CHILVER, Elizabeth Millicent (Sally), b 1914, political scientist and anthropologist

Scope and Content

Papers collated by Elizabeth Millicent Chilver, mainly relating to anthropological work in Cameroon, 1963-1989, notably papers by various authors on the anthropology of the Cameroon Grasslands, 1963 and 1989, covering subjects including matrilineal society, witchcraft, magic and divination, with notes on the authors by Chilver; working notes on the Kingdom of Bum in the north-west province of Cameroon, compiled by Chilver in 1993, including a volume of photographs; translations of German documents dated 1908-1913 relating to German policy in the Bamenda Division in the north-west province of Cameroon; photographs of Chilver and Audrey Isabel Richards in Uganda and Cameroon, with an explanatory postcard by Chilver; copy of a memoranda by Dr Mervyn David Waldegrave Jeffreys, Senior District Officer in charge of the Bamenda Division, and Mr F R Kay, District Officer, on land tenure in Nigeria and the South Cameroons, 1936; copies of press cuttings about womens' demonstrations in south-west Cameroon, 1994; and two letters to Chilver regarding conditions in Uganda, 1953-1957, from Lady Helen Cohen, wife of the Governor of Uganda, and Mrs Noni Crossfield.

Administrative / Biographical History

Born 1914; educated Benenden School, Cranbrook, and Somerville College, Oxford University; Journalist, 1937-39; temporary Civil Servant, 1939-45; Journalist, Daily News , 1945-47; temporary Principal and Secretary, Colonial Social Science Research Council and Colonial Economic Research Committee, Colonial Office, 1948-57; Director, University of Oxford Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1957-61; Senior Research Fellow, University of London Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 1961-64; Principal, Bedford College, University of London, 1964-71, and Fellow, 1974; Member, Royal Commission on Medical Education, 1965-68; Trustee, British Museum, 1970-75; Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, 1971-79, and Honorary Fellow, 1979; Member of the Governing Body, School of Oriental and Asian Studies, University of London, 1975-80; retired 1979.
Publications: editor of volume 2 of History of East Africa (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1963-76).


Arranged according to subject.

Access Information

Apply to Archivist. The letters from Uganda are closed until 2008.

Other Finding Aids


Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

Rhodes House Library, Oxford University, holds a photocopy of the German policy documents (Ref: MSS Afr S/1529), and correspondence between Chilver and Margery Perham (Ref: MSS Perham).

Conditions Governing Use

Apply to Archivist for copyright details. Most documents may be photocopied.

Custodial History

Given by Chilver in 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1998.



Related Material

The BLPES holds further material relating to Elizabeth Chilver in the papers of the Colonial Economic Research Committee (of which she was Secretary) (Ref: Colonial Research/1/15, 1/19, 7/5, 8/35, 8/46, 8/54, 8/933, 8/105-6), the papers of the International African Institute (Ref: IAI/12/23 and 37/185), the papers of Phyllis Kaberry (Ref: Kaberry and Kaberry 1997), and the papers of Audrey Isabel Richards (Ref: Richards/6/2, 6/25, 6/29, 16/7-9, 16/16, and 16/26).

Location of Originals

The originals of the German policy documents are in the Buea Archives, Cameroon.


The Experience-Rich Anthropology project at the University of Kent at Canterbury has used the working notes and field diaries of Sally Chilver on their project website at