John Edward Gray

John Edward Gray

Infobox Scientist
name = John Edward Gray

birth_date = birth date|1800|02|12|df=y
birth_place = Walsall, England
death_date = death date and age|1875|03|07|1800|02|12|df=y
death_place =
nationality = British
field = Zoology
work_institutions = British Museum

John Edward Gray (12 February 1800 – 7 March 1875) was a British zoologist. He was the elder brother of George Robert Gray and son of the pharmacologist and botanist Samuel Frederick Gray (1766-1828).

John Gray was Keeper of Zoology at the British Museum in London from 1840 until Christmas 1874. He published several catalogues of the museum collections that included comprehensive discussions of animal groups as well as descriptions of new species. He improved the zoological collections to make them amongst the best in the world.


Gray was born in Walsall, but his family soon moved to London, where Gray studied medicine. He assisted his father in writing "The Natural Arrangement of British Plants" (1821). After being blackballed by the Linnean Society he turned his interest from botany to zoology.fact|date=August 2007 He joined the Zoological Department of the British Museum in 1824 to help John George Children catalogue the reptile collection. In 1840 he took over from Children as Keeper of Zoology. During this period he collaborated with Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, the noted natural history artist, in producing "Gleanings from the Menagerie at Knowsley". Knowsley Park, near Liverpool, had been founded by Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby and was one of the largest private menageries in Victorian England.

In 1833, he was a founder of what became the Royal Entomological Society of London.

During his fifty years employed at the British Museum Gray wrote nearly 500 papers, including many descriptions of species new to science. These had been presented to the Museum by collectors from around the world, and included all branches of zoology, although Gray usually left the descriptions of new birds to his younger brother and colleague George.


*Gray was also interested in postage stamps; on 1 May 1840, the day the Penny Black first went on sale, he purchased several with the intent to save them, thus making him the world's first known stamp collector.

*The Indian Pond Heron ("Ardeola grayii") is named in honour of Gray.


* "Illustrations of Indian Zoology" (1830-35) (with Thomas Hardwicke)
* "The Zoological Miscellany. To Be Continued Occasionally." London: Published by Treuttel, Wurtz and Co. (1831)
* "Catalog of Shield Reptiles" (1855 and 1870)


*"Biographies for Birdwatchers" - Barbara and Richard Mearns ISBN 0 12 487422 3

External links

* [ John Edward Gray, the Indian Pond Heron and Walsall] (RSPB Walsall Local Group)

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