Kenelm Burridge Papers, 1952-2005 (bulk 1952-1977) (MSS 710)

Extent: 3.6 Linear feet (9 archives boxes and 2 map case folders)

Papers of anthropologist Kenelm Burridge, with a primary focus on the Tangu people in the Bogia region of the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea in 1952, and additional materials on Malaya (1954-56) and Catholic missions and missionary impacts on indigenous peoples in Northwest Australia and Papua New Guinea (1968-1977).

Kenelm Burridge (1922-2019) was born in Malta on October 31, 1922 to a Maltese mother and British father, and much of his early childhood was in India. Burridge was eventually sent to the United Kingdom to study at a boarding school. When the Second World War broke out in 1939, he joined the Royal Navy. During his naval career he served aboard the submarine HMS Splendid; after the Splendid was attacked and sunk by a German ship, he was captured and held as a prisoner of war in Milan. He later escaped to nearby Allied forces with the help of locals.

After the war Burridge left the Navy to study at Oxford, where he obtained a B.A. in Law and an M.A. in Anthropology. Burridge wanted to focus his anthropological studies on the Southwestern Pacific, so acting upon the advice of Sir Edward Evan Evans-Pritchard, he began his doctoral work at the newly established Australian National University under S. F. Nadal. After completing his fieldwork in Papua New Guinea in 1952, Burridge obtained ANU's first PhD in 1953.

Burridge was a research fellow for two years at the University of Malaya, and became the chair of anthropology at the University of Baghdad in 1956, a position he left in 1958 as a result the 14 July Revolution. He then served as an anthropology lecturer at Oxford before taking up a professorship at the University of British Columbia in 1968. During his time at UBC he published several works and became ingrained with the community before retiring in 1988. Kenelm Burridge passed away on May 21, 2019 at the age of 97.

The Kenelm Burridge papers primarily document his anthropological studies of the Tangu people in the Bogia region of the Madang Province of Papua New Guinea in 1952. Burridge subsequently lived in Malaya between 1954 and 1956, and researched Catholic missions and missionary impacts on indigenous peoples in Northwest Australia and Papua New Guinea in the late 1960s through 1970s, and the papers include materials from these studies. The collection contains photographs, with a special emphasis on the Tangu; diaries containing field notes and observations; a small amount of correspondence; maps of Papua New Guinea with a focus on regions where Burridge lived and worked; and some typescript manuscript drafts.

Arranged in four series: 1) TANGU, PAPUA NEW GUINEA (1952), 2) MALAYA (1954-1956), 3) MISSIONS - NORTHWEST AUSTRALIA AND PNG, and 4) MISCELLANEOUS.

Container List


Research and Fieldnotes

Box 1 Folder 1-2
Field diaries

Includes index at back of text.

Box 1 Folder 3
Research index and appendix
Box 1 Folder 4
Summary notes (various topics)
Box 1 Folder 5
Box 1 Folder 6
Box 1 Folder 7
Box 1 Folder 8
Dreams and stories
Box 1 Folder 9
Family/genealogy diagramming
Box 1 Folder 10
Box 2 Folder 1
Gardens and bush
Box 2 Folder 2
Government and mission
Box 2 Folder 3
Box 2 Folder 4-6
Box 2 Folder 7
Linguistics notebooks
Box 2 Folder 8

Hand-drawn maps of villages and settlements in the Tangu area.

Oversize MC-006-07

Bismarck Achipelago map (German) with handrawn Tangu area map on verso (1934) | Handrawn map of area surrounding Mangigum (undated) | Sketchs of Tangu area settlements (1952) | Annotated maps of Papua New Guinea (1952), including where other anthropologists had done research.

Oversize MC-006-08

Australian New Guinea (Ministry of Post-war Reconstruction Regional Planning Division) | Map of Lae, New Guinea (Aust. Survey Corps, 1943) | Combined topographical map of Bogia and Madang (1944) | Markham and Sag Sag, New Guinea (Aust. Survey Corps, 1943) | Headwaters of the Purari and Yuat Rivers (Royal Geographical Society, 1933) | Karkar Island (US War Dept., 1944) | Maps of Bogia East, Malala West, Uvo West, and Tamol East in Northeast New Guinea (US War Dept., 1943-44)

Box 3 Folder 1-4
M.1-M.4 notes

Topics include: Garamb, bamboo shoots, evil and moral order, theft and shame, bush mystique, Ranguma lore, birth, sickness, death, spirits, gods, ancestors, archetypes, etc.

Box 3 Folder 5
Personal histories
Box 3 Folder 6

Notes on settlement histories (who lives where and why); includes Wanatzir, Mangigum, and Riekitzer.

Box 3 Folder 7
Shame - Writing drafts
Box 3 Folder 8
Box 3 Folder 9
Sorcery - Writing drafts
Box 3 Folder 10-18
Stories and myths (notes numbered N.1-N.31)
Box 3 Folder 19


Box 4 Folder 1-2
Box 4 Folder 3
Negatives and contact sheets, with notes and index
Box 4 Folder 4-5
Box 4 Folder 6
Photograph album

MALAYA (1954-1956)

Box 5 Folder 1
Correspondence and itineraries
Box 5 Folder 2
Report on fieldwork in Batu Pahat, Jahore
Box 5 Folder 3
The story of Batu Pahat - Typescript
Box 5 Folder 4
Research reports and summaries

Includes diary from July 5-16, the very beginning of Malaya work (where Burridge selects Minyak Beku as his place to study) as well as some additional notes.

Box 5 Folder 5
Field diary (Minyak Bekua and Batu Pahat)

Index at page 270.

Box 5 Folder 6
Research notebook - Settlements

Notes on Kuda Kepang, the district of Batu Pahat and Minyak Beku.

Box 6 Folder 1-2
Notes - Property and land

Tables with data (owner, dates of ownership, usage of property, etc.) of properties in Minyak Beku, Bindu and Parit Sulong.

Box 6 Folder 3-8
Minyak Beku notes

Extensive notes; topics include: economy, offices held, indigenous population, genealogies, values, Islam, race relations, kinship.

Box 6 Folder 9
Notes - Penghulus
Box 6 Folder 10
Notes - Local councils in Minyak Beku and Parit Sulong
Box 6 Folder 11
Box 7 Folder 1-2
Govt English School, Batu Pahat - Student essays
Box 7 Folder 3
Notes - Genealogy/family
Box 7 Folder 4
Notes - Islam and Malay values
Box 7 Folder 5
Material from Office of the British Advisor, Jahore
Box 7 Folder 6-8
Photographs and negatives
Box 7 Folder 9-10
Box 7 Folder 11
Malaya history typescripts and short articles
Box 7 Folder 12
Malacca souvenir handbook


Box 8 Folder 1
Diary, 1968
Box 8 Folder 2
Field notebooks 1-4, 1968

Describes Burridge's time in Broome, La Grange, Lombadina, Beagle Bay.

Box 8 Folder 3
Background material, 1968
Box 8 Folder 4
Report on field reconnaissance in Broome and neighboring parts, 1967-1968
Box 8 Folder 5
Travel diary - Mission research (multiple locations), 1972
Box 8 Folder 6
Travel diary - Missions and missionaries, Australia, 1972-1973
Box 8 Folder 7
Universal Brotherhood Mission, West Australia, 1974
Box 8 Folder 8
Notes/observations from La Grange mission, 1976-1977

Includes Manala (Mangala) language guide.

Box 9 Folder 1
Photographs, NW Australia, ca. 1972
Box 9 Folder 2
Travel diary including Tangu, with correspondence and prints, 1970-1972
Box 9 Folder 3
Photographs, PNG, ca. 1972


Box 9 Folder 4
Kenneth Burridge interview with Sjoerd Jaarsma, 1995 April 3

Interview touches on work and relationships between Burridge, New Guineans, and missionaries; Burridge's life leading up to his time in New Guinea. Interview dates from approx. 1995; transcript produced in 2005.

Box 9 Folder 5
Notes on Canada and California missions, 1980-1981
Box 9 Folder 6-7
Travel journals - India, 1980, 1992
Box 9 Folder 8
Unidentified sound recording - 3 reel-to-reel tapes, undated

Notes on tape include "Lombadina songs," frogs, and "Butcher Joe."