Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents BURTON LIBRARY (A103)

After Burton’s death Lady Burton destroyed his notebooks, manuscripts and papers but most of his working library remained (his second, the first being destroyed in a fire shortly after his marriage in 1861) as well as some manuscript material and these form the present collection which was received by the Kensington Vestry, the fore runner of the Royal Borough of Kensington, through the executors of Lady Burton’s will. The RAI acquired the Burton Library from the Royal Borough in 1954. It was able to do so through the generosity of the United Africa Company and individual donors and to repair the collection and prepare the catalogue through grants from the Bollingen Foundation, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Esperanza Trust Fund. It received a bequest of items associated with Burton in 1974 from one of his descendants, R.H. Bury. The Library, but not the bequest, was sold to the Christensen Fund in 1986 which deposited it on permanent loan in the Huntington Library, San Marino, California. For the contents of the Library see A catalogue of the Library of Sir Richard Burton, KCMG held by the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1979 compiled by B.J. Kirkpatrick.

Sir Richard F. Burton (1821-90) joined the Ethnological Society in 1861 and in 1863 was a founder member of the Anthropological Society taking the Chair at the inaugural meeting at which he was elected Vice-President. He remained in that office until 1866; he was appointed President in 1867 retiring after one year. He was again Vice-President in 1870. He attended the Society’s meetings, read papers, and contributed to its journal. He was among those who formed the breakaway London Anthropological Society but re-established his connection with the Anthropological Institute (formed by the amalgamation of the Ethnological and Anthropological Societies) and was on its Council from 1872-3 and died in office as Vice-President; his obituary was published in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute, Vol. 20, 1891, pp. 295-8 by E.W. Brabrook.

The papers in this archive have been selectively retained with categories relating to binding, insurance, and queries (apart from a few of interest) not retained.


1    Acquisition and installation. 1954-65

2    Grants: United Africa Company

3    Grants: Individual donors and plaque

4    Grants: Bollingen Foundation

5    Grants: Leverhulme Trust

6    Grants: Esperanza Trust Fund

7    Possible sale. 1973-6

8-9    Robert Hugh Bury Bequest

10    Publication of catalogue

11-18    Sale of collection

11    Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. 1981-2

12    RAI Negotiating Committee

13    Solicitors and Counsel. 1981-6

14    Valuation

15    Libraries approached

16    Sotheby’s

17    Press

18    The Christensen Fund. 1985-9

19    Signatures of visitors consulting the collection

20    Biographers consulting the collection

21-2    New editions of Burton’s books

23    Micro publishing of collection

24    Queries

25    Other Burton collections

26    Antiquarian book dealers, Sotheby’s, periodicals

27    Newspaper clippings

28    Miscellaneous


JB    Jonathan Benthall, RAI Director, 1973-2000

DMB    David M. Boston, Vice-President, 1972-80 passim, 1995 to date passim, Chairman, Library Committee, 1971-7, Hon. Secretary, 1985-8, Hon. Librarian, 1992-2000

MHD    Prof. Michael H. Day, President, 1979-83

WBF    W.B. Fagg, CMG (1914-92), Hon. Secretary, 1939-56, Hon. Editor of Man, 1947-66

RWF    Prof. Sir Raymond W. Firth, FBA, Hon. Secretary, 1935-9, President, 1953-5

KPL    Chief Librarian, Kensington Public Libraries

BJK    Miss B.J. Kirkpatrick, MBE    , RAI Librarian, 1948-76

RBK    Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea

ERL    Prof. Sir Edmund R. Leach, FBA (1910-89), Vice-President, 1964-6, 1969-70, President, 1971-5

MWS    Dr Marion W. Smith (1907-61), Hon. Secretary, 1956-61

1/    Acquisition and installation. 1954-65

See Executive Committee minutes, 21 Oct. 1954 – 17 Nov. 1955, EM/84/1, Item 5a-EM/85/2, Item 1 passim; see also /1/49 below; and minutes of the Meetings of the Officers, 12 Nov. 1954 (agenda only held), 17 Dec. 1954, 4 and 12, Jan. 1955


1    BJK to WBF, 10 Nov. 1954 – note on the acquisition of the collection (tpc.)

2    BJK to KPL, 13 Nov. – reports visit to Burton Library and forthcoming report to Executive Committee; seeks assurance of willingness to transfer it (tpc.)

3    Ibid., 19 Nov. – reports, unofficially, strong recommendation by the Executive Committee to Council that the collection should be acquired; explains financial difficulties of acquisition; glad to have his committee’s views (tpc.)

4    KPL to BJK, 24 Nov. – reports his Committee consider the collection should be transferred to the RAI; recommending approval by the Borough Council; wish expressed the collection should be available to serious students (tp.)

5    BJK to KPL, 26 Nov. – glad to know of his Committee’s recommendation; certain RAI Council would wish every consideration given to serious students (tpc.)

6    BJK to RWF, 30 Nov. – encloses copies of correspondence; glad to receive further instructions after Council meeting (tpc.)

7    Ibid., 3 Dec. – encloses draft of letter to KPL; refers to Burton’s associations with the RAI and its forerunners (tpc.)

8    BJK to KPL. 6 Dec. – reports Council views transfer favourably; financial implications need further consideration; expects to write again soon (tpc.)

8.1    RAI Office to D.H.F. Wilson, Hon. Treasurer, 6 Dec. – on housing the collection (tp.)


9    BJK to WBF, 4 Jan. 1955 – reports on shelving the collection (tpc.)

10    ERL to BJK, 10 Jan. – encloses minute as Chairman, Executive Committee (/11 below); gives his views on acquisition (autogr.)

11    Minute by ERL (tp.)

12    BJK to WBF, 11 Jan. – encloses ERL’s minute; refers to visit by the President and ERL (tpc.)

13    BJK to ERL, 11 Jan. – thanks him for the minute and books from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) (tpc.)

14    BJK to RWF, 13 Jan. – on housing the collection (tp.); plan of layout not retained

15    Ibid., 13 Jan. – books on West Africa (tp., annotated by RWF)

16    RWF to F.J. Pedler, Director, United Africa Company, 14 Jan. – gives information on the collection (tpc.)

17    BJK to Hon. Treasurer, 28 Jan. – on housing the collection (tpc.)

18    RWF to BJK, 28 Jan. – reports generosity of the United Africa Company; now able to accept Burton Library; extra finance needed for second stage; asks for notes for further appeals (tp.)

19    BJK to RWF, 31 Jan. – encloses notes as requested (not retained); reports on housing the collection; encloses notes on the condition (tpc.)

20    Ibid., 2 Feb. – encloses draft of letter of acceptance to KPL (not retained); reports on housing (tpc.)

21    BJK to Hon. Treasurer, 2 Feb. – asks for observations on redraft of letter of acceptance (tpc.)

22    BJK to WBF, 2 Feb. – redraft of letter enclosed; suggests some RAI proposals need clarification (tpc.)

23    RWF to BJK, 2 Feb. – glad of notes on RFB’s books; asks to see Penzer’s bibliography; hopes the second floor room can be secured (tp.)

24    WBF to BJK, 4 Feb. – on agreement to deletion to the draft by Hon. Treasurer (autogr.)

25    BJK to KPL, 7 Feb. – reports Council is willing to accept the collection (tpc.)

26    BJK to RWF, 16 Feb. – Executive Committee meets 17 Feb.; no reply from KPL who feels he should consult his Chairman who is in hospital; does not think RAI reservations will cause any difficulty (tpc.)

27    KPL to BJK, 10 Mar. – reports his Chairman considers reservations should be accepted; now proceeding with packing the books (tp.)

28    BJK to KPL, 12 Mar. – glad to receive letter of 10 Mar.; arrangements for room to house collection concluded; shelving to be obtained (tpc.)

29    RWF to BJK, 16 Mar. – delighted to hear the collection is secured; regrets cannot attend Executive Committee meeting (tp.)

30    BJK to WBF, 18 Apr. – on insurance (tp., annotated by WBF)

30.1    BJK to KPL, 19 May – acknowledges receipt of the collection; will report any missing items (tpc.)

31    KPL to BJK, 20 May – on losses from the collection; collection sent as seen (tp.)

32    BJK to WBF, 13 June – reports the collection of the missing notebook; suggests asking N.M. Penzer for a note in Man (tp., annotated by WBF)

33    RWF to Sir Edward Twining, Governor, Tanganyika, 26 Aug. – outlines contents of the collection and financial outlay; would appreciate any help the Tanganyikan Government and leading citizens can offer (tpc.)

34    WBF to KPL, 29 Aug. – conveys Council’s appreciation of the collection; now in a separate room (tpc.)

35    BJK to WBF, 8 Sep. – on points to be raised at Council meeting (tpc.)

36    Sir Edward Twining to RWF, 9 Sep. – interested in collection; will have part of his letter published in Tanganyika notes and records (see No. 40, Sep. 1955)(tp.); RWF’s reply not retained

37    BJK to WBF, 30 Sep. – on the plaque and insurance (tp.)

38    KPL to BJK, 11 Oct. – encloses 2 books belonging to the collection (tp.)

39    BJK to KPL, 13 Oct. – acknowledges the books by name (tpc.)

40    BJK to N.M. Penzer, 13 Oct. – on behalf of the Editor of Man asks if he would write a note on the collection (tpc.)

41    N.M. Penzer to BJK, 17 Oct. – regrets unable to write a note for Man; refers to the Camberwell collection (autogr.)


42    BJK to KPL, 31 Jan. 1956 – acknowledges The book of the sword material and 2 rolls of maps (tpc.)

43    BJK to MWS, 23 Apr. – encloses note on collection (tp., annotated by MWS)

44    Ibid., 24 May – sends note on Burton (tp., annotated by MWS)


45    BJK to KPL, 3 Apr. 1959 – acknowledges four letters belonging to the collection (tpc.)

46    BJK to MWS, 23 Oct. – report on cataloguing and binding (tpc.)


47    KPL to BJK, 13 Mar. – 1961 – sends further material (tp.)

48    RWF to BJK, 19 Mar. – sends correspondence for the Burton file (autogr.)


49    Council and Executive Committee minutes covering the Burton Library, 4 Nov. – 16 Dec. 1954, 6 Jan. – 1 Dec. 1955; Library Committee minutes, 25 Mar. 1965. 36 pp. (mimeo.)

2/    Grants: United Africa Company


1    F.J. Pedler (FJP), Director, United Africa Company to RWF, 25 Jan. 1955 – reports Board decision to make covenanted subscription for 7 years; conditional on securing money from other sources (tp., annotated by WBF)

2    RWF to FJP, 26 Jan. – grateful acknowledgement of gift (tpc.)

3    Ibid., 1 July – reports now secured the additional support required; intends to put up a plaque recording the names of donors; now hoping to arrange for a permanent endowment for the retention of the collection (tpc., annotated by D.H.F. Wilson, Hon. Treasurer)

4    WBF to FJP, 4 July – reports installation of collection; additional funds secured; proposes erecting a plaque (tpc.)

5    FJP to WBF, 6 July – acknowledges letter of 4 July; looks forward to seeing the plaque (tp.)

6    United Africa Company to WBF, 2 Sep. – on arrangements for covenant (tp., annotated by WBF and D.H.F. Wilson)

3/    Individual donors and plaque


1    General

.1    List of promised covenants, 1 Mar. 1955 (tpc.)

.2    Ibid., 22 June (tpc., annotated by WBF)

2    Bernard G. Campbell

.1    WBF to BGC, 11 May – on his support for the collection and his covenant (tpc.)

.2    Dr J.C. Trevor to RAI, 13 May – gives BGC’s address (autogr. pc.)

3    Dr G. Caton Thompson to WBF, 12 May – on covenant (autogr.)

4    Prof. Melville J. Herskovits

.1    MJH to RWF, 16 Mar. 1956 – sends congratulations on acquisition; sends cheque to help with expenses; suggests letter to Bulletin, American Anthropological Association (tp.)

.2    RWF to MJH, 28 Mar. – acknowledges gift; no longer President but sending cheque and suggestion to the RAI (tpc.)

.3    RAI to MJH, 7 May – acknowledges gift on behalf of the Joint Hon. Secretary (tpc.)

5    [Mrs B.Z. Seligman]. WBF to BZS, 10 May – on her covenant (tpc.)

6    [Israel M. Sieff, later Lord Sieff]. D.H.F. Wilson, Hon. Treasurer to IMS, 4 July – on his covenant and generous donation (tpc.)

7    [Dr J.C. Trevor]. WBF to JCT, 10 May – on his covenant (tpc.)

8    Proposed inscription for the plaque, 15 Oct. (tp.)

4/    Bollingen Foundation (BF)


1    Mrs B.Z. Seligman, Lugano to MWS, c. 10 Feb. 1956 – on meeting Prof. Paul Radin and his suggestion of an application to the BF; suggests plans to be considered by Executive Committee (autogr.)

2    Ibid., to BJK, 25 Feb. – Prof. Radin anxious to see the collection; willing to write an article for Man (autogr.)

3    MWS to Mrs Seligman, 24 Feb. – on possible application; mentions Wenner-Gren Foundation; refers to her gift of money for books for the RAI Library (tpc.)

4    MWS to G.W.B. Huntingford, Editor, JRAI, 24 Feb. – on Prof. Radin and possible application; on possible application to the Burton Society (tpc.)

5    G.W.B. Huntingford to MWS, 25 Feb. – on reference to the Burton Society (autogr.)

6    MWS on reply to BZS by Lord Raglan, President, 29 Feb. (autogr.)

7    MWS to Sir Herbert Read, Director, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 22 May – encloses draft application to BF (/8 below)(tpc.)

8    Draft application (tpc.)

9    BJK to Mrs Seligman, 1 Mar. – refers to Prof. Radin and the application to the BF (tpc.)

10    Sir Herbert Read to MWS, 23 May – on application to the BF (tp.)

11    MWS to Vice-President, BF, 31 May – encloses application; hopes to see him in London (tpc.)

12    BF to MWS, 8 June – acknowledges application (tp.)


13    Ibid., 25 June 1957 – reports not possible to allocate funds at present; will be considered later this year (tp.); acknowledgement, 5 July not retained


14    MWS to BF, 2 Apr. 1958 – no decision on grant received; reports on condition of the collection (tpc.)

15    Ibid., 22 Apr. – on interest in the collection (tpc.)

16    BF to MWS, 9 June – sum requested more than Trustees can offer; mentions possible sum; inquires if cost of repairs would be covered (tp.)

17    MWS to BF, 17 June – sum mentioned would put the collection in a workable condition; sum would also cover various incidental expenses including fees for an Arabic specialist (tpc.)

18    BF to MWS, 24 June – grant approved; money transmitted (tp.); acknowledgement, 2 July, and letter from the President, 7 Oct. not retained; see Executive Committee minutes, 5 Nov. 1958, EM/88/1, Item 4a


19    MWS to BF, 26 Oct. 1959 – reports on progress (tpc.)


20    BJK to A.V.S. de Reuck, Hon. Treasurer, 22 May 1970 – reports on need for Arabic translations and binding (tp., annotated by A.V.S. de Reuck)

5/    Leverhulme Trust Fund (LTF)


1    BJK to C.E.J. Whitting, 13 June 1958 – reports on books in the collection; spoke to MWS on his suggestion that the LTF might be interested in making a grant for cataloguing; mentions BF grant; grateful if he would speak to Sir Miles Clifford (MC), the Director as suggested (tpc.)

2    Ibid., 17 June – reports on BF grant; mentions sum required for cataloguing (tpc.)

3    C.E.J. Whitting to BJK, 18 June – has forwarded letter with a covering note to MC (autogr. pc.)

4    Ibid., 1 July – encloses copy of lecture (autogr.)

5    BJK to C.E.J. Whitting, 2 July – acknowledges copy of lecture; pleased to have attended it; confirms grant from BF (tpc.)

6    MC to BJK, 10 Oct. – reports approval of grant to cover salary of a librarian for 15/18 months to be called, Leverhulme Librarian (tp.); see Executive Committee minutes, 5 Nov. 1958, EM/88/1, Item 4a

7    MWS to MC, 14 Oct. – appreciation of grant expressed; Leverhulme Librarian appointed; mentions covenanted gift from the United Africa Company; and Endowment Fund (tpc.)

8    MC to MWS, 24 Oct. – acknowledges letter of 14 Oct.; refers to United Africa Company gift (tp.)


9    MWS to MC, 26 Oct. 1959 – reports on progress (tpc.); other correspondence in 1959 not retained


10    Ibid., 12 Jan. 1960 – reports death of Leverhulme Librarian (tpc.); reply, 13 Jan. not retained

11    Ibid., 16 Mar. – reports part-time replacement (tpc.); reply, 17 Mar. not retained

12    Ibid., 20 Sep. – reports on progress; refers to RAI’s project for industry (see A57/2)

6/    Esperanza Trust Fund


1    DMB to ERL, 29 Apr. 1972 – covering letter of application (/2 below) to complete publication of the catalogue (tpc.); see Library Committee minutes, 20 Apr. and 26 Oct. 1972, LC/11/3, Item 19 and LC/12/1, Item 6; see also Library Committee minutes, 13 Nov. 1975, LC/15/1, Item 6, and 11 Feb. 1976, LC/15/2, Item 9

2    Application (tpc.)

3    Mrs Barbara Bentley, Administrative Secretary to A.V.S. de Reuck, Hon. Treasurer, 13 Sep. – on staff arrangements (tp.)

4    Dr John Waechter, Hon. Secretary and AVS de R, 18 Sep. – application to cover rental on 6 Burlington Gardens to secure the Library and to complete the Burton Library catalogue (tpc.)


5    BJK to ERL, 11 Jan. 1973 – on inability to spend necessary time on catalogue; hopes reduction in hours is agreeable (tpc.)

7/    Possible sale, 1973-6

1    Library Committee, 8 Feb. 1973, Minute 4 on the integrity of the main Library and the possible separation of the collection (tpc.); see Library Committee minutes, 30 Nov. 1972, LC/12/2, Item 13 and Memorandum for presentation to Council, 5 Jan. 1973, ff. 69-74 and 8 Feb. 1973, LC/12/3, Item 22; see also Council minutes, 8 Feb. 1973, CM/73/1, Item 5

2    BJK to Geoffrey M. Darling (GMD), Director, 12 Feb. – note on copies sent of correspondence relating to the transfer, 1954-5 (photocopy); see /1/1-27 above

3    Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea’s solicitor (RBK) to RAI, 23 Feb. – concern at newspaper reports of possible sale (photocopy); see Library Committee minutes, 11 Apr. 1973, LC/12/4, Item 24, and 13 Sep. 1973, LC/13/1, Item 2

4    Note of telephone conversation between GMD and Kimber Bull & Co., Solicitors (KB) on reply to RBK, 5 Mar. (photocopy)

5    GMD to RBK, 9 Mar. – no immediate intention to dispose of the collection; hopes appeal will obviate necessity; financial position may force disposal of certain items; considers RAI has full title. 3 leaves (photocopy)

6    RBK to GMD, 21 Mar. – does not have correspondence; would be glad of copies (photocopy)

7    DMB to GMD, 29 Mar. – quotes from letter to RBK of 7 Feb. 1955 (/1/25 above); acknowledges RAI has legal title; ethical position means RAI is not able to sell the collection (tp.)

8    Revised comments on Draft Outline Development Plan in relation to the Library by DMB, 31 Mar. 3 leaves (including copy of letter, 7 Feb. 1955)(mimeo.); see Library Committee minutes, 11 Apr. 1973, LC/12/4, Item 24

9    Library staff to DMB, 6 Apr. – expresses grave disquiet at proposed sale (photocopy); see Library Committee minutes as /8 above

10    BJK to DMB, 6 Apr. – states her full support for Library staff’s letter; considers they merit full consideration (tpc.)

11    BJK to ERL, 6 Apr. – expresses gratitude for further assistance towards the catalogue; much concerned at possible sale (tpc.)

12    ERL to BJK, 9 Apr. – gives views on original correspondence; refers to letter to Library staff (/13 below); importance of catalogue (tp.)

13    ‘To all members of the staff of the RAI Library’ by ERL, 9 Apr. 4 leaves (mimeo.)

14    GMD to RBK, 9 Apr. – encloses copies of the original correspondence (photocopy)

15    GMD to DMB, 9 Apr. – expresses views on possible sale; refers to accommodation (tpc.)

15.1    DMB to RWF, 10 Apr. – encloses summary of points he raised at their meeting (/15.2 below) (tp.)

15.2    RWF comments on possible sale (tp.)

16    DMB to Library staff, 10 Apr. – replies to letter of disquiet (/9 above)(tp.)

17    GMD to ‘RAI staff in library’, 10 Apr. – Ibid., (tp.)

18    Library Committee minutes, 11 Apr., Item 24 (LC/12/4): Director’s Outline Development Plan (mimeo.); see also Council minutes, 11 Apr. 1973, CM/73/3, Items 21, 24

19    GMD to Charity Commission, 25 Apr. – asks for advice on possible sale of part of the Library (tpc.)

20    RBK to GMD, 10 May – replies to letter, 9 Apr. (/14 above)(photocopy)

21    GMD to RBK, 22 May – awaits his comments (photocopy)

22    RBK to GMD, 12 July – gives opinion on transfer of collection (photocopy)

23    Mrs Barbara Bentley (BB), Administrative Secretary to RBK, 16 July – reports resignation of GMD; will reply to letter, 12 July (/22 above) later (tpc.)

24    BJK to BB, 19 July – on acquisition of books for Charity Commission (tpc.)

25    BB to Kimber Bull & Co., solicitors (KB), 24 July – encloses copy of RBK’s letter (/22 above); asks for opinion and definition of terms used (photocopy)

26    DMB to BB, 1 Aug. – refers to confidential paper prepared for Library Committee (see /27 below); considers further correspondence with RBK should be conducted by KB (autogr.)

27    The Burton Library prepared by DMB for the Library Committee (photocopy)


28    KB to Jonathan Benthall (JB), Director, 19 July 1974 – acknowledges draft letter to RBK; gives opinion on early correspondence (photocopy)

29    JB to RBK, 24 July – replies to letter of 12 July 1973; no present intention of disposing of the Burton Library; (/22 above)(draft only; photocopy)

30    KB to JB, 29 July – acknowledges copy of his letter to RBK (tp.)

31    Ibid., 6 Nov. – awaiting comment from Borough Librarian (tp.)


32    JB to RBK, 10 Apr. 1975 – awaiting reply to letter of 24 July 1974 (/29 above)(tpc., annotated by JB)

33    RBK to JB, 1 Aug. – no further steps to be taken for the present; reports file traced (tp.)


34    JB to RBK, 22 June 1976 – reports gift of RAI Library to the British Museum; Burton collection excluded (tpc.)

8/    Robert Hugh Bury Bequest


1    Lloyds Bank Ltd, Executor of Trustee Dep. (LB) to RAI, 7 Feb. 1974 – under terms of his will, R.H. Bury bequeathed ‘any articles (other than books) appertaining to Sir Richard Burton (the Explorer)’ (tp.); RAI acknowledgement, 22 Feb. not retained; see Library Committee minutes, 30 Jan. 1975, LC/14/2, Item 13

2    Ibid., 20 Nov. – now able to make bequest available; schedule attached: (1) Georgian tea and coffee chest includes 3 family miniatures; (2) oval oil painting by [François] Jacquard of RFB and his sister, Lady Stisted; (3) plaque: Sir Richard Burton, KCMG, 1821-1890; (4) Manuscript entitled ‘Notes on the Burton genealogy collected … by Isabel, wife of Sir Richard Burton’; (5) gold fob watch

3    H. Gordon Jessop, Chartered Surveyor to RAI, 27 Nov. – refers to two items held; better if collected (tp.)

4    Ibid., 28 Nov. – notes RAI hopes to collect items (tp.)

5    Lists items received at 6 Burlington Gardens, 28 Nov. (tp.)

6    RAI Administrative Secretary to BJK, 29 Nov. – encloses copies of correspondence; mentions books by RFB (tp.)

7    Ibid., to LB, 3 Dec. – conveys thanks of President and Council; mentions books by RFB held by the family (tpc.)

8    BJK to LB, 3 Dec. – encloses receipt of three items received; mentions books (tpc.)

9    LB to RAI, 5 Dec. – no books bequeathed; to be auctioned; official receipt from Treasurer or other officer requested (tp.)

10    Lists items received at 36 Craven Street: (1) Georgian tea and coffee chest including three family miniatures i.e. three miniatures: (1) ?Lady Burton with ?Sir Richard’s niece; (2) gabled house (photograph); (3) male with guns and dogs, female with child on horse (glass cracked); (2) oil painting of RFB and his sister


11    RAI to LB, 10 Jan. 1975 – receipts for items to be sent (tpc.); letter from LB, 9 Jan. requesting receipt not retained

12    BJK to LB, 16 Jan. 1975 – wish to document the bequest; asks if a letter to the family is permitted (tpc.)

13    LB to BJK, 27 Jan. – gives name of relative willing to help (tp.); letter from LB, 22 Jan., not retained

14    BJK to R.A. Pryce, 28 Jan. – inquires about R.H. Bury’s relationship to RFB (tpc.)

15    R.H. Bury’s family tree by R.A. Pryce, 30 Jan. (autogr.)

16    R.A. Pryce to BJK, 5 Feb. – explains relationship and initials used (autogr.)

17    Ibid., 8 Feb. – three family miniatures may be of the Pryce family; would like to identify them (autogr.)

18    BJK to R.A. Pryce, 17 Feb. – arranging a small exhibition of the Bury Bequest; pleased to show him the three miniatures (tpc.); there is no record of R.A. Pryce visiting the collection

9/    Robert Hugh Bury Bequest: Items received

1    Georgian tea and coffee chest

.1    JB to engraver, 30 June 1981 – on engraving for brass plate to be affixed to chest (tpc.)

.2    JB to HRH The Prince of Wales – on presenting the chest on the occasion of his marriage to Lady Diana Spencer (tpc.); see Council minutes, 24 June 1981, CM/81/3, Item 6

2    Oval oil painting by François Jacquard of RFB and his sister, Lady Stisted – at 50 Fitzroy Street

3    Plaque of Sir Richard Burton, KCMG, 1821-1890

4    ‘Notes on the Burton genealogy, collected at different times, by Isabel, wife of Sir Richard Burton’. 15 leaves (printed clippings annotated by Lady Burton). 16.5 x 11.5 in.

5    Gold fob watch – at 50 Fitzroy Street

6    Three miniatures see /8/10 above for description

10/    Publication of catalogue


1    BJK to Society of Jesus (SJ), Farm Street Church, London, 14 Dec. 1973 – asks for help in identifying two books associated with Jesuit Missions (tpc.)

2    SJ to BJK, 19 Dec. – sends photocopies of title-pages and bibliographic entry (/3 below)(tp.)

3    Entry for Antoine Thomas, SJ (photocopy)


4    BJK to SJ, 8 Jan. 1974 – replies to information received (tpc.)

5    SJ to BJK, 9 Jan. – gives further information (tp.); BJK’s reply, 14 Jan., not retained

6    BJK to Librarian, Hellenic and Roman Studies, 7 Feb. – asks for help in identifying an imperfect volume (tpc.)

7    Librarian, Hellenic and Roman Studies to BJK, 12 Feb. – identifies W.H. Engel’s Kypros; sends photocopy (/8 below)(tp.); BJK’s reply, 14 Feb., not retained

8    W.H. Engel, Kypros, 1841, prelims. 5 leaves (photocopy)


9    BJK to Bibliothèque Royale Albert 1er, 8 Apr. 1975 – inquires about an anonymous book, Album du raspasiada published in Brussels (tpc.)

10    Biblioteca Civica, Trieste, 23 Apr. – replies to query about Gazzetta di Trieste (tp.); earlier correspondence not retained

11    Bibliothèque Royale to BJK, 15 May – suggests RFB may be the author; possibly an extremely rare item (/9 above) (tp.)


12    Library Committee, 6 May 1977, Agenda 6: Proposals for printing catalogue (tp.); see also Library Committee minutes, 17 Dec. 1976, LC/16/2, Item 18 and 11 Feb. 1977, LC/16/3, Item 23

13    Unwin Brothers Ltd, revised estimate, 15 July (tp.)


14    Miss G. Caton Thompson to WBF, 3 July 1978 – unwilling to contribute an introduction in collaboration with Miss Freya Stark; gives reasons (autogr.)

15    Unwin Brothers Ltd to Mrs B. Emery, 12 July – slight increase in estimate, encloses revised estimate (/16 below)(tp.)

16    Revised estimate, 12 July (tp.)

17    BJK, Canberra to Mrs Jill Swart (JS), Assistant to Hon. Librarian, 2 Aug. – acknowledges arrival of proofs; asks for original typescript (photocopy)

18    Ms Jan Morris to JS, 11 Aug. – encloses introduction (/19 below)(tp.)

19    Introduction. 5 leaves (tp., autograph corrections)

20    JS to BJK, 14 Aug. – typescript to be dispatched; refers to introduction (photocopy)

21    Note by WBF on introduction, 17 Aug. (autogr.)

22    JB to JS, 6 Sep. – comments on introduction (tp.)

23    JS to Ms Morris, 17 Oct. – conveys thanks of Library Committee; suggests lengthening introduction (tpc.)

24    Ms Morris to JS, 21 Oct. – pleased to add to introduction (autogr.); JS’s reply, 6 Nov. not retained

25    Ibid., 21 Nov. – encloses addition (/26 below)(tp.)

26    Addition to introduction (tp., annotated); JS’s reply, 11 Dec., not retained


27    Mrs Judith Higgens to Eurotype, Hertford, 26 July 1979 – conveys thanks for excellent typesetting (tpc.)

28    Publicity leaflet (printed)

29    Insertion in catalogue on access to the collection – draft (tp.)

See also Library Committee minutes, 3 Feb. 1978 – 6 July 1979, LC/17/2, Item 11 – LC/19/12, Item 10 passim

[11-18 not available online]

19/    Signatures of visitors consulting the collection

1    Visitor’s book 1955-86

20/    Biographers consulting the collection

1    Byron Farwell (BF)


.1    BF to RBK, 11 Apr. 1958 – researching for a biography of RFB; asks about copying material (tp.); letter forwarded to RAI

.2    Dr M.W. Smith, Hon. Secretary to BF, 22 Apr. – replies to letter; outlines the value of the collection (tpc.)

.3    BF to Dr Smith, 29 Apr. – lists a number of questions; would like a list of photographs held (tp.)

.4    BJK to BF, 30 May – replies to queries (tpc.)

.5-.10    BF to BJK, 4 June; .6, BJK , 12 June; .7, BF, 17     June; .8, BJK, 5 July; .9, BF, 15 July; .10, BJK, 30 July remainder of 1958 correspondence not retained


.11-.16    BF to BJK, 7 Jan.; .12, BF, 22 Jan.; .13, BJK, 4 Apr.; .14, BF, [Apr.]; .15, BJK, 24 June; .16, BF, [?July]


.17    BF to BJK, 12 June 1962 – announces forthcoming publication of his biography; wishes copies of photographs in collection for reproduction (tp.); the book was published in 1963 by Longmans, Green in the UK

2    Mrs Fawn M. Brodie (FMB)


.1    FMB to BJK, 20 Aug. 1963 – writing a biography of RFB; wishes to consult collection (tp.)

.2-.3    BJK, 4 Sep.; .3, BJK, 9 Dec.


.4-.6    FMB, 6 Mar.; .5, FMB, 19 Nov.; .6, BJK, 3 Dec.; the book was published as The devil drives in 1967 by Eyre & Spottiswoode in the UK

3    Michael Hastings (MH)


.1    MH to Mrs Beverley Emery (BE), 12 Mar. 1977 – lists items he wishes to consult (tp.)

.2    BE to MH, 24 Mar. – lists pictorial material available (tpc.); the book was published in 1978 by Hodder & Stoughton

21/    New editions of Burton’s books: Pilpay’s Fables

1    John Lane, The Bodley Head Ltd (JL)


.1    JL to RBK, 10 Dec. 1930 – considering publishing a limited edition; understands the copyright was handed over with the collection; N.M. Penzer to write an introduction (tp.)

.2    RBK to JL, 11 Dec. – sets out the copyright position (tpc.)

.3    JL to RBK, 12 Dec. – states publishers knew of the legal position (tp.)

.4    Ibid., 15 Dec. – considers Trustees of the Estate have a claim, cannot risk litigation; compelled to drop the idea (tp.)

2    Garry/Temple-Smith Ltd (G/TS)

See also Library Committee minutes, 26 Oct. 1972 – 11 Apr. 1973, LC/12/1, Item 6b – LC/12/4, Item 23 passim on the Imprint Society’s [Barre, Mass.] interest


.1-.4    G/TS to BJK, 9 July – wishes permission to view the manuscript and any other original material (tp.); .2, BJK, 16 July; .3, G/TS, 23 July; .4, BJK, 1 Aug.; Publications Committee minutes are not held

3    The Scholar Press Ltd (SP)


.1    SP to BJK, 26 Mar. 1976 – expect to decide whether to publish or not; very interested to see the photographic collection; makes some suggestions (tp.)

22/    New editions of Burton’s books: The Gold Mines of Midian

1    The Oleander Press (OP)


.1    OP to Mrs Jill Swart (JS), Assistant to Hon. Librarian, 17 Aug. 1978 – intending to reprint the book; interested to see Burton’s own annotations (tp.); letter, 21 Aug., replying not retained

.2    JS to OP, 4 Sep. – arranges visit; request sent to two members of the Library Committee; Lady Burton’s copy of The Land of Midian held by Richmond Public Library (tpc.)

.3    OP to Library Committee, 4 Sep. – intend to publish a new edition; outlines proposals; wishes to include RFB’s corrections and annotations (tp.); and part copy with JB’s comments; see Library Committee minutes, 4 Oct. 1978, LC/18/1, Item 6

.4    JS to WBF, 5 Sep. – encloses notes on the Library (see Library: post 1976); refers to OP; against book leaving the building for photocopying; mentions Jan Morris’s introduction to the catalogue (autogr.)

.5    OP to Library Committee, 13 Sep. – able to reset without using RFB’s own copy (tp., annotated by JS)

.6    OP to JS, 14 Sep. – asks for photocopy of RFB’s holograph, The Land of Midian (autogr.)

.7    JS to OP, 21 Sep. – permission given for printing; no infringement of copyright permitted (tpc.)

.8    OP to JS, 26 Sep. – will do their best not to infringe copyright; encloses payment and declaration for the Preface (tp.)

.9    Copy of advertisement in The Times seeking the heirs/executors of RFB (tpc.)

.10    JS to DMB, 27 Sep. – outlines steps taken with OP (tpc.)

.11    OP to JS, 8 Oct. – encloses evidence (/.9 above) of attempt to contact RFB’s heirs/executors; asks for help in deciphering RFB’s holograph (tp.)

.12    JS to OP, 13 Oct. – on supply of photocopy (/1.6above) (see Preface to The Land of Midian, Catalogue, Item 60) and payment (tpc.)

.13    OP to JS, 14 Oct. – on contact print required and payment (tp., annotated by JS)

.14    JS and Photographic Collection Librarian to OP, 7 Nov. – cost revised by Photographic Sub-Committee (tpc.)


.15    OP to JS, 19 Jan. 1979 – refers to final condition on publication; mentions publication date of The Land of Midian (tp.)

.16    Ibid., 1 May – sends complimentary copy of The Gold Mines of Midian (tp.)

[23-24 not available online]

25/    Other RFB collections

1    London Borough of Camberwell; London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

In 1896 the Borough of Camberwell received a bequest of books and other items under the will of Lady Burton; they were housed in the Dulwich Public Library, Borough of Camberwell. Following the reorganization of the London Boroughs, Camberwell was absorbed in the London Borough of Southwark which, in 1969, transferred the collection on permanent loan to the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames


.1    BJK to Librarian, Dulwich Public Library (DPL), 24 Nov. 1955 – expresses thanks for visit to the collection (tpc.)

.2    Notes on the contents of the Dulwich collection by BJK. 3 leaves (tp., tpc)

.3    BJK to WBF, 1 Aug. 1957 – reports DPL offers RAI its collection (tp.)

.4    BJK to DPL, 16 Aug. – reports RAI not in a position to take over the collection; 3 books not in RFB’s collection; would be interested in acquiring them (tpc.)

.5    DPL to BJK, 10 Dec. – willing to lend the 3 books on indefinite loan (tp.)

.6    BJK to DPL, 19 Dec. – glad to accept the 3 books on the terms outlined (tpc.)

.7    Ibid., 3 Jan. [1958] – acknowledges receipt of books (tpc.)

.8    Copies of portraits of Isabel Arundell and RFB at the time of their marriage, 1861; presented by Robert Payne, 9 Oct. 1961; originals in DPL

2    Royal Asiatic Society


.1    BJK to Dr C.E.J. Whitting (CEJW), 31 Oct. 1958 – reports Leverhulme Trust Fund grant; thanks him for his help (tpc.)

.2    Library lecture on RFB by CEJW, 1 July 1958. 9 leaves (tpc.)

.3    CEJW to BJK, 8 June 1972 – sends copy of David Dean’s paper on Oscar Eckenstein (autogr.)

.4    BJK to CEJW, 13 July – acknowledges pamphlet and his visit (tpc.)

.5    The Royal Asiatic Society 150th Anniversary Exhibition … 1823-1973, 19 Feb. 1973, leaves [i], 7-8 on RFB (mimeo.)

26/    Antiquarian book dealers, Sotheby’s, periodicals

1    The Book Collector, summer 1975, pp. 236-44. ‘Swinburne’s Poems and Ballads, second series, 1878’ by Gwen Hampshire; on the variant dedication to RFB in the New York edition which preceded the English edition by Chatto & Windus

2    A. Burton-Garbett catalogue 42, Travel and African history, [July 1975], p. 47 – RFB collection offered for sale

3    Snowden Smith Books, Travel & anthropology, Jan. 1975, pp. 1-3 – selection of RFB’s books offered for sale

4    Sotheby & Co., Catalogue of valuable printed books, fine bindings, autograph letters and historical documents, 8-9 Apr. 1963, items 547-74 (pp. 95-103) – RFB’s ‘The literary manuscripts’, the property of R.J.R. Arundell offered for auction with list of Prices and Buyers’ Names

5    Tanganyika Notes and Records, No. 49, Dec. 1957 (Burton and Speke centenary number) – Burton and Speke centenary celebrations, Tanganyika, 1957; see also the issue, No. 40, Sep. 1955, letter from (Prof. Sir) Raymond W. Firth on the RAI’s acquisition of RFB’s library

27/    Newspaper clippings

1    The Book Collector, autumn 1986, p. 370 – on the sale of RFB’s collection

2    Daily Telegraph, 28 June 1983, ‘Burton Library for sale’

3    The Guardian, 3 May 1985, ‘$1m price to explore Victorian library’

4    International Herald Tribune, 26 June 1985, ‘Pages from life of Sir Richard Burton’

5    The Kensington News, 3 Dec. 1954, ‘“Burton collection” to move from Kensington’

6    Kensington Post, 3 Dec. 1954, ‘Big loan of 1,500 books’

7    The Middle East, Aug. 1985 – on the sale of RFB’s collection

8    The Observer, 2 Feb. 1975 – on the repair of RFB’s mausoleum at St Mary Magdalen, Mortlake

9    Richmond and Twickenham Times: .1, 11 May 1973, ‘Restoring Burton’s tomb’; .2, 18 May 1973, letter, ‘His work is being remembered’

10    The Sunday Times, 23 Oct. 1983, ‘Burton’s library could go to US’

11    The Times: .1, 18 June 1957, on the auctioning of ‘a large collection of manuscripts and letters by Sir Richard Burton’; .2, 18 Jan. 1971, ‘Genuine Burton?’ on a small oil painting; .3, 1 Feb. 1974, ‘Burton tomb offer’; .4, 28 Jan. 1975, ‘Tomb where widow gave tea parties gets a grant’; .5, 18 June 1975, ‘Burton tomb is declared open’; .6, 11 Feb. 1976, ‘Sir Richard Burton’s proverbial talents’, collection of manuscripts and books for sale by Spink & Son; .7, June 1986, ‘For sale: the mind of Sir Richard Burton’ by Philip Howard

12    The Times Literary Supplement: .1, 29 June 1973; .2, 10 Aug.; .3, 31 Aug.; .4, 9 Nov. 1973 – all entitled ‘Neologizing’ and use of the term, Agnostic and Agnosticism by Lady Burton

See also entries under Press (/17 above)

28/    Miscellaneous

1    Anonymous. [History of the Fung dynasty of Nubia and the Sudan, 1295 AN, 1878 AD]. 43 pp. Arabic text (negative microfilm); see Burton catalogue, Item 2546

2    Histoire de la conquète de l’Abyssinie … par René Basset, p. v, gives quotation from First footsteps in East Africa (photocopy); see Burton catalogue, Item 2551

3    Portrait of Burton (glass negative)

4    Proposed restoration work by National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts (NADFAS); at the Library Committee meeting, 6 May 1977 it was decided not to take up the offer (LC/16/4, Item 23); see also Library Committee minutes, 17 Dec. 1976, LC/16/2, Item 19

RAI files combined with Professor Michael H. Day’s papers.