On 4 September 1899, an 1820 Settler and early South African naturalist, Mary Elizabeth Barber died in Malvern, Natal Province (now known as Kwazulu Natal). Barber was a remarkable woman with an extensive knowledge of natural history, especially botany and entomology and supplied Charles Darwin with valuable information for his work On the Origin of Species (1859). She was elected to the Hungarian ornithological society and several of her papers were translated into Hungarian.
As a natural historian, Baber was instrumental in influencing many of her family members and friends. She helped to establish the stratigraphic geology of South Africa for the first time, and initiated the examination of its ethnology, archaeology and palaeontology.
• Biodiversityexplorer.org, 2011. “Barber, Mary E. (born Bowker, 1818-1899)” from Biodiversity Explorers [online]. Available at www.biodiversityexplorer.org [Accessed 23 August 2011]
• Johnson, S.D., 2009. “Darwin’s legacy in South African evolutionary biology” in South African Journal of Science, Vol 105, No. 11-12, pp 403-409. Available at www.scielo.org.za [Accessed 23 August 2011]