Introduction to the named collectors, examined in detail during the project
Archival research was concentrated on six main named collectors. We wanted to know as much as we could about their lives, their work, their collections and the interrelations between these aspects. Pitt Rivers and Tylor were relatively famous in their own lifetimes; Balfour, Blackwood, the Seligmans and Hutton were only well-known within their own academic circles. Their careers span the period covered by the research project, from the founding of the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1884 through to the mid-1940s: General Pitt Rivers started collecting in the 1850s, and Blackwood was still working at the Museum in the 1970s. Each collector had a very different relationship with the Museum itself, from Balfour, who devoted his whole life to curating the collections, to Seligman and Hutton, who lived and worked elsewhere but donated large private collections to the Museum. For nearly all of them there are some archival holdings which are discussed under each person's webpage (follow the links below). A timeline for each named collector has been prepared.
Most of these lives are well known within academic literature and the thumbnail sketches provided are a synopsis of their lives and careers aimed at non-experts, for more indepth discussions please review the futher reading lists at the end of each report.
Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers
(1827 - 1900) Professional soldier, keen collector, and amateur anthropologist and archaeologist. His collection was the founding collection of the Museum. Read the detailed report on Pitt Rivers.
Edward Burnett Tylor
(1832 - 1917) First anthropologist to be given an academic post in the UK (Readership and then Professorship at Oxford University). Read the detailed report on Tylor.
(1863 - 1939) First Curator (Director) of the Pitt Rivers Museum. Read the detailed report on Balfour.
(1889 - 1975) Not as senior as the preceding named collectors, but a much more experienced fieldworker and field collector, she worked in North America and Papua New Guinea and was an Oxford University Demonstrator for many years. In later life she undertook many of the collections management tasks at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Read the detailed report on Blackwood.
Charles and Brenda Seligman
Charles (1873 - 1940) Brenda (1882 - 1965) The Seligmans undertook much survey ethnographic and archaeological work in Sri Lanka , Sudan and Egypt. Charles Seligman was a member of the Cambridge Torres Strait Expedition. He became the first Professor of Ethnology at the London School of Economics. Read the detailed report on the Seligmans.
John Henry Hutton
(1885 - 1968) A career Indian Civil Servant, working both as part of the British administration in the Naga Hills, northeast India and in the Census of India; always interested in anthropology. In later life he was an academic working at Cambridge University. Read the detailed report on Hutton.web site design for Oxford University