JAMES ARTHUR HASSALL NUTT
Born 28th September 1905 - Died 3rd April 1982
He was born at Hull, Yorkshire, in 1905, and died at Torquay, Devon, in 1982. He married Edeltraud Rosa Fasshauer, born 3rd October 1927, and died in 1998; they had children:
1 Susan Magdalena, born 14th November 1948.
2 Angela, born 17th June 1951. She is married to Martin Edward Barham Walters.
Edeltraud Rosa Fasshauer was educated at Dresden, Sachsen, Germany. She was a translator, archivist and geological librarian, and chief librarian of the Geological Society at Burlington House, London.
A book recently published entitled "Whatever is under the Earth - The Geological Society of London 1807 - 2007", by Gordon L Herries Davies, refers to Edeltraud:
Clayton assumed his new duties in March 1971, and in introducing himself to the staff he will have encountered one of the most remarkable individuals ever to have been in the employ of the Society. Even today, almost 20 years after her retirement, the mention of her name within the Apartments is likely to evoke a most distinctive response. That individual was Mrs Edeltraud Rosa Nutt (nee Fasshauer), the Society's Librarian from mid-July 1970 until October 1987. She was a most colourful lady. To me, as a reader, she was always most courteous and helpful; others had rather different experiences. Reminiscing on 11th April 1994 William John French (Secretary 1982-85; Treasurer 1985-89) observed that 'Mrs Nutt gave the Officers matters for discussion at many meetings'. Those matters were not always of a bibliographical nature.
Mrs Nutt had once been Librarian to the Geological Survey at Lusaka in North Rhodesia (Zambia), and she came to the Society from the Department of Earth Sciences in the University of Leeds. To Burlington House she brought library skills and a remarkable fluency in a wide range of languages. But she was a law unto herself. She worked according to her own schedule (I remember her many hours of absence in Harley Street with a recurrent back problem), what was done in the Library was essentially what Mrs Nutt wanted to see done, and her relationship with other staff-members and the Council often led much to be desired. On 14th May 1975, the Council learned that the British Library proposed to make to the Society an annual grant of £6000 for at least three years to allow the engagement of a Library cataloguer, but the Council wisely took pains to ensure that the cataloguer (Mrs Gerda Semple) was responsible directly to the Council rather than to the Librarian. That indicates how things were. Mrs Nutt was unmanageable.
In respect of Mrs Nutt there were many things of which I remained oblivious until after her death in November 1998. She was German by birth. A heavy smoker, she had become addicted to cigarettes during 1944 in assuagement of the pangs of wartime starvation. Unlike perhaps 100,000 others, she survived the firestorm which was inflicted upon Dresden on 13th February 1945, although there vanished the school of which she was a pupil. As a young teacher in Arnstadt she ran foul of the occupying Russians because of her refusal to ground her teaching in the philosophy of dialectical materialism. The N.K.V.D. asked her to step aside for discussions; the equivalent of the KGB had her in solitary confinement as a suspected agent in the pay of the British. Many were the nights when she was taken off to the interrogation-room at 02.00 hrs. In July 1947 she was 'invited' to take the train to Moscow , there to become a student of political psychology. The time for flight had arrived. Under Russian guns, she crawled - literally - through barbed wire into the British zone of occupation. For such a lady, professors of Geology and library assistants were small beer. Within the Society there was widespread relief when she finally retired on 2nd October 1987. The Council gave her a farewell lunch. For those present, overtly it was an occasion of valediction, but inwardly it was one of celebration. Mrs Nutt's successor was Mrs Sheila Meredith, the Society's present Chief Librarian. She came to Burlington House from a post in the Libraty of Goldsmith's College (University of London).
Information supplied by Angela Walters.
Gordon L. Herries Davies, Geological Society, "Whatever is under the Earth - The Geological Society of London - 1807 - 2007", pp280/1.