Kelvin Beer-Jones

What are the roles and motives of key individual Quakers and their friends in the social networks that both supported and actively delivered the learned societies in London, beginning with the Quaker Committee of Enquiry in 1831, and which resulted in the establishment of the Ethnological Society of London in 1843?

Quakers (and their close friends), especially Thomas Fowell Buxton, the Gurney and Sturge families, James Cowell Pritchard, Thomas Hodgkin, and Richard King were deeply committed philanthropic activists whose varied social networks nurtured institution building in the organisations that contributed to early anthropology.


Quaker, Small Social Networks, Anthropology, Aborigines, 19c British History.

About Kelvin Beer-Jones

The project will collect the names and describe the relationships between the many Quakers involved in the:

  • The Quaker Committee on the Aborigines (1831 – 1846)
  • The Select Committee on Aboriginal Tribes (1834 – 1837)
  • The Aborigines Protection Society (1837 – 1848 (1909))
  • The Ethnological Society of London (1843 – 1848 (1871))

and analyse their social networks, by tracing in detail the relationships between many of the individuals within these organisations, exposing their motivations, interests, and activities that impacted the development of the institutionalisation of anthropology in Britain. The project will therefore seek to combine traditional research techniques using manuscript sources with small network analysis, by building a relational database populated with new and existing data sets from archives and their indexes.

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