Ethnology in the Museum: A.H.L.F. Pitt Rivers (1827–1900) and the Institutional Foundations of British Anthropology

In 1982 William Ryan Chapman was awarded a D.Phil in Anthropology from the University of Oxford for the following thesis. He is now the Director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation and Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa.

Sadly Bill did not go on to publish his thesis as a book although he did subsequently write several papers on Pitt-Rivers' collecting (see bibliography for details). Copies of the thesis have been available to scholars since 1982 at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford (as is customary) and at the Balfour Library, Pitt Rivers Museum. However, his very useful research has not been widely or easily available to people interested in Pitt-Rivers, the man or his collection.

We are therefore very grateful that Bill has agreed to allow us to transcribe his hard-copy thesis and make it available to everyone via this website. Please address any questions about his research to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will forward them to Bill. We are sure that anyone interested in Pitt-Rivers will find Bill's thesis as useful as the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project has.

Please note that copyright for the thesis resides with William R. Chapman.

Each of the chapters are shared as PDFs.

Many thanks to Katie Burt who transcribed Bill Chapman's thesis in 2010-11, particularly for her hard work in incorporating what were endnotes into footnotes to make reading the chapters much easier for readers. Alison Petch has done a little light editing of the original, correcting obvious typing errors and Americanisms in the original D.Phil thesis etc. Otherwise the D.Phil thesis is presented as it was submitted and approved in 1981.

Please note that the thesis was written in the late seventies and early 1980s, long before the question of the hyphenation of Pitt-Rivers' name and the museum at Oxford had been aired exhaustively, the thesis was transcribed using Bill's own punctuation. Most of the time he spells General Pitt-Rivers' name without the hyphen. Our thanks to Katie Burt, the indefatigable transcriber, for noting this and drawing it to our attention.

Original chapters presented in July - August 2011. After Alison's editing they were re-presented in June 2012.

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