James Hunter Harvey Pirie collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence to the leader of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904 William Speirs Bruce.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Hunter Harvey Pirie was born in Scotland in 1877. He was educated at Edinburgh University and graduated with a medical degree in 1902. He joined the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902-1904 (leader William Speirs Bruce) as medical officer, bacteriologist and geologist. He wintered at Laurie Island, South Orkney Islands, where a meteorological station (Omond House) was established by the expedition in 1903. He then joined the subsequent voyage to the Weddell Sea. Pirie published scientific reports on bacteriology, deep-sea deposits, the geology of Gough Island, and the geology and glaciology of the South Orkney Islands, contributing also to joint zoological papers, maps and reports.

On his return to Britain, Pirie took up private practice in Edinburgh, then joined the Colonial Medical Services in Kenya in 1913. After serving in the army in the First World War, he accepted the post of superintendent of the Routine Division of the South African Institute for Medical Research in Johannesburg in 1918, where he remained for the rest of his professional life. He died in South Africa on 27 September 1965.

Published work, The voyage of the Scotia, being a record of a voyage of exploration in the Antarctic Seas by Robert Cockburn Mossman, James Hunter Harvey Pirie, and Robert Neal Rudmose Brown, C. Hurst London (1906) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1902-1904 Bruce]


The correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Access Information

By appointment.

Some materials deposited at the Institute are NOT owned by the Institute. In such cases the archivist will advise about any requirements imposed by the owner. These may include seeking permission to read, extended closure, or other specific conditions.


Anyone wishing to consult material should ensure they note the entire MS reference and the name of the originator.

The term holograph is used when the item is wholly in the handwriting of the author. The term autograph is used when the author has signed the item.

Descriptions compiled by N. Boneham, Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Encyclopaedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans ed. Bernard Stonehouse, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2002) ISBN 0471986658 SPRI Library (7) and The discovery of Listeria Jim McLauchlin PHLS Microbiology Digest 1997 SPRI Library Pam 92[Pirie] and Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN 0521309034

Other Finding Aids

Clive Holland Manuscripts in the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, England - a catalogue, Garland Publishing New York and London (1982) ISBN 0824093941.

Additional finding aids are available at the Institute.

Conditions Governing Use

Copying material by photography, electrostat, or scanning device by readers is prohibited. The Institute may be able to provide copies of some documents on request for lodgement in publicly available repositories. This is subject to conservation requirements, copyright law, and payment of fees.

Copyright restrictions apply to most material. The copyright may lie outside the Institute and, if so, it is necessary for the reader to seek appropriate permission to consult, copy, or publish any such material. (The Institute does not seek this permission on behalf of readers). Written permission to publish material subject to the Institute's copyright must be obtained from the Director. Details of conditions and fees may be had from the Archivist.


Further accessions possible.