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Society of Antiquaries of London Certificates of Candidates for Election

'Certificates of Candidates for Election', conventionally known as the 'Blue Papers', are used to nominate individuals for election as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London, often known as 'FSAs'.

Details in a Blue Paper

These documents contain information on a person's qualification for admission to the Society of Antiquaries of London as a Fellow. Certificates include a candidate's name and address, and a number of signatures (five or more) from other Fellows endorsing the candidate for admission to the Society. Endorsing signatories sign the proposals under "Personal Knowledge" of the candidate, or "General Knowledge". Proposals for candidates are submitted by a Fellow, not by the proposed candidate.

Information on a candidate's scholarly qualifications can be found in two sections of the form: "Addition, Profession or Occupation" and "Qualifications". These sections can provide further details on a candidate's academic degree(s), marital status, employment, positions held, areas of expertise, publications. Dates of proposal submission, reading and balloting are also included on the Certificate. Not all information specified here is present on each certificate, the information given can be inconsistently applied.

Why 'Blue Paper'?

The Certificates of Candidates for Election are conventionally known as "blue papers" after the colour of the paper they were originally printed on. They have been bound into volumes in chronological order. The volumes are held in the archives of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

The first women FSAs

The first women elected as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of London - Eugenie Sellers Strong, Rose Graham, Gertrude Bell and Nina Layard - did not go through the process as outlined above. Instead, they were proposed by members of the Society of Antiquaries' Council.