The Kettlewell Archive

Henry Bernard Davis Kettlewell (1907-1979) bequeathed his correspondence and papers to Wolfson College.

Henry Bernard Davis Kettlewell was an outstanding lepidopterist and geneticist, best known for his work on industrial melanism in the Lepidoptera which illustrates evolution in action. He is also well known as an enthusiastic field worker and as a popularizer of science, and was co-founder of the Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell Collection of Lepidoptera (now National Collection RCK) in the British Museum of Natural History. A Fellow of Wolfson College from its inception, he bequeathed his correspondence and papers to the College. This site was primarily set up to make available the list of Kettlewell's correspondence. It is also hoped that it will provide a focus for the study of his life and work.

Wolfson College is grateful to Audrey Z. Smith (former Hope Librarian, University Museum, Oxford) and Ruth M. Wickett (former secretary to Dr H.B.D. Kettlewell) for collating and listing the correspondence.

Up to January 1993 Kettlewell's research data and experimental notes have not been found. If anyone knows the whereabouts of these papers, please inform the Librarian, Wolfson College, Oxford.

In February 2000 the Kettlewell Archive was transferred to the Department of Special Collections & Western Manuscripts, Bodleian Library. Ownership of the archive is retained by Wolfson College. Enquiries concerning access to the archive should be directed to:

Department of Special Collections & Western Manuscripts,
Bodleian Library,
Broad Street,
Oxford OX1 3BG
Phone: 01865 277158
Fax: 01865 277182

The Kettlewell Archive website will continue to be maintained by Wolfson College and enquiries concerning the contents of the site should be sent to the Librarian.


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Our upcoming events

24 - 24
Apr Apr
Tri-Innovate Pitch Event
Tuesday 24 April -
5:30pm to 8:30pm

Tri-Innovate 2018 finalists will pitch their ideas at The Foundry for £8,000 first prize and title of Innovation of the Year. Come support Wolfson finalists as they compete against finalists from Hertford, Jesus, New, and Pembroke Colleges.

Courses and Workshops
28 - 28
Apr Apr
Indo-Iranian Philology Study Day
Saturday 28 April -
9:00am to 5:00pm

A study day in Indo-Iranian philology, with opportunities to take lessons in subjects such as Avestan, Vedic Sanskrit, reading Old Persian cuneiform, and Indo-Iranian and Indo-European comparative philology. There will be taster sessions for beginners and brush-up sessions for those who once studied the subject. For further information or to book a place, please email Philomen Probert (

Concert and Plays
01 - 01
May May
Inauguration of Tim Hitchens
Tuesday 1 May -
8:00am to 11:00am

All members and friends of Wolfson College are invited to a May morning welcome event for Tim Hitchens, CMG LVO as the new President of Wolfson.


8.00–8.40 am Musical entertainment by members of the College 
All are welcome to drop in

8.40–9.00 am Break
Morning pastries will be available

9.00–9.30 am Formal inauguration of the new President
Please take your places by 9 am