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Tylor Papers, PRM ms collections, Box 13 miscellaneous

F. Max Müller M15

7 Norham Gardens,


3 Jan 79

Dear Mr Tylor,

If you think that the letter from Demerara might be of interest to the A.I., it is quite at your service. It might lead to an interesting discussion--some of the coincidences are prima facie startling. I received another paper by J. Campbell, who tries to connect the Algonquins, Maya and Mbaya languages with Malay-Polynesian! [1] He also mentions the Couvade among the Abipones, & the Malays of Borneo. There is some system in all this madness, and it is well to keep one's eyes open. However you know best.

Yours very truly

F. Max Müller

[This letter was written before Tylor came to Oxford. A search of the Anthropological Institute journal for 1879 and 1880 does not identify which Demerara letter Müller was referring to so perhaps Tylor decided not to take it to the Institute. ]


[1] Possibly the James Campbell who published an article 'Polygamy: its influence on sex and population' in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute (1870) vol 1 no 2 pp. 192-197?


[Augustus Henry Lane Fox] Pitt-Rivers P11

[Note that this letter may be an answer to the one shown here, L2170 S&SWM]

Rushmore | Salisbury | Aug 7 '98

Dear Mr Tylor

thanks for your letter & the information contained in it. I am very infirm now, having had diabetes continuously for 17 years. I can hardly do more than go from room to room but I still keep working a little slowly. As regards the loop coil series I think it must certainly have spread all over the Pacific Islands China & Japan from the source also Northern India & Thibet & [insert] the Malay peninsula [end insert] but not central India or Ceylon. New Guinea undoubtedly has the broken loop coil like New Zealand but is not rich in the continuous loop coil which I still think the Earliest I dont believe that it arose from the Eye of the Frigate bird but has been applied to it as so often happens when a recognised pattern is found suitable for the ornamentation of a particular form it is common on the shields of the Dyaks of Borneo in two or three different stages Whether there was ever any connection between these eastern forms & Early Egyptian and Hellenic forms appears to me doubtful. Perhaps you may have formed some opinion on the subject. there is no reason why there should not be. We know so little of the antiquities of Savage Countries. I think the continuous loop coil [drawing] must have been the earliest & the broken loop coil a later version of it [drawing] It is true that Petrie finds the broken coil on the earliest scarabs but that only proves I think that scarabs were not the earliest things on which the pattern was drawn & probably it was first used on the embroidery of dresses which have long since perished that of course is problematical the degraded or [word illegible] version of it on the ornamentation of the Zuni vessels which I first saw on some of your specimens seems to me a very interesting please [sic illegible word] I can hardly believe that the widespread use of it together with the allied key pattern which is derived from it, all over Central & South America can be accidental the only way is to collect an enormous number of specimens of it from all parts and see if any reliable connection can be formed. Have you ever seen a specimen of it from Central India or Ceylon I never have tho I have looked for it for years It was certainly used in the Buddhist temples of northern India.

I have rather changed my views as [insert] to [end insert] the principle on which a small collection for a local [insert] anthropological [end insert] museum, such as my present one is, should be collected I still think the primary arrangement should be in divisions by arts & subjects & the secondary one within each large division should be geographical. But the primary divisions in a small local Museum should be broader, thus instead of having a separate division for representations of the human form I make it Art and Ornament and make it include both realism and styleism and also the adaption of animal forms to ornament which in my original collection I kept separate. Where sequences occur they can be shewn within the primary division and where a reference passes from one country to another the geographical sub-arrangement must be slightly broken I have been making a very good collection of the Benin bronze castings. The best I believe out of the BM. They are extremely interesting as shewing a phase of art of which there is no actual record. I cannot quite make out whether the cire-perdue process came from Portugal. It does not follow that because European figures are occasionally represented that it all came from Europe. Most of the forms are indigenous the features are nearly all Negro the weapons are negro the spear & sword blades with the ogee section [drawing] which prevails nearly all over Africa wherever iron is worked is certainly present amongst the weapons in the hands of the cast bronze figures on the plaques. Did it spread from Benin originally the modern Congo implements greatly resemble the ancient Benin ones & the inlaying of brass & copper is the same. Have you noticed that the head dresses of the Herero women (Ratzel part 16 p 244 and part 19 p 471) closely resemble those of the Benin people shewing on the bronze castings. I have one of the actual coral headdresses from Benin with the coral rosettes & every thing which exactly explains those shewn in the bronze casts. What the tags on the Herero womens caps hanging down behind, are made of I dont know but I suppose beads It seems to me that the bead anklets armlets &c of the Herero exactly correspond to the Benin ones that are made of coral. Has it occurred to you that your Tasmanian flints the flat ones chipped only at the edge that you shewed me at Oxford, are exactly like Mr Harrisons chalk plateau flints that he considers pre Palaeolithic & calls Eolithic. I wonder what your opinion about them is many if not most of the brown stained ones are certainly chipped at the edge but whether their position proves them to be earlier is another matter. they are making a large collection of them for the Maidstone Museum. Lubbock I see has taken them up. I am not sure that with all his political business he is able to devote sufficient attention to small scientific points Evans & Boyd Dawkins were dead against their being earlier than palaeolithic the last time I spoke to them about it. I have not been to London for several years & am quite out of the way of talking to people on scientific subjects.

I have printed a fourth volume of my diggings of which I will send you a copy & the fifth vol is in progress the tracing of a line of [illegible word] or trapezoidal bronze age carvings is I think a new point. they have hitherto been supposed to be Roman on account of their form but the evidence is very clear & they promise to be prolific.

So little has been done upon bronze age sites in England. With kind regards to Mrs Tylor. I hope you are better than you were, I think we shall have the pleasure of seeing you here again when my new gallery at the Museum is completely furnished

Yours very truly
A Pitt Rivers

[The above letter transcribed by AP March/ June 2011, for the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project]


Redding R3

Land Department of the Central Pacific Railroad Company ...

San Francisco, California Jany 5th 1882

E.B. Tylor Esq
Wellington, Somerset Eng.

Dear Sir, May I be permitted to express my gratitude for the systematic array of new facts and most valuable suggestions in "Anthropology", which I have just finished reading. It teaches me, in addition to other important lessons, how to classify the facts that come under my own observation; and, what is equally significant, that the smallest items of observed facts, in the history of mans physical or mental development, are neither trivial nor unimportant. It, therefore, occurred to me, while reading the following sentence: "Only fly fishing seems not to have been known in ancient times" (Chap 9 page 214) to call to your attention that fly fishing was known, to at least one tribe of California Indians, when this State was first occupied by white men. The subject was first called to my notice by Genl E.F. Beale, who stated to me that, when he visited Kern River in 1850, the Indians on that river, in addition to other modes, also caught trout with an artificial fly hook. Kern River has its sources on Mt Whitney, the highest peak of the Sierra Nevada, it flows south about fifty miles, then west fifty, and finally north fifty and empties into Tulare Lake, where its waters are evaporated; it is everywhere, except in the valley, abundantly supplied with trout (Salmo irridea). Mr John Barker, who owns the Rio Brava estate on Kern River, where he has resided since 1851, informed me that the Indians of that river, who were numerous when he first went there, universally used a bone fly hook in the taking of trout of that stream. The fact was so curious and interesting that I determined to procure one of these fly hooks if still in use. Mr C.P. Converse, who resides at Visalia, has a Summer sheep farm in the valley at the head waters of Kern River, where a few of this tribe of Indians still hunt and fish. I asked him to procure for me one of these fish hooks and to obtain all the information he could in relation to the length of time it had been in use. He brought me the hook which I inclose. All he could learn from the Indians was that their fathers and grandfathers made it "just the same", except since white men came they used iron instead of bone for the hook. They told him that, formerly, they made the hook from the bone of a deer's leg; and also from a bone of a bird, which Mr Converse understood to be an owl.

You will see that this fly hook [1] is made upon a different plan from any used by white men, the loose ends of the hairs pointing to the eye of the hook. I also send you the wart or chestnut of the deer [insert] cariacus columbianus [end insert] containing the scented hairs which they used in making this artificial fly or insect.

All the other information I have on the subject you will find in an article in the November 1881 number of the "Californian", which I have taken the liberty of forwarding to you by this mail.

I have had artificial flys made, after the Indian method, and used them with success in trout fishing; they can be made, by a slight motion of the rod, to imitate the struggling motion of an insect on the water. Whether the Indians beliefs that the trout are influenced by the persistent scent of the deer, that clings to the hairs, has any foundation, in fact, I am not prepared to say.

I have observed and inquired diligently, but cannot learn that any other tribe of Indians on this coast ever used an artificial fly in fishing for trout or salmon.

If this hook with the specimen of deer hairs with which it was dressed, and the facts I have related, interest you, I shall be most gratified.

It would be difficult to repay you for the pleasure I have received in reading "Anthropology".

Yours with great respect,

B.B. Redding [2]

Please convey my respects to your nephew, Mr J.J. Tylor, whom I had the pleasure of meeting while in this City.


[1] See 1988.16.1 attributed to the Tubatulabal people

[2] Although this signature looks like R.R. Redding I think it must be B.B. Reading or Benjamin Barnard Reading (1824-1882) a Canadian born politician in California and land agent for the Central Pacific Railway (hence the headed paper). He made extensive ethnographic and archaeological collections.


Rolleston R9

Envelope addressed to Tylor at Museum House dated 1884 [Rolleston died in June 1881 in the south of France shortly after this date, and before Tylor joined Oxford University Museum in October 1883. However, the Tylor referred to in the note is actually Alfred Tylor, Edward's brother, as E.B. Tylor's Life of Rolleston makes clear:

'... In the hot bright climate of the Riviera [Rolleston's] strength revived, and his old capacity for enjoying nature showed itself still strong in him. He went to Nice, and there with Mr. Alfred Tylor examined the human jawbone lately found imbedded in the hill-side, apparently in remote prehistoric times. The description written by him of this jaw was his last scientific paper. [Footnote 2. At Prof. Turner's suggestion, the following extract is taken from this memorandum, which is too unfinished for printing in extenso. 'These bones . . . were found in digging the cellar of a little country house about a mile out of Nice, about 10 feet down in a deposit of river sand mixed with calcareous matter, in which fresh-water snail shells were found. The bones had been thrown out in spadesful of the deposit, but Mons. Joachim [the proprietor] was clear that they had formed an intrinsic part of the deposit itself. Now this deposit is far above the level of any stream in that locality at present, and it is above the level of terraces very like those now made by the proprietors in this district for olives: and due, like the similar ones at Amiens, to the action of a quaternary pluvial period. So it must have been much older than they, and indeed deposited before the river had become as small and the valley as large by a very great deal as it is now.' The lower jaw in question is very imperfect, the angle is strongly marked for the masseter muscle, mentum feeble, alveolar part of front relatively long, sockets for incisors small; there are 3 molars and 1 pre-molar, very little worn, and Dr. Rolleston judged the jaw to have belonged to a woman nearer 18 than 24.]

The text of the footnote from the Life of Rolleston suggests that this paper was in Tylor's papers because he had asked for Rolleston's notes in order to write the Life of Rolleston. The Life was published as an opening chapter of Scientific Papers and Addresses by George Rolleston ... arranged and edited by William Turner ... with a biographical sketch by Edward B. Tylor, Keeper of the Museum, Oxford ... vols I and II Oxford: Clarendon Press 1884, its transcription can be found hereAlfred Tylor (1824-1884) was a geologist who frequently visited the Continent.]

[Tylor's handwriting on envelope] Rolleston / Jawbone Nice / photos & paper, envelop also includes 2 Photographs showing teeth (and jaw presumably) fossilised into rock marked 'F. Busin Phot' and 'Nice' on the front and 'Felix Busin Quai Masséna 9, Nice Les Cliches sont conservés No. ...'

This document, which appears to be part of a diary, was written on Rolleston's usual blue longer than A4 paper. The heading 'Cannes 1881' may be in a separate hand. On the outside, as it is folded, is 'from Cannes - 1881' 'Prehistoric remains - human jaw' and (in Tylor's handwriting) 'When done with to be returned to EB Tylor'

Cannes 1881

Tuesday March 22 Went to Nice fr Cannes in Carriage with people profess.g that they were going to Monte Carlo 4 ladies & gent Ladies Americans talked loud at Nice great rush for places: [insert] A [end insert] Gent. [insert] plat for [?][end insert] forced himself into Carriage. Ladies told him he was very rude, as they wanted an [insert] other [end insert] gentleman on the platform. It was not my business to take up this quarrel, as they had already two gentlemen of their own: Drove to Cosmopolitan Hotel; found that in my note I had said (Tuesday March 31) consequently Mr Dessort [?] had gone to Cannes, but Mr Tylor took me to see the jaw through a hurricane of dust & wind. This jaw has nine molar teeth, of the left side, & one pre molar; the sockets of the other premolar, & of the Canine were empty, except so far as débris, & gelatine had got into them: The grinding surfaces of none of the teeth were much worn. The angle of the jaw was strongly marked for the massetur [sic masseter] muscle: the ascending part of the jaw had its upper half broken away: a thing much to be regretted, as the structures of the coronoid is when present of great significance. The horizontal part of jay [?] was somewhat humid [?] The chin or mentum, feeble whilst alveola part of the front of the jaw was relatively long. The sockets for the incisors were small; I could not judge of the character of the sockets of the Canines, nor of the position of the foramen mentale, both points [page 2] of importance [insert] as they were filled with débris & gelatine [end insert], still on the whole I feel justified in stating that this lower jaw in all probability belonged to a young woman between 18 & 24 and nearer [insert] I should say to [end insert] the earlier than the later of those two dates. I do not think that in uncivilized times the back molars could have escaped wearing down to the extent they have done if the age of their owner had been greater than the one they assign. [insert] Could the neighbourhood of Nice here be less dusty then than now, or was the cooking likely to have been less fouled with sand. [end insert]

After this we went & saw the place whence these bones had been recovered by a very intelligent French proprietaire of the name of Joachim: they were found in digging the cellar of a little country house about a mile out of Nice about 10 feet [insert] down [end insert] in a deposit of river sand mixed with calcereous matter in which fresh water small shells were found: the bones had been thrown out in spadesful of the deposit; but Mr Joachim was clear that they had formed an intrinsic part of the deposit itself: Now this deposit is far above the level of any stream in that locality at present. And it is above the level of terraces very like those now made by the Proprietors in this district for olives; and due like the similar ones at Amiens to the action of the quaternary pluvial period. [insert] So it must have been much d... [illegible] than [illegible], and indeed deposited before the river had become so small and the valley as large by a very great deal than it is now. The walls of the valley appeared to be all uniform & undisturbed except in one place the [illegible] & remains [illegible] in which the Joachim himself had caused.

[Page 3] I should like to see this jaw washed well with the thin gelatine solution we use, so as to get the sockets for the two canines washed clear of whatever is in them, the bone and the molars having been thoroughly washed through previously, we should t... [illegible] also get the foramen mentales position made out, & [illegible] also to see what it is relating to premolar No. 1's socket, a point of some importance The 2nd t.. [illegible] molar is quadri... [illegible] the 1t & 3rd quin... [illegible]

I don't quite understand how the molar sockets has [insert] suffered [end insert] so little degradation of its grinding surface whilst the masseturic [illegible] are so well marked; but if we had the left upper jaw we should perhaps find that the upper molars against which it had to work had been lost, decayed, or disca... [illegible] somehow & so that the lower had escaped wear & tear the massetur would still work the incisors.

The rest of the earth might still yield some more of this skeleton if searched.

They have some of it from urs humerus & [illegible] which is [illegible], the former a c.... [illegible]

Transcribed by AP April 2013

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