- Gomme, George Laurence
- (1853-1916)Knighted in 1911 for his work on the Metropolitan Board of Works (which he joined in 1873) and the London County Council. He was extremely knowledgeable about London, and published several works on the history of the city as well as being instrumental in seminal initiatives such as the Survey of London (1894 onwards) and the identification and preservation of important buildings. He also lectured at the London School of Economics on municipal organization. Gomme was a key figure in the group who founded the Folklore Society in 1878, and was one of its leading members till his death, serving in various capacities, including Secretary, Director, and President (18904). His interests in folklore were broad, but combined with his interest in history and municipal administration, his key field was the development of village and community life, and the idea that ancient racial divisions in the British Isles could be traced in the surviving folklore of the people. This *survivals theory formed the basis of several books and important articles, but was challenged at the time by several colleagues, and is now universally discredited. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on in his organizational work in founding the Society, the numerous books and journals edited by him (including Antiquary (1881-8), Camden Library, Archaeological Review (1888-9), and an important series of reprints from the Gentleman's Magazine), and his insistence that folklore be treated as a science and be pursued with scientific rigour. Gomme married Alice Bertha Merck (see A. B. *Gomme) in 1875, who was the leading authority on children's games, and their son Allan also served as President of the Society. Gomme's major books on folklore and ethnology are Primitive Folk-Moots (1880); FolkLore Relics of Early Village Life (1883); The Village Community (1890); Handbook of Folk-Lore (1890); Ethnology in Folk-Lore (1892); Folk-Lore as a Historical Science (1908).■ Obituaries: by Alfred C. Haddon, Man (June 1916), 84-7; by Edward Clodd, Folk-Lore 27 (1916), 111-12; The Times, 25 Feb. 1916, 5; [Alice B. Gomme], 'Bibliography of the Writings of the Late Sir Laurence Gomme on Anthropology and Folklore', Folk-Lore 27 (1916), 408-12; Francis A. de Caro, Journal of the Folklore Institute 19 (1982), 107-17; Richard M. Dorson, The British Folklorists: A History (1968), 220-9; Sona Rosa Burstein, Folk-Lore 68 (1957), 321-38.
A Dictionary of English folklore. Jacqueline Simpson & Steve Roud. 2014.
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Gomme, Alice Bertha — (1852 1938) Born Alice Bertha Merck, she married George Laurence *Gomme in 1875 and became Lady Gomme when he was knighted for his work with the London County Council in 1911. Alice Gomme was a founder member of the *Folklore Society in 1878… … A Dictionary of English folklore
Alice Gomme — Alice Bertha Gomme, Lady Gomme, born Merck (4 January 1853, London 5 January 1938, London) was a leading British folklorist, and a pioneer in the study of children s games.LifeGomme was the daughter of Charles Merck, a master tailor, and… … Wikipedia
Folklore Society — The Folk Lore Society was founded in January 1878 (it kept the hyphen till 1968), and was thus the first society in the world devoted to the subject. There had been protracted correspondence in *N&Q in 1876 7, initiated by Eliza *Gutch ( St… … A Dictionary of English folklore
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survivals theory — One of the big ideas, proposed by *Tylor and others, which helped 19th century folklorists aspire to scientific respectability, although it has long been widely discredited. Its ultimate origin lies in attempts to apply the principles and… … A Dictionary of English folklore
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