Mary Haworth Duerden gave a collection of ninety souvenir spoons to Towneley in 1940 and a further group were added after her death in 1950, Silver spoons
She had married James Edwin Duerden (1865-1937) in 1893 and they had lived in Ireland, Jamaica, the US and South Africa whilst Professor Duerden developed his career as a zoologist, before returning to England in the 1930s. Many of the spoons can be directly related to their journeys around the world. (See biography below).
Mary Haworth (c.1865-1950) married James Edwin Duerden (1865-1937) in September 1893. James received his early education at the Ebenezer Baptist School, and from an early age worked as a cotton weaver. He attended night classes at the Burnley Mechanics' Institute where he obtained an Exhibition to the Royal College of Science, London where he studied between 1885 and 1889. Mary herself became a teacher at his primary school. In 1893 he was appointed as Demonstrator in Zoology and Palaeontology at the Royal College of Science for Ireland and they remained in Dublin until 1895 when he accepted the post of Curator of the Museum in the Institute of Jamaica, Kingston. Their only child, Edwin Noel, was born in Jamaica in 1896.
Dr Duerden received a degree of Ph.D. from John Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA in 1900 and in 1902 was Acting Professor of Biology at the University of North Carolina. Their son died at Chapel Hill in September 1902 and was buried at Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on the campus of the university. In 1903, they moved to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and then in 1905, Professor Duerden took up the position of Professor of Zoology at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.
Professor Duerden was a great supporter of the Association for the Advancement of Science and was President of the Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science in 1921. It is most likely that the South African souvenir spoons were collected at some of the annual meetings of this association between 1906 and 1931. He became a leading authority on the nature of wool and, on his retirement, he took up a post with the Wool Industries Research Association at Headingly, Leeds. He died on 4th September 1937 at the age of 72 in Nottingham as a result of an injury sustained in a fall in a bus while he and his wife were travelling to that year's British Association for the Advancement of Science meeting. Both of them are buried in the Duerden family grave at Haggate in Briercliffe.
One unique item in the collection is ssp6_77 , a spoon commemorating a shooting event contested by Mrs Duerden on 5th June, 1915. Other souvenir spoons that would hold special memories for her would be the one from the University of North Carolina ( ssp6_67 ) where her son is buried and the one of RMS Arundel Castle, the ship that took them back to England from South Africa ( ssp6_21 ).
A collection of 90 silver souvenir spoons were presented to Towneley by Mrs Mary Haworth Duerden in 1940. On her death in 1950, she bequeathed a further 42 silver spoons. These were not individually recorded until 2011, when it was found that since 1950 a further seven spoons had added to the box in which they were stored from an unknown source. It has not been possible to identify the seven interlopers with any certainty. The most useful evidence for identifying the original 90 spoons is an old label titled
Collection of Ninety Silver Souvenir Spoons
presented by Mrs Mary Haworth Duerden,
widow of the late Professor J. E. Duerden
When the spoons were scanned in June 2011, they were arbitrarily divided into two groups of 90 (ssp6) and 49 (ssp7). There appears to have been a start at labelling the spoons in the 1980s but only around 26 spoons were marked S/SP/6 followed by a single alphabetic character (some capitals and some in lower case). No attempt has been made to retain those labellings during the scanning sequence, rather groups of similar sizes and styles were scanned together and the numbers now applied in the catalogue indicate the scanning order.
A brief biography of Professor and Mrs Duerden goes some way to identify those souvenir spoons that were probably collected during Professor Duerden's scientific career in America and South Africa, between 1900 and 1930.