The Great Eolith Debate and the Anthropological Institute

From the 1880s onwards, The Anthropological Institute played a key role in arguments surrounding eoliths, both as a venue for significant events and through the pages of its journals. Eoliths, stone objects claimed to be man-made and regarded by ‘eolithophiles’ as the precursors of handaxes, had become an issue almost as soon as the first chipped flints had been accepted as artefactual by Boucher de Perthes, John Evans, Hugh Falconer and others in the mid-nineteenth century. The ensuing debate, which drew in many luminaries of the age – such as Edward Tylor, Alfred Russel Wallace and Joseph Prestwich – in many ways exemplified the changing relationship between amateurs and professionals in the affairs of the Institute, and between the different branches of evolutionist anthropology, addressing question of scientific method, the use of ethnographic analogies, and contributing to the splits between the branches, and the eventual supremacy of the professionals by the eve of the Second World War.

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The Scandalous Affair of the Anthropological Review: Hyde Clarke, James Hunt and Financial Discrepancies at the Anthropological Society of London

The Scandalous Affair of the Anthropological Review: Hyde Clarke, James Hunt and Financial Discrepancies at the Anthropological Society of London

Dr Efram Sera-­‐Shriar F.R.A.I.
York University, Toronto

Some remarks have been made against the anomaly of an independent Review being supplied to the Fellows of the Society. This is a question which we hope the Fellows of the Society will fully and freely discuss. We believe that an Anthropological Review is a necessity of the time. That it has helped to establish the Anthropological Society we feel equally sure. 1

–James Hunt (1868)

In the summer of 1868 a huge dispute unfolded in the pages of the London-­‐based weekly journal, the Athenaeum. Two groups of anthropologists argued over the connection between the Anthropological Society of London (ASL) and the supposedly independent periodical, the Anthropological Review (AR), which was owned and edited by an unknown party. The origins of this debate began in 1867 when the president of the ASL, the speech therapist and physician James Hunt (1833-­‐1869), invited the philologist and engineer Hyde Clarke (1815-­‐1895), to join the ASL’s council.

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Acts of Speculation: White-Collar Crime as Anthropology in Victorian Britain (1863-1871)

History of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Workshop in preparation for Volume 1: Pre 1871

This is the preliminary draft of my contribution to the conference on the origins of the RAI. It covers several of the themes of my forthcoming book: Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange, University of Chicago Press, 2015. Comments welcome, especially since the draft needs revision.

Please do not circulate this version beyond the group of participants to the seminar.

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Publications 1843-71

Both the Ethnological Society and the Anthropological Society put great emphasis on the publication of valuable relevant material. The prospectus of the Ethnological Society placed as its first objective:
To collect register and digest and to print for the use of the Members and the public at large in a cheap form and at certain intervals such new interesting and useful facts and discoveries as the Society may have in its possession and may from time to time acquire.1
The Anthropological Society expressed even greater enthusiasm for publication in its prospectus,2 both the second and fifth aims relating to publications:
Second. By the publication of reports of papers of abstracts of discussions in the form of a Quarterly Journal; and also by the publication of the principal memoirs read before the Society, in the form of Transactions.
Fifth. By the publication of a series of works on Anthropology which will tend to promote the objects of the Society. These works will generally be translations; but original works will also be admissible.

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Council Lists

Compiled from:

The Regulations of the Ethnological Society of London
Transactions of the Ethnological Society
Anthropological Review and Journal of the Anthropological Society of London
Anthropological Review and Journal
Journal of Anthropology
Journal of the Anthropological Institute
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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