Anderson, Sir James Norman Dalrymple

Reference code(s): GB 0102 PP MS 60
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies Library
Domain: archival
Title: Anderson, Sir James Norman Dalrymple
Date(s) of contents: Created 1931-1990
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium: 8 boxes


Name of creator(s): Anderson | James Norman Dalrymple | b 1908 | Knight | Professor of Oriental Laws

Administrative/Biographical history: James Norman Dalrymple Anderson was born on 29 September 1908. He was educated at St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate and later attended Trinity College, Cambridge, where he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1930 and Bachelor of Laws in 1931. He went to Egypt in 1932, where he spent eight years as a missionary and later studied Arabic at the American University in Cairo. In 1939 he served with the guerrillas in the British Army, and in 1940 was made Arab liaison officer for the Libyan Arab Force. In 1945 he became Political Officer for Sanusi Affairs, and later Secretary for Arab Affairs in the Civil Affairs branch of GHQ Middle East. He was awarded the MBE in 1943 and the OBE in 1945.

In 1946 he attended the Foreign Ministers Conference as Adviser to Mr. Ernest Bevin, then Foreign Secretary, on the future of former Italian Colonies in the Middle East. He lectured on Islamic law in the Law Schools at Cambridge for three years, and thereafter moved to the School of Oriental and African Studies where he lectured from 1947 to 1971. He was the Professor of Oriental Laws in the University of London between 1954 and 1975. From 1949 to 1950, he spent six months on study leave in the Middle East (Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq) as part of a special study of modern developments in Islamic law. In 1950 he spent three months in East Africa (including Aden and Hadramaut) and in 1951, three months in West Africa making a Survey for the Colonial Office regarding the application of Islamic law in British African possessions.

He wrote and published several books and articles on Islamic Law in Eastern Africa, and on Islamic law and marriage and divorce in the Middle East. Anderson also wrote extensively on Christianity and comparative religion and was the first Chairman of the House of Laity, General Synod from 1970 to 1979. He was also Anglican delegate to the World Council of Churches.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition: The material relating to Islamic law was donated in 1977 (previous reference MS 365205). The remaining material was donated in 1996.


Scope and content/abstract: Papers, 1931-1990, of Sir James Norman Dalrymple Anderson, comprising correspondence, articles and documents concerned with Islamic law in the Middle East and East Africa; sermons, lectures and notes on Christianity; personal correspondence including an exchange of letters with the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1960; and personal documents.

System of arrangement: The papers have been divided into four main sections: material on Islamic law; writings by Anderson; correspondence; and personal documents.


Language: English and Arabic

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.

Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids: Unpublished handlist.



Date(s) of descriptions: 16 May 2000

Ancient religions
Colonial countries
Islamic law
Lay missionaries
Legal systems
Political systems
Religious doctrines
Religious groups
Religious leaders
Religious texts

Personal names
Anderson | James Norman Dalrymple | b 1908 | Knight | Professor of Oriental Laws
Fisher | Geoffrey Francis | 1887-1972 | Baron Fisher of Lambeth | Archbishop of Canterbury

Corporate names

East Africa
Middle East