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Register of the John Willoughby Layard Papers, 1897-1974
MSS 84  
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Collection Overview
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The John Willoughby Layard papers provide extensive documentation on the multi-faceted life and work of an English intellectual. All aspects of Layard's life are represented in the collection, including his personal life, family affairs, anthropological investigations, psychoanalytical practice, writing, intellectual pursuits, and travel. In addition, the papers are of value to those studying the Melanesian area, since the materials include records of Layard's field work there.
John Willoughby Layard, English psychologist and anthropologist, was born in London on November 28, 1891. His parents were George Somes Layard and Eleanor Gribble Layard, he from a genteel parson's family; she from a wealthy mercantile household. The Layard family were minor nobility, descended from French Huguenots. John's great uncle was Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894), a noted archaeologist and diplomat who had excavated the ruins of Ninevah. John's branch of the family had gone through most its money by the time of his birth, and what funds remained went into the care of John's father, who was sickly. John had a sister Nancy, five years older; and a brother Peter, five years younger. Another brother died at age three, one year before John's birth. According to John his home life was the most repressed of Victorian households, and he attributed his emotionally troubled young adulthood to this family background.
The materials in boxes 89-98 contain correspondence concerning psychiatric treatment and cannot be used without the written permission of the subjects involved, should they still be living. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether the subject is still living.