In subsequent years Stebbing enjoyed respect and prominence amongst the scientific community, publishing many works on decapods, isopods, amphipods, zoological nomenclature, religious philosophy and Darwinism, amongst other topics.
He wrote essays for popular and semi-popular audiences as well as drier and more technical works. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in 1895 and of the Royal Society in 1896. He was both Vice-President and Zoological Secretary of the former and was awarded the Gold Medal of the society in 1908. Being an active participant in the Tunbridge Wells Natural History and Philosophical Society, he helped to found the Southeastern Union of Scientific Societies, which became an arena where he could expound his views on religion and science.
In 1906 he contributed a volume on gammaridean amphipoda to the German series Das Tierreich, creating in effect a systematic catalogue to accompany the history of amphipod classification contained within his Challenger report. No similar volume to this 1906 work appeared until J. L Barnard's catalogue was published in 1969, and this complemented Stebbing's work rather than superseding it. Stebbing's genius did not lie in new investigative research, and in any case he lacked the scientific training to facilitate this, but instead in his neatness, accuracy and thoroughness. "He was the best editor that the literature of the Amphipoda has had and his work lives because it still provides a basic systematic core and bibliography when it is needed" (Mills, p.245 1972).
The Stebbing Collection consists of Stebbing's personal library, which was donated to King's College London by his wife Mary Anne, following his death in 1926. It contains material reflecting both the output and the interests of the man himself.
As can be seen below, all of Stebbing's works mentioned on this page are present, alongside other examples of his scientific writings. There is a selection of material dealing with the Challenger expedition by those scientists and observers present, and a range of other natural history works, reflecting Stebbing's interest in crustacea, but also in the general study of zoological classification and Darwinism.
The age of the material ranges from the eighteenth century to the 1920s, with most of the books dating from the mid to late nineteenth century, reflecting Stebbing's main period of intellectual activity. Famous scientists such as Darwin, Lamarck and Cuvier are represented. One of the items, Duméril's Zoologie analytique, was previously owned by Jeremy Bentham. Many of the books contain beautiful hand coloured plates and diagrams.
All the standard size works in the collection, numbering around 100 items, have been catalogued and can be searched for on the online library catalogue. The folio works are at present uncatalogued but are available for consultation.
Some items of interest from the collection
- Duméril. Zoologie analytique, ou Méthode naturelle de classification des animaux. Paris, 1806. [T.Stebbing Collection QL352. DUM]
T.R.R Stebbing. The Challenger amphipoda, London, 1883. [Stebbing Collection QL435 STE]
T.R.R Stebbing. Essays on Darwinism. London: Longmans,1871. [Stebbing Collection QH369. St31]
T.R.R Stebbing. A history of crustacea. London: Kegan Paul, Trench. Trübner & Co.,1893. [Stebbing Collection QL435 STE]
Philipp Jakob Sachse de Lewenheimb. Gammarologia, sive, Gammarorum, vulgo cancrorum consideratio physico-philologico-historico-medico-chymica. Francofurti & Lipsiae: Esaiae Fellgibelii, 1665. [Stebbing Collection QL444. M3 SAC]
- Wyville Thomson. The voyage of the Challenger. 2 v. London: Macmillan, 1877. [Stebbing Collection Q115 THO]
A list of the catalogued books in the Stebbing Collection can be obtained from the Library catalogue. The Foyle Special Collections Library has a good deal of complementary material in other collections, such as the Early Science Collection and the De Beer Collection, the latter being the personal library of books by and about Darwin kept by the Oxford zoologist Sir Gavin De Beer.
- L. Mills. "Amphipods and equipoise: a study of T.R.R. Stebbing", in Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1972. 44, 239-256.
"Rev. Thomas Roscoe Rede Stebbing", in Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, session 139 (1926-1927), 101-103.
T.R.R. Stebbing. "An autobiographical sketch", in Proceedings and Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society,1923, 4, 1-5.