J. D. Tothill
John Douglas Tothill

1. Articles
(a) Sudan
(b) Arabia
Reference code: GB-0033-SAD
Title: J. D. Tothill
Dates of creation: 1952-1965
Extent: 0.5 box
Held by: Durham University Library, Archives and Special Collections
Created by: J. D. Tothill
Language: English

John Douglas Tothill


1911-1912 U.S. Government service
1912-1926 Canadian Civil Service
1924-1926 Seconded to Fiji
1926-1939 Colonial Civil Service
1926-1929 Director of Agriculture, Fiji
1929-1939 Director of Agriculture, Uganda
1939-1944 Director of Agriculture and Forests, Sudan Government
1944-1947 Principal Gordon Memorial College, Khartoum


1. Articles
(a) Sudan
(b) Arabia

Accession details

Presented by Tothill, 1965, and by A. Tothill, 1969

1. Articles
(a) Sudan
1965 Dec
“Notes on an interlude in the Sudan”, by J.D.T, describing why he went to the Sudan, his aims, and assessment of his work there
(Xerox copy of manuscript)
(b) Arabia
1952 - 1953
Typescript carbon copy of an unpublished manuscript by J.D.T. entitled “A Naturalist in the Asir Mountains of Arabia”, describing his travels through the Asir Mountains for the Food and Agriculture Organisation investigating local conditions, with a view to the F.A.O. team designing suitable irrigation works. The manuscript is arranged in the following chapters:
Title page and table of contents with additions, corrections and other annotations
Chapter 1, with annotations. Entitled “Introduction” it includes sections on J.D.T.'s journey into Saudi Arabia; his role within the Food and Agriculture Organisation Project in Saudi Arabia; a plan of the book, with reflections on J.D.T.'s motivation in writing it and acknowledgements
Chapter 2 with annotations. Entitled “The story of the Incense Road”, this is a descriptive and historical account of the origins of the famous trade route from the Queen of Sheba's opening of the incense road for her visit to King Solomon in 973 B.C., to 1952, when J.D.T. last visited the area
Chapter 1 with annotations. Entitled “Story of the Incense Road”, this appears to be a revised version of 634/2/1-42
Chapter 3 with annotations. Entitled “Jidda to Abha by way of the Coastal Plain and thence ascending Wadies Itwad and Dhila to Abha”, this describes the stages of travel from Jiddah to the port of Gizān (634/3/1-16); J.D.T.'s impressions of the land and customs of the people he saw (634/3/16-19); the journey from Darb into the lower reaches of Wadi Dhila' (634/3/19-25); traversing the upper section of Wadi Dhila (634/3/25-31)
Chapter 4 with annotations. Entitled “Jidda to Abha by way of Bisha and the Elephant Trail”, this outlines observations made about vegetation and rainfall during the stages of travel to Abha from Jiddah, as well as some personal anecdotes
Chapter 5 with annotations and entitled “Along the backbond of Saudi Arabia from Abha to the Yemen boundary”. Along the way observations were made on rainfall, land cultivation and vegetation, as well as personal experiences
Chapter 6 with annotations, entitled “A traverse of Wadi Baish in two sections”. Section A is entitled “From the Coastal Plain up to the Burningham dam-site”, Section B is entitled “A scramble down the escarpment to the village of death”. In both these sections, geological observations were made, as well as detailed personal anecdotes
Chaper 7 with annotations, entitled “The ascent of Jebal Faifa”, complete with personal anecdotes and observations on vegetation, cultivation and rainfall
Chapter 8 with annotations, entitled “Ten days on Jebal Suda, the highest land in Saudi Arabia and the source of Wadies Bisha, Itwad and Hali”. The chapter outlines the stages of ascent to the summit of the Jebal Suda, giving personal observations on climate and cultivation of the land. There is also a commentary on the culture and way of life of the people on the Jebal Suda, as well as accounts of sightseeing trips to a number of look-out points
Chapter 9 with annotations, entitled “The floral zones of the Asir Mountains”. This chapter uses the information collected from the journeys undertaken to break the Asir Mountain region into rainfall zones, with a view to the F.A.O. team designing suitable irrigation works, based on the volume of water likely to be available. At the end of the chapter is a tabular summary of the names, definitions and the location of each of the zones
Chapter 10 with annotations, entitled “Estimating rainfall for each zone”, which bases its conclusions on collated information about crops and yields
Chapter 11 with annotations, entitled “Some general notes about the flora with particular reference to adaptations to the desert way of life and to distribution of the species by zones”. This chapter discusses how certain plants adapt in order to flourish in the zones already outlined
Chapter 12 with annotations, entitled “Distribution of the Asir flora and correlation with the separation of Arabia from tropical Africa”. This chapter examines the historical development of the Asir Mountain Range by comparing the distribution and evolution of its flora and fauna with other geological evidence
Appendix 1 with annotations, entitled “An annotated list of plants collected”, which arranges entries alphabetically by plant families, genera and species, and gives details of their habitat. Having first been collected by J.D.T., determined by the British Natural History Museum authorities and named by Miss D. Hillcoat, they were then given B.M. herbarium numbers and deposited in the British Museum
Appendix 2 with corrections, entitled “A Short Bibliography”, with entries arranged alphabetically and chronologically