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Archive of the International Union of the Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)

Identifier: ubl120

Scope and Contents

The archive contains the correspondence of the secretary-general Peter J.M. Nas, especially about the organization of the congresses, and the congress papers. It also includes some files of the previous secretary-general Eric Sunderland as well as papers of Henry Claessen, the chairman of the nomination committee (1998).


  • Creation: 1948-2008
  • Creation: Bulk 1998-2008

Language of Materials

Predominantly English and Dutch

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

The IUAES is a world organization of social and biological anthropological scientists and institutions working in the fields of anthropology and ethnology, but also of interest to archaeologists and linguistics specialists, among others. Its aim is to enhance exchange and communication among scholars of all regions of the world, in a collective effort to expand human knowledge. In this way it hopes to contribute to a better understanding of human society, and to a sustainable future based on harmony between nature and culture.

Through its International Congresses of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (ICAES), held every five years, it provides a world forum for the discussion and dissemination of research in these fields. It also holds Inter-Congresses, seminars and symposia, and encourages the participation of anthropologists in other international meetings and projects. Through its Commissions, the IUAES. stimulates the convergence of research interests among anthropologists, and the dissemination of research findings through publications.

The IUAES was established on 23rd August, 1948, when it was brought into one organization, de facto, with the International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (ICAES), which was itself founded in 1934. The latter was the follower of various Congresses of Anthropological Sciences, starting in 1865, the President of the Congress also serving as the President of the Union. The two organizations were united, de jure, into one, in 1968.

The Congresses held from 1934 onwards were as follows: 1934 London; 1938 Copenhagen; 1948 Brussels; 1952 Vienna; 1956 Philadelphia; 1960 Paris; 1964 Moscow; 1968 Tokyo; 1973 Chicago; 1978 Delhi; 1983 Quebec and Vancouver; 1988 Zagreb; 1993 Mexico; 1998 Williamsburg; and 2003 Florence. Inter-Congresses took place in Calcutta/Ranchi, India, 2004; Pardubice, Czech Republic, 2005; and Cape Town, South Africa 2006.

The XVIth World Congress was planned to be in Kunming, China, 2008, under the Presidency of Professor Jing Jun, but was annulled for political reasons with the notion of possible postponement.

The organization consists of a system with three bodies, the Executive Committee, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly. Besides this it also offers scientific commissions (currently 27) which each specialize in a certain direction. It has links with ECOSOC, CISPH, ISSC and ICSU.

See for an extended history inventory number 18.5.


44 items (1 metre)

Abstract in Dutch

Het archief van de IUAES bevat informatie over de stand van zaken en de discussiepunten op het terrein van antropologie en etnologie wereldwijd, en over de organisatie van internationale wetenschappelijke congressen.

Abstract in English

The archive of the IUAES reflects the international state of affairs and subjects of discussion in the field of anthropology and ethnology and provides information about the organization of international scientific congresses.


The pieces are arranged in seven sub-series: Congresses, Inter-Congresses, Organization, Cooperation, Scientific Commissions, Pieces collected by Eric Sunderland and Pieces collected by Henri Claesssen.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

The archive is accessible through the inventory by De Groot (2008) (see beneath).

Custodial History

This archive was formed by Peter J.M. Nas in his function as secretary-general of the IUAES. He was in office from 1998 untill 2008/2009.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The archive was donated to the Leiden University Library by Peter J.M. Nas in 2008.


No future additions are to be expected.

Separated Materials

The archive formed by president Cyril Belshaw (1978-1983) is deposited under the classification Cyril Belshaw Fonds in the university archives division of the library of the University of British Columbia.


All available in inventory number 18:
  • Keesing, F.M., The International Organization of Anthropology, in: American Anthropologist 62 (1960), pp. 191-201.
  • Vidyarthi, L.P., Rise of world anthropology as reflected through the International Congresses, 1934-1978. 1979.
  • Belshaw, C, E. Sunderland, P.J.M. Nas and D. Pitt, [Memoirs]. 2007.
  • Rogan, B., From rivals to partners on the inter-war European scene, 2008.
  • Nas, P.J.M. and M. de Groot, The IUAES from past to present, 2007-2008.


The material in this collection can be requested at the Special Collections Reading Room with the shelf mark BPL 3552 [inventory number].

Processing Information

The papers are described and arranged in 2008 by Marlies de Groot, assistant of Peter J.M. Nas.

Collection guide of the archive of the International Union of the Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) (1948-2008)
Archief van de International Union of the Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES)
Marlies de Groot, 2008
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857