S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Guest, Mr Reginald Steward (poultry raising, insect and bird collection)

Born: 2 August 1861, Place not known.
Died: 21 May 1943, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Reginald S. Guest was a son of Herbert Guest and his wife Mary and a younger brother of Herbert Melville Guest*. He was a foundation member of the Grahamstown Natural History Society (1884-1887?) and at its first meeting in December 1884 explained to members how the praying mantis catches its prey. At a subsequent meeting in November 1885 he exhibited the skulls of a baboon and a dassie, and in February 1886 the larvae of the "so-called Kaffrarian silk worm". The larvae occurred in the Grahamstown region, feeding on fig trees. They resembled the cultivated silk worm, Bombyx mori, but had a much smaller coccoon from which very good silk could none the less be wound. [Presumably one of the few true silkmoths that occur in South Africa and feed on wild fig trees, Ocinara sp. (family Bombycidae).] The next year Guest was secretary of the society.

In 1886 he donated a perfect nest of a woodpecker to the Albany Museum, the specimen being new to its collection. Years later, in 1899, he sent the museum a bird from Naauwpoort [Noupoort?]. Meanwhile he had written Poultry farming, a pamphlet (No. 9 of 1898) published by the Cape Department of Agriculture. In later years he turned to genealogical research and published a two volume History of the Guest family (Grahamstown, 1915 & 1938). He was married to Lucy Edith Francis, with whom he had at least one son.

List of sources:
Argus annual and Cape of Good Hope directory, 1888, p. 396: Grahamstown Natural History Society.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the committee of the Albany Museum, 1886, 1899.

Grahamstown Journal. 10 December 1884, p. 3; 19 November 1885, p. 3; 1 March 1886, p. 3; 23 May 1887, p. 3: Grahamstown Natural History Society.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Guest, Reginald Steward / Guest, Lucy Edith.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

Compiled by: C. Plug