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University College London

Sully Papers


Reference code(s): GB 0103 MS ADD 158

Held at: University College London

Title: Sully Papers

Date(s): 1870-1915

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 2 boxes

Name of creator(s): Sully | James | 1842-1923 | philosopher and psychologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

After obtaining a degree at Regents Park College in London, Sully went to Gottingen in 1867 to study for the London University MA. From 1869 to 1870 he was a classical tutor at the Baptist College, Pontypool. In 1871 he assisted John Morley, then Editor of the Fortnightly Review, with correspondence, proof-reading, etc, and he began to write for the Fortnightly and the Saturday Review. In 1873 Sully was first invited to contribute an article on aesthetics to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in the following year Sensation and intuition was published. He subsequently contributed to articles to several journals, including The Academy, The Contemporary Review, The Cornhill Magazine, The Examiner, and Mind. In 1877 Pessimism was published. Sully became an Examiner in Logic and Philosophy at the University of London in 1878. The following year he was Lecturer in the Theory of Education at the Maria Grey Training College and the College of Preceptors. A series of publications followed: Illusions in 1881; Outlines of Psychology in 1884; A teachers's handbook of psychology in 1886; and The human mind in 1892. In 1892 Sully was elected to the vacant chair of Mind and Logic at University College London on the resignation of George Croom Robertson. In 1895 Studies of childhood and in 1902 An essay on laughter were published. In 1903 Sully resigned from his Professorship and in 1918 published My life and friends.


Scope and content/abstract:

General correspondence and letters from individual correspondents such as John, Viscount Morley of Blackburn, George Eliot, Edmund Gurney, George Meredith and Henry Lewis, and other literary and scientific figures.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:

Normal copyright restrictions apply.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

A hardcopy handlist is also available. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:



Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

University College London Special Collections also holds letters of Sully to Sir Francis Galton, 1878-1898 (Ref: GALTON), and letters relating to appointment at University College London (Ref: COLLEGE CORRESPONDENCE).

Cambridge University, King's College Archive Centre, holds 66 letters to O Browning, 1882-1904 (Ref: OB).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Source: National Register of Archives. Revised by Rachel Kemsley as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Date(s) of descriptions: July 1999, revised Oct 2001


Personal names
Cross | Mary Anne | 1819-1880 | nee Evans | novelist x Eliot | George x Evans | Mary Ann x Evans | Marian x Lewes | Marian Evans
Gurney | Edmund | 1847-1888 | philosophical writer
Lewis | Henry | fl 1911-1915
Meredith | George | 1828-1909 | novelist and poet
Morley | John | 1838-1923 | Viscount Morley of Blackburn | statesman x Morley of Blackburn | Viscount
Sully | James | 1842-1923 | philosopher and psychologist

Corporate names