PR to Acland 21 May 1882

Letter from Pitt-Rivers to Henry Acland about giving his collection to Oxford:

Bodleian Library MS. Acland d.92, fols.75-76

4 Grosvenor Gardens


My Dear Sir,

I am much obliged to you for your letter. It will add much to the pleasure of presenting my Museum to Oxford that you and the scientific members of the University should be so favourable to its going there, and I hope much that it may be brought about. I do not know what the proposals of the committee may be. Professor Westwood’s proposal to me did not involve the suppression of my name in connection with the collection and I thought that arrangement satisfactory. Of course after devoting exactly 30 years to it I look upon it very muchin the light of a child. It commenced in 1852 with a series showing the development of small arms in which I was officially engaged. At that time we had not the advantage of Darwin’s writings. The Christy collection was in embryo like my own and was commencing on a different plan and evolution which is in everybody’s mouth now was almost unheard of then.

I believe I may say that there was at that time no Museum arranged upon the system of shewing the development of ideas. Dr Meyer tells me that he has arranged the Dresden Museum in this order after seeing mine and I believe some others have done the same. I am afraid the incorporation of the Ashmolean Museum with mine may spoil it. Valuable as the objects in that Museum are it has a different object & had better be kept apart. However we shall see what the committee say. Meanwhile I beg to thank you for your very kind letter and wish you every success in your Endeavours to promote Anthropology in Oxford. Professor Rolleston often talked to me about it and we can’t but wish that he had lived to carry it out.

Yours faithfully,

A. Pitt Rivers

Transcribed by Fran Larson 7.12.2005 as part of the Relational Museum project; checked by AP May 2013.

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