Edwin Prince, Gould's Secretary Click to enlarge image
Edwin Prince, Gould's Secretary Image: Australian Museum Photography
© Field Naturalist's Club of Victoria

Gould also relied very heavily on his personal secretary Edwin Prince, who was responsible for managing the day-to-day affairs of Gould's business.

Born in London in 1809, Edwin Charles Prince was Gould's Secretary and Business Manager. Commencing work for Gould in around 1830, Prince was responsible for the day-to-day management of Gould's publishing business and taxidermy practice. While his employer's handwriting was illegible, Prince is remembered for his neat copperplate handwriting.

Gould's confidence in his secretary's ability to run these businesses freed the ornithologist to undertake his two year journey to Australia to collect specimens for The Birds of Australia. Prince wrote 29 letters to Australia in which he diligently recorded business news, receipts and expenditures.

While Gould acknowledged Prince's valuable contribution in his preface to The Birds of Australia, some of Gould's contemporaries felt that his colossal outputs could not have been achieved without the assistance of his faithful secretary. Josef Wolf commented:

'without this timely help and ceaseless labour of a long suffering slave, one Prince (called by courtesy a 'Secretary'), the result may have been different'.

Prince did not interpret his role in this way. He saw himself as an intelligent and enthusiastic collaborator in all of Gould's endeavours. Prince died of bronchitis in 1874 at his home, aged 65.