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Inventory of the Gregory Bateson Papers
MS 98  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biographical Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Finding Aids
  • Separated Material
  • Additional collection guides

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Gregory Bateson papers
    Dates: 1925-1985
    Collection number: MS 98
    Creator: Bateson, Gregory
    Collection Size: 99 boxes, 1 portfolio
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections and Archives
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, octopus and cetacean observation materials, marginalia, published and unpublished articles and reprints.
    Physical location: Stored in Special Collections & Archives: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights have been transferred from the heirs to Bateson Idea Group (BIG), in 2011. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Gregory Bateson papers. MS 98. Special Collections and Archives, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Lois Bateson & Mary Catherine Bateson.

    Biographical Chronology

    May 9, 1904 Born in Grantchester, Cambridgeshire, England. Third son of William Bateson (b. Aug. 8, 1861) and Caroline Beatrice Durham Bateson (b. 1870?). Brothers, John Bateson (b. April 22, 1898 - d. 1918) and Martin Bateson (b. 1899 - d. April 22, 1922). Grandson of William H. Bateson, Master of St. John's College, Cambridge and Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University and Anna Aitken Bateson.
    1913-1917 Student, Warden House School, Upper Deal, Kent, England
    1917-1921 Student, Charterhouse School, Godalming, Surrey, England
    1918 Death of brother, John Bateson
    April 22, 1922 Suicide of brother, Martin Bateson
    January - September 1922 Studies French & Botany at the University of Geneva and in Canton de Valais
    1922-1926 Student, Cambridge University
      Entrance Scholar, St. John's College, 1922
      Foundation Scholar, 1924
      Natural Science Tripos, First Class Honors, 1924
      B.A., Natural Science, 1925
      Anthropological Tripos, Pt.I, First class honors, 1926
    December 1924 - June 1925 Expedition to Galapagos, engaged in research on Geospizae for British Museum Bird Department and collection of pelagic Coelenterates under William Beebe, Arcturus Expedition
    1925-1926 Anthropological Tripos, Pt.II under A.C. Haddon, Cambridge University; Classes in Social Psychology under F. C. Barlett and J. MacCurdy, Cambridge University
    February 8, 1926 Death of father, William Bateson.
    1926-1928 Anthony Wilkin Student, Cambridge University; Strathcoma Student, St. John's College, Cambridge
    September 1926 Study in Germany
    January 1927 - January 1928 Anthropological field work in New Britain among the Baining of the Gazelle Peninsula
    April - July 1928 Teacher, Melanesian Linguistics, Sydney University
    October 1928 - January 1930 Anthropological field work among the Sulka of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain and the Iatmul of New Guinea
    1930 M.A., Anthropology, Cambridge University; Classes under Malinoski at London School of Economics
    1931-1937 Research Fellow, St. John's College, Cambridge
    January 1932 - Summer 1933 Anthropological field work among the Iatmul of New Guinea
    1933-1935 Worked on Naven at St. John's College, Cambridge
      In Ireland with Waddington
      Experimental Psychology under F. C. Bartlett
      Visit to U.S., lecturing at Columbia University and the University of Chicago
    January 1936 - March 1938 Anthropological field work with Margaret Mead in Bali
    March 1936 Married Margaret Mead (b. December 1916 - d. November 1978) in Singapore
    December 1936 Publication of Naven
    1937 Elected William Wyse Scholar in Social Anthropology, Cambridge University (resigned 1945)
    April 1938 - February 1939 Anthropological field work with wife, Margaret Mead among the Iatmul of New Guinea
    February - March 1939 Anthropological field work with wife, Margaret Mead in Bali
    September 1939 - January 1940 Voluntary work in England: analysis of radio broadcasts (Nazi) under Bartlett; and work with Mass Observation with T. Harrison, analyzing public opinion questionnaires
    December 8, 1939 Birth of daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson
    January 1940-September 1942 Analysis of Balinese and Iatmul material in collaboration with Margaret Mead, as guest of Department of Anthropology, American Museum of Natural History
    October 1940-1942 Secretary of the Committee for National Morale and the Council for Intercultural Relations (later Institute for Intercultural Studies)
      Secretary for the Council on Human Relations for first few months
      Worked for the Committee for National Morale.
      Secretary of the Conference on Methods in Philosophy and the Sciences
      Member of the Executive Committee of the Conference on Methods in Philosophy and the Sciences
    May 1941 Death of mother, Caroline Beatrice Durham Bateson
    May 1942 Macy conference on Cerebral Inhibition
    September 1942 - June 1943 Film Analyst, Museum of Modern Art, New York City, New York
    December 1942 Publication of Balinese Character: A Photographic Analysis with Margaret Mead
    January 1943 - January 1944 Teacher of Melanesian Pidgin English, Naval School of Military Government & Administration, Columbia University
    July 1943 - November 1945 Staff planner and Regional Specialist for Southeast Asia, U.S. Office of Strategic Services; overseas in Ceylon, India, Burma & China
    November 1945 - September 1946 Research into Balinese culture conducted at the American Museum of Natural History
    March 1946 First Macy Conference on Feedback Mechanisms and Circular Causal Systems in Biological and Social Sciences
    September 1946 - June 1947 Visiting Professor of Anthropology, New School for Social Research, NY
      Meeting on Teleological Mechanisms in Society
      New York Academy of Sciences Conference on Teleological Mechanisms
      Guggenheim Fellow
    1947-1948 Associate in Columbia University Seminar in "Contents and Methods of the Social Sciences"
      Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusett
    September 1948 - October 1949 Research Associate with Dr. Jurgen Ruesch at the Langley Porter Clinic, University of California Medical School, San Francisco, CA
    November 1949 - 1963 Ethnologist, Veterans Administration Hospital, Palo Alto, CA
    October 23, 1950 Divorced from Margaret Mead
    1950 Married Elizabeth Sumner
    1951 Birth of son, John Bateson
    1951 - 1963 Publication of Communication: The Social Matrix of Psychiatry by Jurgen Ruesch, Gregory Bateson
      Visiting Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University, CA
    1952-1954 Director, Rockefeller Foundation grant research project on the Role of Paradoxes of Abstraction in Communication
    1954-1959 Director, Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation grant research project on Schizophrenic Communication
    1956 Becomes naturalized U.S. citizen
      Begins work on The Natural History of an Interview project
    1957 Divorced from second wife, Elizabeth Sumner
    1958 Navan re-issued with new preface and epilogue
    1959-1962 Principal Investigator, Research in Family Psychotherapy, funded by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Foundations' Fund for Research in Psychiatry
      Visiting Professor, California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
      Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Award for Research in Schizophrenia
      Publication of Perceval's Narrative
      Began work with octopus
    1961 Married third wife, Lois Cammack
    1963-1964 Associate Director, Communication Research Institute, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
      Career Development Award, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    1965-1972 Associate Director, Oceanic Institute, Waimanalo, Hawaii
      Visiting Professor of Anthropology, University of Hawaii
      Professor & Director, International Honors Program, International School of America, traveling around the world
      Publication of Steps to an Ecology of Mind
    April 13, 1969 Birth of daughter, Nora Bateson
    1972-1978 Visiting Senior Lecturer, University of California, Santa Cruz
      Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
      Appointed to Board of Regents of the University of California
    November 15, 1978 Death of Margaret Mead
    1978-1980 Scholar in residence, Esalen Institute
      Worked on Where Angels Fear to Tread
      Publication of Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity
    July 4, 1980 Dies at the Zen Center, San Francisco, CA.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, octopus and cetacean observation materials, marginalia, published and unpublished articles and reprints.


    The collection is arranged in six series and five sub-series.
    Correspondence (Series I) includes roughly 11,000 letters, approximately 4000 of which are by Gregory Bateson. Included is inter-office memoranda and correspondence from John Lilly Communication Research Institute and the Oceanic Institute, Hawaii as well as publication correspondence. Also is correspondence relating to Bateson's service on the UC Board of Regents, professional societies, journals, funding sources and conferences chaired by Bateson.
    Writings (Series II) is divided into five sub-series: Article Manuscripts; Book Manuscripts; Octopus & Cetacean Observation materials; Notebooks; Bibliography of Published Articles. Article Manuscripts includes holograph manuscripts, drafts, typescripts and carbons of published and unpublished articles, support documents and copies of the published articles. Also included are unedited transcriptions of tape recordings. Book manuscripts (Subseries 2)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Bateson, Gregory, 1904-1980--Archives
    Anthropologists--United States--20th century
    Ethnologists--United States--20th century
    Bateson, Mary Catherine
    Bateson, Lois

    Related Finding Aids

    Other Institutions

    Separated Material

    The author's personal book collection has been cataloged separately.
    As of June 2008, the tape recordings and films are in the process of being re-formatted and cataloged.

    Additional collection guides