Walter Samuel Millard

Walter Samuel Millard

Walter Samuel Millard (1864-1952) was a British entrepreneur and naturalist who was honorary secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society and editor of the "Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society" from 1906 to 1920, co-author of the classic, "Some Beautiful Indian Trees", and the driving force behind the Mammal Survey of the Indian subcontinent conducted by the society between 1911 and 1923.

Millard, the seventh son of Rev. J.H. Millard, was born in Huntingdon, England in 1864. He came out to Bombay at age 20 to assist in the wine business of Herbert (Musgrave) Phipson, then Honorary Secretary of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the editor of its journal. Millard joined the Society in 1893 and was made assistant editor of the Journal. Upon Phipson's retirement in 1906, Millard became editor and remained one until 1920.Kinnear, N.B. 1952. "W. S. Millard" "Journal of Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc." 50:910-913.]

During the years of Phipson's editorship, the "Journal of BNHS" had emerged as the premier natural history journal in Asia. During Millard's editorial tenure, although other journals had appeared in the field, the "Journal of BNHS" remained the only one with both scholarly "and" general interest articles. In addition, during this time the Society began to publish serial articles from the "Journal" in book form. One of the best received such books was Stuart Baker's "Indian Ducks and their Allies" (1908).

Millard's main avocation was gardening, especially the cultivation of flowering trees. He is credited with introducing the Burmese "Cassia renigera", the "Pterocarpus indicus", and the South American "Gliricidia maculata" to the city of Bombay. Upon his suggestion, Fr. Ethelbert Blatter, SJ, Principal and Professor of Botany at St Xavier's College, Bombay, wrote the series "Palms of India" for the "Journal". A few years later Blatter and Millard coauthored the series "Some Beautiful Indian Trees", resulting in a book of the same name, which has since become a classic, and remains in print. [ Blatter, E. and Walter S. Millard. 1937, 1997. "Some Beautiful Indian Trees." Bombay Natural History Society and Oxford University Press. 165 pages with 31 colour plates. ISBN 019562162X. ] Salim Ali credits his initiation to ornithology to Millard, when he helped identify a Yellow-throated Sparrow that he had shot as a boy. [Ali, S. 1985. The fall of a sparrow. Oxford University Press.]

Moreover, at this time, R. C. Wroughton, who after retiring from the Indian Forest Service had been studying mammals at the British Museum, began to correspond with Millard and urged him to employ a "collector" (and taxidermist) to collect small mammals. Soon thereafter, in 1910, C. A. Crump fortuitously arrived in Bombay and offered his services as collector. Millard immediately called an urgent meeting of the Society and it was decided to both employ Crump and launch a fund drive for a mammal survey. Within a year, enough funds were raised to hire four full-time collectors, and with that the "Mammal Survey" had begun. The survey lasted 12 years and its collections became the basis for R.I. Pocock's two volumes "Mammalia" in the series Fauna of British India. Both the initiation and the success of the survey depended largely on Millard's fund-raising and organizational effort; this, in addition to his work as editor of the "Journal" and as manager of his wine business, Messrs. Phipson and Co.

Millard was an early conservationist. Through his efforts, a "close time" was established for certain birds, and other species given extra protection. After he left India in 1920, Millard spent many years in retirement, managing the Bombay Natural History Society's business in London. W. S. Millard died on 21 March 1952.

Notes and References

ee also

* Bombay Natural History Society
* Fauna of British India
* Stuart Baker
* Ethelbert Blatter
* R.I. Pocock
* R. C. Wroughton

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