Patrick Geddes collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Geddes to the polar explorer William Speirs Bruce.

Administrative / Biographical History

Patrick Geddes was born in 1854 in Ballater, Aberdeenshire. He was educated at Perth Academy before studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley and zoology under Henri de Lacaze-Duthiers. From 1877, he acted successively as demonstrator of physiology at University College, London, demonstrator of zoology at Aberdeen University and demonstrator of botany at Edinburgh University. Ill health restricted his career as a natural scientist so he turned instead to social analysis, applying his scientific methodology to the processes of economic and social change. From 1889 until his resignation in 1919, he held a part-time post as professor of botany at University College, Dundee, devoting his spare time to urban and regional planning. In 1904, his influential report 'City Development, a Study of Parks, Gardens and Culture Institutes' was published, and from 1911, his Cities and Town Planning Exhibition was shown in Britain, Europe and India.

From 1914 to 1924, he lived mainly in India, holding the chair of civics and sociology at Bombay University between 1920 and 1923. In 1924, he settled in Montpellier, where he established the Scots College. He was knighted in 1932 and died at Montpellier in the same year.


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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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 and Dictionary of National Biography, 1931-1940, with an index covering the years 1901-1940 in one alphabetical series, Oxford University Press London (1950) and Dundee University and Who was who, 1929-1940, Adam and Charles Black London (1947)

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.