Index of Honorary Members 1822-1845

Honorary Members 1822-1845

From its inception in December 1822 the YPS gave honorary membership to numerous already distinguished gentlemen of learning, deliberately to enhance the status of the new society. As early as February 1823 there were 30 honorary members, including university men like William Buckland and Adam Sedgwick. Our president, William Venables Vernon, used his many contacts from his Oxford days and his position as the son of the Archbishop to add to their number over the next few years. Some local men were also honoured, such as William ‘Strata’ Smith and the artist William Etty. By April 1831 the total throughout Great Britain and Ireland was 69, plus ten foreign members in Paris, Geneva, Berlin, Prague, Philadelphia and New York. We counted John Dalton in Manchester, Sir Humphry Davy in London and David Brewster in Edinburgh among them. The last-named assisted in bringing about the crowning success of the society’s early years, a gathering later in 1831 of men from all over the country and abroad at the newly opened Yorkshire Museum that established the British Association for the Advancement of Science, the BA (now the British Science Association, or BSA). Another 18 honorary memberships followed, including William Whewell of Trinity College, Cambridge (who later coined the word ‘scientist’). As the years went by and older men died, membership was awarded to the younger generation replacing them; by 1845 awards had been made to 126 men, 81 of whom can be found in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Members were listed fully each year in Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr from 1824 to 1828, then again in 1831, 1834, 1837, 1839, 1842 and 1844, following the Annual Report for the previous year. (NB for some years, the lists are found only in the bound copies of Annual Reports, held at the YPS Lodge.) Honorary Members are listed alphabetically, click below to see Index: