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Papers of Professor James Geikie

Identifier: Coll-99

Scope and Contents

The papers of James Geikie consist of:

  1. original lecture notes
  2. reprints of scientific papers
  3. correspondence relating to the publication of scientific papers
  4. personal correspondence and photographs
  5. a copy of The Great Ice Age and its Relation to the Antiquity of Man, (1877), 2nd ed with hand-written notes
  6. lecture notes taken down by students
  7. a collection of printed maps


  • Creation: 1872-1917


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Director of Collections. Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Biographical / Historical

James Geikie (1839-1915) was the leading British authority on Pleistocene geology. He developed the theory, through observations in Scotland and Continental Europe, that during ice-ages mild inter-glacial periods interrupted the glacial period as a whole. He originated the current belief that human habitation continued in Europe throughout the glacial period.

Geikie undertook classes at the University of Edinburgh while working in a printer's office. In 1861 he took up a position, with the Geological Survey, mapping glacial drift deposits in Central Scotland. This was supervised by his brother Archibald Geikie (1835-1924). Geikie made his reputation with the book The Great Ice Age and its Relation to the Antiquity of Man, ( 1874) , the 3rd edition of which was fully revised in 1894. In 1882 he succeeded his brother, Sir Archibald Geikie as the second Murchison Professor of Geology and Mineralogy at the University of Edinburgh. While undertaking his duties two seminal textbooks were published: Outlines of Geology, ( 1886) and Structural and Field Geology, ( 1905) .

In 1889 Geikie was awarded the Murchison medal by the Geological Society, London and the Brisbane Medal by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was a founder member of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the President from 1904-1910. For a period he also edited the magazine. He was elected fellow of the Royal Society, London, in 1875 and was President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh when he died.


1 metre


The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received.

Physical Location

Gen 876-879; MS 2594-2597

Custodial History


Immediate Source of Acquisition



This material has been appraised in line with the standard procedures


No accruals expected

Existence and Location of Copies

No known copies.


No known publications using this material
Papers of James Geikie and his family
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

Centre for Research Collections
University of Edinburgh Main Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
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