Tag Archives: postcard

An unknown women shell collector

There are probably a lot more people who could be added to the list of 2400 years malacology (Coan & Kabat, 2016). E.g., we found a letter and a postcard, sent in 1880s, from a British women named Fanny Maria Hele. She was interested in mineralogy and land and marine conchology, and there is evidence that she tried to enlarge her collection by exchange and purchase of shells. She lived in Fairlight, Elmgrove Road, Bristol, England. Her name regularly appears in the Hardwicke’s Science-Gossip journal, at the section “Exchanges”. E.g.:

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.20.39

(1875: 168)

Capture d’écran 2016-08-30 à 00.17.49 (1875: 283)

The letter is dated on July 14, 1882 and is written in a bad French, probably to the Italian malacologist Del Prete. In the letter both a mineral and land shells are mentioned:

Numériser 2

Numériser 1

“Cher Monsieur,

Je suis très obligé pour votre lettre. Quand la Posse Parcelle est etablie dans Angleterre j’envoyerai vous une bonne boîte de coquilles. Je vous envoye cette pour la lettre Anglais. Je recevre de Londres disant que cette Posse Parcelle sera pour toute la continent aussi de notre pays.

Il n’est pas encore etablée. Il sera dans deux ou trois mois temps. Je serai alors capable d’envoyerent six livres (Lei il peso d’una libra) pour environ deux francs a la continent.

J’ai grand adminration pour votre Clausilia et belle grand Helix. La mineral je desire est la precieux (berillo gemma). Avec mes bonnes egards et mes dévoués.

Je suis, Cher Monsieur, vous (ill.) Fanny Maria Hele”.


The postcard is dated on 16 June, 1887. It was addressed to Raimondo del Prete, in Viareggio, Italy:

Numériser 4

Numériser 3

“Bristol June 16-87

J’oublie dire deux Isocardia cors ils étaient rompre en plusieurs morceaux. La Volute Angulata est très belle. Avez vous une seconde en doublon (donnez moi – J’envoyais votre desiderata (et 36 plus). Hier au soir – Plusieurs très rare species. Avez vous votre (Mediterranean Sea) (Mers) Cardium Intercostatum dans doubles avec bonnes Egards. Je suis votre (ill.) F. M. Hele.”

Dance S. Peter 2013. Fanny M. Hele and the var. exalbida. Mollusc World, 12: 18 (portr.) [here]

[1] Source: Audibert, private collection





Linter, an English lady-conchologist

Miss Jane (full names: Juliana Emma) Linter was born in Teighmouth, Devonshire, on 19 July 1844 as the fourth child of William Brine Linter and Caroline Mary Nicholls. Both her father and grandfather were musicians. At an early age she went to London for study and was a regular reader at the British Museum. She lived for many years in Twickenham near London, and remained unmarried. She began her collection of shells around 1880 and according to Tomlin (1949) the basis was formed by parts of the collection of William Theobald (1829-1908), and the collection of Colonel Skinner. Her favourite group was the Helicoidea of which she had many unique specimens in her collection, among which material collected by Wollaston on the Madeira group. According to Tomlin (1949) she “was to all intents and purposes a dealer (…) and exchanged largely”. However, it is unclear on what evidence Tomlin based his qualification as a dealer as this would imply the distribution of stock lists. To the contrary, we found only evidence that she exchanged shells (see below). She died on 30 August 1909 in her home in Twickenham (Smith, 1910). Her collection was bequeathed to the RAMM in Exeter, U.K.

The following eponyms have been described: Achatina linterae Sowerby III, 1890 and Bulimus fulminans var. linterae Sowerby III, 1890; Ophistoma linterae Sowerby III, 1896. Further: Plectopylis linterae Möllendorff, 1897 and Papuina linterae Möllendorff, 1897; Buliminus (Napaeus) linterae Kobelt, 1899, and finally, Chloritis linterae Gude, 1905.

We already came across this lady-conchologist when studying the Dautzenberg archive (Breure, 2015), with whom she exchanged shells. But in the Crosse archive I also found evidence that Miss Linter was willing to exchange shells, in this case not for other shells but as a payment in natura for the Journal de Conchyliologie, as this postcard from 10 November 1897 shows.

Linter97 [1]

Breure ASH. 2015. The malacological handwritings in the autograph collection of the Ph. Dautzenberg archives, Brussels. Folia Conchyliologica 33: 1–111.
Smith EA. 1910. Obituary notice. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 9: 89.
Tomlin JR le B. 1949. Shell sales, VI. Proceedings of the Malacological Society of London 27: 254–256.

[1] Crosse archive, with thanks to W. Backhuys.