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British Library of Political and Economic Science

RICHARDS, Audrey Isabel, 1899-1984, anthropologist


Reference code(s): GB 0097 RICHARDS

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: RICHARDS, Audrey Isabel, 1899-1984, anthropologist

Date(s): 1902-1984

Level of description: collection

Extent: 38 boxes and 6 plans

Name of creator(s): Richards | Audrey Isabel | 1899-1984 | anthropologist


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dr Audrey Richards, 1899-1984, was the daughter of Sir Henry Erle Richards, a legal member of the vice-regal council of India. She attended Downe House School near Newbury and read Natural Sciences at Cambridge. After graduating, she worked as an assistant to Gilbert Murray, and from 1924 to 1928 was Secretary of the Labour Department of the League of Nations Union. Richards registered as a PhD student at the London School of Economics in 1928 under C G Seligman. She carried out anthropological fieldwork among the Bemba of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, from 1930 to 1931, returning to the School to become lecturer in Social Anthropology, 1933-1934. The major subjects of her Bemba research were food production and nutrition and, because women were the principal farmers, women's work and women's lives. She also investigated Bemba politics and government. From 1937 to 1949 she was senior lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. During the Second World War, Richards worked for the Colonial Office and was closely connected with the Colonial Social Science Research Council. She returned to the LSE in 1946 as a Reader in Social Anthropology, going on to become director of the East African Institute of Social Research, Makerere University in 1950. Here she carried out extensive research, partly in co-operation with her colleagues, into Ugandan and particularly Bugandan affairs. This research concentrated on political and economic organisation. From 1956 to 1966, she was Fellow of Newnham College Cambridge, and from 1966 she held the Smuts Readership.


Scope and content/abstract:

Richards' anthropological papers, including very full field notes from her research in Zambia and Uganda, together with a parallel set of field diaries, and a few diaries and notes from her research in South Africa; texts drafts and notes for papers and lectures; correspondence, mainly relating to anthropological subjects; material about Bronislaw Malinowski; letters home from Africa to Richards' mother and sister; testimonials and other material relating to Richards' career; printed material, including offprints and a press cuttings book; and additional material from sources other than Richards.


Language/scripts of material: English; Bemba.

System of arrangement:

This collection is arranged in 21 sections:
1. Bemba alphabetical files A-LL, c1930- c1965.
2. Bemba alphabetical files A-CC, 1930-1965.
3. Bemba diaries, 1930-1934.
4. Other Bemba files, 1902-1980.
5. Fieldwork in Southern Africa and England, 1939-1963.
6. Uganda alphabetical files A-Z, 1950s.
7. Uganda alphabetical files A-V, 1950s.
8. Uganda diaries, 1950-1957.
9. Interview notes - Buganda, 1962.
10. Notebooks - Buganda, 1950s.
11. Surveys - Uganda, c1950-c1970.
12. Big farmers in Buganda, 1968-1972.
13. Uganda Chiefs files, 1960-1979.
14. Other Buganda papers, c1930.
15. Lectures and writings, 1926-1971.
16. General correspondence, 1931-1984.
17. Files concerning Bronislaw Malinowski, 1921-1984.
18. Family correspondence, 1932-1962.
19. Personal papers and miscellaneous, 1918-1983.
20. Print, 1904-1970s.
21. Additional deposits, 1952.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:


Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Printed handlist and online catalogue available.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Output from CAIRS using template 14 and checked by hand on May 29, 2002

Date(s) of descriptions: 29 May 2002

Tribes | Ethnic groups

Personal names
Malinowski | Bronislaw Kasper | 1884-1942 | Polish anthropologist
Richards | Audrey Isabel | 1899-1984 | anthropologist

Corporate names
Bemba | tribe

Buganda | Uganda | East Africa
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
South Africa | Southern Africa
Zambia | Southern Africa