Graphical version

Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland

DURHAM, Mary Edith (1863-1944): Folk tales from the Balkans


Reference code(s): GB 1446 MS 45

Held at: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland

Title: DURHAM, Mary Edith (1863-1944): Folk tales from the Balkans

Date(s): 1863-1944

Level of description: collection

Extent: 2 boxes

Name of creator(s): Durham | Mary Edith | 1863-1944 | Balkan traveller and author


Administrative/Biographical history:

Mary Edith Durham born in London on 8 December 1863; educated at Bedford College, 1878-1882; became an artist, and trained at the Royal Academy Schools. Following illness and at nearly forty years old she travelled to the Balkans and worked as a political missionary. She first visited the area in 1900 in search of health and was an anthropologist as well as a gifted artist. She travelled to the Balkans annually from 1900 to 1914. When uprisings occurred, in 1903 and 1909, she provided medical aid and food. Durham was offered a permanent home in Albania by the Albanian Government. She refused, choosing to remain independent and settled in London writing books and articles. She died in London on 15 November 1944.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Mary Edith Durham, comprise a collection of tales from the Balkans notably including 'The tale of the lonely Han' and other folk tales. The collection also includes illustrations for the 'True tales of the Balkans', inlcuding those depicting indigenous people in their costume.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Arranged in original order.

Conditions governing access:

Appointments are necessary for all visits; please contact the archivist by email to arrange; a fee of 10 is payable by all visitors except Fellows and Members; membership details can be found on the RAI web site; access to material referring to the most recent thirty years is restricted; some material is very fragile and may not be available for view; a few items are of restricted or forbidden access.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies and scans for personal research only may be arranged at the discretion of the archivist; charges apply; in all cases forms governing use of copies must be signed; use of digital cameras is not allowed.

Finding aids:

Hand list available in the Institute's Reading Room.



Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented to the archives 14 September 1987.



Archivist's note: Entry compiled by Samantha Velumyl.

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: May 2008

Fashion | Customs and traditions | Cultural heritage
Folklore | Cultural heritage
Intangible cultural heritage

Personal names
Durham | Mary Edith | 1863-1944 | traveller and anthropologist

Corporate names

Balkans | Eastern Europe