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DEACON, Arthur Bernard (1903-1927): papers on Malekula

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1446 MS 90-98
Held at: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
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Full title: DEACON, Arthur Bernard (1903-1927): papers on Malekula
Date(s): 1925-1982
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 9 mss
Name of creator(s): Deacon | Arthur Bernard | 1903-1927 | social anthropologist
Wedgwood | Camilla Hildegarde | 1901-1955 | anthropologist

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

Bernard Deacon was born, 1903, in Nicolaiev, south Russia, where his father was the representative of a shipping firm; came to England, 1916; education: Nottingham high school, Trinity College, Cambridge, 1921-1925; conducted antropological fieldwork on the island of Malekula in the south Pacific archipelago of the New Hebrides (later Vanuatu) where he gained a working command of at least three Malekulan languages, 1926-1927; he also spent six weeks on the neighbouring island of Ambrym, 1927; died of malaria, 1927.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Bernard Deacon on Malekula including:

MS 90
16 notebooks made on Malekula including on Malekula vocabulary; notes in Malekula languages; sketches; genealogies and notes on the social organisation; exogamous groups; folk tales; cultural heroes; masks and music of the Malekula people, with an accompanying index by Camilla H. Wedgwood.

MS 91
Correspondence and letter extracts concerning Deacon's journey to and work in Malekula, 1925-1926, including letter to Armstrong from Deacon, 4 Nov 192[5], written aboard the SS Orimonds near Colombo, and photocopied extracts of letters to Margaret Gardiner from Deacon, written from South West Bay, Lambumbu and Bushmans Bay, Jun 1926 and a photocopy of a photograph of Deacon taken in Malekula, 1927. Also included in this collection is correspondence between Margaret Gardiner and Jonathan Benthall, director of the Royal Anthropological Institute relating to the archive, 1982.

MS92
Five notebooks containing glossaries of Malekula words and phrases, compiled from Deacon's notes by Camilla H. Wedgwood, [c1930].

MS 93
Genealogies of Lagalag villages, compiled from Deacon's notes by Camilla H. Wedgwood, [c1930]. 51 files.

MS 94
Draft of 'Geometrical Drawings from Malekula and Other Islands of the New Hebrides' by the late A. Bernard Deacon, edited by Camilla H. Wedgwood with notes by A C Haddon; The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 64, (Jan-Jun 1934), pp. 129-175.

MS 95
Figures, drawings and description from Malekula, by Deacon. 1926-1927 including 8 coloured drawings, 4 wax rubbings, and a genealogical table.

MS 96
Place name index of Malekula Island by Camilla H. Wedgwood with notes on clans, totems, map references, survivors and descent locality and bibliographical references to Pacific Island boats, [1930s].

MS 97
Notes on linguistics and folktales of the Malekula people by Deacon, 1926-1927.

MS 98
Notes, geometrical drawings, diagrams, plans and maps made by Deacon on Malekula, 1925-[1927]. Also, a few additional notes by A.C. Haddon and J. Layard and correspondence with W.E. Armstrong, Margaret Gardiner, A.C. Haddon and A. Radcliffe-Brown.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English and Malekulan languages.

System of arrangement:

As outlined in scope and content.

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:

Detailed catalogue available in the RAI reading rooms.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Presented by Camilla H. Wedgwood.

Allied Materials

Related material:


Publication note:

'Geometrical Drawings from Malekula and Other Islands of the New Hebrides' by the late A. Bernard Deacon and edited by Camilla H. Wedgwood, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Vol. 64, (Jan-Jun., 1934), pp. 129-175.
Malekula: a vanising people in the New Hebrides edited by Camilla H. Wedgwood, (London, George Routledge & Sons Ltd., 1934).

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Entry compiled by Sarah Drewery.
Sources: Oxford DNB

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:
Sep 2008

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