In 1900 the RAI presented petitions to the Government of South Australia associated with the Aborigines of Central Australia and, with the Folklore Society, to the Right Hon. Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies on the condition of the indigenous people of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony (see A10/3/3/1-2)

Another petition was presented in 1908 to the Right Hon. H.H. Asquith, Prime Minister requesting an annual subsidy from the Government to establish a Bureau of Anthropology within Institute; a further petition was presented to the Colonial Premiers at the Imperial Conference in London in 1911; no assistance was forthcoming (see A56). Sir Richard Temple suggested a school of applied anthropology in 1913 (see Man, [Nov.] 1913, No. 102). From the time of the resolution of the XVIIth International Oriental Congress in Aug. 1928 to approach the Australian Federal Government and the State governments ‘to organize the study of the native languages of Australia’ the RAI took an active concern in the welfare of the Australian Aborigines and other indigenous people. However it was not until 1937 that Council appointed a Sub-Committee on the Anthropological Implications of the Transfer of Territories which met on 23 Feb.; its report was received on 16 Mar. (see Council minutes, ff. 300-1). The first meeting of the Committee on Applied Anthropology was held on 23 Apr. 1937. Council received its report on 25 May and approved the draft letter to the Colonial Secretary on 15 June. Those present at the meeting on 23 Apr. were Dr H.S. Harrison (in the Chair), H. Coote Lake, Dr R.W. Firth, Dr Audrey I. Richards, Dr Lucy P. Mair (Convener). Dr Mair was appointed Secretary and Prof. B. Malinowski was invited to be Chairman. Dr M. Fortes succeeded as Secretary at the end of 1938 and continued until the final meeting on 16 June 1939. Regular reports of the Committee were published in Man, July 1937, No. 139, Feb.-Aug. 1938, Nos. 22-46 passim, Jan.-July 1939, Nos. 6-96 passim. See also A56, Imperial Bureau of Anthropology and A58, British Joint Committee for Anthropological Teaching and Research.

  1    General correspondence, 1936-40
  2    Australian Aborigines, 1928-32 including funding for the Dept of Anthropology, University of Sydney
  3    Districts Officers’ note-books, 1934
  4    Advance of science and the life of the community, 1934
  5    Transfer of Territories, 1937
  6    Shortage of Native farm labour, 1937
  7    South African Protectorates, 1938
  8    Bride-price, 1938
  9    Correspondence relating to the Transfer of Territories, South African Protectorates, and Bride-price, 1937-8
 10    Australian Aborigines, 1938
 11    Land tenure among the Ngoni, 1938
 12    Soil erosion in East Africa, 1938
 13    Anthropological research in the British Colonies, 1940, 1943
 14    Anthropology in post-war reconstruction plans of the Government of India, [1940]
 15    British anthropological research in the reconstruction and development of Burma, 1937, 1944-7
 16    Australian rocket testing range, 1946
 17    Application for funds for scientific education, 1960
 18    Agenda, minutes, discussion meetings, 23 Apr. 1937-16 June 1939 (shelved with quartos)

GCT    Dr Gertrude Caton Thompson, FBA (1888-1985), RAI Vice-President, 1943-6, 1960-3; Council member, 1930-60 passim; Huxley Medallist, 1946

WBF    W.B. Fagg, CMG (1914-92), Keeper, Dept of Ethnography, British Museum, 1969-74; RAI Hon. Secretary, 1936-56; Hon. Editor of Man, 1939-56

RWF    (Prof. Sir) Raymond Firth, FBA (1901-2002), later Prof. of Anthropology, University of London; RAI Hon. Secretary, 1935-9; President, 1953-5

JHH    Prof. J.H. Hutton, ICS (1885-1968), William Wyse Prof. of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University; RAI President, 1943-5

EJL    Dr Ethel John Lindgren (d. 1988), Hon. Editor, 1938-47; RAI Vice-President, 1947-50

LPM    Dr Lucy Mair (1901-86), later Prof. of Applied Anthropology, London School of Economics; RAI Wellcome Medallist, 1936; Hon. Secretary, 1974-8; Vice-President, 1978-9

JLM    Sir John Linton Myres (1869-1954), Wykeham Professor of Ancient History, University of Oxford, RAI Hon. Secretary 1900-03, President, 1939-40

ARRB    Prof. A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, FBA (1881-1955), University of Sydney, later Prof. of Social Anthropology, Oxford University; RAI President, 1939-40

FS        Miss Felicia Stallman, RAI Assistant Secretary, 1941-52

HNCS    H.N.C. Stevenson, OBE, Burma Frontier Service; Hon. Director of Ethnography, Governor of Burma Camp, Simla, 1945; author of The economics of the central Chin tribes, Bombay, [1944]; later Managing Director, Scottish Television Ltd

TT        Sir Theodore Tasker (1884-1981), OBE, ICS

1/General correspondence, 1936-40

  1    GCT to RWF, 31 Dec. 1936 - wishes RAI to consider the part it ‘might play in the Colonial policy questions’; sets out her views and ideas for the RAI. 4 pp. (autogr.)

  2    Ibid., 10 Jan. 1937 - his and others reaction to her suggestions fairly similar; thinks some form of discussion at the RAI might be valuable (autogr.)

  3    Karl Nickul, Helsinki, author of The Skolt Lapp community, Suenjelsijd during ... 1938, Stockholm, 1948 to LPM, 9 Mar. - on Finnish Lappland and the proposal to administer the area by indirect rule; wishes support for the protection of Lapp culture (tp., annotated by LPM); see Council minutes, 25 May 1937, f. 305

  4    Résumé of the proposal of the Society for the Culture of the Lapps (tp)

  5    Ibid., 14 Apr. - thanks for her interest; has also heard from EJL; outlines his plans to make the situation of the Lapps generally known (tp.)

  6    Colonial Office, London to C.W. Hobley, Member, Standing Committee on Applied Anthropology, 23 Apr. - outlines laws governing the treatment of foreigners, trading rights etc., in British mandated territories and by the Dominion Governments; gives treaties and conventions relating to Africa (tp.); see Minutes, Standing Committee, 23 Apr. 1937

  7    K. Nickul to LPM, 5 May - acknowledges information on indirect rule; his Society hopes to persuade the Finnish Government to make proposals on the Lapps; will send detailed account; grateful for support (tp.)

  8    Prof. Gunnar Landtman, Helsinki, author of The Kiwai Papuans of British New Guinea, 1927 to LPM, 7 May - on the Society for the Culture of the Lapps and its aims; it has no political purpose (tp.)

  9    J.R. Ockleshaw-Johnson, London to RAI, 8 June - has been concerned for many years about the treaty rights of the Six Nations of the North American Indians; wishes to be put in touch with others interested (autogr., annotated)

 10    Agnes Dawson, Grantchester to RAI, 5 Aug. - LPM asked  about Society for the Culture of the Lapps; stresses it has no political aims; Prof. Landtman has written to the RAI on the subject (autogr.)

 11    Prof. Felix M. Keesing,  University of Hawaii, Honolulu to LPM, 14 Jan. 1938 - pleased to accept invitation to serve on the Standing Committee; will send information on developments in the Pacific area; international conference in 1936 on ‘Education in Pacific Countries’ held in Honolulu (tp.)

 12    W.E. Owen, Archdeacon of Kavirondo, Kenya to RAI, 1 June 1938 - inquires if subject of child labour in Africa is of concern; encloses copy of his letter to the Manchester Guardian and leader, 12 May 1938 (see /1/19) (autogr.)

 13    Letter to Manchester Guardian, 12 May 1938 and leader

 14    Arthur E. Robinson, former Chief Censor, Sudan Government to RAI, 13 July - refers to report in Man on child labour; wrote to Government concerned; understands they were not consulted or sent a proof before publication; not reassured by non-disclosure of names of Committee; lack of courtesy in failure to consult London representatives (tp.); see Man, Jan. 1939, No. 6, ‘Child labour in East Africa’ by Ven. Archdeacon W.E. Owen

 15    A.E. Robinson to RAI, 4 July 1939 - requests names of members on the Applied Anthropology Committee; notes Nos. 95-6, Man, July 1939, ‘Some problems of education in East Africa’, and ‘Native peasant economy and production for international market’, reports of the Committee, are unsigned; asks if RAI accepts full responsibility (tp., annotated by WBF, Hon. Secretary)

 16    RAI Office to WBF, 5 July - sends letter for reply (autogr.)

 17    Hon. Secretary, RAI to A.E. Robinson, 19 July - official of the Colonial Office invariably attends meetings and looks favourably on the work of the Committee; Committee appointed by Council (tpc.)

 18    A.E. Robinson to Hon. Secretary, RAI, 19 July - notes Council elects the Committee; has received no notice of meetings; reports in Man serve to put pressure on African governments which may not be able to carry out ‘ideal reforms’; at least three other societies whose role is to protect indigenous peoples; fails to see why space in Man is taken for the subject (autogr.)

 19    RAI Office to Hon. Secretary, RAI, 21 July - mentions Miss E. Dora Earthy’s paper; encloses A.E. Robinson’s letter (/1/18) and comments on it (autogr.)

 20    WBF to ARRB, 16 Jan. 1940 - names date of sub-committee; refers to draft of appeal to Fellows; outlines his proposal for an International Affairs Committee; suggests its constitution as a form of ‘War Cabinet’. 3 leaves (autogr. draft); see Council minutes, 23 Jan. 1940, ff. 361-2

 21    Applied Anthropology Committee: arguments for single committee - draft by WBF. 9 leaves (autogr.)

 22    Applied Anthropology Committee: arguments for single committee - draft by WBF on the need for the RAI to take an ‘official interest ... in international affairs’. 3 leaves (autogr.)

 23    A proposed Committee on Anthropological Problems in International Affairs - draft by WBF. 4 leaves (autogr.)

 24    Committee on Anthropological Problems in International Affairs - draft by WBF on ‘a committee on the anthropological aspects of peace aims’. 2 pp. (autogr.)

 25    WBF to J.H. Driberg (1888-1946), author of The Lango: a Nilotic tribe of Uganda, 1923 and other works, 4 Feb. – on announcement of a meeting in Cambridge; on the ‘new committee’; will give his views full weight; on Tom Paterson (autogr. draft)

 26    WBF to Dr Margaret Read, 13 Feb. - asks if she would be prepared to serve as Secretary of the Colonial Section, Applied Anthropology Committee if nominated; refers to his proposal for a new International Affairs Committee and behind the scenes ‘manoeuvring’ (autogr. draft)

 27    Ibid. to J.H. Driberg, 18 Feb. – on meetings; on the new committee; issue must be postponed (autogr. draft)

 28    Ibid. to ARRB, ibid. - wide ranging letter covering ARRB’s difficulty in chairing meetings and H.J. Braunholtz’s willingness to do so; desirability of maintaining a full programme of meetings; Curl Bequest; Council and Executive Committee minutes confidential; importance of Local Correspondents; Committee on Anthropological Problems in International Affairs; Census of Anthropologists; draft appeal. 3 leaves (autogr. draft)

 29    Ibid. to Dr Read, 19 Feb. - on EJL’s advice, question of new committees postponed; hopes the possibility of nominating her will arise later (draft autogr.); see Council minutes, 20 Feb. 1940, f. 364

 30    Applied Anthropology Committee - list of Committee members (autogr. by WBF); see also Council minutes, 19 Mar. 1940, ff. 366-7

 31    Ibid., (autogr. by WBF)

2/    Australian Aborigines, 1928-31 including funding for the Dept. of Anthropology, Sydney University

  1    31 Aug. 1928, XVII International Oriental Congress, Oxford - resolution on approach to the Australian government and the state governments on the need for ‘immediate steps to organize the study of the native languages of Australia’ proposed by Pater W. Schmidt, seconded by Prof. A. Meillet: resolution and summary of Pater Schmidt’s speech by JLM. 2 leaves (autogr.); see Council minutes, 30 Oct. 1928, f. 110; 20 Nov., f. 112

  2    ARRB to JLM, 27 Dec. 1928 - outlines the coverage of studies of Aboriginal languages; his department funded by the Federal and state governments; some linguistics included; linguist competent to deal with Australian and Oceanic languages required; subject unpopular; representation to the Australian Government ‘would do no harm and might do much good’; has been pressing for a National Museum of Ethnology, Archaeology and History at Canberra; government should be persuaded to set up a research institute associated with the National Museum. 6 pp. (autogr., annotated by JLM); see Council minutes, 26 Mar. 1929, f. 121

  3    - ENF to JLM, [Jan. 1929] - reports on ARRB’s letter; has altered resolution (autogr.)

  4    - Ibid., 29 May - encloses pamphlet (/2/5); Revd Lefroy proposes the Aborigines should be brought under the Federal Government rather than with the State governments as at present; wishes to support proposal; suggests meeting with Revd. Lefroy (tp.)

  5    ‘The Australian Aborigines:  a noble-hearted race’ by C.E.C. Lefroy, Contemporary Review, Feb. 1929

  6    Revd C.E.C. Lefroy, former Archdeacon of Perth, Western Australia to JLM, 21 June - has prepared a memo for submission to the British Association; asks for his criticism and if he would sign it (autogr., annotated by JLM); see Council minutes, 25 June 1929, f. 127

  7    Ibid., 25 June - following his suggestions has asked the Anti-Slavery Society to deal with his memo; assumes he will take steps in South Africa [Cape Town, venue for the British Association meeting] to secure the claims of the Aborigines (autogr.)

  8    Travers Buxton, Hon. Secretary, Anti-Slavery and Aborigine Protection Society to JLM, 25 June - has received copy of Revd Lefroy’s memo; will try to obtain signatures; will send it to him in Cape Town as instructed (tp.)

  9    ‘An Appeal on behalf of the Australian Aborigines for the meeting of the [British] Association at Capetown, 1929’, dated 4 July 1929 and signed: T.F. Buxton, Olivier, Charles Roberts, W.H. Stoker, C.E.C. Lefroy. 3 leaves (tpc.)

 10    Revd Lefroy to JLM, 15 Nov. - inquires about the outcome of the British Association meeting; has heard privately from Sir William Bragg that the Council would consider the matter (autogr., annotated by JLM:  no news yet, 18/11/29)

 11    ARRB to JLM, 31 Dec. 1929 - difficult to deal with complications of the welfare of the Aborigines; inclined to favour transfer from the states to Commonwealth control; Federal control of North and Central Australia no more satisfactory than that of Queensland or Western Australia; unified control might also assist the preservation of tribal life; further problem of detribalised Aborigines and those of mixed blood; refers to report of Chief Protector of Aborigines for Queensland who proposes missionary control; suggests representation by the British Association should be made to the Prime Minister; is working on a systematic sociological survey of the Aborigines; difficulty of finding competent field workers.  5 pp. and 2 maps indicating areas for Federal control and areas of fieldwork (autogr.)

 12    A.C. Haddon (ACH), FRS (1855-1940), Reader in Ethnology, Cambridge University; RAI President, 1901-2 to JLM, 7 Feb. 1930 - has considered ARRB’s letter; lists his conclusions which embody all his remarks; thinks the British Association might convey these suggestions to the Australian Prime Minister (autogr.)

 13    Henry Balfour, FRS, (1863-1939),Curator, Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford; RAI President, 1903-4 to JLM, c. 7 Feb. - agrees with ACH that prime responsibility for the Aborigines should be assumed by the Federal government and detribalized and those of mixed blood by the states; strongly opposed to missionary control; stresses importance of qualified officials; agrees suggestions should be made to the Australian Prime Minister (autogr.)

 14    Revd Lefroy to JLM, 6 Mar. - asks if the British Association Council has taken any action (autogr., annotated by JLM - memorandum not yet ready for Council)

 15    ARRB to JLM, 10 Sep. - suggests RAI could help by proposing a deputation to the Australian Prime Minister when he visits London; explains the establishment of a chair of anthropology at Sydney University and the difficulties; he was invited to the chair; department started in June 1926; refers to the Rockefeller Foundation grant; gives his priorities; has just started Oceania to provide for the publication of results of field work; continuance of work now threatened due to the financial crisis; makes suggestions to deal with crisis; gives four main points to put to the Australian Prime Minister. 5 leaves (autogr.)

 16    ‘Future of Australian Aborigines’, Nature, Vol. 126, No. 3176, 13 Sep. 1930, pp. 391-2

 17    JLM to ENF, 19 Sep. 1930 - resolution should be sent to Australian Prime Minister and to the High Commissioner; doubts whether it can wait for Council’s consideration; is drafting an open letter for consultation; comments on the Indian Research Committee; thinks Council should give a ruling on ‘solicitation of outside grants by RAI committees without express authority’ (autogr. carbon)

 18    President, RAI to the Premier of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, 2 Oct.[i], 3 leaves (tpc., annotated by JLM)

 19    Ibid.

 20    Private Secretary, Prime Minister, Australian Delegation to Imperial Conference, London to President, RAI, 7 Oct. - acknowledges letter; referred to Commonwealth Minister for Home Affairs (tp.); see also /2/25-6

 21    ACH to JLM, 20 Oct. - has received letter from ARRB; glad to cooperate; thinks deputation a sound idea (autogr.)

 22    Ibid., 3 Nov. - refers to the Secretaryship of the British Association, Section H; inquires about ARRB’s letter (autogr.)

 23    JLM to ACH, 5 Nov. - acknowledges letter; will be in Cambridge and wants a long talk; refers to British Association; ARRB has been asked to be President, Section H; Council has approved his letter to Australian Prime Minister; mentions disorder in RAI office; with help of others trying to deal with it (autogr. carbon)

 24    British Association Council, 7 Nov. - resolution by ACH requesting the Association to join the RAI on representations to the Australian Prime Minister to prevent the dissolution of the Anthropology Dept., Sydney University (autogr. by JLM); see /2/27

 25    President, RAI to Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, [7] Nov. - on the Anthropology Dept., Sydney University; request for reception of a deputation.  4 leaves (tpc.); see Council minutes, 25 Nov. 1930, ff. 153-4

 26    Private Secretary, Prime Minister, Australian Delegation to Imperial Conference to President, RAI, 11 Nov. - acknowledges letter; regrets has no time to receive a deputation; representations referred to relevant authorities (tp., annotated by JLM, 12 Nov.).  See Man, May 1931, No. 92 for the Prime Minister’s, Rt Hon. J.H. Scullin, reply to the RAI. See also MS 169

 27    Ibid. to Secretary, British Association, 13 Nov. - ibid. (tp. copy)

 28    Ibid. to President, RAI, 15 Nov. 1930 - refers to letter of [7] Nov. (/2/25); encloses statement on government policy (/2/29); no objection to publication of letter of [7] Nov. or the reply (/2/26)

 29    ‘Summary of Aboriginals Ordinannce [sic] 1918-1925: North Australia and Central Australia’. 5 leaves (tp.)

 30    ACH to JLM, 28 Dec. - encloses summary (/2/31) of Australian government memorandum for Man (autogr.); not published

 31    ‘The Commonwealth of Australia and the Aboriginals Population ...’. 3 leaves with covering note by JLM (autogr.); see Council minutes as /2/25

 32    Prof. C.G. Seligman, FRS, FRCP (1873-1940), Prof. of Ethnology, Univ. of London; RAI President, 1923-5 to JLM, 7 Feb. - has read Australian documents; does not think it worthwhile printing regulations in extenso; can find no letters associated with Rockefeller Foundation that are conclusive; probably handed to ENF (autogr.); see also /2/15

 33    Prime Minister (Rt Hon. J.H. Scullin) of the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra to President, RAI, 28 Feb. - submits observations in reply to letter of 2 Oct. (/2/18-19). 3 leaves with covering autogr. note by JLM (tp.)

 34    Ibid. - corrected proof of above letter; see Man, May 1931, No. 92; see also Council minutes, 28 Apr. 1931, f. 169

 35    ‘Summary of subsequent correspondence on 1929 Resolution as to Protection of Australian Aboriginals’.  4 leaves (autogr. by JLM)

3/    District Officers note books, Apr. 1934

  1    J.H. Driberg (1888-1946), author of The Lango: a Nilotic tribe of Uganda, 1923 and other works to Revd Edwin W. Smith (1876-1957), RAI President, 1933-5, 9 Apr. 1934 - encloses memorandum (/3/2) on a complete survey of all records in District Offices of tropical African dependencies; collation would influence the development of Protectorates for the benefit of the protecting power and the indigenous people; wishes it to come before Council; hopes for a letter which ‘would carry weight with the Colonial Office’ (tp.); see Council minutes, 24 Apr. 1934, ff. 239-40

  2    Memorandum by J.H. Driberg.  3 leaves (mimeo.)

 4/    Advance of science and the life of the community, May 1934

  1    ‘The relations between the advance of science and the life of the community’ - statement submitted by the British Association, Section H (Anthropology) in response to ‘a memorandum issued by the Council of the British Association to the Organising Sectional Committees’ signed:  Henry Balfour, Raymond Firth, H.J. Fleure, A.C. Haddon, H.S. Harrison, T.A. Joyce, R.S. Rattray, Edwin W. Smith, J.F. Tocher, F.E. Williams, dated 24 May 1934, 10 leaves (mimeo.)

 5/    Transfer of Territories, Feb. 1937

  1    Sub-Committee on Anthropological Implications - report to Council, 23 Feb. 1937 ‘on the anthropological implications of the transfer of territories from one power to another’ signed: J.H. Driberg, E.E. Evans-Pritchard, R. Firth, Lucy Mair, J.L. Myres, Audrey Richards, C.G. Seligman, E.W. Smith.  6 leaves (mimeo.); see Council minutes, 26 Jan. 1937, f. 297, 23 Feb., f. 299, 16 Mar. ff. 300-1

  2    Ibid. - Minority report by H.S. Harrison with note by C.W. Hobley. 3 leaves (mimeo.)

  3    Ibid. - annotated copy

 6/    Shortage of Native farm labour, Nov. 1937

  1    Memorandum on the problem of farm labour submitted to the Commission Enquiring into the Shortage of Native Farm Labour by H.M. Gluckman, dated 1 Nov. 1937. 14 leaves (mimeo., annotated)

 7/    South African Protectorates, Feb. 1938

  1    Memorandum to the Royal Commission on Closer Union of the Rhodesias and Nyasaland. 3 leaves (mimeo., autogr. corrections); see Council minutes, 22 Mar. 1938, f. 324

  2    Ibid., with variant autogr. corrections

  3    Ibid., with variant autogr. corrections, dated 22 Mar. 1938

  4    Draft notes by LPM. 3 leaves (autogr.)

  5    The Proposed Transfer of the South African High Commission Territories to the Union - Notes for the use [information] of the deputation of members of the Applied Anthropology Committee to the Secretary of State for the Dominions. 12 leaves (leaf 10 missing) (tp. annotated by LPM)

 8/    Bride-price, Feb. 1938

  1    Memorandum - progress report (mimeo.)

  2    Ibid., with autogr. annotations by LPM

  3    Plan of Research on Modern Developments of Bride-price in Africa. 4 leaves (mimeo.)

  4    Ibid., verso of leaf 4 with autogr. notes by H.J. Braunholtz

  5    Ibid., retyped on leaves 1-3 with leaf 4 additionally listing names of experts for specific tribes, signed Lucy Mair (mimeo.)