Obituary: Howard Saunders

Published on 01 July 1908 in Main articles

IN the death of Howard Saunders ornithology has lost one of the keenest intellects and most devoted workers–and these number not a few–that have adorned our branch of science; while many of us have lost in him a personal friend of the truest and best. My acquaintance with Howard Saunders dates back to 1872 when, on my return from a year spent in the Spanish Peninsula, he wrote asking for a list of the birds met with therein. Even that first letter illustrated the peculiar faculty he possessed ofgoing straight to his point; it was a bare list of names he wanted–no notes. Those might come after, if required to amplify the record. For five-and-thirty years the friendship so begun grew and ripened, and not a year but carries pleasant memories –memories of his infinite good nature, of sound, clear views, counsel and advice, of self-sacrifice where needed; in a word, of true friendship. Howard Saunders was, before everything, a man of the world in the best sense. He realized the age in which he lived, and, after that, two attributes in him always struck me as remarkable–I refer to method and memory. These qualities are no mere natural inheritance as some may suppose. The aptitude, of course, in greater or less degree, is innate. The finished product, such as his, has been acquired solely by mental and personal effort and no small perseverance; without that, it is not too much to say that his life’s work could never have

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