Collection Seligman MSS - Charles Gabriel Seligman Collection

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Seligman MSS


Charles Gabriel Seligman Collection


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Biographical history

British ethnologist; he was born in London, 24 Dec. 1873, only child of Hermann Seligmann (the final 'n' of the surname ceased to be used after 1914), a wealthy wine merchant, and Olivia Mendez da Costa; he qualified in medicine (pathology), but became involved in anthropology through the Cambridge anthropological expedition to the Torres Strait in 1898; he became a lecturer in ethnology at the London School of Economics, 1910, and Professor (part-time), 1913, a position that he held until 1934, but he also taught anthropology for Petrie's Egyptology diploma course at University College London; he was very widely traveled but is known especially for his fieldwork in Papua New Guinea and Sudan; with his wife, Brenda Zara Salaman (1883-1965), he first visited Egypt in 1908-09 where he spent a considerable amount of time with Petrie at his camp in Thebes; they visited Egypt again in 1913-14 and collected a large number of lithics from surface deposits and through excavation around Abydos and Thebes; he and his wife undertook a survey of Nilotic groups with funding from the government of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, 1909-10, 1911-1912, 1921-1922; he saw in the pastoral tribes of the Upper Nile Province, a corrupted remnant of prehistoric Caucasian immigrants, whose arrival in Africa had precipitated the rise of ancient Egypt dynastic society, a now discredited idea; apart from several articles including the extensive 'Some aspects of the Hamitic problem in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan', Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 43 (1913), 593-705 and 'The older palaeolithic age in Egypt', ibid, 51 (1921), 115-153, he published Egypt and Negro Africa: a study in divine kingship, 1934; he died in a nursing home in Oxford, 9 Sept. 1940.

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Drawings of Meroitic subjects.

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  • Shelf: 1812