Meyer Fortes: Correspondence and papers

Scope and Content

1. Principal personal correspondence, 1921-1983

2. General correspondence, 1927-1983

3. Subject files, 1951-1983

4. Personal and financial papers, 1923-1982

Administrative / Biographical History

Meyer Fortes (1906-1983), anthropologist, was born in Britstown, Cape Colony, on 25 April 1906. He carried out research on intelligence tests at University College London from 1927, for which he was awarded a Ph.D. in 1930. Thereafter, he became a research student at the London School of Economics, lecturing there, 1938-1939, and at Oxford, 1939-1941. He was head of the Sociological Department, Accra, Gold Coast, 1944-1946; Reader in Social Anthropology, Oxford University, 1946-1950; and William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, 1950-1973. He was also a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, 1950-1983. Fortes conducted field research in several parts of Africa, including Ashanti, Gold Coast, 1945-1946. He died in Cambridge on 27 January 1983.

Access Information

Some parts of the collection are presently closed to readers. The remainder of the collection is open for consultation by holders of a Reader's Ticket valid for the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Acquisition Information

Bequeathed by Professor Meyer Fortes, 1983.


Description compiled by Robert Steiner, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives.

Other Finding Aids

A catalogue of the collection is available in the Manuscripts Reading Room.

Related Material

Cambridge University Library holds Meyer Fortes' Ashanti Social Survey papers, MS.Add.9359.


Corporate Names

Geographical Names