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British Industrial History

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John Edmund Hodgson

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John Edmund Hodgson (1875-1952)

1952 Obituary [1]

We regret to have to record the death of Mr. John Edmund Hodgson, which occurred on Thursday of last week, April l0th, at his home at Bidborough, Kent.

Mr. Hodgson was well known to many engineers and scientists through his activities in the old-established firm of book auctioneers in Chancery Lane, which bears his name.

He was born in 1875, was educated at Tonbridge School, and began h is business career with a firm of booksellers in Leicester Square. As a young man he joined the family firm in Chancery Lane, and had for long been recognised as an expert on scientific and technical literature.

Among the notable collections which J. E. Hodgson made was one of early books and prints on ballooning and other forms of flight. Recently it was purchased by Sir Frederick Handley Page and presented to the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Many years ago Mr. Hodgson began a study of the history of aviation, and in 1924 produced an authoritative volume entitled History of Aeronautics in Great Britain from the Earliest Times to the Latter Half of the Nineteenth Century. His aim was to write a chronological narrative, paying close attention to the lives and characters of the pioneers of ballooning and flight and to the technical aspects of their work. In that aim, Mr. Hodgson undoubtedly succeeded, for his book continues to occupy a prominent place in the literature of aeronautics. For a time Mr. Hodgson was honorary librarian of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and had lately became an Honorary Fellow of that Society.

He was also keenly interested in the work of the Newcomen Society of Engineering and Technology, of which he became a member shortly after its formation in 1920. He served on the council of that Society for a long period, and made some valuable contributions to its Transactions.

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