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Rothamsted Archive Catalogue

Rothamsted Archives Catalogue compiled by Margaret Harcourt Williams Copyright: Rothamsted Research 2009 Cover design: Lynda Castle, Visual Communications Unit, Rothamsted Research. Cover includes a letter from John Bennet Lawes, 1861 and a photograph of Rothamsted staff outside the Russell Building c.1919.

Rothamsted Research West Common Harpenden Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ Phone: 01582 763133

Library & Archives

IntroductionAbout the catalogue Scope and content of the archives Consulting the Rothamsted Library Archives Related material at Rothamsted Related material in Rothamsted Library Related material elsewhere Gaps in the archives Further reading

Agricultural experiments began at Rothamsted in Hertfordshire in 1843 and continue to this day. T here are brief histories of Rothamsted and of the Lawes Agricultural Trust on the Rothamsted website About the catalogue This catalogue is a revised and greatly expanded version of Rothamsted Archives: a catalogue of the records in the Library, Rothamsted Experimental Station, compiled by Margaret Harcourt Williams in 1987. The original investigation and cataloguing of the Rothamsted archives was made possible through a grant from the Leverhulme Trust in 1984; when this grant finished, continuing work on the archives was funded by the Lawes Agricultural Trust. We are grateful to both these organisations for their interest and support. The terms of the 1984 grant restricted work to sorting and c ataloguing the papers held in a single storeroom whose contents consisted largely of 19th century material from the work of Lawes and Gilbert, together with early to mid 20th century material from some staff members, especially from the Director EJ Russell. The entire Rothamsted historical archive was potentially much larger and since the publication of the original catalogue in 1987 it has more than doubled, as an extensive rebuilding programme prompted some departments to transfer their older material to the Library. H owever, other departments have opted to retain their archives so the Library does not currently hold the entire archive of Rothamsted Research and its predecessor bodies. In general, archives in departments have not been catalogued although some lists may be available.

Rothamsted Research - Archive Catalogue

The catalogue has been organised alphabetically by series, with each series preceded by a br ief description of its contents and their provenance. There is no index but the entire catalogue can be searched by using the find function in Adobe Acrobat Reader. However, it should be bor ne in mind that the catalogue contains descriptions of items in the archives, not transcriptions of their content, so names and subjects mentioned in the records themselves may not always be searchable. If a search produces no results, it may be worth browsing through relevant series to try to identify material of possible interest. Scope and content of the archives The earliest archives are from the time of Lawes and Gilbert (18431901). They include: archives of experiments begun in the 19th century ie experimental data with related notebooks and letters drafts and proofs for their numerous scientific papers bound volumes of correspondence a few personal papers. papers relating to the Lawes Chemical Manure Company papers relating to the Lawes Testimonial Laboratory. Although scientific experiments began at Rothamsted in the early 1840s the organisation was not given a formal structure until 1889 when the owner and founder, Sir John Lawes, established the Lawes Agricultural Trust. Before this, there are no formal administrative archives and, even though after 1889 the Lawes Agricultural Trustees supervised the work here, it was largely directed by Sir John and his scientific partner Sir Henry Gilbert until they died in the early 20th century. Therefore there are no visitors books, records of appointments or similar records and most of the 19th and early 20th century archives here are scientific data and drafts of material for publications. Other experimental work is illustrated by extensive archives from departments. These have been arranged by the first title of the department that produced them although, after closures and mergers, the current title may differ. Botany, Chemistry, Farm, Field Experiments, Meteorology and Woburn all produced extensive archives while smaller collections have been received from the Library, the Manor, Microbiology, Saxmundham and Tunstall, Statistics and Soils. Administrative records include: a long series of archives of the Lawes Agricultural Trust a large collection, including numerous photographs, from EJ Russell, Director 1912 43 small collections from other 20th century Directors archives of the Staff Union (a social club) and of the Friends of Rothamsted and related bodies small collections relating to awards, exhibitions, the Rothamsted site and the Society for Extending the Rothamsted Experiments. There are personal papers from the 19th century scientists Robert Warington senior and junior and also a series of miscellaneous personal papers, some of which are

Rothamsted Research - Archive Catalogue

from former staff members and others from people with more distant connection to Rothamsted. Rothamsted Library does not normally collect archives but the archives do i nclude some largely 20th century estate records, a gift from the Lawes familys land agents, and a small number of manuscripts relating to agriculture. This is what remains of a collection made by EJ Russell, which has been dispersed. Archives held by the Library are mostly boxed and stored on approximately 200 one metre shelves. They are mainly paper, including plans and newspaper cuttings, but they also include different types of photographs. At present, in 2010, there is very little in other media. Consulting the Rothamsted Library Archives Rothamsted is a working Research Institute, and as such is not generally open to the public, although we always welcome bona fide researchers who wish to use our collections. However, the Library has a very small staff and the archivist is only here every fourth week, so if you wish to look at any of the items listed in the catalogue, please make an appointment by emailing the Library at or writing to the Librarian. To help you make the most of your visit, please give us as much information as you can and please do some preparatory work before approaching us. The Rothamsted website includes information on the origin of Rothamsted, the Lawes Agricultural Trust and the Classical and Long-term experiments and you can find other information from the bibliography below and the extensive list of frequently asked questions: Page=ArchivesFAQs Please note that all the archives kept in the Library are included in this catalogue, although the amount of detail given varies. T he individual series do not follow a standard arrangement, due t o the diversity of the material and l ength of time over which it has been acquired. Some series are arranged chronologically while others are sub-divided according to related materials or function. However, if something you hope t o find is not listed, it is more likely to be bec ause it is not held by the Library than because it has not been catalogued. Please look below for details of related material at Rothamsted and related material elsewhere. The reference codes given in the catalogue are also used for locating the documents and you should quote these if you are ordering documents prior to a visit. Most of the codes used in the 1987 catalogue have been altered. A lthough this catalogue was never widely available, some of its references have been us ed in published articles; if you come across these, please remember that they will have changed. If what you want to see is not easily identified in the current catalogue, please give us as many details as you can.

Rothamsted Research - Archive Catalogue

Related material at Rothamsted All departments hold their own current and semi current records. Biomathematics and Bioinformatics hold the archives of the former Statistics Department. VCU, formerly Photography, has an ex tensive collection of photographs, some dating from the 19th century, mainly taken during the course of work at Rothamsted. Related material in Rothamsted Library Printed papers by Lawes, Gilbert and other scientists, details on Rothamsted Library catalogue. A large collection of bound miscellaneous pamphlets, many of which are offprints or photocopies. Partly catalogued, details on Rothamsted Library catalogue. Rothamsted annual reports, 1908 onwards. Related material elsewhere Hertfordshire Archives and Local Studies, have Rothamsted estate records from the 1200s to the 1700s, and also family records, mainly from the 17th and 18th centuries. The relevant catalogues are D/Elw and D/Z55. Bristol University, has the records of Long Ashton Research Station, which was once administered by Rothamsted. Gaps in the archives There are only a few personal papers of either Lawes or Gilbert. The Lawes family may have taken their archives with them when they finally left Rothamsted in the 1930s or may have destroyed them; Mrs Gilbert took her husbands papers with her when she left Harpenden. She returned some books and letters later but these are scientific not personal. There are very few 19th century estate records at either Rothamsted or HALS. There are very few early records of the Lawes Chemical Manure Company. There is no lengthy correspondence from other scientists to eithe


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