Ethnographic Survey correspondence

Ethnographic Survey of the UK

The following correspondence is given as L963 of the S&SWM PR papers, previous correspondence on this same issue is given elsewhere in the same archive but has not been copied. For an overview of the importance of the Ethnographic Survey see here.

These first letters are copy letters of correspondence previously sent out to Pitt-Rivers (but which he appeared to have forgotten about, or lost). Some of them appear earlier in the S&SWM PR papers.


6 May 1892

Dear Genl Pitt Rivers

I am desired by the Council to send you the enclosed copy of a letter from the Folk Lore Society & to ask whether you would allow your name to be submitted as one of the Delegates on behalf of the Society of Antiquaries. Mr Milman & Mr Geo. Payne are to be also asked to do the same

Yours very truly
W.H.St John Hope


The Folklore Society | 11 Old Square | Lincolns Inn W.C. | 27th April 1892

Dear Sir

I am instructed by the Council of the Folk Lore Society, to inform you that, having taken steps to investigate the Folk Lore of each County in the United Kingdom, upon an organized plan, they have decided to request the Society of Antiquaries and the Anthropological Institute, to cooperate with them in the matter, with a view of ultimately obtaining a complete ethnographic survey of each county or district. This might be accomplished, it is thought, if the Society of Antiquaries would deal with the Prehistoric Monuments, - the Anthropological Institute with the physical types of people, - and the Folk Lore Society with the traditions, superstitions, and customs- the three Societies working together, so as to obtain from the same area all the facts throwing light on ethnology.

I am further instructed to ask if the Society of Antiquaries would appoint three members to much the same number of members from the Anthropological Institute, and the Folk Lore Society, and I am to inform you that the Council of the Folk Lore Society have appointed their President (Mr G.L. Gomme) Mr J. Jacobs, and Mr E. Clodd, as delegates for this purpose.

Will you please be good enough to lay this letter before the Council of your Society, at their next meeting and to inform me what (if any) proceedings are taken thereon

Yours faithfully
F.A. Milne

To the Secretary The Society of Antiquaries


4 Grosvenor Gardens

Dear Mr Hope

I have been in bed again with a Bronchial attack & both my clerks have been very ill with measles so my letters have gone wrong.

I am not able to attend to any function at present

Yours very truly

signed A Pitt Rivers

The following is a printed circular included in L963:

British Association for the Advancement of Science | Burlington House, W. | October 1892

Committee to organise an Ethnographic Survey of the United Kingdom

Francis Galton, F.R.S., J.G. Garson, M.D., and E.W. Brabrook, F.S.A. representing the Anthropological Institute

Edward Clodd, G.L. Gomme, F.S.A., and Joseph Jacobs, M.A., representing the Folk-lore Society

H.S. Milman, Director, S.A., George Payne, F.S.A., and General Pitt-Rivers, F.R.S.

Joseph Anderson, LL.D., Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

A.C. Haddon, M.A., Professor of Zoology at the Royal College of Surgeons of Dublin.


The above-named Committee, in pursuance of the subject for which they have been delegated by the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Folk-lore Society and the Anthropological Institute, and appointed by the British Association, propose to record for certain typical villages and the neighbouring districts -

(1) Physical Types of the Inhabitants

(2) Current Traditions and Beliefs

(3) Peculiarities of Dialect

(4) Monuments and other Remains of Ancient Culture; and

(5) Historical Evidence as to Continuity of Race.

As a first step, the Committee desire to form a list of such villages in the United Kingdom as appear especially to deserve ethnographic study, out of which a selection might afterwards be made for the Survey. The villages suitable for entry on the list are such as contain not less than a hundred adults, the large majority of whose forefathers have lived there so far back as can be traced, and of whom the desired physical measurements, with photographs, might be obtained.

It is believed by the Committee that such villages may exist in the districts with which you are acquainted, and, as you are eminently capable of affording help in this preliminary search, we have to request that you will do so by kindly furnishing the names of any that may occur to you, with a brief account of their several characteristics, mentioning at the same time the addresses of such of their residents as would be likely to support the Committee in pursuing their inquiry.

They would also be glad to be favoured with the names of any persons known to you in other districts to whom this circular letter might with propriety be addressed.

We are, Sir,
Yours faithfully
Francis Galton (Chairman)
E.W. Brabrook (Secretary)

All communications should be addressed to 'The Secretary of the Ethnographic Survey, British Association, Burlington House, London, W.'

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