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The Correspondence of John Stevens Henslow

John Stevens Henslow (1796–1861) spent his adult life attached to the University of Cambridge. He graduated in mathematics in 1818, then acted as a demonstrator for the Professor of Chemistry, carried out and published papers on field geology, and was a founder of the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1821. He held two University Chairs: Mineralogy from 1823–27, and Botany from 1825 until his death in 1861.

Henslow was closely involved in University affairs and the introduction of science into the Cambridge Tripos. He was a gifted teacher and pedagogic innovator. His best-known student was Charles Darwin, with whom he maintained a life-long friendship and correspondence. Henslow also acted as the (unofficial) agent for Lord Palmerston, one of the University’s two MPs, in the election of 1826.

In 1823 Henslow was ordained and became curate of Little St Mary’s. He was awarded the living of Cholsey in 1835, and became Rector of Hitcham, near Stowmarket in Suffolk, in 1837. Henslow moved to Hitcham, but continued giving his botany course at Cambridge in May every year until his death. During this time, he attempted to introduce science into agriculture nationally and locally, whilst also taking steps to improve the lives of agricultural labourers. Universal education was a constant concern for him, through the University of London, the Department of Science and Art, regional museums, and his parish school.

Henslow had a network of correspondents across all levels of society, nearly 300 in these surviving letters. The letters he retained until his death are mostly held in the Cambridge University Library, but others have been dispersed around the world. Letters between Henslow and Darwin were published in 1967 (by Nora Barlow) and also in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin (from 1985 onwards).

The Henslow letters have been collected and transcribed by M. E. Edmunds, K. H. Joice, A. L. Jones, D. Kohn, J. G. Murrell and J. S. Parker.

Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
William Whewell
Date:
17 January 1860
Source of text:
Trinity College Cambridge Whewell Add.Ms.a.206: 74
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Leonard Jenyns
Date:
26 January 1860
Source of text:
Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution Jenyns Collection Letter 3029
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
William Whewell
Date:
26 January 1860
Source of text:
Trinity College Cambridge Whewell Add.Ms.a.206: 75 (1-2)
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Adam Sedgwick
Date:
7 February 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 7652.IIO.25
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
14 March 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 9537.2.14
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
William Whewell
Date:
16 March 1860
Source of text:
Trinity College Cambridge Whewell Add.Ms.a.206: 76
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
14 April 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 9537.2.16
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Adam Sedgwick
Date:
24 April 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 7652.IIO.41
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
27 April 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 9537.2.15
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Adam Sedgwick
Date:
30 April 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 7652.IIO.42
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
25th May 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 9537.2.17
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
10th May 1860
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 9537.2.18
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. D. Hooker
Date:
10 May 1860
Source of text:
R. A. Hooker
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
J. H. Balfour
Date:
17 September 1860
Source of text:
Library, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 106
Summary:

Discusses recent trip to French gravel pits due to flint hatchets found there. Asks for high altitude samples for French friend’s acclimatisation study. Comments on Hooker’s trip to Middle East.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Editor Macmillan's Magazine
Date:
January 1861
Source of text:
Victoria University of Wellington Library The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 11
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Daniell Nihill
Date:
14 February 1861
Source of text:
American Philosophical Society Library Mss.B.H382
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project
Text Online
From:
J. S. Henslow
To:
Adam Sedgwick
Date:
14 March 1861
Source of text:
Cambridge University Library Add 7652.IIO.61
Summary:

No summary available.

Contributor:
Henslow Correspondence Project