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Papers of James Francis Monk, George Waterston, and Edward John Mawby Buxton

 Single Item
MS. 15035

  • Request

James Francis Monk papers:

  1. 9 letters from James Chapin (American Museum of Natural History) to Monk, with 9 empty envelopes assumed kept for their drawings of birds, 1961-1963

George Waterston papers:

  1. cutting about wrynecks from Country Life magazine, 1940
  2. notebook titled 'Breeding Biology of the Wryneck', containing bird observations made while a prisoner of war at camp Oflag VII-B in Germany, 1943
  3. observations of wrynecks written on loose pages from notebooks, envelopes, and scraps of paper, stamped throughout with prisoner of war camp stamps, 1943

Edward John Mawby Buxton papers:

  1. two notebooks containing notes on the wryneck made while a prisoner of war at camp Oflag VII-B in Germany, c.1941-c.1945, with some loose leaves. The notes comprise translations and extracts from books and articles from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s


  • Creation: 1940-c.1945, 1961-1963


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, MS. 15035.

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MS. 15035

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 15035


Papers of James Francis Monk, George Waterston, and Edward John Mawby Buxton.

Biographical / Historical

James Francis Monk (1915-2014), was a medical doctor by profession who also played a significant role in the development of scientific ornithology in Britain. He was deputy editor of Ibis from 1956, and editor from 1960 to 1966. He served as a member of the British Executive Committee for the International Ornithological Congress in Oxford in 1966, and as a member of its scientific sub-committee. He was the longest-serving editor of the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, from 1976 to 1990. He held several posts in the British Ornithologists' Union, including President from 1983 to 1987, and was awarded the Union Medal in 1988. He published Birds for all Seasons: Chronicles from the Thames Valley in 1997.

An obituary by Neil Bucknell was published in Ibis, vol. 157, pp. 428–429.

George Waterston (1911-1980), ornithologist, was the RSPB's Director in Scotland. During World War II, he was captured on active service with the Royal Artillery in Crete and spent two and a half years in a Bavarian prisoner of war camp where the inmates were organised in co-operative bird study. Fellow prisoners included John Buxton, Peter Conder, and Ian Pitman. Waterston's observations made in Crete during the spring of 1941 were included in a paper by German ornithologist, Erwin Streseman, in the Journal für Ornithologie. Waterston was repatriated in October 1943.

An obituary by Andrew T. Macmillan was published in British Birds, vol. 74, Jan 1981, pp. 36-38.

John Buxton (full name Edward John Mawby Buxton) was born in Bramhall, Cheshire, in 1912. He attended school in Malvern and studied English at New College, Oxford. Soon after World War II broke out, he joined the army but was captured in 1940 and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps in Germany. Among his fellow prisoners were several other keen birdwatchers including John Barrett, Peter Conder, and George Waterston. They devoted as much time as possible to the systematic observation of birds living in or flying over the camp. Buxton was the leader of this activity and encouraged others to participate. Much of the work carried out in the camps was later published, including Buxton's monograph, The Redstart (1950).

After the war, Buxton was recruited as a junior lecturer in English at New College, Oxford. In 1949, he was appointed to a fellowship and he continued to teach at New College until 1979. He helped found the Bird Observations Committee in 1946 and later the Wiltshire Trust for Nature Conservation. He died in 1989.


Material arranged as received from the Alexander Library of Ornithology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Alexander Library of Ornithology, 2018.

Papers of James Francis Monk, George Waterston, and Edward John Mawby Buxton
Finding aid prepared by EAD version by Sarah Thiel
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom