Brenda Zara Seligman


Brenda Zara Seligman (nee Salaman) (1883-1965), born in London, the youngest of fourteen children of Sarah and Myer Salaman, a merchant. After attending Roedean School, Brenda began pre-medical biology at Bedford College, London, but following her marriage to Charles Gabriel Seligman in 1905 she became her husband’s co-worker in ethnography.

In 1906, the couple travelled to Ceylon, she assisted him in the study of the aboriginal Vedda people, becoming an anthropologist in her own right. They produced a joint publication on the Veddas in 1911 as well as publishing together on their work on the Niolotic tribes in Sudan.
She became very interested in the relevance of psychology to social organisation influenced by River’s psychiatric work during the First World War. Brenda went on to become a specialist in kinship and social organisation, and edited the sixth and last (1951) edition of Notes and Queries in Anthropology. She died in London on the 2 January 1965.

Collection Information

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