JOHN EDWARD GRAY(1800-1875), English naturalist, born at Walsall, Staffordshire. He began his zoological career by volunteering to collect insects for the British Museum at age 15. He officially joined the Zoological Department in 1824 to helpcatalogue thereptilecollection. In 1840 he was appointed as Keeper of Zoology, which he continued for 35 years, publishing well over 1000 papers. He named manymarine species. Within a few years of his appointment he was responsible for creating the largest and most complete zoological collection in the world. Although seized with paralysis in 1870, he continued to discharge the functions of keeper of zoology.
His interests were not confined to natural history only, for he took an active part in questions of public importance of his day, such as slave emancipation, prison discipline, abolition of imprisonment for debt, sanitary and municipal organizations, the decimal system, public education. Gray was also interested in postage stampson 1 May 1840, the day the Penny Black first went on sale, he purchased several with the intent to save them, thus making him the world's first known stamp collector.