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British Library of Political and Economic Science

MALINOWSKI, Bronislaw Kasper, 1884-1942, anthropologist


Reference code(s): GB 0097 MALINOWSKI

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: MALINOWSKI, Bronislaw Kasper, 1884-1942, anthropologist

Date(s): [1920-1942]

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: c 220 boxes

Name of creator(s): Malinowski | Bronislaw Kasper | 1884-1942 | Professor | anthropologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Born 1884; parentage on both sides Polish szlachta (landed gentry and nobility); educated at the King Jan Sobieski Public School and the Jagiellonian University Cracow, where he gained a PhD in Philosophy, Physics and Mathematics,1908; received the Barczewski stipend for training as a university teacher, and studied for four years in London, undertaking research at the British Museum and the London School of Economics; Lecturer at the LSE, 1913, where he gained a PhD in Science, 1916; part of the Robert Mond Anthropological Expedition to New Guinea and North-West Melanesia, 1914-1916 and 1917-1918, returning in 1918 to Australia, and in 1920 to Europe; Reader in Social Anthropology, University of London, 1924-1927; journeyed to the USA and Mexico by invitation of Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, visiting Universities and Pueblo Indians (1926); Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics, 1927-1942; undertook a trip to South and East Africa, doing survey work among Bantu tribes (Swazi, Bemba, Chagga, and Bantu Kavirondo), 1934; Delegate of London University to Harvard Tercentenary; Lecturer, Oslo Instituttet for Kulturforsknung, 1936; Corresponding Member, Polish Academy of Science, 1930; Correspondent, Italian Committee for Study of Population Problems, 1932; Member, Royal Academy of Science of Netherlands, 1933; Messenger Lecturer, Cornell University, 1933; Honorary Member, Royal Society of New Zealand, 1936; Correspondent, Institute for Comparative Study of Cultures, Oslo, 1936; Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Yale University, 1939; Fieldwork in Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico, 1940-1941; died 1942. Publications: The economic aspect of the Intichiuma ceremonies (Helsingfors, 1912); The family among the Australian aborigines (University of London Press, 1913); Baloma: the spirits of the dead in the Trobriand Islands (Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, London, 1916); Argonauts of the Western Pacific; native enterprise and adventure in Melanesian New Guinea (Routledge, London, 1922); 'The problem of meaning in primitive languages' in The meaning of meaning (Kegan Paul, London, 1923); Crime and custom in savage society (Kegan Paul, London, 1926); Myth in primitive psychology (Kegan Paul, London, 1926); Sex and repression in savage society (Kegan Paul, London, 1927); The father in primitive psychology (Kegan Paul, London, 1927); The sexual life of savages in North-West Melanesia (Routledge and Sons, London, 1929); Coral gardens and their magic (G Allen and Unwin, London, 1935); The foundations of faith and morals (Oxford University Press, London, 1936); A scientific theory of culture and other essays (University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1944); Freedom and civilisation (Roy Publisher, New York, 1944); The dynamics of cultural change: an inquiry into race relations in Africa (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1945); Magic, science and religion and other essays (The Free Press, New York, 1948); Sex, culture and myth (Harcourt, Brace and World, New York, 1962); A Diary in the strict sense of the term (Routledge & Kegan Paul, London; printed in U.S.A., 1967).


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Professor Bronislaw Kasper Malinowski, 1907-1947, comprising the following: Material relating to his work in the Trobriand Islands, [1907-1934], such as field notebooks, pencil drawings and notes; manuscript notes for a general ethnography of the Trobriands; notes on agriculture, economy, magic, warfare and social structure; working materials for articles; correspondence, and photographs, [1915-1918], taken whilst undertaking fieldwork in the Trobriand Islands. Material relating to Malinowski's early works, [1918-1935], such as unfiled manuscript notes on ethnological society, evolution and the functional method, early scientific notes, notes on reading in areas of sociological theory, psychology and folklore, working notes and drafts for early articles and extensive manuscript notes on economics and primitive economics. Working papers and manuscript and typescript drafts for published works and lectures, notably Coral gardens and their magic (G Allen and Unwin, London, 1935), [1916-1935]; a general study of kinship, [1919-1930], especially notes on the linguistic and cultural aspects, and drafts of chapters by both Elsie and Bronislaw Malinowski; The sexual life of savages in North-West Melanesia (Routledge and Sons, London, 1929), 1917-1938; general writings and working papers on kinship, [1920]-1939, including drafts of articles, reviews and lectures at the London School of Economics; papers relating to linguistics, [1915-1935], notably collections of Kiriwina vocabulary and texts, field records, notes on grammar, and working papers and seminar transcripts for a course of lectures on linguistics given at SOAS in 1932 and 1935; manuscript drafts, notes and papers relating to religion and myth in primitive societies, [1917-1938], including drafts for lectures and books; papers relating to culture in general and on the functional method, [1925]-1942, notably notes and drafts on the nature of culture, working papers for articles and lectures on the subject, charts for the analysis of culture, and notes for a projected book; working materials, notes, drafts and texts for lectures and papers on the function of war and nationalism in human societies, 1924-1942; working papers and drafts for Malinowski's articles on anthropology in the 1926 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, [1925-1926], and the 1937 and 1938 Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbooks, 1937-1938; notes, working papers and materials relating to law, [1924]-1942, notably revisions and part of the original manuscript of Crime and custom in savage society (Kegan Paul, London, 1926), and corrected typescripts of articles on primitive law; working materials, 1940-1942, comprising drafts, synopses and notes for a book provisionally entitled 'Human nature, freedom and civilisation', which was published posthumously. Material relating to Africa and the International African Institute, 1925-1938, including papers on finance and organisation, memoranda concerning the teaching of anthropology and research in Africa, research papers and proposals, correspondence and manuscript texts of lectures on anthropology and war; general material relating to the African research of Malinowski and his students, 1934-1941, such as working papers and drafts for The dynamics of cultural change: an inquiry into race relations in Africa (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1945), correspondence with contacts and pupils in Africa, and notes and articles on African politics and culture. Papers relating to Malinowski's teaching work, including the London School of Economics, 1923-1938, mainly comprising correspondence with and about his anthropology students, including copies of papers and fieldwork, and texts of seminars and lectures on subjects including the functional method, primitive economics, colonial administration, religion and magic and linguistics; papers relating to teaching at Yale University, 1939-1941, notably a list of referees for the appointment, correspondence relating to lectures at other US colleges, and business correspondence. Drafts, correspondence and press cuttings relating to talks given by Malinowski, notably for the BBC on 'Marriage', 'Race and African labour' and 'Science and religion', 1930-1938, and external lectures and activities, 1934-1938, such as invitations to Malinowski to deliver lectures in the UK and abroad, and papers concerning trips to the USA and Scandinavia. Printed material, 1910-1942, including offprints of published material, scrapbooks containing press cuttings relating to Malinowski (1922-1936), reviews of his books, books and journals annotated by Malinowski. Material relating to Malinowski's later life, [1933-1942], including papers concerning his position at the LSE and move to the USA following the outbreak of World War Two; typescript drafts of reviews, articles and lectures; personal and business correspondence; papers concerning Polish refugees; and material relating to fieldwork in Mexico during 1940 and 1941 and the publication of research undertaken there. Personal material, 1931-1942, including correspondence with and relating to his children; financial papers; correspondence with friends, students and colleagues, 1917-1942, notably Professor Charles Gabriel Seligman, Raymond William Firth, Sir James George Frazer, Fernando Ortiz, Robert Harry Lowie, Princess Marie Bonaparte (Princess George of Greece), Karl Mannheim, Professor Montague Francis Ashley Montagu, Phyllis Kaberry, and Audrey Isabel Richards; posthumous papers, 1942-1947, including obituaries, letters of condolence and material relating to the publication of an edition of Malinowski's papers. The papers also include correspondence relating to the Malinowski Archive and the archival collection of other anthropologists, 1951-1983.


Language/scripts of material: English, Polish, Spanish, German

System of arrangement:

Arranged in sections as outlined in the Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Apply to Archivist. The diaries have been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from public use for preservation purposes. The microfilm must be used.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright held by the Library.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Listing in progress.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Given by the family in 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1973, 1990 and 1998. The correspondence between Malinowski and Seligman was given by Professor Meyer Fortes in 1960. The letters from Malinowski to Princess George of Greece were given by the latter in 1960. Papers relating to Malinowski retained by Professor Sir Raymond Firth were deposited in 1985.


Existence and location of originals:

The Sterling Library, Yale University, holds correspondence and papers of Malinowski, of which the Library has a microfilm copy.

Existence and location of copies:

A microfilm of the Malinowski diaries was made available by Follet Preservation Microfilming Project, 1998. Films are held on open access in the Library (Archives MF 17).

Related material:

The British Library of Political and Economic Science also holds material relating to Malinowski in the papers of Sir Raymond William Firth (Ref: Firth), the International African Institute (Ref: IAI 1/11, 16 &18; 37/196; 40/19; 40/166), London School of Economics (Ref: Central Filing Registry 0520/1), LSE Press Office Photographs, Professor Margaret Read (Ref: Read), Audrey Isabel Richards (Ref: Richards), Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark (Ref: Coll Misc 0778), and Felix Keesing (Ref: Coll Misc 0695). Rhodes House Library, Oxford University, holds correspondence relating to African affairs, 1931-1939 (Ref: MSS Afr s 1427); the Sterling Library, Yale University, holds correspondence and papers (Ref: NUC MS 74-1195); the Ethnography Library, British Museum, has notes relating to the Trobriand Islands and the Robert Mond Collection, 1922; the British Library holds letters to Havelock Ellis, 1923-1939 (Ref: Add MS 70539).

Publication note:



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.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Jan 2001

Colonial countries | Political systems
Photographs | Visual materials
War | International conflicts
World War Two (1939-1945) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
Cultural anthropology

Personal names
Bonaparte | Marie | 1882-1962 | wife of Prince George of Greece | writer x Marie | Princess of Greece
Firth | Sir | Raymond William | 1901-2002 | Knight | anthropologist
Frazer | Sir | James George | 1854-1941 | Knight | anthropologist
Kaberry | Phyllis Mary | 1910-1977 | anthropologist
Lowie | Robert Harry | 1883-1957 | US anthropologist
Malinowski | Bronislaw Kasper | 1884-1942 | Polish anthropologist
Malinowski | Elsie Rosaline | d 1935 | wife of Bronislaw Malinowski
Mannheim | Karl | 1893-1947 | sociologist
Montagu | Montague Francis Ashley | 1905-1999 | anthropologist
Ortiz | Fernando | 1881-1969 | Cuban anthropologist
Richards | Audrey Isabel | 1899-1984 | anthropologist
Seligman | Charles Gabriel | 1873-1940 | anthropologist

Corporate names
BBC | British Broadcasting Corporation x British Broadcasting Corporation
Encyclopaedia Britannica
International African Institute
LSE | London School of Economics and Political Science x London School of Economics and Political Science
Yale University

Kiriwina Islands | Papua New Guinea | Oceania
Mexico | North America
Poland | Eastern Europe
Scandinavia | Northern Europe | Western Europe | Europe
Trobriand Islands | Papua New Guinea | Oceania
USA | North America
Asia and the Pacific