S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Button, Mr Frederick (bird collection)

Born: Date not known, United Kingdom.
Died: 1907, South Africa.

Frederick (Fred 'Diamond') Button was the son of James Clark Button and his wife Matilda Thurston and a brother of Edward ('Gold') Button*. The family came to Natal from England in 1854, but James died shortly after his arrival with the result that the family broke up. Frederick earned his nickname after achieving success on the diamond fields around Kimberley. In 1880 he was a clerk living in Durban. In October 1882 he married Esther Mary Tinline in Dover, England.

At a major symposium (then called a conversazione) of the just established Natural History Association of Natal, on 13 March 1868, Frederick was one of the exhibitors who showed a collection of birds. The association became defunct in 1871. In 1885 a movement arose to found the Durban Natural History Museum. Button was a member of the first museum committee appointed by the town council on 23 November 1885, and was elected its first honorary secretary and treasurer in February 1886. In this capacity he worked closely with J.S. Steel*, who was the moving spirit behind the new museum. He still held his two honorary positions on the committee by 1895.

In 1897 and 1898 Button was a member, appointed by the Natal government, of the committee whose object was to maintain the Natal Botanic Gardens in Durban. He resigned his seat on the committee in 1899.


List of sources:

Campbell Collections: Button family papers, at http://campbell.ukzn.ac.za/?q=node/23090 Retrieved on 2016-1-27.

List of voters for members of the Legislative Council for the township or borough of Durban, for the year ending 31st August 1881. The Natal Government Gazette, 7 September 1880, pp. 644-661.

London Times, 6 October 1882, page 1, hosted by Rootsweb. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~tinlin/lte.htm Retrieved 2016-1-27.

Natal almanac, directory and yearly register, 1898, 1899: Natal Botanic Gardens.

Natal Botanic Gardens. Report, 1897.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Button, Frederick.

Quickelberge, C. Collections and recollections. The Durban Natural History Museum, 1887-1987. Durban Natural History Museum, 1987.

[Sanderson, J.] The study of natural history, and the association for its promotion. Natal almanac and yearly register, 1869, pp. 60-66.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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