Papers of Professor Sir James Norman Dalrymple Anderson

Scope and Content

Papers, 1931-1990, of Sir James Norman Dalrymple Anderson, comprising correspondence, articles and documents concerned with Islamic law in the Middle East and East Africa; sermons, lectures and notes on Christianity; personal correspondence including an exchange of letters with the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1960; and personal documents.

Administrative / Biographical History

James Norman Dalrymple Anderson was born on 29 September 1908. He was educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate and later attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1930 and Bachelor of Laws in 1931. He went to Egypt in 1932, where he spent eight years as a missionary and later studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. In 1939 he served with the guerrillas in the British Army, and in 1940 was made Arab liaison officer for the Libyan Arab Force. In 1945 he became Political Officer for Sanusi Affairs, and later Secretary for Arab Affairs in the Civil Affairs branch of GHQ Middle East. He was awarded the MBE in 1943 and the OBE in 1945.

In 1946 he attended the Foreign Ministers Conference as Adviser to Mr. Ernest Bevin, then Foreign Secretary, on the future of former Italian Colonies in the Middle East. He lectured on Islamic law in the Law Schools at Cambridge for three years, and thereafter moved to the School of Oriental and African Studies where he lectured from 1947 to 1971. He was the Professor of Oriental Laws in the University of London between 1954 and 1975. From 1949 to 1950, he spent six months on study leave in the Middle East (Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq) as part of a special study of modern developments in Islamic law. In 1950 he spent three months in East Africa (including Aden and Hadramaut) and in 1951, three months in West Africa making a Survey for the Colonial Office regarding the application of Islamic law in British African possessions.

He wrote and published several books and articles on Islamic Law in Eastern Africa, and on Islamic law and marriage and divorce in the Middle East. Anderson also wrote extensively on Christianity and comparative religion and was the first Chairman of the House of Laity, General Synod from 1970 to 1979. He was also Anglican delegate to the World Council of Churches.


The papers have been divided into four main sections: material on Islamic law; writings by Anderson; correspondence; and personal documents.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

The material relating to Islamic law was donated in 1977 (previous reference MS 365205). The remaining material was donated in 1996.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist.

Conditions Governing Use

No publication without written permission. Apply to Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance.