Orchardson, Ian Q

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Unpublished ethnographical study of the Kipsigis people of Kenya and an unpublished fictional account of Kipsigis life.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ian Q Richardson was an analytical chemist working in London who had damged his lungs and went out to Kenya about 1910 on medical advice. He settled near Kericho where he grew coffee and a little tea. He became closely acquainted with the Kipsigis people, married a Kipsigis woman and was given a Kipsigis name - Chemosusu 'the man who does anything and everything.'

Richardson went on to write the first Kipsigis grammar and also wrote a detailed study of the Kipsigis people which AT Matson describes as 'written with the insight and understanding that can only proceed from long association, sympathy and an unimpeachable knowledge of the language.' Orchardson completed the draft study in 1937 and an abridged and edited version, updated by Matson, was published in 1961.

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted

Acquisition Information

Donated by Dr Ian Orchardson, son of Ian Q. Orchardson, in 2003

Other Finding Aids

This description constitutes the only finding aid at present.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Rosemary Seton, Archivist, SOAS

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to SOAS Archives in first instance.