2 ANNUAL REPORT, 6TH DECEMBER, 1888.
Since the establishment of the Society in 1878 the study of Folk-Lore has taken an almost entirely new departure, and although Folk-Lorists are not yet agreed as to the precise results which may bo expected from a more scientific classification of it, there is no question about its importance as one of the elements in the history of Man. The question, therefore, in the opinion of the Council, is, how best to advance the study so that the materials for future generalizations may be arranged in more methodical form than heretofore. The work of the Society has been necessarily up to the present time almost entirely that of " collecting and printing the fast-fading relics of popular antiquities." Of the publications of the Society, all except three (Professor Comparetti's Booh of Sindihad, Mr. William George Black's Folk-Medicine, and Mr. Nutt's Legend of the Holy Grail) are works of collection. When to these pub- lications is added the large number of books which have been published in the ordinary channels — largely due, it is certain, to the stimulus given to the subject by the activity of the Society — it will be al^undantly clear that the work of collecting seems to be sufficiently advanced, and the mass of material so enor- mous, that the first decade of the Society's existence may well be marked by a new stage in its career, and the Council feel that, while there is still very much to be done in the collection of English Folk-Lore, the time has come when they should seriously commence the work of sifting and examining the great body of already-collected Folk-Lore.
For this purpose three important sections of work must be undertaken : (1) Bibliography of Folk-Lore ; (2) Handbook for Collectors; (3) A systematic arrangement of existing collec- tions. The basis of this work in each section must necessarily be the Folk-Lore of the country undertaking it, and if the Society uses its prestige, as the first-established of the Folk- Lore Societies, to set the work in operation, the Council feel sure