Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)US11
TitleUniversity of Birmingham Staff Papers: Papers and correspondence of Lancelot Thomas Hogben
Extent15 boxes
DescriptionThe frequent changes of location in Hogben's career do much to explain the paucity of the remaining records. Thus, although several of Hogben's interests such as mathematics, statistics, language, and popular education are represented in the papers, there is little substantial scientific material, and virtually no correspondence despite his known long acquaintance with many leading figures in scientific and political life. There are, however, his unpublished 'Interglossa Dictionary', and drafts for a projected work 'Mathematics with the machine' and for his autobiographical writings 'Look Back with Laughter' and 'Professional Reminiscences'. First supplementary material: The supplementary papers were assembled by Wells while preparing his Royal Society memoir, and include Wells's correspondence with Hogben's family, friends and colleagues, his notes and drafts for the memoir, and printed and duplicated background material. Second supplementary material: The material includes further drafts of the autobiography left unfinished by Hogben at his death (subsequently published as Lancelot Hogben, scientific humanist : an unauthorized autobiography edited by Adrian and Anne Hogben (Woodbridge 1998), and the 'Hogben files' of his literary agent Helga Greene which add considerably to the documentation of his role as a scientific populariser.

In addition to the papers described in the 3 paper catalogues available as PDF files (see below), the collection includes an additional deposit of papers presented at a Symposium to commemorate Lancelot Hogben and his appointment to the Chair of Medical Statistics and Human Genetics at the University of Birmingham, held in November 1997 at the University (reference A137). These consist of copies of typed papers by Wilfrid Butt on 'The Hogben Pregnancy Test', Peter Ricketts on Hogben and Linguistics, Anthony Edwardson Hogben's published research, Alwyn Smith on Hogben and the storage and retrieval of personal health records, and Address by Adrian Hogben
ArrangementBy section as follows: Biographical and personal, Notes and working papers, Drafts and publications, Correspondence. Index of correspondents.
Finding Aids3 paper catalogues of Lancelot Thomas Hogben: CSAC catalogue no. 78/2/81, 14pp; NCUACS supplementary catalogue no. 29/5/91, 14pp; and NCUACS supplementary catalogue no. 53/2/95, 16 pp, are available in the Special Collections Department, or view the catalogues as PDF files by clicking in the document fields below.

Copies of these catalogues are also available from NCUACS, University of Bath.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryHogben was born in Southsea, Hampshire on 9 December 1895 and educated at a small private school at Southsea, at Middlesex County Secondary School at Tottenham and Trinity College, Cambridge. He was successively Lecturer in Zoology at Imperial College, London, 1919-1922, Lecturer in Experimental Physiology, Edinburgh University, 1923-1925, Assistant Professor of Zoology, McGill University, 1925-1927, Professor of Zoology, Capetown University, 1927-1930, Professor of Social Biology, London School of Economics, 1930-1937, Regius Professor of Natural History, Aberdeen University, 1937-1941, Mason Professor of Zoology, Birmingham University, 1941-1947 and Professor of Medical Statistics, 1947-1961. Hogben was one of the best-known scientists of his day, a polymath who made serious contributions to a wide range of disciplines such as vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, genetics, social biology, medical and applied statistics, and comparative linguistics. He was an outstanding scientific populariser whose 'self-educators' Mathematics for the Million and Science for the Citizen were best-sellers. He was a socialist and scientific humanist. Hogben was elected FRS in 1936 (Croonian Lecture 1942). He died in 1975. See G.P. Wells, 'Lancelot Thomas Hogben', Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society , 24 (1978), 183-221; Lancelot Hogben, scientific humanist : an unauthorized autobiography edited by Adrian and Anne Hogben (Woodbridge 1998).

From Wikipedia, accessed September 2016: Hogben's 'Interglossa: A draft of an auxiliary for a democratic world order' was published in 1943. Hogben had seen how hard it was for the students to memorize the terms of biology, as they were poorly acquainted with etymology and the classical languages. He thus he began to show them the international Greek and Latin roots of these terms to aid their memory. He started to compile a vocabulary, and later, whilst at Brimingham, he published his guidelines of syntax, thus completing the draft of a new auxiliary language especially based on the lexicon of modern science.
'Interglossa' is momentarily shown in the 1966 film adaption of Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451' (published 1953) in a scene where a private library of books is burned.
Custodial HistoryOriginal material received for cataloguing in 1979 and 1981 by the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre from Mrs K.A. Lloyd and Professor G.P. Wells, author of the Royal Society memoir of Hogben. First supplementary material received for cataloguing in 1991 by the National Cataloguing Unit for the Archives of Contemporary Scientists from Mrs Catherine Stoye, daughter of Wells. Second supplementary material received for cataloguing in September and December 1994 from Mrs Kathleen Lloyd. Deposited in Birmingham University Library in 1981, 1991 and 1995 respectively. As of 2009, Mrs Vanessa Hack is now the representative for Mrs Kathleen Lloyd
Related MaterialSee also LAdd/6012 and LAdd/6357 and US99
The Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections also holds the archives of the University of Birmingham and archives of other former staff, officials and students
Publication NoteArticle 'Looking Back on Lancelot's Laugher: The Lancelot Thomas Hogben Papers, University of Birmingham, Special Collections' by James Tabery, published in 'The Mendel Newsletter: Archival Resources for the History of Genetics and Allied Sciences, New Series, No.15, March 2006. Copy in deposit file