James Edmund Harting

James Edmund Fotheringham Harting (29 April 1841 – 10 January 1928) was an English ornithologist and naturalist.

James Edmund Fotheringham Harting
Born(1841-04-29)29 April 1841
Died10 January 1928(1928-01-10) (aged 86)
Scientific career
FieldsNatural history, ornithology


Harting was the eldest son[1] of James Vincent Harting and Alexine Milne Fotheringham.[2] He was educated at Downside School (1854-60) and the University of London and spent much of his youth traveling on the Continent, spending time at the Museums in Paris and Leiden. Passing all the exams for a solicitor except for criminal law, he worked at his profession from 1868 to 1878, then turning to natural history and writing.

He wrote his first article for The Field on 13 March 1869 and remained on the staff for fifty years, becoming editor of the Naturalist Department in 1871 and later editor of the Shooting Department. By 1920 he contributed 2,326 articles as well as 124 obituary notices, as well as "Answers to Correspondents" which he wrote on Natural History, Falconry, Angling and other issues.

Natural history

Harting edited The Zoologist from 1877 to 1896 and was considered an authority on British birds. He was Assistant Secretary and Librarian to the Linnean Society. He was a Fellow of the Linnæan Society; a life member of the Zoological Society; member of the British Ornithologists' Union and a corresponding member of the American Ornithologists Union. In 1880 he was awarded a Silver Medal by the Acclimatisation Society of France "for publications".


Late in the 1870s Harting started the New Hawking Club to enable Londoners to observe falconry; the Old Hawking Club was in the Salisbury Plain which was too far away for most people. He bought peregrine falcons and gyrfalcons from John Barr who had worked for Sandys Dugmore as a professional falconer from 1874-1877, hired Barr as a falconer and obtained permission from Lord Rosebery to use Epsom Downs for hawking. He set up near the Grandstand of the racecourse and had a successful season in the autumn of 1878, but the birds died of the croaks in the winter, ending the venture.

Harting compiled Bibliotheca Accipitraria over many years, and was one of the few men seen in London with a hawk on his fist.

Death and legacy

Harting died aged 86 on 10 January 1928 in Weybridge, Surrey, where he lived most of his life, and is buried in the Town Cemetery. His headstone reads:

Pray for the Soul of Elizabeth Maria wife of James Edmund Harting of Weybridge, in the Co.[unty] of Surrey, who departed this life 25th Jan 1907. Also of James Edmund Harting Died 10th, January 1928 Aged 85 Years [sic]. Also Etheldreda Mary Harting Died 23rd, Jan 1942 Aged 71.

He married Elizabeth Lynch, daughter of J. M. Lynch of Co. Kildare, Ireland, in 1868.[3] There was a son, Hugh, and a daughter, Etheldreda, to the marriage. The Field's obituary states that:

J.E. Harting was modest and unassuming but he knew the value of knowledge, and never hesitated to use the authority of his long experience... He made very little money, for he worked for what he loved, because he loved it first as a sportsman and a gentleman, and he expected fair treatment, which he invariably extended to others.

Part of Harting’s library was sold in 1893, more was dispersed at his death, and the remainder was given to Downside Abbey in 1934.


His books included The Birds of Middlesex (1866), Rambles in Search of Shells (1876), Ostriches and Ostrich Farming (1877), British Animals extinct within Historic Times (1880) and A Catalogue of Books Ancient and Modern relating to Falconry (1891). Hints on Shore Shooting 1871


  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  2. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
    "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  3. "Mr. J. E. Harting (transcription)" (44792). London, England: The Times. 17 January 1928. p. 16; col D. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.