We recently acquired a number of interesting geology-related items via the Cockburn Geology Museum.
The Murchison Chair of Geology was instituted with the Faculty of Arts (there was then no Faculty of Science) in 1871. Archibald Geikie held the Chair until 1882 and was succeeded by his brother James, Archibald having been appointed as Director of the British Geological Survey. James went on to become Dean of the Faculty of Science (instituted in 1893) and retired in 1914.
Archibald’s papers in particular contain a large portion of correspondence with many well-known scientists of the period. Amongst this recent addition there are further letters from individuals including Alfred Russel Wallace (shown), Thomas Henry Huxley and Joseph Dalton Hooker.
We also have further Sir Charles Lyell papers, including the poster shown here and numerous lecture texts from the 1840s. We speculate that both the Geikie and Lyell material strayed from the main collections of their papers prior to these coming into our custody. As such these recent additions are especially welcome.
Photographs of staff and students of the department also feature, some with names, others without. This intriguing photo shows two ladies somewhat overshadowed by the landscape. Given the period, we have speculated whether they may have been the wives of academics rather than students, although women were already making inroads into the University.