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Allen, Edward Heron-, 1861-1943 (lawyer and zoologist)



Edward Heron-Allen (1861-1943), lawyer and zoology scholar, was born in London on 17 December 1861, the fourth child of George Allen (1823-1911), head of the firm of Allen & Son, Solicitors, Soho, London, and his wife, Catherine Herring or Heron (b. 1830). Educated at Harrow School from 1876, where he developed an interest in classics, music (particularly violin playing), and science, Heron-Allen entered articles at his father's firm in 1879. Keeping careful notes he then produced in 1884, the year of his admission as a solicitor, Violin-Making as it Was and Is, a comprehensive and pioneering treatise still in print a century later. At the same time he developed an interest in reading personality through a study of hand and finger formation (as well as palmistry), and his Manual of Cheirosophy (1885) and The Science of the Hand (1886) also went through many subsequent editions. Becoming well known at a young age in these two disparate fields, he contributed violin-related articles for the second edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians and for the Dictionary of National Biography on British violin-makers and astrologers. Following on from his study of Persian, he published in 1898 a literal translation of the 'Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' from the then earliest manuscript in the Bodleian Library, followed by other studies of various versions up to 1908. He published, often with Arthur Earland, numerous studies of a proto-zoological nature, and put together over the rest of his life what the British Museum, to which the collection was donated, describes as one of the two most important type slide collections of recent foraminifera extant in England. It was largely in recognition of his work in this field that he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1919. He had served during the First World War in intelligence, playing a significant part in the production of propaganda, facilitated by his linguistic abilities. Edward Heron-Allen's Journal of the Great War was published in 2002, with a biographical introduction by the editors, Brian W. Harvey and Carol Fitzgerald.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Edward Heron Allen: Letter to E.B. Cowell, 1898

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.4251/14
Scope and Contents From the Fonds:

Artificial collection of single item or small collection accessions. Mainly correspondence but includes other papers.

Dates: 1898
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (