This collection consists of correspondence with the Society since its foundation. The letters cover administrative matters as well as all aspects of Geography and exploration throughout the World. The earlier files contain incoming letters only, replies are held separately in the out-letter books. From the late 19th Century onwards replies from the Society are often filed with the letters in the form of carbon copies.
There are two main Series: 1830-1950 RGS Correspondence and 1950- Director's Correspondence. The first Series has been listed (at file or item level) and is divided into eleven chronological Sub-Series by decade except for the periods 1830-33, 1834-40 & 1881-1910. Within each decade letters are generally filed alphabetically by author. The second Series are filed alphabetically by subject or author in chronological order, annually or bi-annually; this Series has not yet been listed.
Earlier Mss are handwritten later ones are usually typescript. Some items are fragile.
Access is via the Society's Foyle Reading Room and is free to Members and Fellows of the Society and to those in formal education (proof of educational status required e.g. a student/staff card or formal letter of introduction from your institution). For all other visitors a & #163;10 daily access fee applies. All visitors are required to provide personal i.d. such as a driving licence or passport. Files less than 20 years old are closed.
Immediate source of acquisition:
Transferred directly from Secretary/Director's Office to Archives.
Post 1981 files are currently in Director's Office awaiting transfer to the Archives.
Unpublished finding aids:
The RGS archives: a handlist / compiled by Christine Kelly. London: RGS, 1977.
Administrative / biographical background:
The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) was founded in 1830 as the Royal Geographical Society of London. Its aim was the advancement of Geographical Science. The Society was granted a Royal Charter by Queen Victoria in 1859. In 1995 the RGS merged with the Institute of British Geographers (IBG) to create the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers). Until about 1910 virtually all of the Society's correspondence has been kept, after 1910 correspondence has been weeded. More recently only the Director's correspondence and some other important files have been kept as part of this series, other Departments have pursued their own records management policies.
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