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date: 19 November 2019

Balfour, Henry locked

  • Jeremy Montagu

Extract

(b Croydon, South London, UK, April 11, 1863; d Oxford, Feb 9, 1939). English ethnographer, museum curator, and collector. He was appointed first curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford (GB.O.prm), in 1893, having worked there as assistant from its foundation in 1884, and continued as curator until his death. He enriched the collection enormously by contacting every anthropologist he knew, through the Royal Anthropological Institute of which he became President, and government officers and administrators in districts all over the British possessions, asking them to acquire objects of ethnographic interest with as much documentation as possible. He travelled widely and acquired many objects himself, all of which, more than 15,000 items including hundreds of musical instruments, he bequeathed to the museum. Consequently the Pitt Rivers became one of the world’s great ethnographic museums, particularly rich in folk and non-Western musical instruments, most of them well documented with photographs and often with field recordings. Balfour published ...

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