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Description archivistique
Papers of Sir James Frazer
FRAZ · Fonds · 1745-1941

The papers consist of correspondence, writings, notebooks, diaries, music manuscripts, printed material, and photographs which document the life and work of social anthropologist and classical scholar Sir James George Frazer, and to a lesser extent that of his wife, the writer and translator Lilly Frazer (known after June 1914 as Lady Frazer), who acted as his manager and press agent. The collection spans the years 1872-1941, but the bulk of the material dates from the 1920s and 1930s.

Research strengths include Frazer’s writings in the 1920s and 1930s, social anthropology, folklore, classical scholarship, British and French publishing history, and Trinity College academic and social life. The bulk of the collection dates from the last two decades of his life, and therefore contains material from a time well after his reputation was established. While there are letters from people with anthropological data, the collection does not include the vast amount of data and answers to his anthropological questionnaires that he presumably possessed when compiling the first edition of 'The Golden Bough'. Very often letters with anthropological data are in the form of fan letters, whose writers wish to correct or add to information in one of his books.

The papers are arranged in small and repeated groupings, with alphabetical runs of letters followed by writings and printed material, returning to more alphabetical runs of letters featuring many of the same correspondents as the previous runs, more writings, and research materials, and on. The searching abilities of the database will be useful to find all materials by a person or on a subject.

The correspondence is almost entirely incoming, with just 29 original letters from James Frazer (in FRAZ/1) and 15 typed copies of his letters (in FRAZ/1-4, 16, 25 and 29) and twelve original letters, a draft and four typed copies by Lilly Frazer (in FRAZ/1, 3, 17, 31 and 33) in a collection of over 2300 letters evenly divided between the two. In addition to runs of alphabetically arranged letters, there are also groups of letters on specific topics featuring many of the same correspondents. Letters may also be found with writings and research notes elsewhere in the collection.

The correspondence spans the years 1872-1941, however, the earliest dated letter to or from James or Lilly is dated January 1888. There are a limited number of letters from this early period. Many letters addressed to Lilly concern business related to James’ works, and some letters written in the late 1930s are addressed to her to be read aloud to him due to his increasing blindness.

Anthropologists appearing in the collection include L. C. G. Clarke, Edward Clodd, A. C. Haddon, J. H. Hutton, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, Bronisław Malinowski, R. R. Marett, John Roscoe, and Sir Grafton Elliot Smith. There are only three letters from Sir Walter Baldwin Spencer, but 16 from his daughter Dorothy Young. Classical scholars in the collection include A. B. Cook, F. M. Cornford, A. E. Housman, J. P. Postgate, Sir William Ridgeway, and H. J. Rose. Principal editors and publishers in the collection include James Loeb, George Macmillan, T. E. Page, and W. H. D. Rouse. Other principal correspondents are David Lindsay, the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres; and Sir Joseph Thomson and his wife Rose Thomson. Many of Lilly's correspondents write to her in her native French. Her principal correspondents include François Ceccaldi (many of them written from his native Corsica), Noémi Psichari, the daughter of Ernest Renan; translator Pierre Sayn, and James’ friend W. J. Lewis.

Writings by Sir James Frazer comprise 21 boxes, with additional writings to be found in the notebooks in FRAZ/35. The work represented by the most amount of material in the collection is Frazer’s edition of Ovid’s 'Fasti', published by Macmillan in 1929, and by Loeb in 1931. The papers do not include notes for the preparation of the original 'Golden Bough' nor do they include the manuscript. There are, however, three notebooks containing notes relating to the second and third editions (FRAZ/35/9-11). Frazer’s own copies of the different editions of 'The Golden Bough' are housed separately in the printed books Adversaria collection and carry numerous annotations.

Printed material consists of press cuttings, pamphlets, offprints, and small books. An album of cuttings of reviews of the first edition of 'The Golden Bough' may be found at FRAZ/22/4. Ten small books and pamphlets have also been catalogued into the Trinity Library printed materials catalogue but remain housed with the papers. The music manuscripts are housed in FRAZ/8 and consist of scores composed by Stuart Young setting Sir James’ poems to music. Margaret Rose’s operetta libretto based on Lady Frazer’s story 'The Singing Wood' was similarly set to music (the libretto at FRAZ/32/266 and the score FRAZ/8/1/5).

The travel diaries and many of the notebooks were previously housed on Trinity College Library shelves with printed books and have been reunited with the collection, along with 13 volumes and a small number of loose notes returned from the Haddon Library of Archaeology and Anthropology. The photographs in the collection include 16 photographic prints of sites in Greece possibly taken by Sidney George Owen, two of them dated June 1906 (FRAZ/21/67-82).

Sans titre
FRAZ/1/99-100 · Pièce · 19 Mar. and 14 June 1926
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

44 Carlos Street, Port of Spain, Trinidad B.W.I. - In the first letter, he encloses a letter [not present] he has submitted to 'Nature' about a perceived snub of Frazer by Malinowski in his article of 26 Feb. 1926. States he has been collecting survivals of superstitions and native customs in Trinidad. In the second letter he apologises for annoying Frazer, says 'Nature' has declined to print the letter but has sent it on to Malinowski, to his dismay. Explains Frazer's influence on him and discusses the nature of the work he has done in Trinidad.

FRAZ/2/99-100 · Pièce · May-Sept. 1927
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

Bibliothèque de la Ville de Rouen - On 21 May, states he has received from M. Ceccaldi a copy of 'The Gorgon's Head' for the library, and thanks him; expresses his pleasure that Frazer has been made a member of l'Academie de Rouen. On 12 September, has received via M. Ceccaldi 'L'avocat du Diable', 'Les Dieux du ciel', and 'Tabou et les périls de l'âme' and thanks him.

FRAZ/3/99 · Pièce · 3 Nov. 1932
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

Willoughton, Lincoln - Sends a copy of her article about a custom in Lincolnshire ['An Account of the Haxey Hood Game'], says it is 'quite pagan', asks what Frazer makes of it; describes Wroot, where the procession started, an insular place with a boulder they believe was thrown there by Tommy Lindholme, a wizard.

Letter from Jacques Lion to Lady Frazer
FRAZ/33/99 · Pièce · 30 Dec. 1925
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

9 rue Verniquet, Paris - Sends her brochures in which he has indicated Sir James' support; if Professor Mazon sends him the volumes, he hopes to send them the Bourdelle portraits; Docteur Couchoud has returned full of interest in Palestine.

FRAZ/16/99 · Pièce · 20 Aug. 1926
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

Training College, Trivandrum - Is an admirer from an area full of superstition, where sacrifices are made on the foundations of a dam, prayers for rain are at taxpayer expense, the Maharajah is weighed in gold; someone saw him reading "a study in magic and religion" and believed he was a magician; Christians have not heard any criticism of their religion; asks that cheaper editions be published so more could read him.

Accompanied by the envelope, redirected from Liverpool to Trinity College.

FRAZ/25/98-103 · Pièce · 1931-1933
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

Two corrected manuscript drafts, the earlier of which is entitled 'History, co-operative and individualistic' (Item 98), the later one dated October 1931 (Item 99); typescript, corrected, accompanied by an envelope for the manuscript and the typescript (Item 100); one proof for publication in 'Mélanges Gustave Glotz' corrected, dated 17 Nov. (Item 101) and the final copy (Item 102); printed copy of the French translation by Léon Chouville (Item 103).

FRAZ/31/98-102 · Pièce · 1932-[1941?]
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

3 cartoons, including one of Lloyd George from 'Punch' April 6 1932 (Item 98), and two of Adolf Hitler (Items 100 and 101); and one article about the revival of reading during World War II (Item 102). Also, 'Review of the Year 1939' in 'The Times' dated 1 January 1940 (Item 99).

Letter from Eleanor Hull to Lady Frazer
FRAZ/33/97 · Pièce · 21 Dec. [1931?]
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

13 Marine Terrace, Penzance, Cornwall - Hope they are not suffering from the horrible fogs of London, has escaped to Cornwall, which she finds an interesting county; seldom gets into town but follows with interest what is going on.

FRAZ/18/97 · Pièce · 31 Oct. 1932
Fait partie de Papers of Sir James Frazer

22 Primrose Hill Rd., London, N.W.3. - Is pleased to hear good news about Frazer's eyes and grieved to hear of the many operations; her husband [John Maxwell Image] says Lady Frazer makes the only good drumsticks he's ever been served, also commenting, 'I shall be glad when women get the vote, for then I shall sometimes get the wing of a chicken'; she has an article in 'Punch' called 'Burr-Burr', about telephoning from the Zoo.