Pitt-Rivers was a member of many learned societies in the UK; and, by the end of his career, an honorary or associate member of many foreign ones too.

This page gives a full list of the clubs and societies Pitt-Rivers is known to have joined between 1850 and 1900 and the officer posts he held, if known. Among the most famous societies of which he was a member are:

  • Ethnological Society of London from 1861
  • Archaeological Institute from 1863
  • Society of Antiquaries from 1864
  • Anthropological Society / Anthropological Institute from 1865
  • Geological Society from 1867
  • Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland from 1873
  • Society of the Antiquaries of Scotland
  • Royal Society from 1876
  • Folklore Society from 1885Zoological Society from 1885

In addition he belonged to many local learned antiquarian societies, including those relating to Dorsetshire, Somerset, Essex.

Levine remarks that learned societies were 'often an entrée into educated and respectable social circles'. [1986: 40] Whilst Pitt-Rivers hardly needed the latter, he probably did benefit from the former given his somewhat limited public education.

Such societies also provided him with ready-made networks of collaborators, friends and colleagues and were probably as much used for social purposes as intellectual pursuits. As Levine again remarks:

The relative formality of the proceedings of most societies with their monthly or quarterly meetings, their emphasis on the acquisition of property in the form of a museum or library, their soirées and conversaziones - all such trappings of polite society set them apart from the bulk of the population [1986: 56]

Bibliography for this article

Levine, Philippa 1986. 'The Amateur and the Professional: Antiquarians, Historians and Archaeologists in Victorian England 1838-1886' Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

AP June 2011

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