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Executive Secretary of the Geological Society

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 378 GSL/ES
Held at: Geological Society of London
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Full title: Executive Secretary of the Geological Society
Date(s): 1950-2013
Level of description: Series
Extent: 3 boxes and 374 files
Name of creator(s):


Administrative/Biographical history:

Historically the Assistant Secretary, later Permanent Secretary, was the first point of contact with the Society (besides the President and members of Council) and as the post holder also acted as editor of the Journal and occasionally the Librarian and Curator, the majority of the day to day correspondence and administration came through his office. By the late 1960s, the role had developed into what is now the Executive Secretary (essentially the Chief Executive of the Society), and although the postholder no longer has editorial duties, the office is still the central administrative department of the organisation. However it should be noted as some functions of the Society have developed, specific departments have been established to take over the running of some of these tasks, such as the Conference Office which now organises the scientific meetings. The Executive Secretary still ultimately oversees these subsidiary departments as well as sitting on most of the Society's major standing committees, therefore the Executive Secretary series still reflects most of the Society's functions.


Scope and content/abstract:

Administrative files of the Executive Secretary of the Geological Society, 1950-2013, on functions comprising:

Revision of the Charter and byelaws of the Society, 1980-2001; Membership of the Society, 1968-2011; Library, conservation and archives, 1980-2006; Society's publications, 1950-2002; Hire of the Society's Apartments, 1972-2000; Permanent Staff and personnel, [1970s-1998]; Management Team meetings, 1991-2000 [incomplete]; Wills, bequests and donations, 1980-1997; President's annual programme, 1979-1996; Computerisation of the Society, 1979-1997; Council and Standing Committees, 1970-2008; Relations with other Societies/Organisations, 1973-2004; Hospitality, 1972-1997; Medals, Awards and Funds, 1952-1999; Relations with Parliament, 1981-1995; Alterations to the Burlington House apartments, 1967-2013; Occupation of the Burlington House apartments, 1981-2005; Representation on outside bodies, 1971-2005; Society sponsorship of external events, 1991-1993; International relations, 1979-2005; Finance, 1980-1999; Specialist Groups and Joint Associations, 1968-2009; Regional Groups, 1991-1997.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The original arrangement only contained a small number of random files therefore not allowing additions to be easily made, especially in view of the large backlog of files from the 1960s-1990s which needed to be integrated. Since the 1950s, there have been three different filing arrangements in use but the most complete is one which was utilised between 1980-1997. It has been partially adopted for this series.

It should also be noted that the historical arrangement of the archives has been functional rather than by creating office, but until the 1990s, the majority of the Society's business was conducted by its Officers and through the Executive Secretary. Files which fit into this functional arrangement have been removed and slotted in where appropriate (ie Council and committee papers).

There are significant gaps in the record, for instance limited material exists for David Clayton (Executive Secretary, 1971-1980) and his predecessors as between mid 1980s-late 1990s the files were destroyed as part of the then archive retention policy.

Most of the material relating to the organisation of conferences and special meetings has been moved to its own section for ease of use - GSL/CFN.

Conditions governing access:

Some material may be restricted. Please contact the Archivist in the first instance.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies, subject to copyright and the condition of the original, may be supplied. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Archivist.

Finding aids:

A detailed, online catalogue will be available shortly.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

The incoming and outgoing letters of the Assistant Secretary, [1807]-1960, can be found within the letterbook series, see: GSL/L.

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Description by Caroline Lam.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
October 2013

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