• Title
    Arthur Keith's Papers
  • Reference
  • Level of description
  • Date
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    The papers contain Keith's extensive correspondence, diaries (1908-1954), reports on work as conservator annual (1931-1934) and quarterly reports (1928-1932), talks, drafts of publications, unpublished manuscripts; drawings, notes on visits to Siam, Egypt and America.
  • Extent
    63 boxes
  • Language
  • System of arrangement
    By record type and then by author.
  • Conditions governing access
    Access by appointment only.
  • Conditions governing reproduction
    At the discretion of the librarian
  • Related objects
    Royal College of Surgeons of England Archives: Papers of the Royal College of Surgeons of England 1745 - date; Manuscript Collections: Papers of Frederick Wood Jones (1879-1954).

  • Admin./ biographical history
    Sir Arthur Keith was a physical anatomist, anthropologist, and conservator of the Hunterian Museum. He was also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Keith is best known for his contributions to the study of physical anatomy, and he wrote more than 500 works mostly on comparative anatomy and human evolution. The collection holds records which provide a vast insight into different stages of Keith's life and career. These include an account from his studies at the University of Aberdeen, his anatomical observations of catarrhine monkeys and apes in Siam, and his lectures, papers, and articles on numerous anthropological subjects during interwar, wartime and post war periods. As the conservator of the Hunterian Museum, Keith's contributions to the College's works are documented in his lecture notes, journals, scientific writings, and his association with surgeons, anatomists and anthropologists who worked with him for shorter or longer periods in the Museum and its laboratories. After the First World War the army medical authorities gave the College it's collection of war specimens (in 1946 a second collection was given). Other notable collections added during Keith's Conservatorship were the Onodi collection of nasal anatomy specimens bought for the College in 1921; Sir William MacEwen's specimens given in 1924 and the Strangeways collection of chronic arthritis specimens. Keith also oversaw new collections of medico-legal, historical, Odonatological specimens and instrument collections. In 1933, due to recurrent ill-health, Keith resigned as conservator at the College, and was appointed as a master of the Buckston Browne Research Institute at Downe. Besides supervising young surgeons engaged in research at the institute, Keith continued to be active, writing many semi-popular articles mostly on evolution and Darwinism. For more information about Keith's life and career, please visit his profile on Plarr's Lives of the Fellows via
  • Notes
    It should be noted that where items in the Keith collection have been marked as missing, this is not necessarily the case. It means that they have not been clearly identified and marked with their reference numbers. Where this was not done at the time of cataloguing, it was not always possible to follow up afterwards.
  • Associated names
  • Subjects
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