Obituary: John Alexander Harvie-Brown

Published on 01 November 1916 in Obituaries

T H E death of Dr. Harvie-Brown will cause a vacancy in the ranks of Scottish naturalists which it will be difficult, if not impossible to fill. Few Scotsmen knew their native land better than he, and none have ever before acquired such an extensive knowledge of its Vertebrate Fauna. John Alexander Harvie-Brown was born on August 27th, 1844. He was the only son of John HarvieBrown, of Quarter and Shirgarton, who assumed the name Brown by the will of John Brown of Quarter, and Elizabeth Spottiswoode, his wife, the daughter and heiress of Thomas Spottiswoode of Dunipace. He was educated at Merchiston Castle, and Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities. As a youth he was a good football and cricket player, but from his earliest days he was most remarkable for his enthusiasm in collecting birds and birds’ eggs, and he used to delight in telling how a light-house keeper had happily interpreted his initials as ” John Always Hunting Birds.” He never married and never followed a profession, but devoted his life to natural history and he was also fond of shooting and fishing. As a comparatively young man he made several ornithological visits to Norway, Russia, Finland and Transylvania, and perhaps his most important expedition was that to the lower reaches of the River Petchora with Henry Seebohm in the summer of 1875, when, amongst other achievements, the eggs of the Grey Plover and the Little Stint were discovered. He had a unique knowledge of the islands off the

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