Fraser, Louis (DNB00)

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FRASER, LOUIS (fl. 1866), naturalist, was for some time curator to the Zoological Society of London, a post which he vacated to become naturalist to the Niger expedition of 1841–2. Returning home he entered the service of Lord Derby as temporary conservator of the menagerie at Knowsley. Here his time was fully occupied in making a scientific catalogue of the magnificent zoological collections. In November 1850 he received through Lord Derby the appointment of consul at Whydah, on the west coast of Africa (Proceedings of Zoological Society, pt. xviii. p. 245), from which he was recalled by Lord Palmerston. He then went to South America, where he collected many rare birds and other animals. He returned to England and became dealer in birds, opening shops successively at Knightsbridge and in Regent Street; but the speculation proved unsuccessful. He therefore left England, and obtained employment at Woodward's Gardens at San Francisco, which he is said to have quitted for some occupation in Vancouver's Island. He was certainly living in London in June 1866 (ib. pt. xxxiv. p. 367). His son, Oscar L. Fraser, F.L.S., is now (1888) second assistant to the superintendent of the zoological and general sections, Indian Museum, Calcutta. In addition to numerous papers in the publications of the Zoological Society, of which he was elected a corresponding member in 1857, Fraser was the author of ‘Zoologia Typica; or Figures of New and Rare Mammals and Birds, described in the Proceedings, or exhibited in the Collections of the Zoological Society of London,’ fol., London, 1849. The volume contains figures of twenty-eight mammals and forty-six birds, all of which were then of particular interest as representations of specimens originally described by the respective authors as the types of new genera or additional species of genera previously characterised; besides which the plates are enriched with drawings of many rare and beautiful plants. It was Fraser's intention that the work should appear at regular intervals, and be continued until it comprised figures of every new mammal and bird described in the Zoological Society's ‘Proceedings,’ of which figures had not appeared in any other publication, but circumstances compelled him to bring it to a premature close.

[Information from Mr. A. D. Bartlett; Preface to ‘Zoologia Typica;’ Thacker's Indian Directory (1888), p. 210.]

G. G.