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Correspondence concerning the compilation of 'Memoir of Edward Forbes', 1854-1861

Identifier: Coll-74/11/3

Scope and Contents

The Correspondence concerning the compilation of 'Memoir of Edward Forbes' sub-series consists of:

  1. pen and ink sketches by Edward Forbes (c1854)
  2. letters from and to contributors and collaborators (1854-1861)
  3. letters to and from the publisher Alexander MacMillan (1860-1861)
  4. letters to and from the printer Thomas Constable (1860-1861)
  5. list of names and addresses of recipients of presentation copies (1861)


  • Creation: 1854-1861


Language of Materials


Physical Description

1 file None which affect the use of this material

Biographical / Historical

Following the death of the naturalist Edward Forbes (1815-1854) his former colleague George Wilson started to write 'Memoir of Edward Forbes' for the publisher Alexander MacMillan (1815-1896).

Unfortunately George Wilson died (1859) leaving only a few chapters completed. With the support of Jessie Aitken Wilson (George Wilson's sister) Archibald Geikie (1835-1924) was asked to complete the task. For this purpose, she transferred all the personal papers and notebooks which her brother had collected, from a number of contemporaries, to Archibald Geikie. Permission was sought for this from the individual owners of the papers.

Edward Forbes' widow, now Emily M Yelverton, contested the ownership of her former husband's papers and tried to regain control of these to prevent the memoir from being completed. Intervention from Joseph Beete Jukes (1811-1869) meant that she eventually agreed to co-operate and provided additional information herself.

Further problems arose following the publication of the memoir when Andrew Crombie Ramsay (1814-1891) felt that personal sensitive information had been published in the memoir without his consent. This led to a rift between himself and Archibald Geikie.


From the Fonds: 2 metres