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1998.267.85 OUMNH staffThe following extracts are from Chapters 2 to 4 of Mulvaney & Calaby, 1985 So Much that is New:

Chapter 2: Manchester Education

p. 27 'The summer of 1878 must have proved a testing time for [Walter] Baldwin [Spencer]. He had graduated from Old Trafford School with sound scholastic qualifications. The Old Trafford examinations list proves that in June 1876 he had passed the Oxford Senior Local Examination, while he was successful in the corresponding Cambridge Local Examination in December of that year. He also had passed the University of London matriculation examination. ...

p. 28 '... this period is perhaps contained in a reflection made half a century later by a distinguished chemist who entered The Owens College ... in 1878. Arthur Smith recalled that as an undergraduate Baldwin was 'very vivacious and used to assume the derisive attitude of the humanist towards science. He was better than I at the Matriculation Latin but I don't think he was distinguished at it. It was a great surprise to me when a little later I found that he had become an enthusiastic zoologist'.'

p. 28-9 'August was a time of constant sketching ... Baldwin must then have reached his decision to abandon a university career and seek schooling as an artist. ... Little is known about this interlude when the studio took precedence over the laboratory. For some months he attended the Manchester School of Art ... The School and the Academy of Fine Arts were both located within the Manchester Royal Institution ... That he persisted and completed a course with some distinction may be inferred from the fact that he won a prize volume in 1879 'for success in the Advanced Section of the Course'. That the training was alone unadventurous and traditional lines may be indicated by the choice of the award, Lectures on Painting, By the Royal Academicians. Throughout this period and later at Oxford, his sketchbooks show that he retained his romantic taste for colourful sunsets and landscapes ... However his experience gave him a firmer control and a simpler rendition, which made him so successful in illustrating his own zoology notebooks, providing clear and sound instructional charts for his colleagues ...

p. 29 'Having served his apprenticeship in art, at some time before the commencement of the 1879-80 academic year Baldwin decided that the scalpel offered better prospects than the brush. He entered Owens College to study medicine. ... By the late 'seventies, over 400 students were enrolled [at Owens College] for degrees in arts, science and law. ... By a royal charter, [Owens College's] status was raised in 1880 to that of the first constituent member of The Victoria University ... [ensuring] total control over curricula and other matters.'

p. 30 'The challenge to rival the excellence of the ancient universities evidently stimuated its staff ... to a peak of high achievement. The band of professor at Owens around Baldwin's time was a distinguished one ... and worthy to compete with their peers at the established centres of learning. In Baldwin's case, inspiration came from Arthur Milnes Marshall, who took up the chair of zoology, newly separated from an amalgam of natural science in the very year that Baldwin entered. An energetic man, he rapidly established good laboratories and other facilities and was a driving force in the establishment of the important museum. ...

The science professors who taught Baldwin were all men of eminence in their respective fields. Although they did not fire his spark of enthusiasm in the Marshall manner, he respected and derived from them a solid grounding in basic science. W. Boyd Dawkins (1837-1929) combined geology with an international reputation in cave research, his interests included prehistoric man. W.C. Williamson (1816-95) had embraced many sciences in his career, including geology. Nominally he was now botany professor; in fact his work ... places him amongst the founders of palaeobotany. ... Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe (1833-1915) was Spencer's chemistry teacher ... It is testimony to the calibre of the staff at Owens College, that all the above mentioned were Fellow of the Royal Society.

p. 30-1 'In 1880 charter restricted the new university to the award of degrees in arts, science, law and music; medicine continued to be examined by London. ... during Baldwin's time as a prospective medical student, he was forced to sit for London University examinations in both 1880 and 1881. ... These administrative details are relevant to Spencer's story, because his results are in a tangle, Baldwin passed both London and Manchester examinations during 1880 and 1881, yet as he proceeded to Oxford at the end of his second year, he was awarded degrees from neither institution. His first Manchester degree was the honorary Doctor of Science conferred on him in 1914.

p. 31 '... his teachers were stimulating and he quickly found that science was exciting and full of challenging concepts. It was through Marshall that he first learned of evolutionary theory.

... There were 392 students in all departments of science, arts and law, but in the biology division in which Baldwin specialized, there were only twenty-eight students in practical zoology and thirty-four in animal physiology and zoology. In their laboratories, therefore, even first-year students had direct contact with Marshall. The other staff member, demonstrator and assistant lecturer, Marcus M. Hartog was also no mean scholar. Two years later he was appointed to the natural history chair at Cork.'

p. 32 'Baldwin, who had hankered after an artist's life but a year previously, sat for London Honours paper in inorganic chemistry, experimental physics, botany and zoology ... One of his examiners was E. Ray Lankester, then professor of zoology at University College, London, and also a fellow of Baldwin's future Oxford college, Exeter.

Baldwin was placed first in the first class of zoology, with an exhibition of £40 per annum for two years from London University. ... Oxford University awarded Baldwin a natural science scholarship valued at £80 per annum for four years, tenable at Exeter College. However, he did not go up to Oxford for another year, remaining at Manchester to work towards his London M.D.'

p. 33 [Arthur Milnes Marshall wrote to Spencer to congratulate him on his Oxford award:

'... With reference to your future career I cannot but think you would be unwise in choosing Oxford rather than Cambridge. Natural Sciences holds a far higher position  here than at Oxford. The teaching and facilities ... are much better here [at Cambridge], and the rewards are more numerous ... We have ... a large and well organized medical school, which Oxford has not, while special arrangements exist to enable men to combine their Natural Science and Medical Studies.'

Marshall's advice went unheeded ... In October Baldwin visited Oxford in an attempt to obtain a further scholarship. [this is the first surviving letter in the series of correspondence with Goulty, transcribed here] He was unsuccessful ...'

p. 34 [Spencer abandons plans to study for a medical degree] 'He was now a dedicated zoologist and must have abandoned expectations of a medical career. ... Work on the nervous system of the frog ... led to a joint research paper by Marshall and Spencer on 'Observations on the cranial nerves of Scyllium' ... published in July 1881, at the end of Baldwin's second undergraduate year. Marshall cannot have exaggerated when he assured Melbourne University's electoral committee that 'he was the best student I have ever had'.  ...

While still an Oxford undergraduate, Baldwin was invited to teach at Owens for about a month.'

Chapter 3: Exeter Undergraduate

p. 36 'The train sped Baldwin Spencer to Exeter College in October 1881.'

p. 36-7 'Oxford of this post-Darwinian period offered a unique combination of evolutionary biology in the broadest sense. Its laboratories were less spacious and well-equipped than some, but they were staffed by men of wide interests with experimental and research orientation and excellent teachers. Their talents were diverse: recently returned Challenger expedition naturalist, H.N. Moseley; founding-anthropologist, E.b. Tylor; prominent physiologist, J. Burdon-Sanderson; future Linacre professor of comparative anatomy, E. Ray Lankester, then holding a London chair, but a frequent visitor with close Exeter College conections. Few of Spencer's contemporaries grasped their opportunities as firmly or with such zest; now aged twenty-one, he possessed the maturity and motivation to succeed.'

p. 38 'When Spencer's college Sub-Rector looked back from later life over the 'eighties, he considered that Oxford 'was then a city of deep peace'; 'we were secluded in a lovely park of our own, very happy to be so, but no doubt very involved and narrow.' [L.R. Farnell, An Oxonian Looks Back London 1934]

p. 39-40 'One of the major emphases of the [Royal] Commission's [of 1850] recommendations was the necessity for Oxford to improve the quality and broaden the scope of its science component. Oxford's temple of science became the University Museum, designed on the instructions of the 1852 Commission [sic] as 'a great museum for all departments of physical science, with proper laboratories, lecture-rooms and apparatus'.

p. 40 'The case for centralizing science was accepted by the Commission, as the resources of individual colleges could not supply and maintain the necessary laboratories and apparatus. Consequently, the newly-appointed professors and their laboratories were officers and plant, respectively, of the university. Potentially at least, because of this status, science teachers were predisposed to adopt a broader university-oriented attitude, rather than be confined to college horizons. ... one of Spencer's fellow students, ... recalled that 'the students soon came to look on the laboratory as their chief centre in the University'.

p. 42-3 'Spencer's other leisure-time interets [apart from rowing] were of a more intellectual nature. He soon joined the college debating society. In his second year he became active in the affairs of the Oxford Union and the newly-formed Science Club ... He attended several lectures on art by Ruskin, he listened to the professor of music, and derived deep interest from university sermons by Jowett and others.'

p. 44-5 'However, Spencer's most influential neighbour was Henry Nottidge Moseley (1844-91), naturalist to the Challenger exhibition from 1872 to 1876, and newly appointed Linacre professor of anatomy. Of all the many talented scientists with whom Spencer came into contact during his formative years, the two outstanding influences were Marshall of Owens and Moseley of Oxford. Like Marshall Moseley was a relatively young man when Spencer moved into college. ... [Moseley] also formed an important ethnographic colleciton, with which he filled his spacious rooms over the gateway in the New Quad. He spread the rumour that these savage weapons were poisoned, which ensured their protection from inquisitive hands. Powerfully built, he delighted in exhibiting the techniques for throwing boomerangs and using spear throwers in the Oxford parks; he was also a dab-hand at coconut shies. [G.C. Bourne Memoir to second edition of HN Moseley Notes by a Naturalist London 1892]

He was a colourful and popular figure, known to students as the 'Moa'. E.B. Poulton ... stated emphatically that 'both as an investigator and teacher he was unsurpassed and unsurpassable'. ... he once lectured without a pause for two hours and a half, defining new terms and species as he went, yet apologizing to the class when he terminated this mammoth session in order to attend a Royal Society meeting. Another student remarked that his lectures rarely ended within an hour and three-quarters. ... Unhappily, Moseley suffered a nervous collapse in 1887, which terminated his academic career.'

p. 46 'Lankester ... was a frequent visitor [to Oxford] as he and Moseley were close friends, having graduated together. '

p. 46-7 'The department of comparative anatomy was small, but it produced a remarkable variety of research scientists during the 1880s. Throughout this period the total number of final honour school of science students averaged thirty annually, while those in Moseley's department during Spencer's years annually numbered between thirteen and twenty-two. ... Such numbers allowed close contact between teacher and student and ensured that laboratory space was adequate. S.J. Hickson, a capable young biologist from Cambridge and Moseley's assistant, also acted as a laboratory demonstrator ...'

p. 47 'In supervising his laboratory classes Moseley emphasized practical experience and verification of results. Cutting sections and drawing the visible details accurately were essential tasks. ... This emphasis on investigation and accuracy was a lesson which Spencer learned well. The photograph [shown at the top of this page] is confirmation of a claim by another of the group, Gilbert Bourne: 'in the laboratory [Moseley] diffused a spirit of earnest geniality; abhorring stiffness and ceremony'.

p. 47 'Students of this enthusiastic department [of comparative anatomy] established an Oxford University Junior Scientific Club ... Over the next two years [after 1883] several of Moseley's students presented papers on a wide range of topics. The largest regular meeting attracted fifty people to hear about 'recent photography'.

p. 48 [Spencer's friend Mackinder described him as] 'Spencer had a very frank way of looking at things ... I can see now his humorous smile as he discussed some Oxford prejudice ... On the other hand ... he was very far from being a one-sided Science man ...'

p. 49 'Moseley frequently held open house for his students at his home in St Giles. Those informal but intellectually challenging evenings were recalled by Bourne: Moseley 'was a capital talker, and thoroughly enjoyed a good-humoured passage of arms, in which he rarely failed to come out victorious after some happy and caustic remark'.

p. 49 'From March 1884, [Spencer] served a six-month term as president [of the Oxford University Scientific Club].'

Chapter 4: Fellow of Lincoln

p. 54-5 'Spencer's morale received a boost in December [1884] and his purse a welcome supplement. Moseley's assistant of the two previous years, S.J. Hickson, was to leave shortly for overseas fieldwork. Moseley therefore offered his full-time post to Spencer, from Easter 1885. The duties of the demonstrator of comparative anatomy included laboratory class supervision and a course of lectures. The second term also brought him two students requiring supervision. They proved somewhat of an embarrassment as one of them was female. It was unseemly in those times for a woman to visit a man's room alone, but Spencer found it inhibiting to teach his students with a chaperone ...'

p. 55 'Moseley recognized in Spencer a man to whom he could entrust responsibility and he was given a wider range of tasks than his predecessor. During March he reorganized the zoological collections. ... His lectures commenced in April after prolonged preparation ...'

p. 56 'With the approach of the 1885-6 academic year, Moseley gave Spencer control of all lecturing and practical laboratory classes for elementary-level students.'

p. 56 'Both Moseley and Lankester urged Spencer into active research and at different times they both suggested research topics ...'

p. 56 'Between August 1884 and late 1886, Spencer completed eight contributions to scientific journals ... It suffices here to note their pattern of uniformity--a systematic coverage involving careful documentation, an historical review of existing literature and previous opinion, objective description of his own morphological investigations and a qualified conclusion. They are notable for the delicacy of their illustrations ... All articles acknowledged Moseley's inspiration or advice ... Not irrelevantly, four of his articles were published in Nature and the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science ... and it was Moseley who communicated his fifth paper to the Royal Society.'

 p. 59 'Moseley's inspiration and the example of his ethnographic collection primed Spencer's anthropological interests. It was accelerated when he and Mackinder attended E.B. Tylor's lectures on anthropology. ... Spencer and Mackinder attended the second year of Tylor's lecture series. He was at the peak of his prestige as the interpreter of primitive society for an evolutionary-conscious public and attracted large audiences to the museum. Spencer was impressed by his authority and educational technique. He made effective use of many ethnographic specimens ... No one present could know that Tylor already had published his last major work and that his fertile mind was soon to suffer an increasing loss of memory.'

p. 59-60 [discussion of Spencer's involvement with moving the Pitt-Rivers collection, discussed at greater length here]

p. 60 'A decade later ... Tylor wrote that Spencer and Balfour were given the keeper's room in the University Museum while they handled the collection--and they 'used the room for a long time'. [Radcliffe Science Lib. ZB 9: 11 (Tylor).

p. 60 'Spencer gained immensely from this experience, even though he complained that it kept him from research. He lived for over a month in close daily contact with two academics whom he admired, and they talked anthropology. He personally handled or labelled some thousands of ethnographic objects from all quarters of the globe.'





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