S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Becker, Mrs Mary Julia (natural history)

Born: 16 January 1821, Port Shepstone, South Africa.
Died: 1 November 1885, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Mary Julia Becker was married to Dr Hermann Franz Becker* and shared his interest in natural history. They resided in Port Alfred from about 1869, but moved to Grahamstown in 1874. Upon her death in 1885 the curator of the Albany Museum, Miss M. Glanville*, paid tribute to her in the museum's annual report for that year: "We have sustained another heavy loss in the lamented death of Mrs Becker, a zealous and faithful friend to the Museum. She was a most enthusiastic worker in Natural History, especially among insects, shells, and marine algae, and enriched our collections with many of her captures. Her last gift, made shortly before her death, was a valuable microscope, which supplied a great want in the institution, and is truly apprediated."

Mrs Becker presumably contributed to the collections made to the museum in her husband's name. Among others she and her busband presented the museum with a collection of 9718 Coleoptera (beetles) some time before 1883. In her own name she also donated numerous molluscs from Port Alfred and other places along the Cape coast.

List of sources:
Cape of Good Hope. Catalogue of the natural history collections of the Albany Museum, Grahamstown (Appendix to Parliamentary Report G24-'83). Cape Town: W.A. Richards & Sons, 1883.

Cape of Good Hope. Report upon the Albany Museum, 1885.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Mary Julia Becker

Compiled by: C. Plug