Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents COMMITTEE FOR THE STUDY OF BEADS (A75)

Minutes. 3 Mar. 1960 – 16 May 1961.

Council set up the Committee on 4 Feb. 1960 (CM/89/4, f. 94) with W.B. Fagg as Convener. Three meetings were held on: 3 Mar. and 17 Nov. 1960, the former a preliminary one, and 16 May 1961. Following the resignation of Dr A.J. Arkell, Council agreed on 7 Nov. 1963 (CM/93/2, Item 5(d), f. 189) ‘that the Committee go into suspense.’ In her letter of 30 Jan. 1960, Dr G. Caton-Thompson refers to a ‘resuscitated’ Committee, and Dr M.W. Smith in her letter of 12 Mar. mentions that the Committee ‘has been inactive for some years’. No references to an earlier Committee have been found; such a Committee may have been associated with Dr Caton-Thompson’s expeditions to the Fayum and Kharga Oasis in 1927-8 and during the 1930s.

The members of the Committee were: Dr A.J. Arkell; H.J. Braunholtz; Dr G.H.S. Bushnell; Dr Gertrude Caton-Thompson; Mrs Margret Carey; A.H. Christie; Prof. J.D. Fage; W.B. Fagg; Mrs Margaret Guido; D.B. Harden; G.W.B. Huntingford; Revd Fr. G. Mathew; (Prof.) C. Thurston Shaw; G.E.S. Turner.


AJA    Dr A. J. Arkell, Dept of Egyptology, University College London; Chairman of the Committee

MAC    Mrs Margret Carey, formerly Assistant Keeper, Dept of Ethnography, British Museum; Hon. Secretary of the Committee

WBF    W.B. Fagg, CHG (1914-92), Keeper, Dept of Ethnography, British Museum, 1969-74; RAI Hon. Secretary, 1939-56, Hon. Editor of Man, 1947-65: Convener of the Committee

MWS    Dr Marian W. Smith (1907-61), author of The Puyallup-Nisqually. New York, 1940, etc.; RAI Hon. Secretary, 1956-61

 /1    Correspondence and papers, 1960-63

  1    List of Committee members by MAC (autogr.)

  2    Gertrude Caton-Thompson, FBA, (1888-1985), Fellow, of Newnham College, Cambridge, to WBF, 30 Jan. – refuses invitation to become Chairman of the Committee; makes suggestions (autogr.)

  3    Circular letter from WBF, 23 Feb., inviting suggested Committee members to an informal meeting on 3 Mar. (mimeo.)

  4    Mrs Margaret Guido to WBF, 24 Feb. – agrees to attend informal meeting (autogr.)
  5    D.B. Harden, Director, London Museum, to WBF, 24 Feb. 1960 – agrees to serve on Committee; suggests Mrs M. Guido as a member (tp. with autogr. note by DBH)

  6    G.W.B. Huntingford, Hon. Editor, JRAI, to WBF, ibid. – agrees to serve on Committee (autogr.)

  7    Dr Audrey I. Richards (1899-1984), Newnham College, Cambridge; RAI President, 1960-1, ibid. – will attend informal meeting but unable to serve regularly (tp.)

  8    Prof. J.D. Fage, School of Oriental and African Studies to WBF, ibid. – agrees to serve on the Committee; considers it essential to have a member acquainted with Arabic written sources (autogr.)

  9    Revd Fr. Gervaise Mathew to WBF, 25 Feb. – agrees to serve on the Committee (autogr.)

 10    Dr G.H.S. Bushnell, FBA (1903-78), Curator, University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, ibid. – agrees, reluctantly, to serve on the Committee; suggests a firm hand is needed; Committee too large already (tp.)

 11    Mrs Gundred Beck to WBF, ibid. – glad to know of the convening of a Committee; would have difficulties in attending regularly (autogr.)

 12    G.E.S. Turner, University Museum, Oxford to WBF, 26 Feb. – glad to help as far as possible (tp.)

 13    Anthony Christie, School of Oriental and African Studies, RAI Hon. Secretary, 1961-70, 1 Mar. – agrees to serve on the Committee; desirable to increase Asian representation: suggests W. Watson (tp.)

 14    Extract from Council minutes, CM/89/5, approving such a Committee and outlining its terms of reference, 3 Mar. 1960 (tp.)

 15    MWS, draft minutes of meeting of 3 Mar. 3 leaves (autogr.) [see 75/2/1 for official minutes]

 16    List of Committee members (autogr.)

 17    Prof. J.D. Fage, 4 Mar. – agrees to serve on the Committee (tp., pc.)

 18    MWS to H.J. Braunholtz (1888-1963), Keeper of Ethnography, British Museum; RAI Hon. Editor, 1925-34, President 1941-3, and others, 16 Mar. – invites him to serve on the Committee (tpc.)

 19    MWS to MAC, 22 Mar. – invites MAC to act as Hon. Secretary of the Committee (tp.)

 20    MWS to AJA, 22 Mar. – invites AJA to act as Chairman (tpc.)
 21    G.E.S. Turner to MWS, 23 Mar. 1960 – willing to serve on the Committee (tpc.)

 22    D.B. Harden to MWS, 23 Mar. – confirms agreement to serve on Committee (tp.)

 23    Gertrude Caton-Thompson to MWS, 24 Mar. – agrees to serve on the Committee provided it meets on Council days; suggests a possible member (autogr. pc.)

 24    AJA to MWS, 25 Mar. – agrees to serve as Chairman (tp.)

 25    Revd Fr. Gervaise Mathew to MWS, 30 Mar. – agrees to serve on the Committee (autogr. pc.)

 26    MWS to C. Thurston Shaw, 30 Mar. – invites him to serve on the Committee (tpc.)

 27    Mrs Margaret Guido to MWS, 9 Apr. – agrees to serve on the Committee (autogr. pc.)

 28    C. Thurston Shaw to MWS, 17 Apr. – agrees to serve on the Committee (tp.)

 29    MWS to MAC, 16 Aug. – informs her of beads sent by Mrs Chilver for the next meeting (tp.)

 30    Notification by MAC, 12 Oct., of the next meeting, 17 Nov. (mimeo.)

 31    J.D. Fage to MAC, 24 Oct. – has no specific item for agenda but is interested in the bead trade to and within West Africa (autogr.)

 32    C. Thurston Shaw to MAC, 30 Oct. – sets out suggestions for scope of Committee and ways of implementing it (tp.)

 33    Mrs Margaret Guido to MAC, 18 Nov. – comments on items on the agenda and the extent to which British Isles collections have been documented, this Bead Archive is normally housed at the Institute of Archaeology; makes suggestions for future work (autogr.)

 34    MAC to Mrs Margaret Guido, 23 Feb. – replies to letter of 18 Nov.; is aware of her Bead Archive: thinks her archive may not cover the Committee’s wider interests; Committee will not duplicate her work (tpc.)

 35    Mrs Margaret Guido to MAC, 25 Feb. – replies to letter of 23 Feb.; glad there is no misunderstanding of her work; suggests the same sized cards should be used (autogr.)

 36    Mrs Gundred Beck to MAC, 15 May – regrets inability to attend meetings; refers to her husband’s collection at Cambridge, need for study of trade beads; considers a questionnaire to museums would be helpful (autogr.)
 37    Kenneth E. Kidd, Scarborough, Ontario to [Dept of Ethnography], British Museum, 22 May 1961 – is studying ‘glass beads used in trade with the American Indians in the seventeenth and eighteenth century’; asks if possible western European sources could be studied in their collections (tp.)

 38    Adrian Digby, Keeper, Dept. of Ethnography, British Museum to Kenneth E. Kidd, 29 May – replies to letter of 22 May; letter passed to MAC (tpc.)

 39    WBF to MAC, 6 June – refers to absence of birth notice [of her first child] in the Daily Telegraph; cards enclosed, and title of possible title for a projected book (unpublished) (copy of autogr.)

 40    RAI to Mrs E.M. Chilver, 12 June – acknowledges receipt of extract from ‘Report on nineteenth century trade in the Bamenda grassfield’ by P.M. Kaberry and E.M. Chilver, 1961 (tpc.)

 41    Extract from ‘Report …’ (tp.)

 42    Mrs Frances Rosenbaum, New Rochelle, NY to MAC, 21 Oct. – wishes her to see beads acquired in Ghana; gives the dates of her London visit (tp.)

 43    D.B. Harden to MAC, 26 Oct. – suggests glass bracelets might be included in bead questionnaire to museums (tp.)

 44    Mrs Valerie E. Vowles, Ethnographer, Uganda Museum, Kampala, 2 Nov. – inquires about the Committee; interested in any publications produced (tp.)

 45    Kenneth E. Kidd to MAC, 11 Nov. – reports visit to Charles Walker’s shop in Berners Street; has excellent stock of Venetian and Czech beads; hopes cooperation with Committee is possible. 2 leaves (copy of tp.)

 46    Mrs Valerie E. Vowles, Kampala to MAC, 19 Dec. – pleased to help in any way; is still collecting rather than interpreting (tp.)

 47    AJA to Anthony Christie, RAI Hon. Secretary, 15 Mar. – thanks him for letter of 14 Mar. [not held]; has not seen or heard of MAC since May 1961; doubtful that she ever sent out the approved circular [see 75/2/4]; at meeting in Nov. 1960 the formation of a ‘Bead Archive’ was discussed [see 75/2/2]; RAI does not have premises to make it a centre of active research; RAI might try to amass funds, and encourage seminars (tp.)
 48    [Anthony Christie] to AJA, 19 Mar. 1963 – MAC’s circular did go out; numerous reply postcards were received; he assumed MAC would send out a more detailed enquiry, to lay foundation for compilation of a bead archive; he has been trying to run seminars, with some success (tpc.)

 49    AJA to Anthony Christie, RAI Hon. Secretary, 26 July – sends resignation from Committee due to departure from London; considers a bead museum with a full-time curator the best way to assimilate information; prepared to give his cabinet of Sudanese beads and another of ‘trade cards of beads’ to such a museum (tp.)

 50    Anthony Christie to AJA, 17 Oct. – acknowledges letter of 26 July (tpc.)

 51    MAC to Anthony Christie, 4 Dec. – understands from WBF Council has dissolved the Committee; owing to domestic commitments has been unable to undertake the work; has now time and hopes she may circulate the prepared questionnaire to museums. 4 pages (autogr.)

 52    Anthony Christie to MAC, 9 Dec. – thinks circulation of questionnaire possible; RAI will cover incidental expenses and do any duplicating required (tpc.); [some museums were circularized]

 53    Two catalogue cards with drawings of beads (autogr.)

 54    ‘A beadwork gaming board from Northwest India’ by MAC. 2 leaves (tpc. with autogr. corrections)

 55    Addition of Note 6 of MAC’s paper (autogr.)

 56    ‘Some remarks on beads and trade in lower Guinea in 16th and 17th centuries’ by J.D. Fage. 4 leaves (copy of tp.)

 57    ‘Two Frankish beads from the coast of Tanganyika’ by Joan R. Harding, Medieval Archaeology, Vol. 4, pp. 126-7. 2 leaves (photocopy)

 58    ‘Conus shell disc ornaments (Vibangwa) in Africa’ by Joan R. Harding, JRAI, Vol. 91, 1961, pp. 52-66 (offprint)

 /2    Minutes and Agenda, 1960-61

  1    Minutes of preliminary meeting held 3 Mar. 1960 (photocopy)

  2    Minutes of meeting held on 17 Nov. 1960 (photocopy)

  3    Agenda for meeting to be held 16 May 1961 (tp.)

  4    Minutes for meeting held on 16 May 1961 (tpc.)