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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).

Frazer, Sir James George (1854-1941), knight, social anthropologist and classical scholar
FRAZ/14/44 · Item · 2 Apr. 1928
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Brussels - He was not aware of Alton's articles as the 'Hermathena' is not to be found in Brussels; Alton was at the Royal Library at the same time as Peeters and asking for the same MS but Peeters was never told of this; he will wait to publish until Alton's article has appeared. Accompanied by Peeters' calling card and the envelope.

FRAZ/14/50 · Item · 22 Dec. 1922 [i.e. 1926]
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Ovington Rectory, Thetford - Thanks him for his letter; shares his recollections of the customs of the Uganda tribes regarding the year: they followed lunar months, but those in agriculture thought about the year; the new year started when the first thunder of the rainy season was heard; rainmakers tried to give reasons for variances and blamed the people for the neglect of duty; is working on lectures for Cambridge, which [Thomas Callan] Hodson asked him to give, but isn't pleased with a change in terms regarding the fee. Accompanied by an envelope.

FRAZ/14/57a · Item · 28 Jan. 1926
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Woodcote, Godalming - Received a telegram Monday from Loeb strongly urging him to retain the 'Fasti' even if it took two volumes; saw George Macmillan and think they can agree if they settle the point of the notes, which he would like to retain, especially those for the intelligent non-subject reader; Macmillan will let him have his views in writing.

FRAZ/14/62 · Item · 15 Feb. 1926
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Macmillan & Co., Ltd. - Has decided on the more attractive of the specimen pages and instructed the printers to print in slips the portion he needs for the Cambridge lectures; the Commentary, Introduction and Index ought to make up a single volume; does not want him to work too much on a book outside the scope of his anthropological studies, and that would delay a second volume of 'The Worship of Nature'; had not contemplated illustrations, but 8 or 16 would do, and recommends G. F. Hill or J. Penoyre as qualified to make a selection for him.

FRAZ/14/72,75 · Item · 9 Mar. 1928
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Bodleian Library, Oxford - Are making rotographs of the Codex Mazarinianus; can only account for the Vatican estimate by assuming they meant lire rather than pounds or that they don't want it reproduced; Bodley normally asks that photographs be deposited in a public library, but does not ask it in his case. Accompanied by a card (FRAZ/14/75) acknowledging his application for rotographs.

FRAZ/14/76 · Item · 10 Mar. 1928
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Woodlands, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey - Is no longer resident [at Pembroke] but has a copy of the James catalogue of mss. at Pembroke, and cites No. 280; the librarian is Attwater, but perhaps Minns would be willing to help.

FRAZ/15/16 · Item · 10 Nov. 1923
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

République Française, Ministère des Affaires étrangères, Cabinet du Ministre - Thanks him for his note, which he views as an indicator that many of Frazer's countrymen are not misinterpreting the true intentions of France.

FRAZ/15/22 · Item · 22 Jan. 1925
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

The Percy Sladen Memorial Fund c/o The Linnean Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W.1. - On Professor Seward's instructions, sends a copy of the application form for the Fund [for a proposed expedition by John Roscoe], established in 1902 by the widow of W. Percy Sladen with an annual income of £2000, given in aid of expeditions having the object of advancement of Biological Science.

FRAZ/15/25 · Item · 15 Jan. 1898
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Barskimming, Maughline, Ayrshire. Private - Asks if he would accept the Gifford Lectureship [at Glasgow University] for the years 1898-1900 if it were offered to him; he would like an answer that evening in advance of a meeting with Lord Kelvin.

FRAZ/15/35 · Item · 9 July [1937]
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Old Hall, Dolau, R.S.O., Radnorshire - Thanks him for the congratulations on being appointed Frazer Lecturer at Oxford, wishes he had anything 'adequate' to say, has thought possibly of addressing what souls are made of; will call on him when he is town; asks if he has seen Stanley Rice's 'Hindu Customs and Their Origins' with a chapter about totemism in India; supports the publication of his anthropological notebooks.

FRAZ/15/41 · Item · 31 July 1937
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Congrès International de Folklore, Paris - Is very pleased that the Frazers are going to attend the Folklore Congress; the Department and Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires is being created and will be run by Georges Henri Rivière, whose deputy will be André Varagnac; he will be happy to be listed among the friends and well wishers for studies of Frazeriana.

FRAZ/15/42 · Item · 12 July 1937
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

Court Leys, Toot Baldon, Oxford - Gives his support to the plan to share the unpublished material, is sure the Anthropological Institute will want to join with the Folklore in supporting the project, but suppose the support to be 'platonic' as they 'have to find a new house'.

FRAZ/15/48 · Item · 2 Nov. 1933
Part of Papers of Sir James Frazer

5 Cadogan Gardens, S.W.3. - Sends money [for a subscription to Besterman's bibliography] in both his and his wife's name; his wife says she is very brave; is sorry to hear of Sir James' poor eyesight; notices France is honouring Painlevé more at his death than they did in life.