S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Gibbons, Dr John Stephen (conchology)

Born: 1 April 1851, Brocklesby, Lincolnshire, United Kingdom.
Died: 1906, Prieska, South Africa.

John Stephen Gibbons, British medical practitioner and conchologist, qualified as Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Master of Surgery (CM) at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1872. From 1875 he served as surgeon on various ships and collected marine shells at a number of seaports in East Africa from Zanzibar to Delagoa Bay (now Baia de Maputo), the West Indies and Brazil. During 1878 to 1880 he published at least 6 articles on his finds in the Journal of Conchology.

Gibbons was licensed to practice in the Cape Colony in December 1879. In 1883 he became district surgeon of Prieska and in that capacity reported on health matters in the town to the medical officer of health of the Cape Colony in 1898 and 1899. By 1898 he was a member of the (second) South African Medical Association. A few years after his arrival he compiled a "Partial list of the South African mollusca" which was published in the Transactions of the South African Philosophical Society (1884-1888, Vol. 4, pp. 201-). In 1898 "Dr Gibbons", presumably him, donated a number of molluscs to the South African Museum in Cape Town. The land slug Chlamydephorus gibbonsi, near endemic in the eastern coastal region of South Africa, was named after him as early as 1879.

Gibbons died in the Cape Colony in 1906 (Barnard, 1965; Herbert and Kilburn, 2004) and there is a death certificate for John Stephen Gibbons in the Cape Archives dated 1907 (NAAIRS). However, a will and estate documents in his name in the United Kingdom indicate that he died there in 1936 or 1937 (Verdcourt, 1981).


List of sources:
Barnard, K.H. Personal names in South African conchology. Cape Town: Conchological Society of Southern Africa, 1965.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Medical Officer of Health, 1898, 1899.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the trustees of the South African Museum, 1898.

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za Publications by J.S. Gibbons.

Herbert, D. & Kilburn, D. Field guide to the land snails and slugs of eastern South Africa. Pietermaritzburg: Natal Museum, 2004.

List of licensed medical practitioners in the Cape Colony... Cape of Good Hope Government Gazette, 9 January 1885, pp. 41-45.

Medical and pharmacy register for the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town: W.A. Richards, 1893.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Gibbons, John Stephen/Gibbons, John S./Gibbons, Dr J.S.

South African medical directory for 1897. Cape Town: Cape Times, 1897.

South African Medical Journal, January 1898, Vol. 5, pp. 240-242, South African Medical Association [list of members].

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1884-1888, Vol. 4.

Verdcourt, B. John S. Gibbons, 1851-? The Conchologists Newsletter, December 1981, No. 79, pp. 344-348. Retrieved from http://archive.is/AhKfq on 2017-1-12.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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