Zuckerman Archive: Royal Society

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 SZ/RS
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      12 boxes; 27 files; 2 metres

Scope and Content

File SZ/RS/3 is a slim file, chiefly of correspondence, relating to papers submitted for publication in the Society's Proceedings or Philosophical Transactions on which Zuckerman was asked to submit an opinion. On occasion he suggested submission to other publications than those of the Royal Society.

Much of the content of File SZ/RS/4 Sectional Committee 7 (Zoological Committee), 1945-1969, relates to candidates for election to the Fellowship.

The contents of SZ/RS/5 Government Grants Board G, 1945-1951, 1960, 1983, consist of printed lists of applications and routine correspondence, chiefly notifications of meetings.

File SZ/RS/6 is another slim file, and relates to the establishment of the Cultural Relations Committee in March 1945. Zuckerman was a founder member of the Committee, which was chaired by Sir Henry Tizard. The file contains copies of the minutes of the first two meetings (31 May 1945 and 4 October 1945) and is complementary to parts of Series SZ/TQ.

Sub-file SZ/RS/11/2, [Committee on General Candidates] Documents, 1965-68, includes a biographical sketch of Dr I.H. Usmani and a selection of his publications.

File SZ/RS/14 relates to the activities of an ad hoc committee set up by Council to put forward a scheme for discussion with the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, for participation in a joint (French, UK, USA) study of the coelacanth, if considered appropriate [Document CC/4(68)]. Zuckerman was a member of the Committee from its creation until 1968, but was rarely able to attend meetings. He did try to persuade the Committee to extend its remit to other living fossils but the Committee considered that Latimeria (coelacanth) was a special case.

File SZ/RS/15 is a slim file of correspondence relating to preparations for the Royal Society Empire Scientific Conference, July 9th - 20th, 1946. The conference events took place in London, Cambridge and Oxford, and included visits to a number of university departments and government research establishments. The file includes a calendar detailing the conference sessions, meetings, and visits.

File SZ/RS/16 is another slim file, of papers descriptive of the programme of events organised by the Society to celebrate (belatedly, due to wartime circumstances) the tercentenary of the birth of Sir Isaac Newton in 1642.

File SZ/RS/17 is a small file of papers relating to the Royal Society Scientific Information Conference, June 21st - July 2nd, 1948. This had been proposed by the Empire Scientific Conference of 1946, to bring together libraries, societies and institutions responsible for publishing, abstracting and information services, in order to examine the possibility of improvement in existing methods of collection, indexing and distribution of scientific literature and for the extension of existing abstracting services [letter to Fellows from the Secretaries of the Royal Society, 4 June 1948]. The file includes an agenda and programme for the conference, and its published report and recommendations.

File SZ/RS/18 consists chiefly of circulars and printed ephemera relating to the events organised to celebrate the tercentenary of the Society's foundation in 1660, and the associated fund-raising appeal.

File SZ/RS/19 relates to informal discussions between officers of the Royal Society and their opposite numbers from the National Academy of Sciences, Washington (NAS) in 1966 and 1967. These discussions had been initiated by Dr Frederick Seitz, President of the NAS, during a visit to the UK in 1965. Solly Zuckerman was invited to participate in the 1966 round of discussions, which were held in Washington in May of that year, but was unable to attend. He did, however, take part in the 1967 round, which was held in London. Topics discussed in 1966 covered international scientific organisations, postgraduate training in science and engineering, big and little science, relations between science academies and governments, movement of scientists between countries, assistance to developing countries, and scientific information. In 1967 the topics were: population; scientific work on islands (Aldabra, Fanning); international relations; applied research in industry; agriculture and medicine; the place of engineers; postgraduate training; the Brain Drain; and oceanology and marine pollution.

File SZ/RS/20 consists of typescript tables and a quantity of index cards, each bearing brief information on individual members of the Society. The purpose of this analysis of the membership is unclear. It could relate to Solly Zuckerman's activities as chairman of the Zoology Committee.

File SZ/RS/21 consists of copies of classified lists of its membership produced by the Society annually for the use of its officers, sectional committees and administrative staff.

File SZ/RS/22 is a small file of correspondence with Sir Alan Hodgkin, President of the Royal Society, relating to an appeal launched in 1974 to raise funds to replace income covenanted in the 1966 appeal. Solly Zuckerman was again canvassed to use his influence and contacts in support of the appeal.

File SZ/RS/24 consists of correspondence relating to a Royal Society Discussion Meeting on 30 September 1976 organised as part of the celebrations to mark the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Zoological Society of London. Prof. R.J. Harrison presided over the organising committee and the meeting. Solly Zuckerman was one of the organisers and chaired one of the sessions. He also wrote the preface to the published papers. A draft of his preface is in the file.

File SZ/RS/25 contains an assortment of pamphlets and reports published by the Royal Society. A quantity of printed ephemera, such as programmes of meetings and abstracts of lectures and discussion meetings, has been de-accessioned.

Sub-file SZ/RS/26/1 consists chiefly of a record of the proceedings of the Royal Society Club's annual Anniversary Meeting. From the correspondence in sub-file SZ/RS/26/3 there is evidence that the members' restaurant of London Zoo was an occasional and popular venue for meetings. The regular venue was the Athenaeum, the fare offered at which did not always elicit delight. Solly Zuckerman laid the blame on the RS Club's parsimony [letter to Sir Philip Magnus-Allcroft, 13 April 1971].

The 30 sub-files in File SZ/RS/27 Candidates for the Fellowship [proposed by SZ], 1946, 1950-1967, 1970, 1972, are:

  • SZ/RS/27/1 Professor E.C. Amoroso, 1955, 1957
  • SZ/RS/27/2 Dr J.R. Baker, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/3 Professor E.J.W. Barrington, 1965, 1967
  • SZ/RS/27/4 Dr R.E. Billingham, 1957-58
  • SZ/RS/27/5 Professor J. Dixon Boyd, 1955-56, 1958
  • SZ/RS/27/6 Professor C.J. Chester-Jones, 1955-58, 1962-63, 1970
  • SZ/RS/27/7 Professor W.E. Le Gros Clark, 1950
  • SZ/RS/27/8 Professor C.W. Emmens, 1953-56, 1959, 1961-64, 1967, 1972
  • SZ/RS/27/9 Dr D.J. Finney, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/10 Sir Francis Knowles, 1960-62, 1964-65
  • SZ/RS/27/11 Professor P.L. Krohn, 1960
  • SZ/RS/27/12 Professor L.S.B. Leakey, 1960
  • SZ/RS/27/13 Professor O.E. Lowenstein, 1954-55
  • SZ/RS/27/14 Dr L. Harrison Matthews, 1951, 1954
  • SZ/RS/27/15 Professor P.B. Medawar, 1947-48
  • SZ/RS/27/16 Dr T.C.S. Morrison-Scott, 1962-64, 1966
  • SZ/RS/27/17 Dr R.L. Noble, 1958
  • SZ/RS/27/18 Dr W. Osman Hill, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/19 Dr H.W. Parker, 1953-55
  • SZ/RS/27/20 Dr G. Pontecorvo, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/21 Dr E.S. Russell, 1946
  • SZ/RS/27/22 The Rt. Hon. Viscount Samuel, 1958
  • SZ/RS/27/23 Professor S. Sunderland, 1952, 1954-55
  • SZ/RS/27/24 Sir Landsborough Thomson, 1961
  • SZ/RS/27/25 Dr N. Tinbergen, 1954
  • SZ/RS/27/26 Professor C.H. Waddington, 1946
  • SZ/RS/27/27 Dr H. Waring, 1956, 1958
  • SZ/RS/27/28 Dr A.G.M. Weddell, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/29 Professor G.M. Wyburn, 1955
  • SZ/RS/27/30 Professor J.M. Yoffey, 1953-54, 1957

In most of the cases documented in these files Zuckerman appears to have been the prime mover in nominating the candidate and gathering evidence and support for the nomination, an exception being the file on L.S.B. Leakey. Series SZ/GEN also contains correspondence about candidates for the Fellowship. Correspondence and papers relating to the nominations of Professor Charles Oxnard and Lord Rothschild are in their files in Series SZ/GEN.

Administrative / Biographical History

Solly Zuckerman was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1943, an honour that he regarded as equalled only by his appointment to the Order of Merit. Until his official retirement, Zuckerman was active in the business of the Society, and until the end of his life he was active in nominating and supporting candidates for the Fellowship.

Zuckerman served as a member of the Council of the Royal Society for the periods 1945-46, 1948-1950, and 1965-1967, and on the Sectoral Committee on Zoology from 1946-1949, 1952-1955, 1961-1965, being its Chairman, 1953-55, 1962-1965. He served on the Information Services Committee from 1950 until its dissolution in 1952 but does not appear to have attended many meetings. He also served on the Library Committee from 1949 to 1955, but again does not appear to have attended many meetings.

Zuckerman was a member of Government Grants Board G from 1946 to 1950. The task of the Boards was to disburse the Society's Parliamentary grant in aid of scientific investigations. Board G dealt with applications in the areas of zoology, comparative anatomy, and anthropology.

The Consultative Committee on Co-operation with Printing Organisations, which Zuckerman chaired and to which File SZ/RS/9 relates, was set up at the end of 1949 To maintain understanding and co-operation between scientific publishing organisations and the representatives printing organisations [Document PO/1(49), Terms of Reference and Membership]. The Committee reported to the British Federation of Master Printers, the Printing and Kindred Trades Federation, and the Council of the Royal Society. The establishment of the Committee was a consequence of concerns expressed at the Royal Society Information Conference, 1949, and it was required to keep the Information Services Committee informed of its activities [op. cit.]. Involved as he was with publication of various scientific journals, especially those of the Society for Endocrinology, the business of the Committee was close to Zuckerman's heart. He was particularly active in promoting the adoption by scientific publishers of Pro-printing, a photolitho process in which the original text was produced on an electric typewriter and then pasted up. In 1952, at the urging of the Committee, the Society set up a small Pro-printing unit to undertake commissions for both journals and monographs from scientific publishers, especially other learned societies. The principal matters that exercised the Committee were the length of time between submission of a text and its publication, and the cost of publication, and the risk to quality in any technique or procedure designed to address either or both of these issues. Discussions were held with the government on the possibility of grant aid to learned societies to enable them to keep publication costs down without going into deficit. Worries were also expressed about the possible effect on circulation, and therefore income, if subscriptions were raised. Complementary to File SZ/RS/9 are Series SZ/SE (Society and Journal of Endocrinology) and File SZ/BU/11, relating to proposals to set up a Birmingham University Press.

The chief task of the Scientific Publications Board, to which File SZ/RS/10 refers, was to disburse grants in aid for scientific publication. The Ad hoc Committee on the Economics of Learned Journals of the Scientific Publications Board was set up in the light of the Board's observation that some societies which regularly made applications for grants... never appeared to be doing anything to help themselves or to take account of the changing value of money [minutes of the Scientific Publications Board, 9 July 1957]. Its terms of reference were to obtain information on the economics of publishing learned journals... with a view to such information being made available for the advice of societies which might desire it [op. cit.]. It was also charged with drafting a policy statement for the guidance of the Board in allocating grants. Solly Zuckerman served on the Scientific Publications Board, 1954-1958, and on the Ad hoc Committee on the Economics of Learned Journals.

Zuckerman was appointed to the Committee on General Candidates, with which File SZ/RS/11 is concerned, in 1965 and served for one year. The purpose of the Committee was to make recommendations to Council on nominations to the General Fellowship of the Society.

The Appeal Committee, to which File SZ/12 refers, was set up in 1965 under the chairmanship of the President of the Royal Society, Sir Patrick Blackett, to consider ways and means of raising the 1m needed to convert its new premises in Carlton House Terrace and replace income from Tercentenary Appeal covenants. Solly Zuckerman joined the Committee in 1966.

The International Relations Committee, to which File SZ/RS/13 relates, was established in 1966 under the chairmanship of the Society's Foreign Secretary and Solly Zuckerman was a founder member, serving until 1968. The Committee superseded a large existing committee with the same title, the purpose of which had been to deal with the affairs of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and which was henceforth to be called the British National Committee for ICSU. The new International Relations Committee was to deal with general policy in international relations, co-ordinating the work of the British National Committee for ICSU, and the Society's committees on Foreign Exchanges, Overseas Visiting Professorships, Royal Society Leverhulme Scholarships, Developing Countries, Pacific Science, UNESCO, and the Naples Zoological Station.

In November 1978 the Royal Society was invited by the Commission on Energy and the Environment to submit evidence to the Commission on a study of the longer term environmental implications of the extraction, production and use of coal. The Ad hoc Group on the Coal Study of the Commission on Energy and the Environment, to which File SZ/RS/23 refers, was set up to prepare the Society's submission to the Commission. Solly Zuckerman was a member of the Group, which was chaired by Dr T.M. Sugden. The Commission itself had been appointed by the Secretaries of State for Energy, Environment, Scotland, and Wales, and was chaired by Lord Flowers.

The Royal Society Club, to which File SZ/RS/26 refers, is a dining club with a fixed number of ordinary members (in 1981 this was set at 90), all of whom must be Fellows of the Royal Society, and an ex-officio membership consisting of the President of the Society, The Vice-Presidents, the Treasurer, the Society's two Secretaries and its Foreign Secretary, the Astronomer Royal, and the honorary members. Candidates for the ordinary membership required three proposers from among the membership. SollyZuckerman was elected an ordinary member in 1954 and became an honorary member, by virtue of 25 years membership, in 1979. Membership lapsed if a member failed to attend at least one meeting per year; Zuckerman had difficulty in meeting this requirement on occasion.


  • SZ/RS/1 General Correspondence, 1944-1968, 1970-1994 [in 3 sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/2 Council, 1945-1967 [in four sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/3 Papers Refereed, 1948 -1959, 1961, 1963-64, 1967
  • SZ/RS/4 Sectional Committee 7 (Zoological Committee), 1945-1968 [in eight sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/5 Government Grants Board G, 1945-1951 [in two sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/6 Cultural Relations Committee, 1945
  • SZ/RS/7 Information Services Committee, 1949-1952 [in two sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/8Library Committee, 1949-1956 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/9 Consultative Committee on Co-operation with Printing Organisations, 1949-1955 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/10 Scientific Publications Board, 1954-59 [in four sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/11 Committee on General Candidates, 1965-68 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/12 Appeal Committee, 1965-67 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/13 International Relations Committee, 1966-68 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/14 Coelacanth ad hoc Committee, 1967-68
  • SZ/RS/15 Empire Scientific Conference, 1946
  • SZ/RS/16 Newton Tercentenary, 1946
  • SZ/RS/17 Scientific Information Conference, 1948
  • SZ/RS/18 Tercentenary Celebrations 1660-1960, 1958-1960
  • SZ/RS/19 Royal Society/ National Academy of Sciences Discussions, 1966-67
  • SZ/RS/20 Fellows aged under 65, 1956
  • SZ/RS/21 Classified Lists of Fellows, 1948-49, 1953, 1962-67, 1972-73
  • SZ/RS/22 Appeal, 1974
  • SZ/RS/23 Ad hoc Group on the Coal Study of the Commission on Energy and the Environment, 1973, 1978-1980 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/24 Turning Points in Zoological Science Discussion Meeting 1976, 1976-77
  • SZ/RS/25 Miscellaneous Publications, 1948-49, 1958-59, 1962-63, 1967-1970, 1974, 1979
  • SZ/RS/26 Royal Society Club, 1954 -1986 [in three sub-files]
  • SZ/RS/27 Candidates for the Fellowship [proposed by SZ], 1946, 1950-1967, 1970, 1972 [in 30 sub-files]

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