People and Museums (Provenance)

This list includes biographies of the people who created the records in this Guide, including their initial creator, Ernest Westlake, and those people who created additional records by studying, cataloguing, describing and digitising his papers. The list also includes biographies of the two museums that store most of these records. Within the context of this Guide, these creators and custodians are also collectively known as the 'provenance' of the records.

1 Westlake, Ernest (1855-1922)
Date Range: 16 November 1855 - 30 October 1922

Ernest Westlake was a gentleman scholar with interests in geology, human cultural evolution, psychical phenomena and educational reform. During his lifetime he studied and formed three large geological collections: an estimated 10,000 English paleaoliths, eoliths and fossils (collected from the 1870s to early twentieth century), more than 4,000 French eoliths from the Cantal region of France (collected from 1904-1906) and 13,033 Tasmanian Aboriginal stone implements (collected from 1908-1910). Westlake published few of his scientific findings, but his collections were studied and referenced by scholars of note, including Henry Balfour, W. J. Sollas and Rhys Jones. Westlake is best known for establishing the alternative Boy Scouts movement, The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry, in 1916. Read More >>>

2 Pitt Rivers Museum (1884- )
Date Range: 1884 -

The Pitt Rivers Museum cares for one of the world's great collections. It is equally famous for its celebrated displays and its leading role in contemporary research and museum curatorship. The Museum was founded in 1884 when Lt.-General Pitt Rivers, an influential figure in the development of archaeology and evolutionary anthropology, gave his collection to the University. His two conditions were that a museum was built to house it and that someone should be appointed to lecture in anthropology. Read More >>>

3 Oxford University Museum of Natural History (1860- )

The Oxford University Museum of Natural History houses the University of Oxford's scientific collections, and includes some of the world's most significant natural history artefacts: the earliest documented dinosaur fossils and the most complete remains of a single dodo. An important centre for research and teaching, the Museum is organised into four collections: entomology, geology, mineralogy and petrology and zoology and includes several research libraries. It is renowned for its spectacular neo-Gothic architecture which accomodates towering dinosaurs and nesting swifts and, since 1884, provides the only public entrance to the Pitt Rivers Museum. Read More >>>

4 Tylor, Edward Burnett (1832-1917)
Date Range: 1832 - 1917

Sir Edward Burnett (E. B.) Tylor was the first Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum from its founding in 1883 to 1891. He has been described as the ‘father of anthropology' while nineteenth-century anthropology has been known as ‘Mr Tylor's science'. Tylor can claim many firsts in his discipline: the first President of the anthropological section of the British Association from 1884 and the first to hold a chair in anthropology at Oxford from 1896. Tylor's seminal work, the two-volume Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom (1871), offered anthropology's first definition of culture: ‘that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society' (Primitive Culture, 1.1). Tylor worked within, and fundamentally shaped, a progressive evolutionary model of human material culture. Read More >>>

5 Balfour, Henry (1863-1939)
Date Range: 1863 - 1939

Professor Henry Balfour was an anthropologist and Curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum from 1891 to 1939. He first began working at the museum in 1883 as a student of biology at Trinity College, Oxford, helping Edward Burnett Tylor organise the founding collections that had been donated to the university that year. From 1907 Balfour taught technology and prehistoric archaeology for the Oxford diploma in anthropology and later taught for the Sudan, tropical African, Malay, and Burmese civil service courses. Many of these students later became, like other scholars from across the world, important informants and collectors for Balfour and the museum. His own extensive travels also resulted in major donations. Balfour's anthropological interests were diverse, significant and innovative including particular interests in musical instruments and archaeology. Biographer Hélčne La Rue writes that the Pitt Rivers Museum 'remains as much a monument to Balfour's scholarship as to its founder's'. He also bequeathed several thousand books, which formed the founding collection of the Balfour Library. Read More >>>

6 Sollas, William Johnson (1849-1936)
Date Range: 1849 - 1936

William Johnson ('W. J.') Sollas was Professor of Geology at the University of Oxford from 1897 until he his death (in office) in 1936. Described as 'one of the last true geological polymaths', Sollas had a remarkable breadth of interests in that discipline (including fossil sponges, reptiles, petrology and mineralogy) but he also resarched and published in the areas of zoology and anthropology. His 1911 book Ancient Hunters and their Modern Representatives made a significant contribution to the ideas of human cultural evolution. Sollas was responsible for expanding the staff and facilities in the Department of Geology, but in his final years he left much of its running to J. A. Douglas while he continued with his research. Sollas was by then considered 'eccentric', and is remembered for his attempts to shoot the swifts that continue to roost in the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. Read More >>>

7 Taylor, Rebe (1971- )
Date Range: 1971

While working on this project Rebe Taylor was a historian at the University of Melbourne. She completed her Masters of Arts in history at the University of Melbourne in 1996 and her PhD in history at the Australian National University in 2004. Her book, Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island (Wakefield Press, 2002), won Rebe the South Australian Premier's award for non-fiction in 2003 and the Victorian Premier's Award for a First Book of History in 2004. Rebe was funded as an Australian Research Council Fellow at the Australian Centre, the University of Melbourne from 2006. Her project explores the history of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people within the scientific imagination, with particular focus on the collection by Ernest Westlake and other collections of Tasmanian stone artefacts sent to Europe from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.

8 McCarthy, Gavan (1956- )
Date Range: 17 September 1956 -

When Rebe Taylor approached Gavan about collaborating on this project he was the Director of the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre (Austehc), in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Melbourne. Subsequently, in 2007, Austehc transmuted into the eScholarship Research Centre in Information Services at the University. Gavan commenced work in the archives realm in 1978 and became a professional member of the Australian Society of Archivists in 1985. He has a continuing interest in the archives of research and researchers and the uses of digital technologies in enabling these materials to reach wide audiences.

9 Jones, Michael (1976- )
Date Range: 8 September 1976 -

Michael Jones became involved in work on the Westlake project in the second half of 2009. Since this time he has provided advice on archival description, and has worked on both proofing and editing the guide content and working on the guide's HTML pages and stylesheets. In addition, Michael spent a week in Oxford in November 2010 digitising and listing the Westlake papers held by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Michael commenced work as an archivist at the University of Melbourne's eScholarship Research Centre in 2008.

10 eScholarship Research Centre
The University of Melbourne
Date Range: 2007 -

Since its establishment in 2007, the University of Melbourne's eScholarship Research Centre (previously the Australian Technology and Heritage Centre, and the Australian Science Archives Project before that) has received international recognition in the field of digital scholarly and research practice, with a strong focus on the application of archival practice to the effective preservation and dissemination of public and scholarly knowledge.

Gavan McCarthy and Michael Jones, on returning from Oxford in 2008 and 2010 respectively, transferred high resolution 'preservation copies' of all the images presented in this Guide to the Centre's server infrastructure. The eScholarship Research Centre also holds additional information about this guide and the records it describes - including accession records and other contextual information - in office files and the Heritage Document Management System (HDMS) database.

Published by the The University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre and the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, August 2010
Listed by Rebe Taylor, with Michael Jones and Gavan McCarthy
HTML edition
Updated 14 February 2017

The template for this finding aid is part of the Heritage Documentation Management System

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