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DAVIS, Joseph Barnard (1801-1881)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1446 MS 140-152 & 436
Held at: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
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Full title: DAVIS, Joseph Barnard (1801-1881)
Date(s): 1817-1900
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 18 notebooks and 1 box
Name of creator(s): Davis | Joseph Barnard | 1801-1881 | craniologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born, 1801; in the summer of 1820, while still a student, he made a voyage to the Arctic regions in the capacity of surgeon to a whaling ship; qualified LSA, 1823; medical officer for the Stoke upon Trent district; parish medical officer in Shelton; MRCS, 1843; FSA, 1854; graduated MD at St Andrews, 1862; member of the Anthropolical Society, 1863; for many years Davis devoted himself to craniology, and gradually accumulated a huge number of skulls and skeletons of various races, most with carefully annotated histories; joint editor of the Journal of the Anthropological Institute and of Anthropologia; FRS, 1868; died, 1881.
Publications: Crania Britannica (1865)
Thesaurus Craniorum (1867)


Scope and content/abstract:

Notebooks of Joseph Barnard Davis, 1817-1900, including:

MS 140
Five notebooks, containing notes on medicine, archaeology and books read, 1845-1860.

MS 141
Notebook containing notes taken from Dr Armstrong's lectures on the principles and practice of physic, 1823.

MS 142
Notebook containing extracts and memorandum from Lucas' Candid inquiry into the education, qualifications and offices of a surgeon-apothecary, (1800, York), 1817-1819.

MS 143
Notebook containing notes taken from 'Asculapius and the Asclepiadae', a treatise read before the Royal Academy of Sciences at Berlin 22 May and 19 Jun 1845, by Dr Theodore Panofka, Professor of archaeology to the Royal Frederick William's University, 1846.

MS 144
Notebook containing notes from Pearson's life of Hey, 1822.

MS 145
Notebook containing notes, observations, references chiefly relating to medicine and archaeology, Halifax, c 1821-1868.

MS 146
Notebook containing 'A verbal translation of Blumenbach's Decades craniorum diversarum gentium'.

MS 147
Notae ethnographicae, 1859-1865.

MS 148
Notebook containing description of a collection of signet rings entitled 'Dactyliotheca Aesculapiana'.

MS 149
Notebook containing notes on history of Britain.

MS 150
Notebook entitled 'Crania Britannica' including a guide to crania and subscribers' names.

MS 151
Private cash book entitled 'York affairs', 1837-1875.

MS 152
Notebook containing lists of reprints sent out, 1854-1864.

MS 436
Notebooks, letters and papers mostly dealing with Crania Britannica, 1853-1900; collection of reprints of articles by Davis; a report on Australian Aborigines, 1859 and two wooden printing blocks of decorative patterns.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in the scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Appointments are necessary for all visits; please contact the archivist by email to arrange; a fee of 10 is payable by all visitors except Fellows and Members; membership details can be found on the RAI web site; access to material referring to the most recent thirty years is restricted; some material is very fragile and may not be available for view; a few items are of restricted or forbidden access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies and scans for personal research only may be arranged at the discretion of the archivist; charges apply; in all cases forms governing use of copies must be signed; use of digital cameras is not allowed.

Finding aids:

Collection level descriptions available in the reading room. There is no finding aid for MS 436.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: 'Report of the Council of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland for 1881' The Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 11, (1882), pp. 482-487 and Oxford DNB.

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:
Sep 2008

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