This post is on a book on keeping reptiles and amphibians from the 1920s, Vivarium and Aquarium Keeping for Amateurs, first published by H.F. & G Witherby in 1923 by A.E. Hodge.
Albert Ernest Hodge was founding editor of The Aquarist which was first published in 1924. He was born in London in 1877, the son of Samuel Hodge, an insurance agent, and his wife Mary. In the 1881 and 1891 censuses the address of the family was Norfolk Terrace, Kensington (now part of Paddington). He married Henrietta Virginia Milverton in 1896 in Paddington, and in the 1901 census they were living at 28 Angel Road, South Hammersmith with their two daughters. AEH is described as a Shorthand Typist. Henrietta was born in The Curragh Camp near Dublin; her father is shown in the 1891 census as an army pensioner, a former Staff Sergeant; she was a dressmaker.
By the 1911 Census the family were living at 14 Astonville Street, Southfields in south-west London. He was then a Reporter. Information on journalists shows that he was a reporter for the Press Association. He joined the National Union of Journalists in 1916 and his membership lapsed in 1924 (the year he started The Aquarist). He is shown in The Entomologist’s Monthly magazine in 1920 at the same address as in 1911.
He was still living at the same address when he died on 19 September 1936; his wife, who was five years older, died on 1 March 1938. He left £201.11s.3d, the equivalent in terms of retail prices of £12,000 today. His unmarried daughters were executors of the two wills. He was 59.
Besides Vivarium and Aquarium Keeping for Amateurs, Hodge wrote the following books: The Young Collector’s Guide to Butterfly and Moth Collecting, 1919; Tropical Aquarium Fishes, 1924 and 1927; Goldfish Culture for Amateurs (with Arthur Derham), 1926 and 1931; Peeps at the Zoo Aquarium, 1927; Garden Ponds and Pools, 1933. The book title page shows him as President of the British Aquarists’ Federation and Adviser on Reptiles and Fish to the British Empire Naturalists’ Association (now the British Naturalists’ Association).
In the book, Hodge sticks mainly to the species that can be kept outdoors in southern England. His major exception is the Mississippi Alligator. He describes and shows photographs of the very simple cages he built in his garden, mainly of wood, wire netting and concrete and incorporated into flower beds. The frontispiece shows his small alligator being hand fed. It is from The Daily Mirror which suggests that Hodge was using his connexions as a journalist to the full.
The book must have proved popular since there was a second impression in 1923. A second edition appeared in 1927 with a fourth impression in 1934. This is the version on the Downloads page and here. I do not know if there were any later impressions.
From 1924 until he died he was the editor and driving force of The Aquarist; in the 1930s that was being published every two months. There will be more on A.E. Hodge and The Aquarist later.