Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents SCOTTISH ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND FOLKLORE SOCIETY (A109)

Papers. 1934-7.

The Scottish Anthropological Society was founded in 1934 (in 1936 it was named the Scottish Anthropological and Folklore Society) by a group of RAI Scottish Fellows with Prof. H.J. Rose as President, Robert Kerr of the Royal Scottish Museums as Hon. Secretary and G.R. Gair (later Robert Gayre of Gayre) as Hon. Editor. The latter was no longer Hon. Editor by 1938. In Oct. 1934 the Institute of Anthropology, Edinburgh was established jointly by the Scottish Anthropological Society and the Senatus of the Free Church College, Edinburgh and a course in anthropology established (see Man, Dec. 1935, No. 216). The Proceedings of the Society commenced in Oct. 1934 and ceased in 1956 (Vol. 1, No. 1-Vol. 5, No. 3). In 1936 the RAI’s fears of Nazi domination of the Society’s related organizations were expressed in a meeting on 14 Aug. 1936 in Uppsala between Prof. Herman Geijer and Dr Åke Campbell and Prof. C.G. Seligman and H. Coote Lake on behalf of the RAI; a meeting also took place in Stockholm on 25 Sep. between Prof. Sigurd Erixon and Dr E.J. Lindgren (see /23-4 below). For G.R. Gair’s pre-war contacts with Germany see A98/5/1. Other matters relating to the Society not noted below appear in Council minutes, 23 Oct. 1934, 22 Oct. 1935, 19 May, 23 June and 13 Oct. 1936, ff. 250,271,285-6, and 290 respectively.


RWF    (Prof. Sir) Raymond W. Firth, FBA (1901-2002), Hon. Secretary, 1936-9, President, 1953-5

GRG    George Robert Gair (later Robert Gayre of Gayre), Hon. Editor, Scottish Anthropological and Folklore Society

RK        Robert Kerr, Hon. Secretary, Scottish Anthropological and Folklore Society


1    RK to RAI, 2 Oct. 1934 – encloses prospectus announcing establishment of the Institute of Anthropology (tpc.)

2    Prospectus of the Institute of Anthropology, Dep. of Anthropology and Allied Sciences, Free Church College, Edinburgh. [6] pp. (printed)

3    RAI to Institute of Anthropology, 25 Oct. – sends good wishes for the success of the Institute (tpc.)


4    GRG, General Secretary for the Western and North Western Area, International Association for Ethnological Sciences c/o Institute of Anthropology and the Scottish Archive for Ethnological Studies, Edinburgh to RWF, 6 Jan. 1935 – wishes to add to Dr Åke Campbell’s letter sent in reply to RAI inquiries on the International Association for Ethnological Sciences; RAI was consulted in planning stages; complete memoranda of proposals sent; R.U. Sayce attended Lund meeting; willing to cooperate with the Congrès international des Sciences anthropologiques et ethnologiques; gives reasons why the new association did not arise within the framework of the Congrès international; research allied to their Irish, Scandinavian and Baltic colleagues (tp.)

5    Memoranda of a meeting between members of the Council of the Scottish Anthropological Society and Dr Åke Campbell, held at the Institute of Anthropology, Edinburgh, 17 July 1935 – on the need for cooperation in Northern European folklore and ethnology; establishment of an association suggested. 5 leaves (mimeo.)

6    Report concerning the establishment of an International Archive for Folkloristic and Ethnological Researches, 17 Sep. 1935 – details of Uppsala meeting of Swedish interests; to accompany Memoranda, /5 above. 2 leaves (mimeo.)

7    GRG, Secretary, Edinburgh Provisional Secretariat, International Archive for Northern European Ethnology and Folk-lore, c/o Institute of Anthropology to RWF, 23 Sep. – encloses Memoranda on present developments (/8 below); asks for Council’s support; also encloses Report (/6 above); Prof. J.L. Myres and Dr R.R. Marett invited to join Committee (tp.)

8    Memoranda of discussion at the meeting in Uppsala, 3-4 Nov. 1935 – recommends the establishment of an International Archive for Northern European Ethnology and Folk-lore; sets up Committee; agreed an international journal to act as a forum. 4 leaves (mimeo., annotated possibly by Dr Åke Campbell and GRG)

9    RWF to GRG, 4 Nov. – replies to letter of 23 Sep. (/7 above); is receiving consideration by Council (tpc.); see Council minutes, 19 Nov. 1935, f. 272

10    Earl of Cassillis, Hon. Vice-President and RK to RAI, 30 Nov. – Society represented by a delegation at the Congress in Lund; ‘astonished by the attitude’ of R.U. Sayce representing the RAI; ‘his single statement … [was] in direct opposition to Scotland.’; Council of the Society wishes to have the RAI’s assurance that it does not doubt the status of the Society. 3 leaves (tp.)

11    RWF to Dr Åke Campbell, Uppsala, 4 Dec. – instructed by Council to make inquiries on the formation of the International Archive for Northern European Folklore [sic.]; would like to know of possible collaboration of the Archive with the Congrès international and cooperation between anthropologists and folklorists (tpc.)

12    Dr E.J. Lindgren to RWF, 16 Dec. – following their discussion, has made inquiries from Prof. K. Gerhard Lindblom about the Scandinavian folklorists; proper invitations were sent to individuals and institutions by the Congrès international; there are no secessionist tendencies; association with Scotland arose accidentally; explains reasons for approach to the RAI; they regret procedural error; anxious for cooperation with the RAI. 9 pp. (autogr.)

13    David Crichton, Assistant Secretary, Institute of Anthropology to RWF, 21 Dec. – glad of RAI’s interest; will provide information if Dr Campbell has not replied (tp.); see Council minutes, 17 Dec. 1935, f. 274

14    Dr Åke Campbell, Uppsala to RWF, 23 Dec. – outlines development of Swedish folk culture; need for wider contacts felt with the other Scandinavian states, Baltic States, Germany and Great Britain; no section for European folklore and ethnology at Congrès international in 1934 but he met Prof. H.J. Rose and was informed of the Scottish Anthropological Society; met GRG and other officers of the Society; discussed possibility of connection; memoranda of the meeting (/5 above); learnt of a German plan for cooperation with Scandinavia and a congress to be held in July 1936; Swedish scholars wished for a wider basis; Congress held in Lund, 6-8 Nov. with wider international cooperation; wished to establish a journal and an archive for North European folk culture; hopes for support of RAI. 6 leaves (tp.)


15    RAI to David Crichton, Assistant Secretary, Institute of Anthropology, 6 Jan. 1936 – acknowledges letter of 21 Dec. (/13 above); full details received from Dr Campbell (tpc.)

16    RK to RWF, 13 Jan. – no reply to letter of 30 Nov. (/10 above); unable to give information at his Council; wishes to know if R.U. Sayce represented the RAI and if so what were his instructions (tp.); see Council minutes, 4 Feb. 1936, f. 277

17    Ibid., 29 Jan. – regrets he has still had no reply to letter of 30 Nov. (/10 above); matter regarded seriously; requires a full reply (tp., annotated); informed of postponement of Council

18    RWF to RK, 6 Feb. – letters placed before Council, 4 Feb.; Council regrets misunderstanding; did not appreciate that it was asked to send delegates to the Lund congress; R.U. Sayce was asked to act as an observer as he had been invited to attend; no official invitation received to send delegates to the congress later in the year; wishes to know along what lines they require RAI cooperation (tpc.); see Council minutes, 4 Feb. 1936, f. 277

19    RWF to the Earl of Cassillis, 6 Feb. – acknowledges letter of 30 Nov.; full information on R.U. Sayce’s role sent to Robert Kerr (tpc.)

20    RK to RWF, 19 Mar. – letter of 6 Feb. (/18 above) considered by his Council; R.U. Sayce’s attitude at the Lund congress unsatisfactory; requires clarification; suggests a meeting of representatives in Edinburgh to resolve difficulties (tp.)

21    RWF to RK, 27 Mar. – letter of 19 Mar. (/20 above) considered by Council; fails to understand the position considered unsatisfactory; feels sure any disparaging remarks by R.U. Sayce were misrepresented; ‘in any case nothing could be further from the intention of my Council’; regrets no RAI representatives will be in Edinburgh so soon; would be glad to discuss the matter in London (tpc.)

22    RK to RWF, 16 Apr. – probable some members of the Society will be in London; they hope to have a meeting (tp.); see Council minutes, 21 Apr. 1936, f. 282 in which the Officers were appointed to meet the Society’s delegates

23    Interview at Uppsala, 14 Aug.; present: Prof. Herman Geijer, Dr Åke Campbell, Prof. C.G. Seligman, H. Coote Lake (Hon. Treasurer); signed H.C[oote].L[ake]. – Prof. Geijer stated no publications or constitution published yet of the proposed International Congress in Edinburgh; CGS said RAI had fears of Nazi domination; CGS mentioned that the German government was supplying all the funds for the publications; Prof. Geijer said funds were to be supplied for the first number only; control of the journal in the hands of editorial board; Germans independently approached possible new association though Prof. Geijer had some fear of German government domination; wished for British representation ‘to counteract any such danger’; Prof. Geijer and Dr Campbell had no personal knowledge of GRG but knew and trusted Prof. Rose; new project attached great importance to R.R. Marett’s support; Prof. Geijer could not understand the RAI and the Folklore Society’s failure to reply to his letter to each; RAI reply sent to GRG as requested; RAI appointed a representative to the Northern Archive; reply received from unknown body, ‘The International Association for Ethnology and Folklore’ and RAI representative withdrawn; extract from the Edinburgh Evening News discussed and the publication of an atlas; CGS suggested a letter to the RAI and Folklore Society stating awareness of doubts in England of political influence dominating the new body and the steps being taken to

prevent this; meeting was friendly and cordial throughout; some further mattes discussed afterwards between Dr Campbell and H. Coote Lake. 3 leaves (tp.)

24    Northern European Folk-lore Research. Notes on a conversation with Prof. Sigurd Erixon in Stockholm, Sep. 25, 1936; signed E.J. Lindgren – Prof. Erixon determined that any mistakes in establishing contacts in England should be repaired; he stressed the importance of direct correspondence with London; no reason why Edinburgh adopted the name ‘International Ethnological Congress’; covers ‘possible preponderance of German influence in the Society’ through the atlas and printing funds, anti-Semitic tendencies; their desire for cooperation with England, Scotland and Ireland; refers to R.U. Sayce and letters to RAI demanding an ‘explanation’ which was never specified and Prof. Erixon’s understanding of the situation; he would like to see a separate Folklore Section in the next Congrès international. 3 leaves (tpc.)


25    David Crichton, Acting Hon. Secretary, International Association for Ethnology, Folklore and Linguistics in North and Western Europe, Organizing Committee to Secretary, University of London, 12 Feb. 1937 – notification of forthcoming Congress; encloses prospectus (/26 below); asks for information to be circulated (tp.); the Scottish Anthropological Society hosted the Congress

26    International Association for Ethnology. First Congress, Edinburgh, 14-21 July 1937 – prospectus (printed)

27    Sir Cyril Fox, Director, National Museum of Wales, Cardiff to RWF, 19 Feb. – invitation received for the Congress; inquires whether RAI is sending delegates (tp.); see Council minutes, 23 Feb. 1937, f. 299

28    R.E. Cooper, Chairman, Congress Organizing Committee to RWF, 20 May – understands G.R. Gair has informed RAI of Congress; extends a cordial invitation; encloses prospectus (/29 below); states title is incorrect; draws attention to other errors; apologies for mistakes (tp.); notepaper headed: The Scottish Anthropological and Folklore Society; R.U. Sayce was appointed the RAI delegate; see Council minutes, 25 May 1937, f. 305

29    International Association for Ethnology. First Congress – prospectus (printed; autogr. corrections)

W.B. Fagg Papers.