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British Library of Political and Economic Science

London Positivist Society / English Positivist Committee


Reference code(s): GB 0097 LONDON POSITIVIST SOCIETY

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: London Positivist Society / English Positivist Committee

Date(s): 1876-1974

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 7 boxes and 1 oversize folder.

Name of creator(s): London Positivist Society
English Positivist Committee


Administrative/Biographical history:

The London Positivist Society was established in 1867 by Richard Congreve. The Society appears to have concerned itself mainly with the application of positivism to political events. It produced pamphlets and wrote letters to the press protesting against such issues as the Irish Coercion Bill, the war in the Transvaal, the Empire in India, and religious tolerance. Its members also engaged in a series of public lectures to explain positivism to the general public, petitioned parliament, and attended conferences and meetings of positivists from around the world. The Society was renamed the English Positivist Committee in 1934.


Scope and content/abstract:

Minute books, account books and annual reports; correspondence (mainly of Henry Tompkins and Donald Fincham as Secretary), with members, with other Positivists, Humanists and Historians, and concerning the August Comte Memorial Trust; notes and papers by Henry Tompkins, including a short autobiography, addresses on positivist subjects, and notes on books he had read; other positivist writings, including pamphlets, reports and the text of talks; and various ephemera and pictures, including photographs of members, broadsheets and programmes, typescripts of correspondence between August Comte and George Lewes, and notes on the history of the Society.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

This collection is arranged in 5 sections:
1. Minute books, 1878-1956.
2. Correspondence, 1884-1956.
3. Henry Tompkins' notes and papers, c1900-1954.
4. Other positivist writings, c1900-1958.
5. Various ephemera and pictures, 1840-1974.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:


Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Printed handlist and online catalogue available


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on March 27, 2002

Date(s) of descriptions: 27 Mar 2002; revised 8 May 2002

Autobiographies | Prose | Literary forms and genres | Literature
Freedom of religion | Freedom of thought | Civil and political rights | Human rights
Historians | Social scientists
Humanism | Philosophical schools | Philosophy
Imperialism | Political doctrines
Irish Home Rule | Liberation movements | Political movements
Positivism | Philosophical schools | Philosophy
Second Boer War, 1899-1902 | Wars (events)
War | International conflicts

Personal names
Congreve | Richard | 1818-1899 | positivist
Fincham | Donald G | fl 1916-1969 | positivist
Harrison | Frederic | 1831-1923 | author and positivist
Lewes | George Henry | 1817-1878 | author
Tompkins | Henry | fl 1870-1954 | positivist

Corporate names
August Comte Memorial Trust
English Positivist Committee
London Positivist Society

India | South Asia