Francis Hemming

Francis Hemming

Arthur Francis Hemming (1893-1964) was an English entomologist who specialised in Lepidoptera. He was mostly known, both professionally and socially, as Francis Hemming.

Hemming was a British civil servant and amateur lepidopterist. An expert in biological nomenclature, he served from 1937 to 1958 as Secretary to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature and was founder and editor of the Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature. During his lifetime he published over 1,000 scientific papers on Lepidoptera. His manuscripts and other papers are deposited in the Natural History Museum in London and at the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Hemming was educated at Rugby, and Corpus Christi College, Oxford. During World War I he was severely wounded in 1916, and in 1918 he joined the British Civil Service. He was private secretary to several ministers and was granted the C.M.G. and C.B.E. for his services, especially in the revision of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature that was officially adopted in 1958.

The genus Nabokovia (Lycaenidae) was named by Hemming in 1960, in honor of Vladimir Nabokov, whose earlier generic name was found by Hemming to be a junior homonym. Nabokov invited Hemming to provide the substitute name. In this and all other recorded incidents, Hemming acted with the utmost discretion and ethical concern .

First married to Vera Montague Murray in 1924 (marriage dissolved in 1932) with whom he had one son, Christopher Francis Hemming. Second marriage to novelist Marjorie McLean Firminger (Jam To-Day, 1930) on 1 June 1933,third marriage in 1947 to Margaret Francis Waley Joseph (b. April 29, 1910), with whom he had two daughters, Rachel Cecilia Waley Hemming (b. 1947) and Judith Frances Waley Hemming (b. 1948).

Hemming won international recognition for his decades of dedicated service to zoological nomenclature and to entomology. If butterflies are a well organized and properly classified group today, it is because of the tireless work of Francis Hemming.

Read more about Francis Hemming:  Selected Works

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