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COLLECTION Identifier: arn00005

Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls diary

Scope and Content

The collection consists 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.]


  • 1891


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is available by appointment for research. Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification. Please contact for additional information.


0.1 linear feet (1 volume in file cabinet 11)


Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls was born in London on September 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. After receiving his M.D., he served as Assistant Medical Officer in Dominica where he remained 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 the post until his retirement on July 31, 1925. He died on February 9, 1926.

In addition to his medical duties, Nicholls was 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." Heis said to have been known as "The Uncrowned King of Dominica."


Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls diary, 1891. Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge), Harvard University.

Jackson BD. 1925-1926. [Untitled obituary notice.] Proc. Linn. Soc. London. 138:94-95.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Henry Alford Nicholls. Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew. 1926(4):192.


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

Existence and Location of Copies

This diary has been microfilmed. Harvard reproduction number: 97-2085.

Processing Information

Processed by Lynne McWhood

November 1982

Nicholls, H. A. Alford (Henry Alfred Alford), 1851-1926. Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls diary, 1891: A Guide.
Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Botany Libraries, Arnold Arboretum Library (Cambridge), Harvard University Repository

The Harvard University Herbaria houses five research libraries that are managed collectively as the Botany Libraries. The Arnold Arboretum Library in Cambridge specializes in the identification and classification of Old World plants with emphasis on Asia. The Archives of the Arnold Arboretum (Cambridge) houses unique resources, primarily field notes related to the plant specimens housed in Cambridge.

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