Papers of Dennis Duncanson

Scope and Content

These papers of Dennis Duncanson, dating from 1965 to 1976 are comprised of several manuscripts from his book, 'Government and Revolution in Vietnam ' (1968, OUP), as well as draft manuscripts from his other works. The collection also contains a variety of correspondence with academic organisations, personal friends, colleagues and professional acquaintances; review clippings of his book and newspaper cuttings on Vietnam.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dr. Dennis John Duncanson (sometimes referred to as John Dennis Duncanson) (26 May 1917 - 15 April 1998) was a British Overseas Civil Servant and academic who specialised in Asian studies. Duncanson had extensive experience of the Indian Ocean area, from East Africa to China. After joining the Colonial Service, Duncanson became aide-de-camp to the Governor of Hong Kong, and subsequently joined the administration in what was then Malaya. In 1961, Duncanson was invited to join the British Advisory Mission in Saigon and worked as Counsellor in Aid at the British Embassy in Saigon during the mid-sixties, being later awarded an OBE.

On returning to England, Duncanson joined the staff of the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he became Reader, and set up the Centre for South-East Asian Studies. His book, Government and Revolution in Vietnam was written whilst the Vietnam War was still in progress, and found its place as recommended reading in politics and government at several universities.

In 1969, Duncanson was elected to the Council at the Royal Asiatic Society, and in 1977 became its Director. He was President in 1982-5, and served another two terms as Director in 1986-9 and 1992-5. He died in 1998 at Osborne House in the Isle of Wight.


The papers are arranged as follows:
DD/1 - Manuscripts
DD/2 - Correspondence with Royal Institute of International Affairs
DD/3 - Correspondence with Oxford University Press
DD/4 - Correspondence with Richard A. May
DD/5 - Seminar Correspondence
DD/6 - Personal Correspondence
DD/7 - Other Correspondence
DD/8 - Book Review Clippings
DD/9 - Newspaper Cuttings on Vietnam

Access Information

Open with some restrictions. Please contact the archivist using the email address given here . The archive is open on Tuesdays and Fridays 10-5, and Thursdays 2-5. Access is to any researcher without appointment but it will help if an appointment is made via phone or email. Please bring photo ID.

Acquisition Information

It was likely that these papers were deposited by Dennis Duncanson during his time as Director and President of the Society in the 1990s.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by a RAS Volunteer under the supervision of the Royal Asiatic Society's Archivist.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital photography (without flash) for research purposes may be permitted upon completion of a copyright declaration form, and with respect to current UK copyright law. Photography is not permitted for those files that are restricted.

Related Material

Royal Asiatic Society's collections include Dennis Duncanson's publications. More details can be found on the Library catalogue .


Duncanson's publication: Government and Revolution in Vietnam , London: Oxford University Press, 1968 is held within the Society's Library collections.

Geographical Names