Robert Henson Moses, 1871-1949.

By Arthur Blok

Extracted from Journal of Conchology, Volume 23, p.89

Robert Henson Moses, who was born in Shrewsbury in 1871 and died on 13 June 1949, came from a family with strong medical and zoological trends. Thus, one of his uncles, Henry Moses M.D., wrote Sketches of India in 1850, and his grandfather, Dr. J. W. Moses of St. Asaph, was a well-known naturalist in his day. Another distinguished ancestor was William Cheselden (1688—1752), who wrote the Anatomy of the Human Body in 1713 and the splendid Anatomy of the Bones in 1733. He became one of the principal surgeons at St. Thomas’ Hospital in 1719 and introduced the then entirely new lateral technique for lithotomy, besides being the first surgeon to attempt the creation of an artificial pupil for certain forms of blindness. It is not surprising, therefore, that R. H. Moses was an ardent student of anything relating to Nature.

From school he went directly as an apprentice to his father’s pharmaceutical business and during his whole life as a dispensing chemist he studied and collected in many biological fields. He disposed of his plants, birds’ eggs, and Lepidoptera some time ago in the realization that his favourite phylum, the Mollusca, could more than fill his spare time. He amassed a collection of some thousands of species, almost entirely by exchange, and he had correspondents all over the world.

As a London member of the Conchological Society he will be sadly missed by many, even as he will by a far larger circle of friends, for he was a delightful companion, modest and with an old-world kindliness, tireless in his striving for accuracy and ever ready to give from the wide knowledge of the Mollusca which he had acquired during a period of more than sixty years of assiduous collecting. He was an enthusiastic field worker, collecting widely on the Kent coast, particularly near Dover and Sandwich when he resided in those districts. He published two short notes in this Journal, viz, one on Clausilia dubia Draparnaud (20, 339) and one on two live foreign bivalves collected by him near Sandwich (21, 324).

His collection is going to the Haselmere Educational Museum, where, it is understood, a part will be on exhibition and the whole will be available for study.

He is survived by a widow, two sons and three daughters.

Arthur Blok