Royal Asiatic Society Richard Burton Memorial Medal

Scope and Content

This archive contains papers pertaining to the inauguration and awarding of the Sir Richard Burton Medal – On 12 April 1921 the Council of the RAS agreed to found a Richard Burton memorial lecture in commemoration, that year, of the 100th anniversary of Burton's birth. A fund was established to finance the lecture and by 1923, £60 had been subscribed. It was decided in March 1923 that part of this would be used to fund the Burton Medal.

The Papers includes:

  • Correspondence
  • Administrative documents
  • Printed materials including newspaper articles
  • Examples of the Medal
  • Photographs

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland was founded by the eminent Sanskrit scholar Sir Henry Thomas Colebrooke on the 15th March 1823. It received its Royal Charter from King George IV on the 11th August 1824 'for the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia'. It continues as a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas.

The Sir Richard Burton Medal – On 12 April 1921 the Council of the RAS agreed to found a Richard Burton memorial lecture in commemoration, that year, of the 100th anniversary of Burton's birth. A fund was established to finance the lecture and by 1923, £60 had been subscribed. It was decided in March 1923 that part of this would be used to fund the Burton Medal. This would be awarded to the person chosen to deliver the lecture, which was to deal with Burton, his travels or some suitable subject of exploration. The presentation and the lecture would take place triennially. The medal was designed in 1924 by Pinches, to be cast in silver and gilded. In practice those chosen to give the Burton lecture were expected to have undertaken exploration and research in the East, and more particularly in close association with local people, or in difficult circumstances. it has been awarded to:

  • 1925 - Harry St John Bridger Philby (1885-1960)
  • 1928 - Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael (1882-1967)
  • 1931 - Bertram Sidney Thomas (1892-1950)
  • 1934 - Dame Freya Madeline Stark (1893-1993)
  • 1937 - Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson (1884-1940)
  • 1940 - Sir John Bagot Glubb (1897-1986)
  • 1943 - William Harold Ingrams (1897-1973)
  • 1947 - Colonel David Lockhart Robertson (1876-1962) and Mrs Emily Overend Lorimer (1881-1949)
  • 1952 - Miss Gertrude Caton-Thompson (1888-1985)
  • 1963 - Cecil John Edmonds (1889-1979)
  • 1966 - Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger
  • 1969 - Brigadier Stephen Hemsley Longrigg (1893-1979)
  • 1973 - Professor Mary Boyce (1920-2006)
  • 1978 - William George Archer (1907-1979) and Hugh Trevor Lambrick (1904-1982)
  • 1981 - Professor Robert Bertram Serjeant (1915-1993)
  • 1992 - Mrs Doreen Ingrams (1906-1997) and Miss Beatrice Eileen de Cardi (1914-2016)
  • 1998 - Professor Simon Everard Digby (1932-2010)
  • 2004 - Professor David Llewellyn Snellgrove (1920-2016)
  • 2009 - Ralph Pinder Wilson (1919-2008)
  • 2014 - Professor Dame Caroline Humphrey (1943- )

Arrangement

The material was divided into series, one for the initial inauguration of the medal, and further series for each year the medal was awarded. Thus:

  • RAS BMM/1 - Inauguration of the Medal
  • RAS BMM/2 - 1925 - Harry St John Bridger Philby
  • RAS BMM/3 - 1928 - Sir Harold Alfred MacMichael
  • RAS BMM/4 - 1931 - Bertram Sidney Thomas
  • RAS BMM/5 - 1934 - Dame Freya Madeline Stark
  • RAS BMM/6 - 1937 - Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson
  • RAS BMM/7 - 1940 - Sir John Bagot Glubb
  • RAS BMM/8 - 1943 - William Harold Ingrams
  • RAS BMM/9 - 1947 - Colonel David Lockhart Robertson Lorimer and Emily Overend Lorimer
  • RAS BMM/10 - 1952 - Gertrude Caton-Thompson
  • RAS BMM/11 - 1963 - Cecil John Edmonds
  • RAS BMM/12 - 1966 - Sir Wilfred Patrick Thesiger
  • RAS BMM/13 - 1969 - Brigadier Stephen Hemsley Longrigg
  • RAS BMM/14 - 1972 - Professor Mary Boyce
  • RAS BMM/15 - 1978 - William George Archer and Hugh Trevor Lambrick
  • RAS BMM/16 - 1981 - Professor Robert Bertram Serjeant
  • RAS BMM/17 - 1992 - Doreen Ingrams and Beatrice de Cardi
  • RAS BMM/18 - 1998 - Professor Simon Everard Digby
  • RAS BMM/19 - 2004 - Professor David Llewellyn Snellgrove
  • RAS BMM/20 - 2009 - Ralph Pinder-Wilson (1919-2008)
  • RAS BMM/21 - 2014 - Professor Dame Caroline Humphrey

Conditions Governing Access

Mostly open. Current material (the last twenty years) is closed for confidentiality reasons. It may be available in a redacted form to researchers. Please contact the archivist. nc@royalasiaticsociety.org The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

These are part of the institutional records of the Royal Asiatic Society which have been accumulated throughout its history. However there has not been a systematic keeping of records throughout the history of the Royal Asiatic Society and therefore some occasions of the Medal's conferment have few records.

Archivist's Note

This material was partly catalogued by Tom O'Connor, RAS volunteer, in 2018 and completed by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2019.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted for open records upon completion of a copyright declaration from, and with respect to current UK copyright law.

Custodial History

These form part of the institutional records of the Society and have therefore been collected through its history.

Related Material

Minutes of the Council Meetings and the General Meetings provide additional information about the conferment of the medal, as does the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Bibliography

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