Biographical information

By Jim Endersby

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There are also separate details of Hooker's immediate family available.

Please note: this material is from my entry on Hooker in the new Dictionary of National Biography. The copyright on this material belongs to Oxford University Press. Please observe the appropriate copyright laws if you cite this material.

William Jackson Hooker


Hooker, Sir Joseph Dalton (1817–1911), botanist, biogeographer and traveller. The younger son of Sir William Jackson Hooker and his wife Maria, daughter of Dawson Turner. Hooker was born at Halesworth, Suffolk, on 30 June 1817. He was educated at Glasgow High School and later at Glasgow university, where his father was regius professor of botany. He graduated M.D. in 1839.

Hooker attended his father’s university botany lectures from the age of seven and formed an interest in plant distribution. Another early enthusiasm was travellers’ tales – he recalled sitting on his grandfather’s knee, looking at the pictures in Captain Cook’s Voyages. He was particularly struck by one of Cook’s sailors killing penguins on Kerguelen’s Land, and he remembered thinking that, ‘I should be the happiest boy alive if ever I would see that wonderful arched rock, and knock penguins on the head’ (Huxley 1918: 6).

Sir William Jackson Hooker (above)

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Last updated 22/12/06

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