Charles Seligman Beatrice Blackwood PRM Museum John Hutton Henry Balfour Edward Tylor Augustus Fox

Relational Museum project

Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, collections up to 1945

Introduction to the Named Collectors Statistics

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The Pitt Rivers Museum had a total of 179,765 artefacts by the end of 1945. In order to achieve the Relational Museum project's aims and objectives the research team needed to provide some statistics about this entire collection so that they could better understand how it had been composed. One of the ways the team chose to examine the collections was by reviewing certain collections in much greater detail. Six named collectors were chosen for detailed archival and library research and comparison:

Henry Balfour (1863 - 1939), the first Director of the Museum, who worked from 1884 to 1938 and amassed significant collections of his own which he donated to the Museum

Beatrice Blackwood (1889 - 1975), a Demonstrator in the Museum for many years who carried out fieldwork and made large field collections in North America and the Pacific

John Henry Hutton (1885 - 1968), a member of the Indian Civil Service and donor of a large number of Naga artefacts from North east India

Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt Rivers (1827 - 1900), the donor of the founding collection of the Museum, soldier, amateur archaeologist and noted collector.

Charles Gabriel (1873 - 1940) (and Brenda) (1882 - 1965) Seligman, professor at LSE, undertook significant field research in Melanesia, Sri Lanka, and, most importantly, Nilotic Sudan

Edward Burnett Tylor (1832-1917), the first Lecturer in Anthropology at a British university, specifically appointed as part of the conditions for the founding donation)

The following statistics are much as they were considered by the project team. The first statistics set compares and contrasts each named collectors statistics, then each named collector's collection is looked at in detail.

The decision was taken very early in the life of the project to put all the statistical raw data on to the web so that other researchers could see how the team's conclusions had been reached.

If you have any comments on the statistics please email:

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The financial support of this project by the ESRC is gratefully acknowledged.