Archibald Geikie collection

Scope and Content

The collection comprises of correspondence by Geikie to both Robert Falcon Scott and his wife Kathleen regarding the British Antarctic Expedition, 1910-1913 (led by Scott).

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Geikie was born in Edinburgh in 1835. He was educated at Edinburgh High School and the University of Edinburgh. In 1855, he joined the Geological Survey of Scotland, becoming its director in 1867. Between 1871 and 1882, he was professor of geology and mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh, and from 1882 until his retirement in 1901, served as director general of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. Geikie did much to further the study of glacial deposits in Scotland and, in 1863, wrote an important paper for the Geological Society of Glasgow entitled Glacial Drift of Scotland. His numerous publications include Text-Book of Geology (1882), The Founders of Geology (1897), and Types of Scenery and Their Influence on Literature (1898).

Between 1908 and 1912, he served as president of the Royal Society in London and as president of the Geological Society of London from 1891 to 1892 and from 1906 to 1908. He was knighted in 1891 and died in Haslemere in 1924.

Published work, A long life's work, an autobiography by (Sir) Archibald Geikie, Macmillan, London (1924) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Geikie, A.] National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904, Magnetic observations, preface by Archibald Geikie, Royal Society, London (1909) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1901-1904], National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1904, Photographs, prefatory note by Archibald Geikie, Royal Society, London (1908) SPRI Library Shelf (7)91(08)[1901-1904]


The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient.

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Assistant Archivist with assistance from R. Stancombe and reference to Robert Keith Headland Antarctic Chronology, unpublished corrected revision of Chronological list of Antarctic expeditions and related historical events, (1 December 2001) Cambridge University Press (1989) ISBN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, 1922-1930, Oxford University Press London (1937) and Slider search

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.