National Library of Wales

R. U. Sayce Papers

Reference code(s): GB 0210 SAYCE

Held at: NLW

Title: R. U. Sayce Papers

Short title: Sayce, R. U., papers

Dates of creation: 1889-1963 (accumulated [c. 1915]-1963)

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: 0.054 cubic metres (6 boxes)

Name of creator(s): Roderick Urwick Sayce


Administrative and biographical history: Prof. Roderick Urwick Sayce (1890-1970) is best known as the editor of the Powysland Club's Montgomeryshire Collections, 1930-1966, but he was also a prominent social anthropologist. He studied at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, and, after being severely wounded in the First World War, lectured in Geography to demobilised soldiers at his former college. Returning to his pre-war studies, Sayce researched an MA thesis on `The hill-top camps of north Cardiganshire' which set new standards in its field. He never lost contact with his native Montgomeryshire, joining the Powysland Club in 1920, and for many years his academic expertise was influential in the Club's success. In 1921 he became lecturer in Geology and Geography at Natal University College in the University of South Africa, a post which allowed him to conduct a pioneering anthropological study of the region. He was appointed lecturer in Physical Anthropology and Material Culture at Cambridge University in 1927, during which period he became interested in the Scandinavian countries, and in 1935 he was appointed Keeper of the Victoria Museum at Manchester University, where he was subsequently awarded an Honorary MSc Degree and appointed Honorary Lecturer in Anthropology. Further appointments included President of the North West Federation of Museums and Art Galleries, 1941, and membership of the Council of the Museums Association, the Council of the Royal Anthropological Institute, the Council of the Folk-lore Society, and the Court of Governors of the National Museum of Wales. Sayce also held various offices within the British Association, as well as being an honorary member of the Irish Folklore Society, and a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Anthropological Society. As well as his work with the Powysland Club, he served as a member of the editorial committee of the Cambrian Archaeological Society, and as editor of The Anthropological Journal, 1934-1936. He was elected vice-president of the Powysland Club following his retirement as editor of Montgomeryshire Collections, and died in Welshpool, his home town, in 1970.


Scope and content: Papers, 1889-1963, of Prof. Roderick Urwick Sayce, including notes by him on anthropology, archaeology, geology and geography, together with drafts and offprints of publications written and collected by him, his personal papers and correspondence, and a considerable amount of material collected by Professor A. C. Haddon, Professor of Zoology at the Royal College of Sciences and Assistant Naturalist to the Science and Art Museum of Dublin, relating to Irish folklore, including correspondence between Sayce and Haddon.


Language/script: English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: (1972 group) works by R. U. Sayce; anthropological notes by R. U. Sayce; personal; correspondence; reprints of articles by writers other than R. U. Sayce; material pertaining to Irish folklore; miscellaneous; (1993 group) manuscripts, typescripts, reprints and offprints of works by R. U. Sayce; undated manuscripts and typescripts by R. U. Sayce; anthropological notes; personal; correspondence; miscellaneous

Conditions governing access: Readers consulting modern papers in the National Library of Wales are required to sign the 'Modern papers - data protection' form.

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: A hard copy of the catalogue, under the title Powys Club Deposit 1993: The Papers of R. U. Sayce is available at the National Library of Wales. The catalogue can be accessed online.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records donated to the National Library of Wales have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected.

Archival history: The 1972 deposit was bequeathed by Professor Sayce, together with the books from his library, to the Borough of Welshpool on his death in 1970. The papers of Professor A. C. Haddon were presumably acquired by Sayce from Haddon at some point during or after their correspondence. The 1993 deposit seems to have been acquired by the Powysland Club at some time around Sayce's death, and was very possibly given to the Club by him. On arrival at the National Library of Wales, it was at first treated as a group of Powysland Club papers, despite being composed entirely of Sayce papers, which are very different in both origin and content from other deposits by the Powysland Club.

Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by Welshpool Borough Council, per Mr K. A. S. Fletcher, Town Clerk, in February 1972, and deposited by the Powysland Club, Welshpool, per Mrs S. V. Woodhouse, Honorary Librarian, in October 1993


Related units of description: Printed volumes from R. U. Sayce's library are held in NLW. NLW Special Collections holds an album containing photographs of a `Visit to Falun (Sweden) and its environments' (1946) (PG 5190). Further papers of R. U. Sayce are Powys County Record Office, Llandrindod Wells, M/D/SAY.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds.

Archivist's note: Compiled by David Moore for the ANW project. The following sources were consulted in the compilation of this description: NLW, Schedule of R. U. Sayce Papers and NLW, Schedule of Powysland Club Deposit: the papers of R. U. Sayce; obituary of R. U. Sayce, Montgomeryshire Collections 61 (1969-70, issued May 1971), pp. 168-70.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2 and LCSH.

Date(s) of description: March 2003



Anthropologists | Wales | Archives

Anthropology | Research

Archaeology | Wales | Research

Folklore | Ireland | Research

Geography | Research

Geology | Research

Haddon, Alfred C. | (Alfred Cort), | 1855-1940 | Archives

Sayce, R. U. | (Roderick Urwick) | Archives

Personal names

Haddon, Alfred C. (Alfred Cort), 1855-1940

Sayce, R. U. (Roderick Urwick)

Corporate names