S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Falcon, Mr William (shell collection)

Born: 1872, United Kingdom.
Died: 1956, South Africa.

William Falcon, school principal and amateur conchologist, qualified as Master of Arts (MA) at the University of Cambridge, England. In 1902 he was appointed assistant master at the High School for Boys in Johannesburg. On the basis of his degree from Cambridge the University of the Cape of Good Hope admitted him to its MA degree in 1905. By that time he had moved to Pretoria, where he was associated with the Pretoria College. However, in 1906 he was appointed headmaster of Hilton College, a well-known interdenominational private school near Pietermaritzburg. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1934.

Falcon developed an interest in conchology after meeting H.C. Burnup* in 1921 and the two became friends. He was an enthusiastic collector of both marine and non-marine shells and built up a fine collection. In 1954 he presented his collection to the Natal Museum. The non-marine molluscs Fauxulus falconianus, Gulella falconi and Trachycystis falconi were named after him.

Falcon became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science in 1916, the year the association held its annual congress in Pietermaritzburg. His wife, Nora Amelia Falcon, died in 1935. He was survived by his second wife, Mabel Falcon.

List of sources:

Barnard, K.H. Personal names in South African conchology. Cape Town: Conchological Society of Southern Africa, Special Publication No. 4, 1965.

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

Kilburn, R. & Rippey, E. Sea shells of southern Africa. Johannesburg: Macmillan, 1982.

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

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1918, List of members.

University of the Cape of Good Hope. Calendar, 1906/7 to 1917/8.

Compiled by: C. Plug