Hatchett Jackson to Price 3 May 1890

Transcription of a letter from Hatchett Jackson to Professor Price regarding the long term future of the Pitt Rivers Collection in the light of Moseley's ill health. This letter is held in the PRM foundation volume, PRM ms collections:

3 May 1890, Anatomical Department, Deputy Linacre Professor

Dear Professor Price,

May I place in your hands for submission to the proper authority, the accompanying special report relating [?] to the Pitt Rivers Museum and Collection which is at present under the curatorship of the Linacre Professor. The Report has been drawn up by Mr. Balfour, who is the working sub-curator of the Collection, and it has been considered by my self and by the Reader in Anthropology (Dr. Tylor) separately and have received our approval.

As you will notice, the grant from the University expires at the end of this year, and consequently unless the University comes to some fresh arrangement, the Museum and Collection will be left without a separate staff, without means of maintenance, and in a state which can hardly be considered to be what is either desirable or suitable to its great value and importance.

The only point to which I wish to make special reference is the relation of the Linacre Professor to the Pitt Rivers Museum and Collection.

By statute IV. 1. par 3. ‘Particular Regulations’ 4d, the Linacre Professor is Curator of the Ethnological Collections in the University Museum. This statute was made by the Commissioners and was passed by the Privy Council in May 1882. When the Pitt Rivers Collection was moved into the present building, Professor Moseley appointed Mr. Balfour of Trinity College to arrange it.

It was Professor Moseley’s opinion expressed to myself early in 1887 that it would be impossible for the Linacre Professor to manage the Pitt Rivers Museum and Collection without a separate staff for the purpose. And I am confident from the knowledge acquired during 15 years of more of less close connection with the management of the Anatomical Department that it would be out of the question for the staff of that department to carry out the double duty.

At present the Linacre Professor is the only permanent official of the University the subject of whose chair is at all cognate to anthropology. The Readership in Anthropology is maintained by the Delegates of the Common University Fund, and may therefore I suppose lapse at some future date. The duties of the Reader were formulated in a decree which passed Convocation on Nov 15. 1883; the appointment of the Reader was notified in the Gazette for Dec 11. 1883 and his office dates from Jan 1. 1884. But in this connection I should like to draw your attention particularly to the fact that the Deed of Gift of the Pitt Rivers Collection provides that there shall always be a person to lecture on anthropology.

If I may be permitted to express a personal opinion in the matter, it seems to me that the University baring in mind the extreme value of the Pitt Rivers Collection, its importance to the subject of anthropology, its capacity for growth and development, and all that is implied in growth and development will consent to maintain a working curator bound to residence and to devote his time to the Collection and its interests. And I feel it my duty to press Mr. Balfour’s claims to this appointment. His intimate knowledge of the collection in its entirety, the manner in which he has fulfilled his duties beyond all praise and his knowledge of the literature which gathers round said collection, entitle him in all fairness beyond any one else to carry on the work with which he has been hitherto charged.

W. Hatchett Jackson

Transcribed by Frances Larson for the Relational Museum project 2002-2006

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