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Finding Aid to the William R. Bascom Papers, 1933-1981
BANC MSS 82/163 c  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: William R. Bascom papers
    Date (inclusive): 1933-1981
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 82/163 c
    Creators : Bascom, William Russell, 1912-1981

    Bascom, Berta
    Extent: Number of containers: 40 cartons, 3 boxes Linear feet: 51.2
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Includes papers related to Bascom's lifelong work on West African art, culture, and folklore and his teaching at the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University. Materials include personal and professional correspondence; field notes; lecture notes; course notes; and manuscripts of books and articles. Some papers written by his wife Berta Bascom are also included.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers

    Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], William R. Bascom Papers, BANC MSS 82/163 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    Copy of "Yoruba narrow band weaving," by William R. Bascom and Ruth M. Boyer (long version with appendices) is also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2283.
    Copies of Havana field notes and Santería copy book no. 2, Cuba, 1948 (carton 28) are also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 3266.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology
    University of California, Berkeley. Dept. of Anthropology
    American Folklore Society
    Kiowa Apache Indians
    Santeria
    Gullahs
    Yoruba (African people)
    Pohnpei (Micronesia)
    Faculty papers.
    Lecture notes.
    Manuscripts for publication.
    Field notes.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The William R. Bascom papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Berta Bascom in July 1984.

    Accruals

    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Bancroft Library Staff in 2010.

    Biographical Information

    Education and Work History

    William Russell Bascom was a pioneer in the field of African Studies and Folklore. He received his bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin and his PhD from Northwestern University in 1936. He taught at Northwestern, Cambridge University, and the University of California at Berkeley, where he was also director of the Lowie Museum of Anthropology. During World War II, he joined the O.S.S. and co-authored A Pocket Guide to West Africa.

    Work among the Yoruba People

    Bascom was the first American anthropologist to do field work among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He made his first trip to Nigeria in 1937 at the age of 25. Over the next 23 years he spent a total of 5 years among the Yoruba, learning their culture and folklore and describing in detail all aspects of their life. During his many periods of residence in Nigeria, he and his wife Berta Montero Bascom assembled one of the foremost collections of books and art of the Yoruba people, their folklore, and history.

    Professional Activities, Awards, and Major Works

    A one-time president of the American Folklore Society, Professor Bascom was awarded the prestigious Giuseppe Pitre International Folklore Prize for one of his 10 books, Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa. Other major works include: The Sociological Role of the Yoruba Cult-Group (1944), Ponape: A Pacific Economy in Transition (1947), The Yoruba of Southwestern Nigeria (1969), African Art in Cultural Perspective: An Introduction (1973), and Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World (1980).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection includes papers related to Bascom's lifelong work on West African art, culture, and folklore and his teaching at the University of California, Berkeley and Northwestern University. Materials include personal and professional correspondence; field notes; lecture notes; course notes; and manuscripts of books and articles. Some papers written by his wife Berta Bascom are also included.
    The collection is arranged into eight series: correspondence, writings and publications, research, teaching, U.C. Berkeley, professional associations, biographical materials, and Berta Bascom papers.