SELIGMAN, Brenda Zara, d 1960, and SELIGMAN, Charles Gabriel, 1873-1940, anthropologists

Scope and Content

Fieldwork notes of expeditions to Borneo and the Torres Straits, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and the Sudan along with Brenda Seligman's work on kinship, and both Charles' and Brenda's publications on anthropology; extracts from the work of other anthropologists and correspondence between the Seligman's and other colleagues; notes and photographs by Dr Neil Munro relating to his anthropological work with the Ainu and correspondence relating to the editing by Brenda Seligman of this work; material relating to Charles Seligman's work as a doctor treating shellshock during World War One, noting the patients' symptoms, treatment given and response to treatment; correspondence concerning Jewish identity; and papers relating to Charles and Brenda Seligman's interest in Chinese porcelain, journals of their visits to China and Japan and correspondence with friends and family.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Seligman, 1873-1940, was educated at St Paul's School. He qualified as a doctor and became Director of the Clinical Laboratory at St Thomas's hospital, and also treated shellshock victims during World War One. He became interested in tropical diseases and it was for this reason that he went on his first expedition to Borneo and the Torres Straits. Whilst there, he developed an interest in anthropology and the rest of his life was devoted to this discipline. He also attempted to combine disciplines, using psychology to explain anthropological problems. He first taught at the London School of Economics in 1910, and was appointed to the Chair of Ethnology of the University of London in 1913, the first of its kind at the University. He retired in 1934, and was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. Brenda Seligman, d 1960, accompanied her husband on anthropological expeditions and published material in her own right. Like her husband she acquired her knowledge of anthropology whilst working in the field. She was particularly interested in kinship and the lives of women and children.


This collection is arranged in 16 sections:
1. Fieldwork notes, 1898-1922.
2. Kinship, 1917-1935.
3. Material published by others, 1898-1922.
4. Correspondence relating to expeditions, 1886-1938.
5. Japan and the Ainu, 1929-1962.
6. China, 1911-1940.
7. Lectures, 1905-1959.
8. Articles, 1903-1961.
9. Miscellaneous anthropological material, 1906-1950.
10. Medicine, 1898-1918.
11. Jewish identity, 1928-1947.
12. Family correspondence, 1905-1961.
13. Brenda Seligman's writings, 1920-1965.
14. Diaries, 1912-1962.
15. Miscellaneous material (relating to Charles Seligman), 1903-1975.
16. Collected extracts on subjects of interest to Charles and Brenda Seligman, 1907-1945.

Access Information


Other Finding Aids

Fully Listed

Archivist's Note

Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 29, 2002

Conditions Governing Use