of Colonel before retiring in 1913. He was re-employed during the First World War, working in hospitals in Gibraltar, Glasgow and York. With a wide range of scientific and botanical interests, he collected herbarium material and seeds throughout his military service around the world. On returning to Orkney in 1919 he was able to concentrate on the botany of the islands, meticulously collecting and documenting his collections, focusing particularly on the microspecies of Taraxacum and Hieracium. Some of his work was published in the Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh. He was an active member of the Orkney Natural History Society and responsible for organising the herbarium at the Stromness Museum. Most of his botanical collections and notes were bequeathed to the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists); obituary folder
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
•1 box of bequest and correspondence, Orkney, 1895-1992
•1 box containing Field/Collection notebooks from the Herbarium at RBGE, includes South Africa and Sierra Leone found amongst the A. Somerville archive, May 2009.
Temporary Numbering and Descriptions as follows:
Box 1 of 2:
• GH235 JHH/1 Correspondence, ms. and typescript, 1895–1939. Correspondents include Isaac Bayley Balfour, W. Edgar Evans, William Wright Smith, Subjects include collecting Orkney botanical specimens (subsequently presented to the Herbarium),the cultivation of various seeds (e.g., Tibetan “Trukchuka” barley, Poa flabellata, Carduus lanceolatus); newspaper cuttings, “The Educational Value of an Herbarium: Colonel Johnston and Nature’s Great Garden,” The Orkney Herald, 1 Sept. 1926; obituary of James Johnston, The Orcadian, 8 Sept. 1932
• GB235 JHH/2 Correspondence and papers, ms. and typescript, 1939–1949, on H.H. Johnston’s bequest of specimens to the Herbarium, including the transfer of his Orkney herbarium from the Orkney Museum to Edinburgh. Correspondents include W. Edgar Evans, Geoffrey Evans, William Wright Smith, and Marie Johnston Steele. Includes obituary of H.H. Johnston (newspaper cutting), letters from various solicitors on the terms of H.H. Johnson’s will and bequest, and excerpt from “Trust Disposition and Settlement by Colonel Henry Halcro Johnston,” bequest to Regius Keeper, RBGE, typescript copy, 15 Jan. 1930.
• GB235 JHH/3 Correspondence, typescript and ms., 1960–1992, on the disposition of H.H. Johnston’s papers and notebooks. Correspondents include Elaine R. Bullard, B.L. [Brian Lawrence] Burtt, H. R. Fletcher, W. Groundwater (Curator, Stromness Museum), Ian Hedge, R.C. Palmer, and Franklyn H. Perring (Botanical Society of the British Isles).
Box 2 of 2
• GB235 JHH/4 Twenty-seven botanical field notebooks, ms.:
3 notebooks: Catalogue /Herbarium/South Africa: 1–434; 438–1455; 1456–1418 and Madagascar 1419–1822.
2 notebooks: Collecting Book/Sierra Leone: 3824–5627; 5648–5936.
22 numbered notebooks (no. 1 missing) of botanical specimens collected in Orkney by H.H. Johnston: Sept. 1914–Sept. 1938.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Henry Halcro Johnston - Deputy Lieutenant for Orkney - http://www.snipview.com/q/Henry_Halcro_Johnston?fItemID=-1&fditem=&iturl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.scapaflow.co%2Findex.php%2Fculture_and_tradition%2Fpeople_of_note%2Fcol_henry_halcro_johnston_c.b._c.b.e_d.sc._m.d._c.m._d.l._botanist_1914_196&itn=Colonel%20Henry%20Halcro%20Johnston%2C%20CB%2C%20CBE%20D.Sc%2C%20MD%2C%20CM%2C%20DL%20%281856%20...&itembd=&flink=true&ItemSlideshow
Subject access points
Name access points
- Somerville, Alex (Subject)