London Positivist Society / English Positivist Committee

Scope and Content

Minute books, account books and annual reports; correspondence (mainly of Henry Tompkins and Donald Fincham as Secretary), with members, with other Positivists, Humanists and Historians, and concerning the August Comte Memorial Trust; notes and papers by Henry Tompkins, including a short autobiography, addresses on positivist subjects, and notes on books he had read; other positivist writings, including pamphlets, reports and the text of talks; and various ephemera and pictures, including photographs of members, broadsheets and programmes, typescripts of correspondence between August Comte and George Lewes, and notes on the history of the Society.

Administrative / Biographical History

The London Positivist Society was established in 1867 by Richard Congreve. The Society appears to have concerned itself mainly with the application of positivism to political events. It produced pamphlets and wrote letters to the press protesting against such issues as the Irish Coercion Bill, the war in the Transvaal, the Empire in India, and religious tolerance. Its members also engaged in a series of public lectures to explain positivism to the general public, petitioned parliament, and attended conferences and meetings of positivists from around the world. The Society was renamed the English Positivist Committee in 1934.


This collection is arranged in 5 sections:
1. Minute books, 1878-1956.
2. Correspondence, 1884-1956.
3. Henry Tompkins' notes and papers, c1900-1954.
4. Other positivist writings, c1900-1958.
5. Various ephemera and pictures, 1840-1974.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Printed handlist and online catalogue available

Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on March 27, 2002

Conditions Governing Use


Geographical Names