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Edward Clodd (1 July 1840, Margate, Kent – 16 March 1930) was an English banker, writer and anthropologist. He was the only surviving child of 7. He cultivated a very wide circle of literary and scientific friends, who periodically met at Whitsun gatherings at his home at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Although born in Margate, where his father was captain of a trading brig, the family moved soon afterwards to Aldeburgh, his father's ancestors deriving from Parham and Framlingham in Suffolk. Born to a Baptist family, his parents wished him to become a minister, but he declined and instead went into accountancy and banking, moving to London in 1855.
He first worked for free for 6 months at an accountant's office in Cornhill in London when it was 14.
He worked for the London Joint Stock Bank from 1872 to 1915, and had residences both in London and Suffolk. He married his wife Eliza Garman, a doctor's daughter in 1862. He had 8 children with Eliza, though 2 died when they were young. Clodd was an early follower of the work of Charles Darwin and had personal acquaintance with Thomas Huxley and Herbert Spencer. He wrote biographies of all three men, and worked to popularise evolution through books like The Childhood of the World and The Story of Creation: A Plain Account of Evolution.
Clodd was an agnostic and wrote that the Genesis creation narrative of the Bible is similar to other religious myths and should not be read as a literal account. He wrote many popular books on evolutionary science. He wrote a biography of Thomas Henry Huxley and was a lecturer and popularizer of anthropology and evolution.
He was also a keen folklorist, joining the Folklore Society from 1878, and later becoming its president. He was chairman of the Rationalist Press Association from 1906 to 1913. He was a Suffolk Secretary of the Prehistoric Society of East Anglia from 1914-1916. He was a prominent member and officer of
the Omar Khayyam Club or 'O.K. Club', and organized the planting of the rose from Omar Khayyam's tomb onto the grave of Edward Fitzgerald at Boulge, Suffolk, at the Centenary gathering. Clodd was a critic of the paranormal and psychical research which he wrote were the result of superstition and the outcome of ignorance. He criticised the spiritualist writings of Oliver Lodge as non-scientific. His book Question: A Brief History and Examination of Modern Spiritualism (1917) exposed fraudulent mediumship and the irrational belief in spiritualism.
Clodd had a talent for friendship, and liked to entertain his friends at literary gatherings in Aldeburgh at his seafront home there, Strafford House, at Whitsuntide. Prominent among his literary friends
and correspondents were Grant Allen, George Meredith, Thomas Hardy, George Gissing, Edward Fitzgerald, Andrew Lang, Cotter Morison, Samuel Butler, Mary Kingsley and Mrs Lynn Linton: he also counted Sir Henry Thompson, Sir William Huggins, Sir Laurence Gomme, Sir John Rhys, Paul Du Chaillu, Edward Whymper, Alfred Comyn Lyall, York Powell, William Holman Hunt, Sir E. Ray Lankester, H.G. Wells
and many others in his immediate circle. His hospitality and friendship was an important cement in the development of their social connections.
For more information, see Wikipedia entry at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Clodd .
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