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H. A. Nicholls Diary

Identifier: Mss010

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises a photocopy of the typewritten version of the diary, held at Harvard University, and a cover letter dated August 31, 1966 from Richard A. Howard, Director, The Arnold Arboretum to John E. Adams, Department of Geography, University of Minnesota.


  • 1891-1966
  • Majority of material found in ( 1891)


Language of Materials


Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for use by researchers in the Andersen Library Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright is retained by the author.

Biographical Note

Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls was a physician, disease specialist, horticulturist, zoologist, and legislator throughout his lifetime in Dominica. Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls was born in London in 1851. He received M.B. and C.M. degrees from the University of Aberdeen in 1873 and an M.D. at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. He moved to Dominica to serve as Assistant Medical Officer to Dr. John Imray and remained there for the rest of his life. In addition to his medical duties, Nicholls was actively interested in botany and agriculture and was the author of a textbook on tropical agriculture. He contributed to many writings describing various geographical phenomena such as volcanic explosions and hurricanes as they occured in his time in Dominica. In 1880, Nicholls escorted George, the young Prince of Wales on a trip to visit the highest point on the island, Morne Diablotin. Along with Nicholls’ many publishings, he went on to serve as the appointed Medical Superintendent of the Dominica Yaws Hospital, and shortly thereafter succeeding Dr. Imray in his position as Medical Officer of Public Institutions in 1880. In 1881, the Secretary of State for the colonies appointed Nicholls to become Special Commissioner to inquire on the disease of Yaws, prevalent in Dominica during this time. His report was met with praise, allowing him to further explore the medical field and publish his findings on yaws. During this time, Nicholls also became an editor for The Leeward Island Medical Journal. Before his appointment in 1922, Nicholls had been appointed to the position of Principal Medical Officer of Dominica, a highly esteemed position. As well as his contributions to the medical field, Nicholls worked in the fields of botany, horticulture, and zoology. Nicholls took a particular interest in expanding the cultivation of coffee and the banana trade in Dominica. In addition, Nicholls was a corresponding member of the Zoological Society of London. The diary includes his notes from a trip through the Grenadines, May 2-June 18, 1891. Shortly before Nicholls’ death, he was awarded knighthood status. He died in 1926.

The information in this note is from the following sources:

“Henry Alfred Alford Nicholls.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, January 14, 2021.


.25 Cubic Feet


Collection comprises a photocopy of the typewritten version of the diary

Physical Location

Mezz (R80, D3, S7); shared w/#11

Alternate Form

Original diary is located at the Botany Gray Herbarium, Harvard University Libraries.

H. A. Nicholls Diary
Leslie Czechowski
November 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Upper Midwest Literary Archives Collecting Area