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Gypsy Lore Society Collections

The historical archive and library collections of the Gypsy Lore Society, mostly mid 19th to mid 20th century.

Gypsy Lore Society wagtail emblem

Wagtail emblem of the Gypsy Lore Society, which was founded in Edinburgh in May 1888 by scholars interested in the songs, stories and language of the Romany Gypsies, with the purpose of publishing their research in the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society.

From 1907 to 1973 the GLS was based in Liverpool, where many of its most active members were closely associated with the city and the University, in particular John Sampson (1862-1931), R.A. Scott Macfie (1868-1935) and Dora Yates (1879-1974).

The Journal (online in the Hathi Trust Digital Library)

The quarterly Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society was published in 4 series: Old series 1-3: July 1888-April 1892; New series 1-9: July 1907-1916; 3rd series 1-52: 1922-1973 and 4th series 1-2: 1974-1982.

GLS archive and book collections

The University of Liverpool holds the records of the Gypsy Lore Society 1888-1974, comprising: administrative files on GLS members' Gypsy research and the publication of the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, with the Scott Macfie Gypsy Collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, illustrations and press cuttings collected by R.A. Scott Macfie and other GLS members.

Gypsy Lore Society collection highlights

The Gypsy Lore Society archive on the road

GLS members often took to the road for excursions in Esmeralda the vardo (now housed at Worcestershire County Museum). Albums recording their trips include photographs taken by Fred Shaw. SMGC Shaw

Photographs by Ivor Evans (taken 1924-1932)

Ivor Evans (1886-1957) was an anthropologist and ethnographer who became a Gypsy Lore Society member in 1927. He presented his photographs of Gypsies around East Anglia and South East England to the GLS Library as a Jubilee gift in 1938. SMGC Evans

Rade Uhlik's Serbo-Bosnian Romani tales

Typescript copies of twenty tales collected in and around Prijedor and Sarajevo 1937-1940. The name and age of each of the storytellers is given, and the place of the storytelling. SMGC 3/2/5

Related SC&A collections

The Georg Althaus/Hanns Weltzel collection of papers and photographs of German Sinti families 1930s-1960s.

Finding and using

The Gypsy Lore Society:

Collections GLS officers
John Sampson
R.A. Scott Macfie
Dora Yates
Books about the GLS

Opening hours

Monday - Friday: 9.30am - 4.45pm

Appointments must be made at least one day in advance.

SC&A contacts

email: scastaff@liv.ac.uk
tel: (0151) 794 2696
Find SC&A staff