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Letters (A-F) to Sir James George Frazer

The seven boxes which comprise ADD.Ms.c.56-61 contain over 530 letters written to Sir James George Frazer, arranged by surname of correspondent. The letters date from 1886 to 1955, but the bulk date from 1900 to 1920, earlier than the closely related Sir James George Frazer Papers also at Trinity College Library. Many of the correspondents here are also represented by letters in the Sir James George Frazer Papers.

The letters document the life and work of social anthropologist and classical scholar Sir James George Frazer. Research strengths include Frazer's writings in the 1900s and 1910s, social anthropology, folklore, classical scholarship, Trinity College academic and social life, and the impact of World War I. There is evidence here of Frazer's support of anthropologists who wished to embark on expeditions, discussions of anthropological theory and classical scholarship, and discussions of books Frazer published during this period: the second and third editions of 'The Golden Bough', as well as 'Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship', 'Adonis, Attis, Osiris', 'Psyche's Task', 'Totemism and Exogamy', 'The Letters of William Cowper', 'The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead', 'The Essays of Joseph Addison', and 'Folk-Lore in the Old Testament'.

ADD.Ms.c.56 is the first box in the alphabetic sequence of letters, covering the surnames A-F. There are 99 letters in this box, as well as four other items catalogued as stand-alone items: two cuttings (Items 28 and 83), one offprint (Item 56), and a group of notes on Sutherlandshire Folklore (Item 92). This box contains the only letters from J. G. Frazer in this grouping: two letters and a postcard to Henry Jackson (Items 87-87b). There is one letter to Lilly Frazer, from Hermann Diels (Item 64). Most of the letters are from correspondents represented by one or two letters only, and the largest group of letters is thirteen from Edward Clodd (Items 9-21).

Frazer, Sir James George (1854-1941) Knight, social anthropologist and classical scholar

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Strafford House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk - Sends a copy of Lang's article 'Australian Marriage Systems' per [Andrew] Lang's request, concerning the primary nature of the social tie as the factor in exogamy; has seen Miss Jane Harrison, whose presence 'added to one's pleasure & profit'. The back of letter carries a note in pencil, 'Il y a une femme là qui écoute tout'. Envelope carries a note in pencil about engaging [servants?].

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - Thanks him for the copy of the translation of Apollodorus, and admires it; gives some information on the 'canker', a field-poppy in Suffolk dialect; is not working on anything at the moment.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - His wife [Phyllis] is reading the second edition of 'The Golden Bough' which prompts him to recall hearing stories of the 'burning of Judas' custom by Spanish and Portuguese ship crews at Bow.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - Has been to Rome with his wife, went to the Mithraic Temple at San Clemente, had many talks with Father Delaney; writes of the state of religion: thinks the church is stagnating; thinks politicians should take a course in the study of anthropology, adding the study of heredity; thinks Dean Inge in his 'Outspoken Essays' understands the times, and admires his 'Idea of Progress'; Bury's book of the same name claims that 'the number of civilizations which have reached a given stage and gone under, is beyond compute'; agrees that Germany should pay for her 'brigandage' but thinks money should be advanced to pay the miners to dig the coal that France needs; Frazer writes of [Oliver] Lodge and [Arthur Conan] Doyle, and Clodd quotes Sir Bryan Donkin that he classes Doyle among the 'mentally defective'; he is publishing a book 'Magic in Names'; wonders if Frazer is going to supplement 'Folk-Lore in the Old Testament' as Frazer has said that it hung on the issue of a book by a French scholar on the early history of Christianity; asks if Frazer has examined the evidence advanced by Prof. Elliot Smith on the origin of Pre-Columbian civilization, backed by [W. H. R.] Rivers in [A. H.] Keane's Man Past and Present' and quotes [A.C.] Haddon; finds as he gets older the more he values an open mind; the servant problem not helped by the promising house maid who hid her pregnancy and gave birth in the middle of the night.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - Is surprised to hear he has never been to Brussels; comments on the political situation, thinks the League of Nations, like Socialism can only succeed when human nature alters; worries about unrest in the East after the defeat of Russia by Japan; saw [W. H. R.] Rivers while he was at [A. C.] Haddon's, and mentioned his championship of Elliot Smith's theory of diffusion; gets much attention from spiritualists sending brochures, etc., has agreed to review a 'huge and repellent book' of exudations of 'psychic matter'; wishes Frazer could have noticed his book ['Magic in a Name'] in the 'Observer'.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - Thanks him for [Paul-Louis] Couchoud's pamphlet ['L'Énigme de Jésus']; has been reading 'The Melody of God' [by Desmond Chapman-Huston] containing an alternate life of Jesus, reflects that [J. M.] Robertson, [A.] Drews, and W. B. Smith leave him unconvinced about the historical Jesus, and quotes Salomon Reinach on the point; will talk over the Couchoud pamphlet and Flinders Petrie's 'Social Life in Ancient Egypt' with [George] Whale; have just returned from Italy; [A. C.] Haddon sails for Australia on 30 June.

Calling card from Charles Adam

Visiting card of Charles Adam, Membre de l'Institut, Recteur de l'Université de Nancy, with note thanking Sir James and Lady Frazer for the copy of 'Sur les traces de Pausanias'.

Letter from Arthur James Balfour to Mr Frazer

Whittingehame, Prestonkirk, N.B., Dictated, Private - Thanks him for volume four of 'The Golden Bough'; regrets as a Cambridge man that he is going to Liverpool; regrets he does not interfere with decisions made by successors to the office of First Lord of the Treasury [concerning the pension for the widow of Lorimer Fison], but suggests a letter from him or Henry Jackson to the Prime Minister [Campbell-Bannerman] would be effective. The envelope is docketed 'A. J. Balfour. Liverpool & Mr Fison'.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh, Suffolk - Concerning the translation of Paul Couchoud's 'L'Énigme de Jésus': Mrs Whale has agreed to translate it and the Rationalist Press Association will publish it if Frazer will write the introduction.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Strafford House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk [dictated to his wife Phyllis] - Is glad to hear that all went well [at the gathering in Frazer's honour in the Old Combination Room at Trinity College] and that they included Theodore Morison, wishes them good luck on the trip to Switzerland, his recovery is a tedious business.

Letter from A. E. Crawley to Frazer

Buckhold Hill, Pangbourne - Thanks him for his opinion of his book ['Mystic Rose']; asks if Frazer to let him know if he ever understands why one class of women is regarded as more dangerous than another [in marriage]; thought he would leave the study of promiscuity to Westermarck; extended the meaning of taboo; asks if the collection at the University Library is worth using; is thinking of researching savage political institutions.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Strafford House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk - Hears that Lilly has been ill and hopes to hear she is recovered; has 'unspeakable disgust' for the cutting of Thomas Hardy's heart from his body, and blames [J. M.] Barrie, points out that Hardy referred to the Church of England as the 'Vast Imbecility'.

Letter from F. M. Cornford to J. G. Frazer

Conduit Head, Madingley Road, Cambridge - Comments on a proof of 'The Dying God', particularly the tradition of young men receiving lashes on Pelops' tomb; is not convinced Pelops ever lived. Shares the information that their parlourmaid has suggested getting a haircut at the new moon.

Letter from F. M. Cornford to J. G. Frazer

Conduit Head, Madingley Road, Cambridge - Informs him that the subscriptions for the Fund in his honour were affected by the war, and they have not raised enough money to fund a travelling studentship for field work, but have raised enough for a travelling lectureship to be shared between Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow and Liverpool.

Letter from W. A. Cox to Sir J. G. Frazer

49 Chesterton Road, Cambridge - Has just parted from J. Roscoe, who has lent him 'Folk-Lore in the Old Testament' and who tells him the chapter relating to the marriage of cousins is important, but he has been drawn to other chapters, such as that on the 'Bundle of life'; as for 'The Sin of a Census' he relates a story he has heard that shepherds in the Lake District use a series of cardinal numbers unique to themselves.

Letter from A. E. Crawley to Frazer

Buckhold Hill, Pangbourne, Berks. - Asks for permission to dedicate his book ['Mystic Rose; a study of primitive marriage and of primitive thought in its bearing on marriage'] to Frazer.

Letter from A. E. Crawley to Frazer

Tesdale House, Abingdon - Thanks him for the book, has an article on the origin of religion coming out; had heard of [Alfred] Haddon's travels among the Waganda; [Edvard] Westermarck has a high opinion of Crawley's book, 'Mystic Rose'.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Aldeburgh - Thanks him for 'Selected Passages from his Works'; reminisces about Frazer meeting [Sir Alfred] Lyall, Ray Lankester, [Sir Frederick] Pollock and [James Allanson] Picton in 1905 when they rowed to Oxford; and a visit the Frazers paid in 1910 in company with [Thomas] Hardy 'and his present wife' [Florence], [John Bagnell] Bury, and Sutherland Black, and when he was summoned to town on Holman Hunt's death; the 'Literary Review' has a review of Paul Couchoud's book ['L'Énigme de Jésus'?] by Thomas Whittaker; quotes the Einstein limerick starting, 'There was a young lady named Bright'.

Letter from Edward Clodd to J. G. Frazer

Strafford House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk - Is happy to hear Lilly is recovered; believes [Thomas] Hardy should have been buried in Wessex soil and the burial of the heart was a 'shameful compromise' and the funeral a mockery of his beliefs. The envelope, docketed in Frazer's hand, dates the letter 1930 [in error: Clodd died 16 March 1930].

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