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Doubleday, Edward (DNB00)

DOUBLEDAY, EDWARD (1811–1849), entomologist, brother of Henry Doubleday [q. v.], born at Epping, was the son of Benjamin Doubleday, a thriving grocer. When just of age he published his first paper, ‘Stygia, not a New Holland Genus,’ in the ‘Magazine of Natural History’ for 1832; and in 1833 he wrote, with E. Newman, an account of an ‘Entomological Excursion in North Wales’ for the ‘Entomological Magazine.’

In 1835 Doubleday visited the United States, accompanied by Mr. Foster, another member of the Society of Friends, with the sole object of studying the natural history of that country. After a stay of nearly two years he returned with immense collections, chiefly of insects, which he distributed to the British and other museums. Concerning this trip Doubleday wrote three papers, ‘The Natural History of North America’ (‘Entom. Mag.’ 1838); ‘Lepidoptera of North America, being the result of Nineteen Months' Travel’ (‘Mag. Nat. Hist.’ 1840); and ‘On the Occurrence of Alligators in Florida’ (‘Zoologist,’ 1843). Of the twenty-nine papers by Doubleday which are given in the ‘Catalogue of Scientific Papers’ published by the Royal Society, this ‘alligator’ paper is the only one not upon an entomological subject. Doubleday tried hard to secure an appointment as naturalist to the ill-fated Niger expedition in 1839. Fortunately disappointed in this he accepted a post as assistant in the British Museum in the same year. Here he had special charge of the collections of butterflies and moths, and he worked with such diligence that his department became one of the most complete in existence. It was at this time that Doubleday contributed an important series of papers on ‘New Diurnal Lepidoptera’ to the ‘Annals of Natural History,’ 1845–8. He also wrote a small book, published by Van Voorst in 1839, on the ‘Nomenclature of British Birds.’

Doubleday died at his house in Harrington Square, Hampstead Road, London, on 14 Dec. 1849. He was engaged on a ‘Catalogue of Diurnal Lepidoptera,’ and on a magnificent work, ‘The Genera of Diurnal Lepidoptera,’ with coloured illustrations by Hewitson, the issue of which was commenced in 1846 and completed in 1852. It was published by Longman at fifteen guineas per copy. At the time of Doubledy's death he was secretary of the Entomological Society. There is a good portrait of him in the possession of this society, painted by E. D. Maguire, and a lithograph was also published by G. H. Ford after a daguerreotype by J. W. Gutch.

[Gent. Mag. 1850, pt. i. p. 213; Entomological Society's Proceedings, 1850, new ser. i. 1.]

W. J. H.