Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)OJL
TitlePapers of Sir Oliver Lodge
Extent27 boxes and 21 volumes
DescriptionThe main part of the collection consists of Sir Oliver Lodge's personal and family correspondence consisting of more than 2000 letters, 1861-1940. Correspondents comprise colleagues at the Universities of Liverpool and Birmingham, including G. H. Rendall, Professor J. H. Muirhead and Bertram Windle; a number of clerical figures including Charles Gore, Bishop of Birmingham; various politicians and social reformers including Eleanor Rathbone, John Ruskin, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Joseph Chamberlain and A. J. Balfour; members of prominent Birmingham families, including the Kenrick and Cadbury families; and scientists, literary figures, members of the nobility and numerous other individuals. Family correspondence includes more than 200 letters from his eldest son, Oliver W. F. Lodge, 1908-1940, and others from his brother, Richard, 1909-1933 and sister, Constance.

The collection also includes an incomplete sequence of his pocket diaries; scripts and offprints of his published work, an unpublished typescript of 'Encyclopaedia of Physics', and Lodge's offprints and scripts. Also included are diagrams relating to Lodge's scientific work; presscuttings about Lodge and his interests; and photographs of his research apparatus at the University of Liverpool.
ArrangementThis collection is arranged into five series:

OJL/1: Correspondence
OJL/2: Manuscripts of papers, diaries etc
OJL/3: Offprints
OJL/4: Presscuttings
OJL/5: Personal miscellanea.

Lodge's correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.
Lodge's offprints and scripts have been ordered, as far as possible, according to Besterman's, 'A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Oliver Lodge (London, 1935) and any reference to Besterman in the catalogue relates to this publication. A copy of this is available at the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections, book classmark rQC16.L6Z98
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA temporary handlist is available as a pdf file. Click on the link in the document field below. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryOliver (Joseph) Lodge (1851-1940) was born in Penkull, Staffordshire in 1851, the eldest of eight sons and a daughter of Oliver Lodge of Wolstanton, Staffordshire and his wife, Grace (nee Heath). His siblings included Alfred Lodge (1854-1937), mathematician, Frank Lodge, Sir Richard Lodge (1855-1936), historian and Eleanor Constance Lodge (1869-1936), historian and principal of Westfield College, London. Oliver was educated at Newport Grammar School, Shropshire and University College, London and was awarded a DSc in 1877. He was appointed as Professor of Physics at the University College, Liverpool, 1881-1900 and then became Principal of the University, 1900-1919.

As a scientist, his research included the development of the wireless and telegraphy and experiments on relative motion of matter and ether. His psychical research was also influential. He published extensively and his publications included 'The Ether of Space' (1909); 'Making of Man' (1924); 'Advancing Science' (1931); 'Past Years, an autobiography' (1931).

He served as President of a range of societies including President of the Society for Psychical Research, 1901-1904 and 1932 and President of the British Association, 1913-1914. He received numerous awards including honorary degrees from British and other universities, he was a Farady Medallist and he was knighted in 1902. He died on 22 August 1940.

He married Mary Fanny Alexander (nee Marshall, d 1929) and they had six sons and six daughters. Oliver William Foster (1878-1955) was his eldest son and Raymond, who was killed during the First World War, was his youngest son.

References: Dictionary of National Biography 1931-1940 (Oxford University Press, 1949); Oliver Lodge, Past Years. An Autobiography (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1931)
AcquisitionAt the request of the Lodge family, the Society for Psychical Research separated out and retained items that related to psychical studies, and the remaining items were deposited at the University of Birmingham by the Lodge family in 1974.
Related MaterialCadbury Research Library: Special Collections holds the archives of the University of Birmingham which includes Lodge's correspondence as Principal of the University, 1900-1919 (UB/VC/1); and also the Letters Additional of Oliver Lodge, an on-going artificial collection of letters and other papers of and relating to him (OLLAdd)
Associated MaterialsThe Society for Psychical Research (GB 2237) holds the papers of Oliver Lodge relating to his psychical research, 1884-1890; a typescript catalogue is available in the Special Collections Department for consultation. The University of Liverpool, Special C


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