Lucy Mair

Scholar of colonial administration and anthropology (PhD 1933)

Lucy Mair
Lucy Mair

Lucy Philip Mair (1902-86) was a prolific writer, teacher, and advisor of governments on colonial administration and welfare.

Lucy Mair graduated with a first-class degree in Classics from Newnam College, Cambridge in 1923 and worked for the League of Nations Union for five years. She was among the first cohort of scholars hired to teach in the new International Studies (later Relations) Department at LSE, established in 1927.

Specialising in Africa, Lucy Mair taught colonial administration until 1940, when she took leave of absence to undertake wartime work for the British Colonial Office and the Australians in their colonial government of New Guinea. After World War II, Lucy Mair transferred to the Anthropology Department at LSE and was very active in the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Her most influential books include The Protection of Minorities (1928), Primitive Government (1962), New Nations (1963), and Anthropology and Social Change (1969).

Read more

Lucy Mair on the LSE History Blog by Patricia Owens

Jean La Fontaine and Alan Macfarlane video interview with Lucy Mair in 1983 

Department of Anthropology