SCOPE AND CONTENT
Title: John Willoughby Layard Papers
Date (inclusive): 1897-1974
Collection number: MSS 84
Accession number: 1989.26(117)
Layard, John Willoughby, 1891-1974
Extent: 48.8 cu. ft. (76 archives boxes, 16 card file boxes,
6 flat boxes, 4 oversize files)
Mandeville Special Collections Library. University of California, San Diego.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Shelf location: For current information on the location of
these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
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
[Identification of item] John Willoughby Layard papers, MSS 84, Mandeville Special
Collections Library, University of California, San Diego.
Acquired from Dr. Richard Layard, London, England, 1989.
Papers of John Willoughby Layard, English anthropologist and Jungian psycho-therapist.
The bulk of the papers date from the 1940s through the 1960s, although many materials
from earlier and later periods are included. The collection includes extensive
correspondence; drafts of Layard's writings, both published and unpublished; extensive
notes and research materials; artifacts; and personal and family materials. Also included
are psychiatric patient correspondence files, which are restricted. A significant
proportion of the research materials and writings relate to Layard's anthropological work
in Melanesia, including materials used in his book
Stone Men of Malekula.Also included are voluminous materials relating to Layard's books
of the Hare
and "The Mary Book: The Snake, the Dragon, and the Tree"
(unpublished). Among the significant correspondence are letters from anthropologists
Gregory Bateson, A.C. Haddon, Bronislaw Malinowski, Alfred Radcliffe-Brown, and W.H.R.
Rivers; writers W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood; composer Sir Michael Tippett; and
psychologists Gerhard Adler, Carl Jung, and Homer Lane. The Layard collection also
contains papers of John Layard's wife, Doris Dingwall.
The collection is arranged in four series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS OF LAYARD, 3)
WRITINGS OF OTHERS, and 4) PERSONAL MEMORABILIA.
The Layard Collection is available on microfilm. Reel and frame numbers accompany
individual folder descriptions in the container list of this guide.
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.
Raised in Malvern, John was sent at the age of seven to the Priory School, a Malvern
boarding school. At about eleven, his family moved to Felixstowe and he was transferred
to Bedales, where he attended a co-ed school, then considered "progressive". In 1909 his
family sent him to study in Paris and Berlin for a year. He then attended Cambridge
University, where he became active in folk music and anthropological clubs. Most of his
free time was apparently spent collecting the words of folk music.
In 1914 W.H.R.Rivers, a Cambridge anthropologist, offered Layard the opportunity to go to
the New Hebrides Islands in Melanesia with a group headed by Rivers and A.C. Haddon.
Rivers and Layard split from the rest of the party and went to the island of Atchin, in
Malekula. After a short time, Rivers left Layard alone on the island with the natives, in
a small house which had been built by Catholic missionary priests who had been killed by
the natives. Layard spent a year in Melanesia, mostly on Atchin, with three weeks on Vao
and a few weeks in Australia. For most of the time he lived completely alone with the
natives, teaching himself their language and songs, and making copious notes on all
facets of their life. From the notes of his three weeks on Vao came his
His other notes have not been published.
World War I had begun while Layard was en route to Melanesia. His brother Peter became an
officer and was killed in France. When John returned to England he suffered a nervous
breakdown, tried to enlist, was refused, was accepted into a government agricultural
program, but was too ill to continue. His parents sent him to live with a Dr. Greer in
Cornwall, who accepted "live-in patients". He then went to live with the Bagenal family,
where he almost committed suicide (there is a suicide note in Bagenal file,
At this point Layard was introduced to psychologist Homer Lane, with whom Layard began
his first psycho-analysis. Layard was making great progress until Lane was arrested and
charged with immorality for having sexual relations with female patients. Lane died
shortly thereafter, and Layard tried to continue his analysis and therapy with other
analysts-first Stekel in England, then in Vienna in 1926, then to Wittels in
In Berlin, he joined David Ayerst, an English friend and the future editor of the
Guardian. Layard then became part of the Berlin homosexual
literary scene, and his friends included writers W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood.
Having been introduced to Auden by David Ayerst, Layard "promptly fell in love". In 1929,
Layard attempted suicide by shooting himself through the mouth. When he did not
immediately die, he took a taxi to Auden's apartment and asked him to "finish the job".
Auden called an ambulance and Layard survived.
It was at this point, according to Layard's autobiography, that his life began. Back in
England, Layard moved to Oxford and was introduced into the Department of Anthropology as
"the best field man". He became part of the literary/professorial/artistic group
surrounding Mansfield "Manny" Forbes, a well-known patron of the arts. Layard lived at
the Forbes' home Finella for part of this time.
At Oxford Layard met Doris Dingwall, wife of anthropologist Eric Dingwall. The Dingwall's
had an open marriage. Layard and Doris fell in love and took up housekeeping together. On
March 15, 1934, Doris gave birth to a son, named Peter Richard Granville Layard (known as
Richard). Richard was to become a noted economist, and now teaches at the London School
of Economics. Eric Dingwall refused at first to give Doris a divorce, but he relented in
1943, when Richard was nine years old.
In the early 1940s Layard published his two best known works,
Stone Men of
Lady of the Hare-the two monographs that
appeared during his life. At the same time he started seeing patients as an analyst, and
continued his own analysis with Baynes in Oxford, Jung in Zurich, and Gerhard Adler in
By the mid-1940's John and Doris were bitterly unhappy with each other. Both had
converted to the Roman Catholic church. John returned to Zurich to work with Jung. There
he began a seven-year love affair with Baroness Vera von der Heydt, also a therapist.
Doris, who later became a psychotherapist herself, studied briefly with Jung's wife.
Returning to England, Layard continued writing, publishing and lecturing, both in Great
Britain and abroad. He became a sought-after analyst, yet remained unhappy with himself.
In the early 1950's he began a second long-term love affair, this time with Dr. Lola
Paulsen, another psychologist. John and Doris were eventually divorced, but continued a
relationship. Lola Paulsen often called herself "Mrs. Layard," although she and John were
Despite his youthful illnesses, Layard lived in fairly good health until the late 1950's,
when he was diagnosed as diabetic. In 1961 he was involved in a serious multi-car auto
accident, for which he may have been partly responsible. Suffering a severe leg injury,
he spent the following year in physical therapy. His eyesight grew worse, as did his
In 1970 he bought property in Megavissey, intending to found an institution for
"third-world" health. By "third-world" Layard meant a union between the mental and the
physical worlds. His plans were interrupted by a violent physical attack from a neighbor,
Lionel Miskin, who had become enraged over certain aspects of Layard's psychoanalysis of
him and his wife. This incident was symptomatic of the extreme emotions that Layard often
inspired in those who knew him well. Layard sued Miskin for assault and abandoned his
plans for the institution. He then retired to Wardington House until his health improved.
In 1972 John and Doris reconciled, and they lived together- apparently
happily-until Doris' death in November, 1973. She was followed a year later by
John, who died at Cowley Road Hospital, Oxford, on November 26, 1974, two days short of
his 83rd birthday. Attending John Layard's funeral were Vera von der Heydt and Lola
Paulson, his two long-time lovers besides Doris, who had remained friends with him and
with each other, a sign of the intense feelings he often aroused in others.
At several times during the last ten or fifteen years of his life, Layard had tried to
retire from practice and write. He accomplished little, however, since many people
continued to seek his professional help. It was not until after his death that
Atchin Dictionary were both published. His
Lady and the Hare has been re-printed twice since then.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
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.
Prior to its acquisition by UCSD, the collection had been stored in the London home of
Layard's son, Richard. When originally received by the UCSD Library, the collection had
been arbitrarily packed into 33 boxes. Although the original order was difficult to
ascertain, it was apparent that Layard had maintained his files in several alphabetical
series, each covering approximately a decade. He had maintained his research materials
and drafts of his books more or less by subject matter.
In general, the processors have maintained the integrity of each file at the item level,
but at the folder-level they have reorganized the materials in accord with the underlying
intellectual order of the papers. For example, subseries containing family and financial
correspondence were created, and drafts of a particular book were brought together.
Un-annotated publications by others have been separated to the Library's general
The Layard papers are now organized into 4 series: CORRESPONDENCE (Alphabetical-General,
Subject, Business/Legal, Family and Patient); WRITINGS; WRITINGS BY OTHERS (annotated by
Layard); and MEMORABILIA.
The CORRESPONDENCE is the largest and most extensive series, containing communications
between Layard and his colleagues in all his fields of interest-anthropology,
psychology, and folk music. The bulk of Layard's own letters can be found in the "Family
Correspondence" subseries, although very few of his replies are included in the "General
Reprints of articles by correspondents, usually inscribed to Layard and annotated by him,
are included with some files. Where indicated on the container list, files contain
photographs as well. Correspondents are identified in the container list, where possible,
as to profession and their relationship to Layard. Correspondence regarding research for
or publication of Layard's writings are filed with the appropriate writings, in keeping
with their original order. Patient/correspondents whose cases became the subject of a
writing have their correspondence filed with those writings. Non-confidential patient
correspondence is included in the "General Correspondence" (due to Layard's friendships
with many of his former patients, he often corresponded with them on subjects not related
The correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order by surname of correspondent. Most
files with an ending date of 1974 contain a letter of condolence on the death of John
Layard, written to Richard. In general, correspondence for individuals represented by
fewer than three items is filed alphabetically in miscellaneous files under the
appropriate letter of the alphabet. However, some correspondence dated before 1930, which
is purely of a personal nature (e.g., dinner invitations), is arranged chronologically
and filed with the subseries "Subjects."
Correspondents include a great number of anthropologists and psychologists. Among the
most extensive is the correspondence with anthropologist W.H.R.Rivers and psychologist
Carl Jung, Layard's two mentors. Even more extensive are Layard's references to Jung in
his correspondence with Doris (1940's, found in the "Family Correspondence" subseries)
and his dream descriptions, with Jung analyses, of the same period (found in the WRITINGS
OF LAYARD series, "Autobiographical/Biographical" subseries). The files for Manny Forbes
and Robin Bevan-Brown, in the "General Correspondence," contain extensive personal
Correspondents represented in the "General Correspondence" subseries also include noted
writers, composers, concert musicians, artists, and actors. Interesting among the
"General Correspondence" correspondence is a letter from Ken Burridge (1972) (and another
from John Smith  under Miscellaneous Melanesian Correspondence) indicating that
Layard was still remembered in the folklore of the natives of Atchin. In the Gerhard
Adler file there is a 1974 letter from Dr. Aldo Carotenato re publishing "The Making of
Man" in Italian. In the Rolf Gardiner file is a letter from Jorniger Moorsan, 1927,
expressing his disapproval of Gardiner's German exchange camp. Other significant
correspondents are anthropologists Gregory Bateson, A.C. Haddon, Bronislaw Malinowski,
and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown; writers W.H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood; composer
Michael Tippett; and psychologists Gerhard Adler, and Homer Lane. In the subseries
"Subjects," under Miscellaneous Personal Correspondence (box 17, folders 7-8) are a
number of interesting letters, including: a letter from Austin Robinson, apparently a
military officer in India, dated 1927, with an interesting description of life in Raj
India; a letter from Mrs. Paul Robeson dated 1938 re coming to dinner at the Layards';
letters from Charles Beaumont, apparently Vera von der Heydt's father, 1949; a letter
from publisher Richard de la Mare, 1956; and a letter from artist Walter Jonas, with a
water color painting on the letter.
Letters in the "Miscellaneous Requests to Publish or Write" include letters from Geoffrey
Grigson, Irene Haccius (re publishing in French), David Holt, Cynthis Rowland (re
publishing in Swedish), and Alice Meinhard (re publishing in German) "Band Boy" Sherris,
1934; artist Vincent Stuart, 1941, offering to paint Layard's portrait; and artist Jane
Wyatt, 1970, artist, saying Layard's portrait is ready.
Letters in the "Miscellaneous Research for Layard" include those from Dr. L.D. Barnett,
1939; A.W. Gorme, 1940; A.C.Hardy, 1953, H.J. Rose, 1936, and H.S. Wadeley, c. 1940.
The subseries "Family Correspondence" is of great significance in that it contains
numerous letters from John Layard himself. Layard's correspondence with his wife is of
special interest because it contains his detailed personal reflections on subjects of
contemporary interest, such as conditions in Nazi Germany during the period when Layard
Of interest in the correspondence with Layard's mother, Eleanor Gribble Layard, are
references to the Layard family, for example the escape of Major Vandeleur from Germany
during the first World War. Included in his mother's miscellaneous correspondence are an
illustrated love letter (dated 1877) from her first beau, an aspiring artist; a letter
dated 1907 from one of John's classmates about John at school; and a letter from Fanny
Haddon (Mrs. A.C.) in 1914, thanking Mrs. Layard for letting her read John's letters from
the Melanesian journey, and asking to be allowed to read the others which might arrive.
Correspondence of Layard's father, George, includes letters George solicited from notable
personages in 1913. These include letters or notes from composer Edward Elgar,
philosopher Herbert Spencer, and writer H.G. Wells.
The subseries "Patient Correspondence" is restricted. Much of this concerns details of
treatment, including detailed descriptions of dreams. Many files include drawings or
paintings by patients. These files are significant in that they reveal much about
Layard's approach to psychotherapy.
WRITINGS, the next largest series in the collection, are arranged chronologically, as
well as can be determined, by time of writing; these include books published, articles
printed in journals, papers and talks delivered, and drafts and notes for unpublished
books. All of Layard's original hand-written notes from Malekula are here, as well as the
hand-written and type-written drafts he made from these notes.
Of interest is Layard's autobiography, which he wrote in snatches from the 1940s to the
1970s. This, along with the correspondence between Layard and his wife Doris, provide
interesting insights into the political and intellectual climate in Europe during
Layard's lifetime, particularly during the late 1930s when Layard was lecturing in Nazi
Mary Book materials, in the WRITINGS OF LAYARD series, relate to Layard's psychological
study of Mary Tritton, a project he conducted over a long period, from the late 1940s to
the 1960s. Ms. Tritton granted Layard permission to publish his research on her, so the
materials are here unrestricted. In this series can be found extensive files relating
largely to Ms. Tritton's dreams, including drawings, paintings, and correspondence.
The WRITINGS OF OTHERS series contains works collected by Layard and annotated by him.
These include typescripts, reprints, and journals. Non-annotated writings of others have
been separated to the Library's other collections. The Separation List (at the end of
this register) is a list of these items.
Of interest in the PERSONAL MEMORABILIA, in the "John Layard Memorabilia" subseries, is a
brochure advertising a portable desk for field anthropologists, and the 1914 passenger
list from Layard's Melanesian voyage. Also in this subseries are clippings retained by
him, a 1951
Health and Nature (nudist) magazine, and a collection of
erotic drawings. These reveal Layard's varied intellectual interests.
Included among the Layard Papers are archeological artifacts from Melanesia, the Scilly
Isles, and Nineveh. These are listed in the Container List under the title or subseries
to which they relate.