John Quekett papers, 1849-1922


Date: 1849-1922 | Size: 0.25 Linear feet, 64 items


This collection includes correspondence, drawings, and publications of Quekett. He became the conservator at the College of Surgeons, and through his microscopial research had a wide influence on anatomical studies as conducted by the medical profession in Great Britain. These papers concern Quekett's studies and medical matters in general. The correspondents include James Hilton, Julian S. Huxley, John Pethereck, Sir James South, and Thomas Wormald.

Background note

John Thomas Quekett was an English microscopist and histologist born on August 11, 1815, in Somerset. Raised and educated by his grammar school master father, Quekett gave his first course of lectures on microscopic subjects at the age of sixteen before apprenticing to his surgeon brother Edwin and studying at King's College, London, and London Hospital medical school. While on a three-year studendship in human and comparative anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Quekett made his most notable microscopical preparations. He was appointed Assistant Conservator of the Hunterian Museum in 1843, and Conservator in 1856. While there, he produced over 16,000 preparations, many of which were damaged during the Blitz. He also produced new types of microscopes.

Quekett is one of the seventeen founding members of the Microscopical Society of London, along with his brother Edwin; he served as honorary secretary from 1841 until 1860, when he was elected President, a position he held until his death in 1861. His most well known work, 1848's Practical Treatise on the Use of the Microscope, helped popularize microscopy and eventually the study of optics. Because of this, Quekett was made a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1857 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1860.

He died in 1861 at the age of 46. Four years later, the Quekett Microscopical Club was formed and named in his honor, and continues to dedicate itself to the interests of amateur microscopists.

Collection Information

Physical description

64 items.


Purchased from Myers (£57.50) and accessioned, 04/16/1971 (1971 442ms).

Indexing Terms


  • Drawings.

Personal Name(s)

  • Hilton, James
  • Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975
  • Pethereck, John
  • Quekett, John,1815-1861.
  • South, James, Sir
  • Wormald, Thomas


  • Medicine -- Research -- Great Britain.

Detailed Inventory

Addresses to Quekett (4) and to Huthwaite (1)
Baillière, Hippolyte
Barrow, B.
Beale, Lionel S.
"Beware of Microscopes."
Blenkins, George E.
Calling cards (6) of various persons
Chester, William
Clark, Andrew
Concerning geology. Miscellaneous notes.
Dancer, J. B. (John Benjamin)
Davey, Louis F.
Davy, J.
Egerston, R. M. Gray
Guthrie, G. J. (George James)
H., J., Jr.
Hall, Thomas
Hampton, N.
Hilton, James
House of Lords
Huxley, Julian S.
Killen, Ennis
Lawrence, William
London Hospitals with a listing of doctors therein
M., C. S.
Munley, Edmund
Pereira, J.
Petherick, John
Pilcher, George
Prinetard, C.
Quekett, John
Richardson, Charles
Robin, Ch
Robinson, T. R.

3 items

Sketches (2) of "mealy bug" and a bone
Skull measurements
South, Sir J.
Topp and Johnson
Twiss, Travers
University of London
Warrington, Robert
Whitbread, James C.
Williamson, William C.
Wilson, W.
Woodward, Charles
Wormald, Thomas