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Anthony Forge Papers
MSS 0411  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Restrictions

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Anthony Forge Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0411
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 26.3 Linear feet (39 archives boxes, 5 records cartons, 13 film cans and 36 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1908 - 1991
    Abstract: The papers of Anthony Forge, British anthropologist, professor and specialist in the art and aesthetics of the Abelam people of Papua New Guinea, include field notes, photographs and original Abelam art commissioned by Forge during his fieldwork in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, 1958-1963.
    Creator: Forge, Anthony

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of Anthony Forge, British anthropologist, professor and specialist in the art and aesthetics of the Abelam people of Papua New Guinea, include field notes, photographs and original Abelam art commissioned by Forge during his fieldwork in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea, 1958-1963. Also included in this collection are correspondence, writings by Forge, writings of others, photographs of Sepik art in museum collections, research proposals, audio recordings, and films, as well as material regarding his teaching and professional conferences that he attended, such as the Wenner-Gren Foundation conferences in Basel, Switzerland (1984) and Mijas, Spain (1986). Notably absent from the collection are materials related to Forge's research in London and Bali.
    Arranged in eleven series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) FIELDWORK RESEARCH, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, 4) WRITINGS, 5) PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIALS, 6) RESEARCH PROPOSALS, 7) TEACHING MATERIALS, 8) SUBJECT FILES, 9) MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES, 10) AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS, and 11) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.

    Biography

    Born in West London, England, on February 27, 1929, Anthony Forge was educated at Highgate School. In 1948 he went on to do national service in Intelligence. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1953, where he studied anthropology under Edmund Leach. After graduation he spent three years in the printing industry, his father's profession, before enrolling in the London School of Economics, where he began graduate studies in anthropology and formed a close and lasting friendship with anthropologist Sir Raymond Firth.
    In 1958, Forge undertook the first of two fieldwork studies among the Abelam people of the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. This initial period in the field sharpened his anthropological interests and narrowed his focus to Abelam social organization, aesthetics and ritual. Forge's study methods included photography, daily journals and notes on basic cultural ideals (e.g. kinship, ritual, etc.).
    In 1960, on returning from the field, Forge became a research officer for the London School of Economics "London Kinship Project." A year later he was appointed Assistant Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and in 1962 he returned to Papua New Guinea.
    Forge's second fieldwork investigation (1962 - 1963) with the Abelam centered on the art of the region. He commissioned the production of 363 works of original Abelam art housed in this collection, of which over 150 came from the village of Kwanimbandu in the North Wosera. Much of this original artwork was documented piece by piece as it was being produced, both in field journals (i.e., through sketches and descriptive narrative) and photographically (i.e., sequential photos were taken every 15 - 20 minutes as the work was being created). Many of these photographs were used in Sheila Korn's formal study on the properties of Abelam painting, completed as her thesis: "The Structure of an Art-System" (University of London, 1974).
    Forge spent a year as a Visiting Professor at Yale University in 1969, and by 1970 he had been appointed Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics. In 1970 he coauthored a book with Raymond Firth and Jane Hubert entitled, Families and Their Relatives: Kinship in a Middle-Class Sector of London. In 1973 Forge completed the editing of Primitive Art and Society, which included a chapter he authored entitled "Style and Meaning in Sepik Art." Soon after, he delivered the prestigious Malinowski Memorial Lecture entitled "The Golden Fleece."
    Subsequently, fieldwork took Forge and his family to Bali for a year to study art and ritual. While on Bali, he was invited to visit the Australian National University and was selected to become the Foundation Professor of Anthropology in the Faculty of the Arts, where he built a strong research and teaching department.
    During the late 1980s, Forge spent much time editing a draft entitled "Sepik Culture History," a collection of papers presented at the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Symposium in 1986. Although this volume was never published, the collection contains Forge's original introduction as well as much of the correspondence (dated 1984-1989) with other potential contributors. Forge also completed an important nine-chapter work titled "Abelam Exchange and Society," which was never published but survives in draft form in this collection.
    Anthony Forge was heavily involved in collecting, most notably for the Museum of Ethnography in Basel, Switzerland, for which he assembled an impressive collection of Sepik art. He also assembled a large collection of traditional Balinese paintings for the Australian Museum in Sydney.
    Anthony Forge died on October 7, 1991.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Anthony Forge Papers, MSS 411. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1996.

    Restrictions

    Original audio recordings and films are restricted. Patrons must request user copies be produced.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Hogbin, Herbert Ian, 1904-1989
    Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.
    Abelam (Papua New Guinea people) -- Religion
    Abelam (Papua New Guinea people) -- Rites and ceremonies
    Abelam (Papua New Guinea people) -- Social life and customs
    Anthropologists -- England -- Biography
    Art -- Papua New Guinea -- East Sepik Province
    Art -- Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea)
    Art, Abelam
    East Sepik Province (Papua New Guinea) -- Ethnic relations
    East Sepik Province (Papua New Guinea) -- Maps
    East Sepik Province (Papua New Guinea) -- Social life and customs
    Ethnology -- Papua New Guinea -- East Sepik Province
    Ethnology -- Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea)
    Mountain Arapesh language
    Painting, Abelam (Papua New Guinea)
    Photographic prints -- 20th century
    Rites and ceremonies -- Papua New Guinea -- East Sepik Province
    Rites and ceremonies -- Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea)
    Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) -- Ethnic relations
    Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) -- Maps
    Sepik River Valley (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) -- Social life and customs