Monday, 9 November 2009

Otley Beyer collection (National Library of Australia) Formed collection
(accessed 19 may 2009)
Formed collection Otley Beyer collection (Philippines) In 1972 the National Library acquired the library of Professor H. Otley Beyer (1883-1966), the leading Philippines ethnologist of his day. The collection is rich in Philippines and other Asian imprints, and also includes a number of significant titles on American colonial and foreign policies.
A substantial part of the large manuscript component of the collection, the two hundred typed volumes of ethnographic information compiled by Beyer and other informants between 1906 and 1918 which was his major life achievement has been published by the Library in microfiche form. The Library holds the carbon copies of these volumes : the originals were destroyed during the street fighting in Manila in 1945 as the Japanese occupiers of the Philippines retreated. The collection is also strong in photographs of Philippines tribal life. A collection of correspondence between Beyer and others working in his field is also held. Some rare items of Filipiana are present, including works by Rizal, Isabelo de los Reyes, Pordo de Tavera and Pedro Alejandrino Paterno.
An article by Andrew Gosling profiling the work and influence of Henry Otley Beyer appears in the July 1997 issue of National Library of Australia News.
(accessed 19 may 2009)
Papers of Henry Otley BeyerMS 4877
Scope and Content NoteBiographical NoteBox ListScope and Content NotePapers: 1850 - 1934
Quantity: 16 metres (100 boxes) + 185 volumes
Access conditions: Available for reference
Papers of H. Otley Beyer including correspondence, programs, photographs, maps, notebooks, articles, drafts of books, printed materials, theses, undergraduate students' work, conference papers, newspaper cuttings, charts, genealogies and other papers. Also includes bound volumes containing original source material on archaeology, ethnography, languages, history, culture and religion of ethnic groups in the Philippines including the Ifugao, Bantok, Igorot, Moro and Iloko. Most, but not all volumes were written or compiled by Beyer.
The Beyer collection was purchased by the Library in 1972. Additions to the collection were received between 1978 and 1995.
A photographic record of Beyer's collection of Chinese ceramics and local history and other photographs are held in the Pictorial section of the National Library at Q40, 41 and 42. Maps from the Beyer Collection are held in the Map Section.
The Beyer Papers and volumes are available on microfiche at McG 1255.
Biographical NoteHenry Otley Beyer was born on 13 July 1883 in Edgewood, Iowa U.S.A.. He received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Denver, Colorado. Beyer went to the Philippine Islands in 1905 and worked first as a teacher in the Bureau of Education. Later he was sent to study the Ifugaos of the Banaue Valley of North Luzon and during this time also studied the Philippine language, mythology, folklore, custom law and pre-history.
In 1908 Beyer travelled to China, Egypt, Southern Asia, the Moorish States of North Africa and Europe and completed, under the Robert Winthrop Scholarship, a post-graduate year at Harvard studying anthropology. When Beyer returned to the Philippines he collected his 150 volume Philippine ethnographic series containing data on the tribes of Luzon, Visayas, Mundando and Sulu Archipelago.
Beyer was appointed ethnologist in the Philippines Bureau of Science and part-time Head of the Philippine Museum in 1909. When the Department of Anthropology, within the College of Liberal Arts in the University of Philippines was set up in 1914, Beyer became its first Head. In 1921, Sociology was fused with Anthropology and the Department of Anthropology and Sociology was set up. Beyer remained its Head until 1951.
When specimens of fossils and artefacts dating from the old stone age were unearthed in the Sierra Madre Foothills, Beyer continued his archaeological work as well as his work in Batangas, Laguna de Bay Basin and Central Luzon. During this time his Philippine Ethnographic series and Philippines before Magellan were published.
In 1928 a remarkable site (Iron-age pre-Spanish village) was found in the Rizal province and Beyer worked on this site. The Rizal-Bulakan and Batangas surveys together recovered a history of the central Luzon population for more than 10,000 years.
During the 1936 - 37 period Beyer's work on Philippine Tektites began to attract attention. His paper on this subject was published in the annual report of the Smithsonian Institution for 1942. President Manuel Quezon and Beyer agreed in 1937 that Beyer would donate his entire archaeological collection provided the government would build an adequate museum to house the collection. Plans were drawn up but work had not yet begun when war broke out in 1941. A Japanese ethnologist, Tado Kano helped Beyer save most of his collection during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. Beyer was interned for two years, whilst his collection was housed in the Watson building off the campus of the University of the Philippines.
After the war the University was transferred to Diliman, and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology separated. Beyer left the University in 1954 and was appointed Emeritus Professor of Anthropology.
Between 1910 and 1953 Beyer wrote and published a large number of scientific papers and books on Philippine archaeology, ethnology and history. For his work Beyer was awarded an Honorary doctorate in science from Silliman University, a doctor of science in Anthropology from Ateno de Manila and a doctor of laws from the University of the Philippines.
When Beyer died on 31 December 1966, he was buried in an Ifugao burial shed on one of the hills of Banaue.
Box ListBox
Preliminary List click link
manuscript component


  1. Amiable dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you seeking your information.

  2. glad to be of help. just out of interest, where are you based? and what is the relevance of the beyer collection to your assignment? all the best with it.

  3. how do you get a copy of beyer's collection? do you have any contact with the national library of australia?

  4. Hello,
    You may contact the NLA here:



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