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Archive collections – Deposited Papers

The 'Deposited Papers' series comprises letters, diaries, field books, drawings, prints, reports and annotated/manuscript maps given by external parties to the Society.

The series includes visual material which was used to illustrate papers read at Ordinary Meetings. Although the original manuscripts were not retained (apart from a small number of very early papers), the illustrations were kept – presumably because they were not included in the final journal publication.

Notable collections of papers by individuals include:

Louis Agassiz (1807-1873)
Louis Agassiz small

Material relating to the research for Agassiz's Recherches sur les Poissons Fossiles (1833–1843) and its follow up work Monographie des Poissons Fossiles du Vieux Grès Rouge (1844–1845), including the original artwork numbering around 3,000 drawings and watercolours. 

Elizabeth Alexander (1908-1958)

Elizabeth Alexander

Produced the first detailed geological map of Singapore (1950) and worked on radar during the Second World War. The collection notably includes correspondence, reports and photographs relating to her work on the geology of Singapore, 1940-1953. Also includes a digital copy of Alexander's personal diary recording her and her children's activities, January 1944 to August 1945, whilst she was employed as Head of Operations at the Radio Development Laboratory (RDL) in New Zealand. 

Etheldred Benett (1775-1845)

Etheldred Benett

Recognised as the first female geologist, the collection includes examples of Benett's artwork, mainly of fossil sponges, including two copies of the illustrated manuscript 'Sketches of fossil Alcyonia from the Green Sand Formation at Warminster Common and in the immediate vicinity of Wiltshire', 1816. Also includes two sections of Chicksgrove Quarry, 1816, and a watercolour painting of a meteorite that fell in County Limerick, [1825]. Examples of her work can be found on our Etheldred Benett exhibition pages.

Thomas George Bonney (1833–1923)

T G Bonney 80dpi

68 letters addressed to Bonney on scientific and general subjects, 1858-1919. Includes letters from Charles Lyell, Lord Kelvin, Joseph Lister, Adam Sedgwick and William Sollas.  Also 11 letters between Bonney and the Earl of Shaftesbury, January 1878, concerning Shaftesbury's objections to Bonney's geological publications issued through the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.

William Buckland (1784-1856)

William Buckland 80dpi

Buckland was extremely active in the Society, so there are many items relating to him scattered around the collections. The collected papers consist of manuscripts and illustrations relating to his published work, notably the lithographs of the skeletal remains of extinct animals found in cave deposits, (intended for the proposed second part of Reliquiae diluvianae, 1825-1829), letters from Roderick Impey Murchison, 1827-1841, and seven maps with geological colouring and notes [1810-1840], which were probably part of the research for George Bellas Greenough's 'Geological Map of England & Wales' (1820 & 1840).

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1877-1947)

A K Coomaraswamy

Coomarswamy is now known for his work on the history of Indian and Ceylonese art, culture and philosophy, however he originally trained as a geologist. The Archives holds two volumes of offprints, reports, letters and manuscripts compiled by Coomaraswamy on the geology of Ceylon [now Sri Lanka] dating from 1847 to 1908. Also includes a set of 412 lantern slides mostly of geological features of Europe and Ceylon, 1890s to 1900s, which are likely in part to have belonged to Coomaraswamy as around half were either photographed by him or his wife or reflect his interests at the time.  

Mike Coward (1945-2003)

Mike Coward120 field notebooks and one folder of maps of the structural geologist Mike Coward, dating between 1964 to 1993. Includes volumes covering his undergraduate work in Iceland and Canada, his PhD work in South Uist, Scotland, and his later research of the Moine Thrust system in NW Scotland, his work in the Himalayas, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia.

Lewis Leigh Fermor (1898-1950)

L Fermor

Personal papers, natural history notebooks and diaries of Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor, 1898-1950, with a particular focus on his early career at the Geological Survey of India, 1902-1908. 

The contents of his first diary, covering his first two field seasons in India, can be found on our Fermor exhibition pages.

Archibald Geikie (1835-1924)

Archibald GeikieCorrespondence with Sir Roderick Murchison and other scientific figures, 1855-1900, as well as two scrapbook albums of photographs and other ephemera relating to Geikie's trips to America and Russia, Italy & Greece in 1897. Geikie also served two terms as President, so there will be material relating to his activities within the Society.

George Bellas Greenough (1778-1855)

G B Greenough

Greenough was one of the thirteen founders of the Society and served as President three times, so the Archives holds a large number of items relating to his activities. The most significant material comes from the Greenough bequest, donated to the Society on his death in 1855. The collection comprises Greenough's notes, maps, sections, letters and annotated volumes on geological subjects, 1758-1850s.

Major Arthur Greig (1893-1989)

Arthur Greig thumbnail

Nine field maps of the Western Front, 1910-1918, relating to Greig's military service in the First World War with the London Scottish Battalion, 1914-1919.

Frederic William Harmer (1835-1923)


Annotated field maps of East Anglia made during his research into glacial deposits in the south east of England, in collaboration with Searles Valentine Wood Jnr, [1862-1872].

Leonard Hawkes (1891-1981) 

Leonard Hawkes

160 letters to Hawkes from 106 correspondents, including Edward Bullard and Arthur Holmes, mostly on petrological topics, 1914-1964. Also: Hawkes' application for the readership in geology at Bedford College, with testimonials, 1920-1921; manuscript and typescript lectures and reports on Icelandic and Javanese geology, 1934-1937; cuttings, letters and photographs relating to Hawkes' visit to China, 1954; papers concerning the formation of the International Union of Geological Sciences, 1959-1960.

James Hutton (1726-1797)

James Hutton

James Hutton was never a member of the Society, his death predating its formation by 10 years. 

The Archives, however, holds six chapters of Hutton's manuscript for his 'Theory of the Earth', [c.1795], which was donated to the Society by Leonard Horner in 1856.

William Hutton (1797-1860) 

Material on Hutton's research into the geology of the north of England, including: two drawings of Coal Measure plants from the Northumberland and Durham coal-field, [1827]; draft of paper 'On the Stratiform Basalt associated with the Carboniferous formation of the North of England' accompanied by 12 ink sketches of sections, [1831]; nine letters to Roderick Impey Murchison, 1829-1834; three letters relating to fossils sent by Hutton to the Society's Museum, 1827-[1830].

Ted Irving (1927-2014) 

Ted IrvingField and research notebooks and correspondence, 1949-2013, covering the scientific career of Ted Irving, principally in the field of palaeomagnetics and its application in proving continental drift.

Bryan Lovell (1942-) 

LovellPapers and research, 1963-2024, covering the academic and industry career of Bryan Lovell, notably his work on turbidites and contourites, pulsing mantle plumes and advocacy for the recognition of the human-induced climate change, particularly in association with the oil industry.

John MacCulloch (1773-1835)

John MacCulloch

As well as being a geologist, MacCulloch was a talented artist. The Archives holds a significant number of his drawings, prints and paintings, mostly showing geological features and landscapes around Britain, 1807-[1835].

William Archibald Macfadyen (1893-1985)


Notebooks, data cards, reports and correspondence (1948-1971) of Britain's first professional geoconservationist, relating to his work for the Nature Conservancy surveying potential geoconservation sites around the country that could be designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) or National Nature Reserves (NNR).

Dan McKenzie (1942-)

Dan McKenzie

Working papers, notes and correspondence, 1963 to the present day, covering the scientific career of Dan McKenzie, one of Britain’s greatest living geologists. The collection notably includes McKenzie's work on plate tectonics, continental deformation, sedimentary basins, mantle convection and melt generation within the Earth and Venus.
James Mitchell (1787-1844)

Mitchell index

Although writing prolifically on the geology of the south east of England, very few of Mitchell's papers appeared in the pages of the Society's journals. His work, however, survives in five volumes of manuscript notes and observations entitled 'Geological researches round London', which were made by Mitchell principally on the geology and botany of London and the Thames Valley, [1832-1840].

Charles Moore (1815-1881)

Charles Moor

Material mostly relating to Moore's researches on the geology and palaeontology of Somerset and Wiltshire, including lecture notes, reports, papers and scientific correspondence, 1849-1881. Also letters and cuttings relating to the meetings of the British Association, 1863-1869; letters and lists concerning the subscription fund for the purchase of the Moore Museum collection, 1882-1883; and notes by Henry Hoyte Winwood relating to his memoir of Charles Moore, 1870-1913.

Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871)

One of the larger historical collections in the Archives, the series notably contains notes, proofs, illustrations and maps on Murchison's research and publications on: the Silurian system, 1833-1858; the geology of Russia, 1840-1844; the Alps, Apennines and Carpathians, 1847-1850; and the geology of Scotland, 1858-1859. Also: 2,430 letters, from Murchison's social and scientific acquaintances, 1808-1871; 165 field notebooks and diaries on the geology of Europe, 1814-1869; 26 volumes of Murchison's autobiographical journal, [c. 1865]; and five field books belonging to his wife Charlotte Murchison covering England, Wales, Italy, France, Germany and Switzerland, 1816-1852.

Sir Joseph Prestwich (1812-1896)

Material covering Prestwich's studies into the geology and palaeontology of England, Scotland and France, notably: 50 field notebooks 1832-1890; geological notes, [1861]; and maps and geological sections, [1809-1890s]. Also letters to Charles Moore, [1878]-1892, and Roderick Impey Murchison, 1865-1871.

Adam Sedgwick (1785-1873)

Two travel diaries from Sedgwick's tour through the continent of Europe, June to September 1816; and manuscripts of Sedgwick's papers on the geology of Britain, particularly north Wales, which were read and later published by the Society, 1843-1854. 

Also 301 letters to Roderick Impey Murchison, 1827-1869.

Robert Millner Shackleton (1909-2001)

R Shackleton

Field notebooks, maps, photographs and reports relating to the geology of Kenya, Ireland, Fiji and Britain, 1929-1995, notably Shackleton's work on the geology of Moel Hebog, North Wales, and the palaeolithic site of Olorgesailie, Kenya.

Alan Gilbert Smith (1937-2017) 

Alan Gilbert SmithWorking papers, field notes, photographs, correspondence and selected rock samples, 1955-2016, covering his scientific career. The collection includes Smith’s work on palaeocontinental reconstructions, notably his work on the ‘Bullard Fit’ (1963-1965), also his research into the ophiolites of Greece, [1970s-2001].

William Smith (1769-1839)

Maps, sections and reports on Smith's geological surveys of Britain, notably: geological colouring on 'A Map of Five Miles round the City of Bath...', 1799; table of strata in the vicinity of Bath, written to his dictation by Rev B Richardson, 1799; 'General map of strata found in England & Wales', 1801. 

Examples of his published maps, mostly from our Map Library, can be found in our Picture Library. An online exhibition, illustrated by the Society's Smith holdings, can be found on our William Smith exhibition pages.

Jethro Justinian Harris Teall (1849-1924)

Jethro J H Teall

Two scrapbooks of documents, newspaper cuttings and photographs collected by Sir Jethro Justinian Harris Teall and his wife Harriet, mostly relating to his career and family life, 1876-1926.

Frederick John Vine (1939-)currently undergoing cataloguing 

Fred VineResearch files, notebooks, diaries, photographs and correspondence, covering his entire academic and scientific career, from childhood onwards.  The collection notably includes Vine's work on seafloor spreading in the 1960s.

Janet Vida Watson (1923-1985)

Janet Watson

Papers relating to the life and work of Janet Vida Watson, first female President of the Society, principally notebooks and maps covering Watson's geological research in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, 1940s-1980s. 

Nathaniel John Winch (1768-1838)

Walbottle dyke

Drawings and sections of dykes made by Winch, comprising: plan of the dykes in Montagu Main Colliery, [1808]; sketches of sections showing dykes in Whitley Quarry and Walbottle Dean, [c. 1814]. Also letter to Thomas Webster describing a fossil plant found near Whitby, 1820.

Searles Valentine Wood, the younger (1830-1884)

S V Wood junior

Material relating to Wood's work on the glacial deposits of south east England, principally: illustrated manuscript, 'A memoir in explanation of the structure of the glacial and post glacial beds... in the Thames valley between London and the sea...', 1867; field maps of East Anglia and the Thames Valley, made during his research into glacial deposits in the south east of England latterly in collaboration with Frederic William Harmer, [1862-1881].

Charles Henry Lardner Woodd (1821-1893)

Charles Henry Lardner Woodd thumbnail

Woodd was elected a Fellow in 1846 but despite being a member until his death in 1893, never submitted a geological paper to the Society. 

However, he was a gifted artist, and the Society holds eight drawings of geological features around Cromarty and Assynt in Scotland from August 1847 when he appears to have been following in the footsteps of the famous Scottish geologist Hugh Miller (1802-1856). 

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