OUMNH has recently been offered a unique opportunity to acquire another extremely important collection of material related to William Buckland. Passed by descent to the current owners, this separate archive consists of just over 1,000 items of correspondence, geological notes, works of art and family papers. They relate to Buckland himself and also other family members, including his wife Mary and their eldest son, the naturalist and author Francis (Frank) Buckland.
This additional material fits beautifully with OUMNH’s existing Buckland archive, providing missing pieces of the jigsaw. Most notably, there is a substantial amount of correspondence between Buckland, his father and uncle relating to his early life in Oxford and his efforts as a young lecturer to establish a new Readership in Geology.
The ‘new’ archive also includes over 300 letters from the 1820s–1840s when Buckland was at the height of his career. Many leading geologists and naturalists are represented including Richard Owen, Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick. There is also a rare letter from Mary Anning announcing the discovery of a young plesiosaurus. In addition, working papers by Buckland cover a wide range of subjects including bogs, sandbanks, coral islands, landslips and much about animals and their fossil remains.
If OUMNH is unable to acquire this important archive, it may well be broken up. The letters and prints of high commercial value could be sold individually, seriously detracting from the collection’s importance as a comprehensive body of material. It is also possible that it might be sold overseas and thus lost to the nation.
To prevent this, the museum has begun a major fundraising campaign to purchase this collection and then to catalogue, conserve and digitise it. If successful, we will combine it, physically and digitally, with our existing, newly digitised Buckland archive, making these important resources easily accessible to researchers and members of the public for the first time.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to donate to OUMNH’s campaign, please contact Museum Director, Paul Smith: email@example.com. You can also make donations digitally using the button below.
DONATE TO THE BUCKLAND PAPERS APPEAL