Frederic Wood-Jones, FRS, 1879-1954 Anatomist, Naturalist and Anthropologist

‘Wood Jones was perhaps the greatest man of science to grace our shores, and I am very conscious of the fact that Charles Darwin visited Australia.’ Dr Barry Christophers, Medical Journal of Australia, 5 August 1972


‘Professor Frederic Wood Jones could not appreciate the rare nature of his own industry, versatility and audacity.’ Peter Crowcroft, Director of the South Australian Museum, 1965

DKW_32393B_WoodJonesAs is so often the case in our research of these plates, having a large team can make quite a difference when it comes to recognising names, adding new interpretations and uncovering information.  Had I been cleaning this particular plate for example, I may have noted that the sitter looked like quite an eminent chap, and noted his name for future reference, but I certainly wouldn’t have recognised the name immediately, googled him, found a comparative photograph and instantly highlighted him as an important figure within the collection. Such is the benefit of having such a wide range of interests and broad knowledge base within our team.

Frederic Wood-Jones was indeed an eminent scientist; active in the field of human evolution, with strong anti-Darwinian views, and taking up such respected posts during his career as Chair of Anatomy at the University of Adelaide, Professor of Physical Anthropology at the Rockefeller University in Hawaii, Chair of Anatomy at the University of Melbourne, Chair of Anatomy at Manchester University, Professor of Human and Comparative Anatomy at the Royal College of Surgeons and curator of the Hunterian collection.

As it happened, Kevin McDonnell, one of our long-term volunteers uncovered this plate, and having recognised the name and verified that our Wood-Jones was indeed THE Wood-Jones, an important figure with a strong connection to Epsom, suggested that we reach out to the wonderful Epsom and Ewell History Explorer team, with whom we have worked before over the course of this project, to build upon this research and flesh out what we had found about the man.

The result is this wonderful piece by Linda Jackson.  We thank Linda, and the EEHE team for their continued support for our project and urge you to click through to the EEHE website to read the full article as well as uncover lots more fascinating local history research and images.

And if you would like to get involved in researching some of the sitters in our plates for yourself, please get in touch.  We are always looking for help in identifying the individuals and places pictured.


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