Papers and Correspondence of Sir Archibald Geikie (1835-1924)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The Papers and Correspondence of Sir Archibald Geikie include, at shelfmark Gen. 521-527, notes on raised beaches, notes on Arran and Skye, notes on the Sorby Research Fund, Geological Survey notes, lectures, correspondence with Murchison, and letters arranged alphabetically. At shelfmark Gen. 1425-1426 there is more correspondence arranged alphabetically.

At E2008.05 there are:

  • 2 sketch notebooks - 1892-1893 including sketch of Pentland Hills, and featuring data from west of Scotland; 1894- including Faeroes and west of Scotland
  • 1 notebook with notes for a lecture in Glasgow 21 July 1884, 'Types of Scottish scenery - their origin and influence'
  • 2 small coloured sketches - Perched blocks, Rhiconich; View of Old Faithful geysir, Yellowstone
  • 3 letters - Letter from James, his brother; letter from Prof. Judd; undated letter from J.W.Salter
  • 1 portrait repro.
  • Batch of exhibition captions

At E2008.50 there is a Photo Album of the Geikie Family. This was assembled in London, circa 1882-1887, and contains an index. On the front fly-leaf there is a hand-painted birthday card dated 16 December 1882. There are 38 x albumen and 1 x carbon prints.

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Geikie was born in Edinburgh on 28 December 1835. He was educated at the Royal High School in Edinburgh and at Edinburgh University. In 1854, Geikie joined the staff of the Geological Survey which was then under the directorship of Sir Roderick Impey Murchison. Largely through the influence of Murchison, he was admitted as a Fellow of the Royal Society, London, at the age of twenty-nine, and in 1867 he was appointed as the first Director of the Geological Survey of Scotland. In 1871 he became the first Murchison Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at Edinburgh University. Geikie became the foremost advocate of the fluvial theories of erosion which illustrated the physical interaction of flowing water and the natural channels of rivers and streams, and the processes behind the denudation of land surfaces. His works included The scenery of Scotland (1865), Life of Sir Roderick I. Murchison (1875), Outlines of field geology (1876), Text-book of geology (1882), The founders of geology (1897), and The ancient volcanoes of Great Britain (1897). Geikie was President of the Geological Society of London, 1891-92 and 1906-08, and President of the Royal Society 1908-13. He was knighted in 1891. Sir Archibald Geikie died at Haslemere, Surrey, on 10 November 1924.

Conditions Governing Access

Contact the repository for details

Other Finding Aids

An important finding aid is the alphabetical Index to Manuscripts held at Edinburgh University Library, Special Collections and Archives. Additions to the typed slips in sheaf binders were made until 1987.

Related Material

The Index to Manuscripts shows, at various shelfmarks, references to Archibald Geikie's lectures on geology taken down by another, letters, and photographs of illuminated address presented by students.