Library of the Arnold Arboretum

Library of the Arnold Arboretum





Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls was born in London on Sept. 27, 1851. He received M.B. and C.M. degrees from the University of Aberdeen in 1873 and an M.D. at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London, in 1875. Soon after receiving his M.D., he left for Dominica to serve as Assistant Medical Officer, and he remained there for the rest of his life. He married Marion Crompton in 1877, and they had four sons and six daughters. He was promoted to Chief Medical Officer in 1904 and held that post until his retirement on July 31, 1925. He died on Feb. 9, 1926.

In addition to his medical duties, Nicholls was actively interested in botany and agriculture. He was a regular correspondent of Kew, a major supporter of the Dominica Botanica Garden, and the author of a textbook on tropical agriculture. He "is credited with the discovery of the Boiling Lake in Dominica," and he "has a mountain and a parrot named after him." He is said to have been known as "The Uncrowned King of Dominica."


"Henry Alford Nicholls." Kew, Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information 1926: 192.
Jackson, Benjamin Daydon. [obituary notice]. Proceedings of the Linnaean Society of London 138 (1925-1926): 94-95.
Note by R.A. Howard with the papers.


Scope and Content:

The Nicholls papers consist of one volume of 169 pages, "a report-diary of excursions through Lesser Antilles from Tobago to Dominica on a survey of the prevalence of yaws, Dr. Nicholls' specialty. Includes comments on the customs, botany, zoology and history of the area..." Entries are from May 1, 1891 to June 18, 1891. [Description quoted from R.A. Howard note.]



The Nicholls diary was obtained by Richard A. Howard of the Arnold Arboretum in 1950 from Magie Nicholls, daughter of H.A.A. Nichols.
Note: A typescript of the diary was prepared after it was acquired and is kept in the library stacks.



In main index under:
Nicholls, Henry Alfred Alford


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