Primary Documents

This webpage gives the links for many documents transcribed as part of the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers research project (and afterwards). Most transcriptions were carried out by the researcher on the project, but some were kindly provided by other researchers, notably those associated with the 2012-13 'Excavating Pitt-Rivers' project. The transcriptions includes parts or the entirety of documents and letters written by Pitt-Rivers, or to him, between 1860 and 1900. It is hoped that the transciptions will ease access for others to difficult-to-obtain material. There are also transcriptions of some of his published work and a few talks and lectures.

Great care has been taken to ensure that, so far as possible, these have been transcribed correctly but readers are advised to check the originals before quoting them in their own work if possible. Note that some of these transcriptions also appear elsewhere on this site, and a few of the transcriptions appear more than once in the list below. The transcriptions are (almost) all listed in date order (earliest first) and subsequently ordered by document type: first unpublished documents, mostly letters, relating to the founding collection, second collection and more general correspondence; then published articles and papers.

We are very grateful to Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, the National Archives, the Ashmolean Museum and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford for allowing us to place these transcriptions here.

A. Introductory overviews

Pitt River Museum's Pitt-Rivers' manuscripts

Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum's Pitt-Rivers' manuscripts [See here for scans of most of the letters from the Pitt-Rivers papers at S&SWM]

Notes on the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Pitt-Rivers' papers

Overview of all the PRM manuscript collections

Unless otherwise stated all letters are addressed to Pitt-Rivers from a variety of correspondents.

B. Unpublished Sources

B.1. Letters relating to the Founding Collection 1850-1900

B.2. Letters relating to the Second Collection 1880-1900

B.3. Letters from / to Dealers post-1880

B.4. General letters pertaining to both collections or other matters

B.5 Series of letters transcribed from Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum's Pitt Rivers Papers:

Part I - L1 - L200

Part II - L201 - L400

Part III - L401 - L600

Part IV - L601 - L800

Part IV - L801 - L1000

Part V - L1001 - L1200

Part VI - L1201 - L1400

Part VII - L1401 - L1600

Part VIII - L1601 - L1800

Part IX - L1801 - L2000

Part X L2001 - L2200

Part XI L2201 - L2579

Part XII P series

Part XIII M30 & M31

Part XIV B series [dealers] A-M

Part XIV B series [dealers] N-Z

Part XV S&SWM PR papers miscellaneous

Part XVI Miscellaneous Press cuttings relating to Pitt-Rivers

NB not all letters have been transcribed, some other letters have been described only and some letters are not mentioned and were considered not relevant to this research project.

B.6. Letters in other archives and manuscript collections

Ashmolean Museum: Lane Fox and George Rolleston correspondence 1876-1878

Ashmolean Museum: Lane Fox and John Evans

Bodleian Library MS ENG misc e 108 Letters to Richard Caulfield [1860s]

B.7. Notebooks

In 2012 a series of Fox / Pitt-Rivers' notebooks were generously donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum by Anthony Pitt-Rivers. These are the working notebooks in which Pitt-Rivers recorded the books he was reading, and the salient points they made but they also contain accounts from earlier in his life and even a very early catalogue of his collection, dating from 1862. Parts of these workbooks have been transcribed and are available here. If you wish to consult the actual notebooks (or any other manuscript collection held by the Pitt Rivers Museum) you will need to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Introduction to the notebooks

Details of some the Pitt-Rivers notebooks at the PRM, including the notebooks: 1862 Catalogue of Arms; Ethnological Society's Classification and Distribution Committee; Early draft for Primitive Warfare?A light-hearted side?

B.8 Inspector of Ancient Monument notebooks and other documentation

Inspector of Ancient Monument related material (Pitt Rivers Museum)

You can find on-line digital versions of Pitt-Rivers' field notebooks during his work as Inspector of Ancient Monuments here, they are held by the National Archives. Search for 'Work 39' when you open the earlier link and this gives you access to free downloads of microfilms of the notebooks.

National Archive workbooks details: National Archives workbook 39/9 pages 82-83 regarding Barvas potteryNational Archives workbook 39/10 pages 27-61 regarding photographyNational Archives workbook 39/16 pages 214-230 about 1885 Inspector of Ancient Monuments tour of Scotland

C. Published Sources and sources delivered to the public at lectures (and not published).

Published or Unpublished Sources and sources delivered to the public at lectures

Most transcriptions have been done by Alison Petch during the 'Rethinking Pitt-Rivers' project. She thanks Rachel McGoff for her help in proof-reading some of these documents.

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