- 1 The Geologists' Association
- 2 The Geologists’ Association Carreck Archive
- 3 Volunteer projects
- 4 Future projects
The Geologists' Association
n August 1858, a letter appeared in the magazine The Geologist proposing the formation of ‘an Association of Amateur Geologists’ so that ‘solitary’ students of the science could form a society where they ‘could compare notes, give an account of our rambles, examine one another’s fossils and minerals and … be of great assistance to one another.’ As a result, an initial meeting by interested parties was held in London on 29 November 1858, to discuss the establishment of such a society. The name ‘The Geologists’ Association’ was formally adopted at a meeting of the organising committee on 17 December 1858, and a ‘Prospectus’ was circulated with The Geologist of January 1859. The first Ordinary Meeting, held on 11 January 1859, was attended by some 200 persons and the first Annual General Meeting took place on 2 January 1860. In the formation of the Association, particular emphasis was placed on the holding of ‘Excursions or Field Meetings.’ These, together with a regular programme of lectures (a list of which can be viewed here) and an annual exhibition, have remained the ‘backbone of the Association’ since. Another early objective of the Association was the formation of Local Groups, in order to advance the interests of the Association, initially in the home counties, both for the benefits of members and to liaise with other ‘Field-clubs and Societies.’ With the passage of time, our Local groups have since spread across the country.
The Geologists’ Association Carreck Archive
The GA Carreck Archive provides an unrivalled record of the Geologists’ Association from its earliest days to the present.
Dedicated to Marjorie Carreck (GA Archivist from 1955 to 2010) the Carreck Archive comprises a mix of albums, loose photographs, letters, postcards and associated ephemera. It particularly brings to life the field excursions of the GA; the places visited and the people visiting them. It is this mix of geological record and social history that makes the Carreck Archive unique. The Archive has undergone a complete restoration (funded by the GA Curry Fund) and is now housed with the British Geological Survey in Keyworth. The Archive is being digitised by the BGS and a number of albums are now available to view on the BGS Earthwise website.
We currently need volunteers to help document and index the archive on-line. It’s a straight forward task, all you need is access to the internet. It’s an opportunity to get to know the archive and contribute to its indexing creating a resource that will be available for everyone to use.
If you’re interested in volunteering, would like to make a donation to the archive, or simply have any questions about what’s in the archive then please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Larwood, GA Archivist
Further reading: Larwood, J.G., 2014. New life for historic geology archive. Earth Heritage, 42, 19-20.
Larwood, J.G., 2016. Geotourism: an early photographic insight through the lens of the Geologists’ Association. In: Hose, T.A. (ed.), Appreciating Physical Landscapes: Three Hundred Years of Geotourism, Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 417, 117-129.
|GA/BGS tasks||Task||What’s involved||Web links||Actions/progress||Who’s involved|
|Task 1||Indexing Miss MS Johnston
Initially 4 volunteers
|Detailed index transcription of two MS Johnston Albums
Instructions and discussion page:
Index page Album 1
[M.S. Johnston album 1 - index, GA 'Carreck Archive'#Page_4]
|Album 1 and 2 index page ready||Keith Duff
TB, PM, JB
|Task 2||TW Reader
The task is to replace the existing text 'GA001' with the full link to the specific page for the listed item. This allows direct access to an album page image the particular photo is on. Users will be able to see the photo in its page context.
|Reader Pt 1
||Headings to be inserted.
Representative Excursion photo to be inserted
|Task 3||Non-Johnston albums – album page links||Add the link to the 'Album page' so users can see the specific image the specific row of data in the album context.||Headings to be inserted.
Representative Excursion photo to be inserted
|Task 4||Elsie Giles transcription||Elsie Giles photo albums lack captions in the albums. The notebook listings could be transcribed and then linked to the listing entries of exact page in the album||Elsie Giles notebook (personal)
Elsie Giles notebook (other photographers)
|Check pre-existing row data.
Enhance caption where appropriate
Add link to Album pages
|Task 5||Excursion pages||Create a series of articles based around individual field excursions. See next column for link to a sample excursion article.||http://earthwise.bgs.ac.uk/index.php/Motor_excursion_in_Surrey.%E2%80%94Saturday._June_6th,_1914_-_Geologists%27_Association_excursion||Start with brief details, image galleries, info on the geology from the write ups in PGA. When the Circulars become available (Post Covid-19) Scan for image and extracted text. Key Circulars could be fast-tracked once access is possible prior to a major systematic scanning programme.
|Planned||Concept and task not yet fully developed|
|Task 6||Field Trip Index||Excel Spread sheet listing individual Field Trips. This could be added as a resource to Earthwise and links made to Album photographs and PGA, GA Circular accounts||Prepare suitable format – possibly a table with thumbnail photos linking to full page entries|
|Task 7||Specific transcriptions||Letters, postcards and prose – there are a number of letters, postcards and prose in the MS Johnston Albums – these could be transcribed||Agree format and identify transcriptions – could be selective, link to specific people or general.|
|Task 8||People, places and stories||There are a number of people and places that feature regularly in the Archive. This task could highlight these developing biographies and connections within and outside the Archive||Need to develop this idea more fully|
|Task 9||Role of Women in the GA||Women have had a pivotal role in the GA since its formation in 1858 – there’s a story to be told here||1. A general article on the role of women in the GA.
2. Articles on individual women members
|Task 10||Sites past and present||Track the change of a site through the Archive and bring up to date with contemporary photographs||Need to develop idea – valuable as it potentially adds new images and demonstrates how places and sections are lost and changed|
|Task 11||New ideas||As the project develops and volunteers become familiar with the archive encourage participants to develop new ideas|
|Task 12||Archive Volunteer Forum||We’ll need a forum to share what we’re doing, ask questions and seek help on things we see but don’t understand and so on||Explore setting up a forum with the GA (JL)|
|BGS projects||There are a number of other BGS projects with the potential to share volunteers|
|Textbase document preparation||BGS are extracting the text from paper publications and placing in a text database. The resulting text will be closely integrated with the digital geological map and 3D models so both can be consulted together||The demonstrator shows this in action for three sample volumes
||Documents are geological reports on 1:10,000 mapping areas. Local geology. Optical character recogntion errors to be corrected. Document structure to be added.|
The first two GA volunteer projects on Earthwise are:
Indexing the M.S. Johnston albums
These 'scapbook' type albums are a great GA historical treasure full of photographs, signatures, letters, postcards, newspaper cuttings and other ephemera that represent her own private record of field meetings she had attended between 1890 and 1937.
Transcribing the Elsie Giles photograph collection
The first three volumes are assumed to be photographs by Giles, while a fourth volume contains photographs from other individual photographers, many of whom were members the Geologists’ Association. Little is know about Elsie Giles - this in itself offers a volunteer to track down information about her.
A range of topics could form the basis for future projects. Suggested ideas so far include:
Individual field trip articles
Researching individual field trips and drawing images from across the archives and text from the GA "Circulars" which announced each field trip and included interesting logistical information from the time and the field trip reports that were published in the Proceedings of the Geologists' Association. There may also be specimens collected on the esxcursions in the major UK collections e.g. at the British Geological Survey, Natural History Museum and the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.
Biographies of notable historical GA members
Biographical information on early notable members of the GA can be written and illustrated with portraits, sample signatures or other items in the archive, lists of their publications and obituaries can be created to allow researchers ready access to the literature about a person.
The role of women in the GA
Unlike the Geological Society of London (established in 1807 to cater for the needs of professional geologists), where women were not admitted to membership until 1919, ‘Ladies’ were eligible for membership of the Association from its formation in 1858. As such, the archive is a popular source for information on professional and amateur women geologists. There is a story here to tell.
Once volunteers become familiar with the collection they will be able to suggest, make and develop topics.