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Field notebook 'No.1, 1886', 22 Apr. - 15 Aug. 1886

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.8634/A.57

Scope and Contents

The first of seven field notebooks kept by William Bateson during the first part of his trip to the ‘Steppe’, including time spent in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Orenburg and Karabutak, en route to the Aral Sea. The entries are part travel diary and part field notes.

They include descriptions of landscapes, plants and wildlife observed, places visited (including salt lakes), shells and fossils collected, people encountered (including the Kirghiz), local foods, customs and costumes, and other travel experiences such as bureaucratic red tape, food and water shortages, and celebrating his birthday with vodka (page [60v]). Occasional sketches of people/costumes, boats, landmarks, topography and shells are included, e.g. on pp. [8v], [13r-14r], [18r], [23v-26r], [37r], [41r], [42r], [53v], [62r], along with pages listing names in Russian (page [17v]) and accounts (page [66r]).

The notebook is inscribed with Bateson's name and Cambridge address inside the cover. Entries are in pen and pencil, often in tiny handwriting. The annotations in pen, e.g. on pp. [58v-60r] are perhaps by Beatrice Bateson, as are the five accompanying pages of transcriptions (pp. [i-v]).


  • Creation: 22 Apr. - 15 Aug. 1886


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (


1 notebook(s) (1 notebook (71 pp); paper) : paper

Language of Materials


Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

There is a blank stub between page 71 and the back cover, where a page has been torn from the notebook.


Former references: MS Add.8634/A.74 and G.9.a.10

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom