RIVERS, William Halse Rivers. Luton near Chatham, Kent 12.3.1864 — Cambridge 4.6.1922. British Physician and Anthropologist. Son of Rev. Henry Frederick R. and Elizabeth Hunt, educated at Tonbridge. From 1882 studies of medicine in St.Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. In 1887 went as ship’s surgeon to Japan and North America. M.D. 1888 London. Worked as physician, from 1893 Lecturer in Psychology at Cambridge, until c. 1908. Hon. M.A. 1897 Cambridge. In 1898 anthropological expedition to Torres Straits, 1901-02 to the Todas of South India, in 1908 to Melanesia, in 1914-15 to New Hebrides (Vanuatu). In WW I served as psychiatrist. After war “Praelector of Natural Science Studies” at Cambridge.

As anthropologist Rivers concentrated on marriage and family relations. Among his students were G. S. Ghurye and Radcliffe-Brown. He became famous for his treatment of the problems caused by WW I.

Publications: The Todas. 1-2. 18+773 p. L. 1906.

– “The Toda Prayer”, Folk-Lore 15, 1904, 166-181; other articles on Todas.

– “The Marriage of Cousins in India”, JRAS 1907, 611-640.

Much unrelated to India, e.g. The History of Melanesian Society. 1-2. Cambridge 1914, also on neurology and psychology.

Sources: VA.C. Haddon, F.C. Bartlett & E.S. Megan, Man 22, 1922, 97-104 with bibliography and photo; J.L. Myres, JRAnthrInst 53, 1923, 14-17; very long article in Wikipedia with several photos, also his full bibliography as a separate article.

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