Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay): Branford papers

Scope and Content

Correspondence between various members of the Society, notes, reviews, lectures, photographs, draft articles, Mrs Branford's papers, notebooks, press cuttings, Sociological society papers including minutes, reports, agenda, correspondence, cash books, committee papers, accounts; Le Play House papers including minutes, accounts, cash books,1864-1953.

Administrative / Biographical History

Following the dissolution of the Institute of Sociology in 1955, the University College of North Staffordshire (now Keele University) was gifted the Institute's Journal (the Sociological Review), library and archive collection. Whilst most of the Institute's library (c.15,000 volumes) was incorporated into the College's library, most of the archive material was placed in store. In the summer of 2000, a researcher from Heriot-Watt University began working on the Institute material, a process that involved concentrating all the material in one store-room, and opening for the first time hundreds of parcels containing archive material. The resource has now been named the LePlay Collection.

Victor Branford was the first Honorary Secretary of the Sociological Society(later the Institute of Sociology ). A banker and chartered accountant he had attended Patrick Geddes' Summer Schools in Edinburgh in the 1890s. He devoted his life to publicising Geddes and the LePlay School of Sociology (Geddes was a pioneer of the town planning movement of the 1900s and was a founder member of the Sociological Society). In 1920 the Branfords bought the remainder of a lease of a house in Westminster, London, which became the headquarters of the Sociological Society (later the Institute of Sociology). The Branfords died between 1927 and 1932 leaving a bequest to the Institute in the form of a Trust.

Reference: Dorothea Farquharson, 'Dissolution of the Institute of Sociology', Sociological Review (New Series, Vol 3, 1955 ).


The Branford Papers are part of the papers of the Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay). Series include: personal papers, Institute of Sociology and LePlay House Trust papers. The papers are listed chronologically.

Access Information

There are no restrictions on access to these papers. Viewing is by prior appointment.

Acquisition Information

This collection was deposited at Keele after the dissolution of the Sociological Society in 1955

Other Finding Aids

A digitisation and cataloguing project of the Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay) is currently underway. The key aims of the Project are to create and deliver a digital catalogue for the Collection and to ensure its physical preservation.

Collection level descriptions also exist for the Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay) (GB 172 LP) and the Farquharson papers (GB 172 LPAF).

Authority records exist for Sociological Society (GB 152 AAR 1948), the Institute of Sociology (GB 152 AAR 1970), Victor Branford (GB 152 AAR 1947), and Alexander Farquharson (GB 152 AAR 1972).

Archivist's Note

The Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay) was formerly known as Le Play Collection.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this archive, apart from the requirements of copyright law.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

The following collections are constituent parts of the Foundations of Sociology Archive (LePlay): Sociological Society Archive; Le Play House Library; Le Play House Press Papers; Le Play Society Archive; Le Play House Archive; Civic Education League Archive; Regional Survey Movement Archive; Institute of Sociology Archive; Farquharson Archive (Alexander Farquharson and Dorothea Farquharson). For further information please contact Special Collections and Archives.