Skip to main content

Archive of Arthur Harry Church


  • How to

The archive comprises the papers of botanist Arthur Harry Church (1865-1937) and includes transciptions of his lectures, notes, drawings, and offprints.


  • Creation: 1891-1930


4.31 Linear metres (28 physical shelfmarks)

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [MS. 15871/1].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. 15871/1-21

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15871


Papers of botanist Arthur Harry Church (1865-1937) comprising lectures, notes, drawings, and offprints.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Harry Church (1865–1937), botanist, was born on 28 March 1865 in Plymouth. He was educated locally at Ashburton grammar school where, aged sixteen, he became a pupil teacher. In 1887 his mother died and his inheritance of £100 enabled him to enter university.

He went up to University College, Aberystwyth, then offering external London degrees, in 1887. At Aberystwyth he met Emma Palmer Pratt and they were married in 1898. Church won a scholarship offered to mature students by Oxford’s Queen’s and Jesus Colleges and he went up to Jesus in 1891. He graduated with first-class honours in Botany in 1894 and was appointed demonstrator in the Department of Botany.

In 1904 he took the London degree of DSc. He lectured at Jesus from 1910 until 1930 and was a research fellow from 1908 until 1912. In 1921 Church was elected Fellow of the Royal Society. Church retired early in 1930.

Church taught all aspects of botany bar the directly physiological and wrote extensively. In 1919 he published his most influential work Thalassiophyta. Church illustrated his own works and many of his striking and bold drawings are preserved in the British Museum (Natural History). He was also an outstanding photographer and took his heavy plate camera on field trips.

Church died at his home in Oxford, on 24 April 1937.

For more information see the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The majority of the papers were given to E.J.H. Corner in 1938 and taken to Singapore where Professor Tanakadate looked after them for the duration of the War, though some were retained by Church's sister. They were all returned to Corner after the War and brought back to Oxford in 1977. They were donated to the Bodleian by Dr. Mabberley of Wadham College, University of Oxford on 27 Oct 1980.

Related Materials

Botanical illustrations by Church are held by the Natural History Museum, London.

Catalogue of the Archive of Arthur Harry Church
Finding aid prepared by Emma Atkinson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom