Papers of Angus C. Graham

Scope and Content

The Papers of Angus C. Graham include material pertaining to both book and article publications, to reviews written and to his translation, poetry and short story work. It includes correspondence with other academics in his field and with some poets. There is material pertaining to appointments that he has held and conferences attended, notebooks, diaries and a single photograph. There is also a considerable volume of others' articles and some material concerning others' academic appointments.

Administrative / Biographical History

Angus C. Graham was born in 1919, in Penarth, Wales, and was educated in Penarth and Shropshire before attending Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he attained a BA in Theology in 1940. He served in the Royal Air Force during WWII, taking a Services Japanese course at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1944-45 which led to him acting as a Japanese interpreter in Malaya and Thailand from 1945-46. Graham attained a BA Hons Chinese from SOAS in 1949 and became a Chinese translator attached to the Malayan police in Penang from 1949-1950.

Graham took up his first academic post in 1950 as a Lecturer in Classical Chinese at SOAS completing his PhD thesis in 1953. He became a Reader in 1966, Professor of Classical Chinese in 1971 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 1981. During this period he also was a Visiting Fellow of Hong Kong University (1954-55), Consulting editor of "Foundations of Language" (commencing 1964), a Visiting Professor at University of Michigan (1970) and a Fellow of the Society of Humanities, Cornell University (1972-73).

Graham's research focused mainly around Chinese and western philosophy. He was concerned with the relations between philosophical concepts and the structure of the Chinese language. He published many books and articles connected to his research. He was also interested in poetry and short story writing and translation of early Chinese poetry.

Graham was appointed Emeritus Professor of Classical Chinese at SOAS in 1984. Post-retirement from SOAS he held a number of visiting appointments including at the Institute of East Asian Philosophies, Singapore, Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, Brown University, Rhode Island, and the Department of Philosophy, University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Graham died on 26 March 1991.


The following series were created (the first 12 series are for his published books):

  • ACG/1 - Two Chinese Philosophers: Ch'eng Ming-tao and Ch'eng Yi-ch'uan
  • ACG/2 - The Book of Lieh-tzu
  • ACG/3 - The Problem of Value
  • ACG/4 - Poems of the Late T'ang
  • ACG/5 - Later Mohist Logic, Ethics and Science
  • ACG/6 - Chuang-tzŭ: The Seven "Inner Chapters" and Other Writings from the Book Chuang-tzŭ
  • ACG/7 - Chuang-tzŭ: Textual Notes to a Partial Translation
  • ACG/8 - Reason and Spontaneity
  • ACG/9 - Studies in Early Chinese Philosophy and Philosophical Literature
  • ACG/10 - Disputers of the Tao: Philosophical Argument in Ancient China
  • ACG/11 - Poems of the West Lake
  • ACG/12 - Unreason within Reason: Essays on the Outskirts of Rationality
  • ACG/13 - Articles
  • ACG/14 - Reviews
  • ACG/15 - Poetry and Translations
  • ACG/16 - Stories
  • ACG/17 - Notes
  • ACG/18 - Appointments
  • ACG/19 - Conferences
  • ACG/20 - Correspondence
  • ACG/21 - Interviews
  • ACG/22 - Diaries
  • ACG/23 - Photograph
  • ACG/24 - Others' Publications
  • ACG/25 - Others' Appointments
  • ACG/26 - Chinese reference material

Access Information

Mostly open. Some papers are closed for confidentiality reasons. 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

The material was donated by Dawn Baker, daughter of Angus Graham, in 2018.

Archivist's Note

This material was catalogued by Nancy Charley, RAS Archivist, in 2020. The archivist is grateful to the compilers of the list that arrived with the Papers, particularly for their Chinese language skills in identifying some of the material: Professor Bernhard Fuehrer, Professor Christoph Harbsmeier, Ms Liu Yangruxin, Mr Davide Latini, Mr Connor Judge and Ms Liang Zhu.

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.

Appraisal Information

The material arrived in boxes which had previously been listed and assigned a numerical order, but not arranged. Connected material was not together. The decision was made not to keep the original order but to create an order that should aid future researchers.

Custodial History

The material belonged to Angus Graham until his death in 1991. It was then kept by his family until they sought a place for it to be archived. It was donated to the Royal Asiatic Society in 2018.

Related Material

At the time of the donation of the Papers, Angus Graham's library of Chinese books and material relating to his research was also donated. This is a rich resource for researchers in this field. More details of the deposit can be found here .

Personal Names