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British Library of Political and Economic Science

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


Reference code(s): GB 0097 SELIGMAN

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

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

Date(s): 1890-1975

Level of description: collection

Extent: 29 boxes

Name of creator(s): Seligman, Charles Gabriel, 1873-1940, anthropologist
Seligman, Brenda Zara, d 1960, anthropologist


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.


Scope and content/abstract:

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.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

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.

Conditions governing access:


Conditions governing reproduction:


Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Fully Listed


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

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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

Anxiety disorders | Diseases | Pathology
Ceramic art | Plastic arts
Jews | Religious groups
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Neuroses | Mental diseases | Psychopathology | Psychiatry
Tribes | Ethnic groups
War | International conflicts
World War One (1914-1918) | World wars (events) | Wars (events)
Shell shock x Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Personal names
Munro | Neil Gordon | 1863-1942 | orientalist
Seligman | Brenda Zara | d 1960 | anthropologist
Seligman | Charles Gabriel | 1873-1940 | anthropologist

Corporate names

China | East Asia
Indonesia | South East Asia
Japan | East Asia
Malaysia | South East Asia
Pacific Ocean | Oceans
Papua New Guinea | Oceania
Sri Lanka | South Asia
Sudan | East Africa
Torres Strait | Oceania
South Pacific x Oceania