This biography of Prof. James
Geikie is based upon his own letters, papers, and diaries, and upon
information supplied by many of those who were closely associated with him,
both during his earlier days on the Geological Survey and the later in
Edinburgh. Much of the material was sorted and arranged by Mrs Geikie before
it was placed in my hands, and to her I am indebted for many notes,
memoranda, and verbal statements which supplemented the documents supplied.
Mrs Geikie had herself composed, for the use of the family, a brief account
of her husband's early days, and on this manuscript the first chapter is
largely based; without its aid the composition of that chapter would have
been very difficult.
For later years I am under
great obligations to Prof. Geikie's many friends and correspondents, at home
and abroad. Correspondents across the seas, especially, deserve warm thanks
for their willingness to trust valuable original documents to the post, at a
time when the phrase "perils of the sea" had taken on a new meaning. It is
satisfactory to be able to state that in no case was such material lost as a
result of hostile action. Prof. Stevenson of New York and Prof. Chamberlin
of Chicago must be specially mentioned as having supplied much material. It
should perhaps be added that the circumstances under which the book was
written, made it impossible to obtain letters or information from many
continental geologists, who, in happier times, would doubtless have been
glad to render assistance.
A large amount of material
was also kindly supplied by geologists and others in this country. Among
those who have taken a keen interest in the progress of the work, and have
rendered notable assistance, mention may be made of the following friends
and correspondents of Prof. Geikie:—Dr John Home, who supplied many letters
and much detailed information—to his kindly and unfailing help this memoir
of his old friend owes much; Dr Peach, whose accounts of early days on the
Survey were most helpful; Mr Lionel Hinxman, Mr H. M. Cadell, and many
others, to whom application was made in regard to matters of detail. Among
the last mention may be made of Dr W. B. Blaikie of Messrs T. & A.
Constable, Mr T. S. Muir of the Royal High School, and Mr John Grossart. To
all who have rendered assistance I desire to offer most cordial thanks, and
trust that they and others will feel that the biographical sketch, in
however imperfect a fashion, does present a lifelike picture of one who
rarely failed to inspire affection and admiration in those who came to close
quarters with him.
Marion I. Newbigin.
Edinburgh, October 1917.
Part I.—Life and Letters
Chapter I. Boyhood and Youth,
First Years on the Geological Survey, 1862-64
Chapter III. "The Great Ice
Age": (1) Years of Preparation, 1865-71
"The Great Ice Age": (2) Publication, 1872-74