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Bascom (William R.) Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography/Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Bascom (William R.) Collection
    Dates: 1945-1998
    Collection Number: see Extent of Collection
    Creator/Collector: Bascom, William Russell Bascom Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
    Extent: Call Numbers: Acc.1271, Acc.1301, Acc.1370, Acc.1477, Acc.1484, Acc.1656, Acc.1683, Acc.1770, Acc.1807, Acc.1890, Acc.1950, Acc.2058, Acc.2059, Acc.2063, Acc.2067, Acc.2115, Acc.2148, Acc.2205, Acc.2256, Acc.2277, Acc.2281, Acc.2285, Acc.2303, Acc.2308, Acc.2354, Acc.2460, Acc.2580, Acc.2731, Acc.2818, Acc.2819, Acc.2916, Acc.2924, Acc.2933, Acc.2988, Acc.3023, Acc.3072, Acc.3100, Acc.3170, Acc.3193, Acc.3274, Acc.3365, Acc.3367, Acc.3446, Acc.3515, Acc.3589, Acc.4614, Acc.4659, Acc.4661, Acc.4677, Acc.4685, Acc.4692, Acc.4696. Note: languages in accessions include English, French, and German, though most are written in English. Objects are from Africa, predominantly from Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya; from the Yoruba culture/religion and Ashanti religion; wire recordings from Cuba and pots bought in Teotihuacan, Mexico.
    Online items available
    Repository: UC Berkeley. Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
    Berkeley, California 94720-3712
    Abstract: This collection encapsulates Bascom’s research during his lifetime, where he predominantly focused on the Yoruba culture and religion within Nigeria. In addition to objects, there are photographs and motion pictures by Bascom. The collection is predominantly in English, though notes are in French and German as well. PAHMA continued to receive Bascom’s collection and work after his death, resulting in accession dates that surpassed him. As a result, collection dates are when PAHMA received the objects, not when originally collected. The accession files will state when the objects were collected and from where. Accompanying letters and materials can be found at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. For more information on specific accessions and information on the Bancroft collection, see attached finding aid pdf. For information about individual objects within the collection, follow the "Online Items URL".
    Language of Material: English



    Publication Rights

    Images and information are © 2020 The Regents of the University of California, all rights reserved. Images and information may be reproduced or transmitted, but not for commercial use. For commercial use, contact PAHMA-MediaPermissions@berkeley.edu. With the exception of objects and media for which the Museum does not hold copyright, this work is licensed under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. By downloading any information or images from this site, you agree to the terms of that license. Users are expected to abide by all copyright laws. Distribution, reproduction, or other use requires the written permission of any copyright and other rights holders unless the materials are in the public domain or authorized by fair use or other statutory exemption. It is the user’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in this collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Bascom (William R.) Collection. UC Berkeley. Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

    Acquisition Information

    For more information on specifics, look at the accessions in the finding aid. For further specific information, request a research visit at PAHMA: https://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/request-a-research-visit/

    Biography/Administrative History

    William Russell Bascom was born on May 23, 1912 in Princeton, Illinois, and died on September 11, 1981 in San Francisco, California. Bascom received his B.A.in 1933 from the University of Wisconsin (Physics), his M.A. in 1936 from the University of Wisconsin (Anthropology), and his Ph.D. in 1939 from Northwestern University (Anthropology). Bascom specialized in the art and culture of West Africa and the African Diaspora, and is especially known for his studies of Nigerian Yoruba culture and religion. In 1954, Bascom crafted the “four functions of folklore.” He was the Director of the Robert H. Lowie Museum (present-day Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology) at the University of California, Berkeley from 1957 to 1979.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Objects from various African countries and cultures, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Yoruba culture/religion, and the Ashanti religion. Items within the collection include photographs of objects; photographs and prints of African countries and cultures; motion picture films titled “The Yoruba- Life in Southwestern Nigeria on the Guinea Coast of West Africa” (1950-51) and “Yoruba Crafts” (1950-51); reel-to-reel tapes on Yoruba drumming and vocal music in Nigeria (n.d.) and Cameroon music in West Africa (n.d.); wire recordings, twenty-two reels recorded in Cuba (1947-48), four reels of Yoruba Proverbs (1940), and two reels of public lectures from the University of Havana (1950); objects from various African countries include masks, figurines, carvings, stools, spoons, metalwork, mats, whistles, adzes, knives, textile samples, gold weights, drums, strings of beads; pots purchased in Teotihuacan, Mexico.

    Indexing Terms

    Yoruba Art
    Ashanti Art
    motion film
    wire recordings
    Bascom, William Russell
    Robert H. Lowie Museum
    Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
    Sierra Leone
    Teotihuacan, Mexico
    motion picture films
    reel-to-reel tape
    wire recordings

    Additional collection guides