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Last updated: 2 June 2009

Bickerton, Professor Alexander William, 1842-1929

Collection | Ref # Arch 406 | Held by Christchurch City Libraries

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Bickerton, Professor Alexander William, 1842-1929


Bickerton, Professor Alexander William, 1842-1929

Level of description:



1 folder

Reference number:

Arch 406

Former NRAM reference number:



The record consists of booklets (mainly astronomy, 1879-1923) correspondence, bibliographies, index cards and other papers gathered by T.N. O'Reilly, Chief Librarian of Canterbury Public Library, for a planned bibliography of Bickerton's works. Included are two copies of Johannes Andersen's Bickerton biography, (ca 1930).

Alexander Bickerton arrived in New Zealand in 1874 as the first Professor at Canterbury College, in the Chair of Chemistry. He was a brilliant teacher of chemistry and physics, respected and admired by Ernest Rutherford, his most famous pupil. However his unconventional behaviour and unorthodox ideas caused problems with the University authorities over the years. After 30 years the Board succeeded in sacking him in 1903. He made and sold patent medicines, opened his home, Wainoni, as a pleasure garden, and wrote, mostly about astronomy. In 1910 he returned to England. He was made Professor Emeritus of Canterbury College in 1928, the year before his death.

Scientific papers, correspondence etc

Dates covered:

1879 - 1961

Access conditions:

not restricted

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