- Also known as
primary name: Edge-Partington, James
other name: Partington, James Edge
- individual; academic/intellectual; collector; British; Male
- Life dates
- 6 February 1854-4 November 1930
- Wymondley, Stevengae (in 1905)
Kiln House, Gregwell, Hants.
Westbrook, Paignton, Devon (in 1906 register)
- Entry relates mainly to Melanesia collection.
A qualified but non-practicing solicitor, embarked on a three year expedition to the Pacific (1879-1882), basing himself in Australia and New Zealand. Visited Fiji, Tonga and Samoa during this time, when, according to his privately printed journals (Random Rot 1883) he transformed himself from irresponsible traveller to serious collector. Obtained a collection that was exhibited in the Sydney exhibition of 1880.
On his return to the UK, befriended A. W. Franks and C. H. Read, Keepers of the British Museum Ethnographical collection, and worked part-time on rearranging and documenting the Museum’s South Sea collection. Published two volumes of drawings and descriptions of native Pacific Island weapons, tools, ornaments and dress in 1890 and 1895. Presented a collection of 9 objects from New Caledonia to the Museum on 24th May 1892.
Based on a second, one year Pacific voyage, produced a further volume, published in 1898. From 1901 was a frequent contributor to MAN (now Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute), and steadily increased his collection through regular attendance at sales. He expanded his Pacific library collection and continued his association with the British Museum – assisting with new acquisitions and presenting objects of interest. His collecting activities were disrupted by the First World War after which he devoted his time to social service and other interests. Remaining collection was acquired by the Auckland Museum, New Zealand.
The Museum has 624 objects either purchased from or donated by Edge-Partington, of which 310 are from the Americas and 227 from Oceania. Of the Oceania collection 126 objects are from Melanesia - about half from New Guinea and around a third from Solomon Islands (some received from his son); the remainder come from New Caledonia (17) and Vanuatu (12). In addition the Museum has 102 photographs taken by Edge-Partington almost all in Australia or Polynesia.
- Dalton, O.M. Obituary: ‘James Edge-Partington, born 6th Febuary 1854, died 4th November, 1930’ Man, Vol 31 (Jul 1931) No 136, pp129-131.
J. Edge-Partington and C. Heape, An Album of the Weapons, Tools, Ornaments, Articles of Dress etc of the Natives of the Pacific Islands, 3 series in 4 volumes, Manchester, issued for private circulation 1890, 1895, 1898 lithographed by J.C.N.Norbury (facsimile ed., London 1969)
R. Neich, ‘James Edge-Partington (1954–1930): an ethnologist of independent means’, in Records of the Auckland Museum 46 (2009), pp. 57–110.