David Bidney papers, 1930-1974

A Guide to his Papers at the Indiana University Archives

Kristen Sanders

Summary Information

Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library E460
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Phone: 812-855-1127
Email: archives@indiana.edu

Bidney, David, 1908-

6.4 cu. ft.

Materials are in English unless otherwise indicated.

David Bidney papers, 1930-1974  

Collection No.

David Bidney was hired at Indiana University as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology in September of 1950 where he remained until his retirement on 1 July 1974. The David Bidney papers comprise 6.4 cubic feet and span 1930-1974 and includes correspondence, course materials, and information on his professional organizations, writing, and research.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Advance notice required.

Biographical Note

David Bidney was born on 25 September 1908 in Ukraine, Russia. As an undergraduate Bidney attended classes at the University of Toronto where he received both his BA in 1928 and his MA in 1929. Bidney then went on to finish his PhD at Yale University in 1932.

After completing his PhD Bidney held a variety of positions prior to his coming to Indiana University in 1950, including Instructor in Philosophy at Yale University from 1940-1942 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in Anthropology in 1950.

Bidney was hired at Indiana University as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology in September of 1950. He achieved the rank of Professor in 1955 and was named Professor Emeritus on 1 July 1974.

During his tenure at Indiana University Bidney was a highly active member of the academic community. He published many articles, presented many papers, and even wrote books on both the subjects of Anthropology and Philosophy. Bidney was a renown Spinoza scholar and received many honors for his work entitled "Theoretical Anthropology," which became a standard text in many anthropology classes around the country. David Bidney died in 1987.


David Bidney papers organized in four series: Correspondence, Writing and research notes, Class lecture material and Professional material.

Scope and Content Note

Series one contains correspondence relating to Bidney's early career before his arrival at Indiana University. There are both incoming and out going letters. (1937-1946)

Series two, Writing and research notes, consists of articles and Manuscript material written by Bidney as well as articles inspired by or dedicated to Bidney. (1930-1972)

Series three, Class lecture material, is by far the most comprehensive series in the collection. The material gathered here are the lecture materials concerning all of the Anthropology and Philosophy classes Bidney taught at Indiana University. The lecture materials more specifically consist of lecture notes, class minutes kept by the students, and some blank test material. (1950-1974)

The fourth series, Professional Material, consists of a few odd items. Included are items such as a resume from early in Bidney's career and a brief span of agenda items from meetings held by the Department of Anthropology. (1966-1968?)

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Accession # 2001/017
Usage Restrictions
Copyright interests for this collection have not been transferred to the Trustees of Indiana University. For more information, contact the Indiana University Archivist.
Preferred Citation
[identification of item], David Bidney papers, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington, #183.
Processing information
Processed by Kristen Sanders

Completed in 2001

Series: Correspondence 1936-1946  

Box 1 Ettinger, Leila R. 1944  

Kluckhohn, Clyde 1944 

Kroeber, A.L. 1945-1946  

Linton, Ralph 1944  

Mason, J. Alden 1946  

Northrop, F.S.C. 1936-1945 

Revel, Dr. 1937  

Sebeok, Thomas A. 1956 

(?), Benzion and Rose undated  

(This letter is in Hebrew.)

(?), Warren 1946  

Series: Writings and Research Notes, 1930-1972  

Bidney, David,

Box 1 "Anthropology and Phenomenology," 1972 

Book Reviews Written by Bidney, 1966 

"Concept of Cultural Crisis," 1946 

"Concerning Conditioned Reflex Action," 1930 

"Cultural Theory and the Problem of Cultural Crises," undated  

"Discussion: Joachim on Spinoza's Tractatus De Intellectus Emendatione," 1942 

"Eighth Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion: Ideology and Power in the Strategy of World Peace," undated 

"The Ethnology of Religion and the Problem of Human Evolution," 1953-1954 

"The Evaluation of Theory and Practice in the History Philosophical and Ethnological Thought," undated 

History of Philosophy



"Human Nature and the Cultural Process," 1947 

"Ideology and Power in the Strategy of World Peace," undated 

Language, Thought, and Myth, 1956-1966 

"On the Concept of Culture and Some Cultural Fallacies," 1944 

"On Theory and Practice," 1937 

Manuscript: Chapter 1: "The Origin and Evaluation of Religion," undated 

"Part III: Unity in Diversity in Cairo (1750-1850)," undated 

"Paul Radin and the Problem of Primitive Monotheism," undated 

"Phenomenological Method and they Anthropological Science of the Cultural Life- World," undated 

"The Philosophical Presuppositions of Cultural Relativism and Cultural Absolutism," undated 

Philosophy of Science, 1937-1938 

"The Problem of Freedom and Authority in Cultural Perspective," 1951 

"The Problem of Substance in Spinoza and Whitehead," 1936 

"Question of Values: The Concept of Value in Modern Anthropology," 1952 

Reviews of Bidney's Articles from Toronto and Yale University Presses, 1940- 1942 

"Seventh Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion: Human Nature and Culture," undated  

"Spinoza's Interpretation of Descartes," undated 

Manuscript: Chapters 1-9: "Theoretical Anthropology," 1953 

Manuscript: Chapters 10-End: "Theoretical Anthropology," 1953 

"Towards a Psychocultural Definition of the Concept of Personality," 1949 

"Twelfth Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion: The Problem of Freedom and Authority in Cultural Perspective," undated 

"The Two Sources of Culture and Ethics," undated 

"The Varieties of Human Freedom," 1961 

"Vico's New Science of Myth," 1969 

Guizzetti, German Fernandez, "Comunidad Semifolk, Complejo Rural-Urbano Y Comunidad Folk Aporte Para una Tipologia De Las Formas Culturales Intermedias," 1960 

Hayes, Frank, "The Principles of Philosophy Demonstrated Geometrically and Cogitata Metaphysica," undated 

Munn, Nancy D., "Religious Symbols in Primitive Cultures and their Significance for a Theory of Art," 1955 

Spilka, Mark, "The Love Ethic of D.H. Lawrence," 1953 

Tsukishima, Kenzo, "A Study of the Superorganic Nature of Culture Centering about D. Bidney's Theoretical Anthropology," 1959 

Series: Class Lecture Materials, 1950-1974 

Box 2 A 314 Primitive Religion 1964-1965  

A 371 History of Anthropology 1950-1951 (1st Semester)

A 372 History of Anthropology II 1950-1951 (2nd Semester)

A 374 Primitive Religion

1951-1952 and 1953-1954 

1954 (2nd Semester) and 1955 (1st Semester)


1956-1957  (1st Semester)

1956-1957  (2nd Semester)



1959-1960  (Special Papers and Lectures)

1960-1961  (1st Semester)

(Reading Lists for Anthropology and Philosophy) 1960-1962  

1962-1963  (1st Semester)

1962-1963  (1st Semester, cont'd)

1963  (Summer Session)

1963  (Seminar Student Reports)

1964-1965  (1st Semester Lecture Notes)

1964-1965  (1st Semester Lecture Reports)

A 374 Folk Religion

1966-1967  (1st Semester )

1966  (Summer Session)

1967-1968  (2nd Semester)

1969-1970  (2nd Semester)


Box 3 A 374 Primitive Religion (Readings) Undated 

A 375 Myth


1960-1961  (2nd Semester)

1960-1961  (2nd Semester, cont'd)



A 375 Theory of Myth

1964-1965  (2nd Semester)

1964-1965  (2nd Semester)

1965-1966  (2nd Semester)

1965-1966  (2nd Semester)

1968-1969  (1st Semester)

1968-1969  (1st Semester Student Reports)

1970-1971  (1st Semester)

1970-1971  (1st Semester)

A 377 Comparative Ethics




1967-1968  (1st Semester)

1967-1968  (1st Semester Readings)

1968-1969  (2nd Semester)



1970-1971  (2nd Semester)

1970-1971  (2nd Semester)

A 378 Primitive Ethics 1955-1956  

A 477 History of Anthropology

1951-1952  (1st Semester)

1951-1952  (2nd Semester)

Box 4 1953-1954  


1953-1954  (Student Reports)

A 501 Ethnological Theory

1972-1973  (1st Semester)

1973-1974  (1st Semester)

A 502 Historical Anthropology


1959-1960  (1st Semester)



1964-1965  (1st Semester)


1965-1966  (Readings)

A 505 Fields of Anthropology



1967-1968  (1st Semester)

1968-1969  (2nd Semester)


1971  (Summer Session)

1972  (Seminar)

A 507 History and Theory

1966-1967  (1st Semester)

1966-1967  (1st Semester)


1967-1968  (2nd Semester)


A 527 Spinoza Course 1957-1958 (2nd Semester)

A 543 Metalinguistics and Ethnolinguistics 1954-1955  (2nd Semester)

A 571 Myth Seminar 1958-1959 (1st Semester)

A 577 Comparative Law 1962-1963 (1st Semester)

A 585 Ethics of Law 1962-1963 (2nd Semester)

Box 5 A 774 Ethnological Theory


1957-1958  (2nd Semester)

1959-1960  (2nd Semester)

1961-1962  (2nd Semester)

1961-1962  (2nd Semester)

1964-1965  (2nd Semester)

1965-1966  (2nd Semester)

1966-1967  (2nd Semester)

1966-1967  (2nd Semester)

1968-1969  (1st Semester)

E 450 Folk Religion

1971-1972  (1st Semester)

1971-1972  (1st Semester)

1973-1974  (1st Semester)

1973-1974  (1st Semester)

E 451 Theory of Myth

1971-1972  (2nd Semester)

1971-1972  (2nd Semester-Special Reports)

E 452 Comparative Ethics

1972-1973  (1st Semester)

1972-1973  (1st Semester-Student Reports)

H 501 History of Ethnological Theory


1973-1974  (1st Semester)

H 520 Social Issues in Education

1970  (Summer Session)

1970-1971  (2nd Semester)

1972-1973  (2nd Semester)

H 525 Educational Anthropology 1971-1972 (2nd Semester)

H 640 Educational Anthropology

1967  (Summer Session)

1969-1970  (2nd Semester)

P 240 Ethics




Box 6 1956-1957  


1957-1958  (Student Reports)

P 343 Comparative Ethics

1959-1960  (2nd Semester)

1960-1961  (2nd Semester)

P 390 Philosophical Anthropology

1954-1955  (1st Semester)

1958-1959  (1st Semester)

1959-1960  (1st Semester)

1959-1960  (1st Semester)

1961-1962  (1st Semester)

P 391 Philosophy of Man 1950-1951 (1st Semester)

P 392 Philosophical Anthropology 1951 (2nd Semester)

P 393 Philosophy of History 1960-1961 (2nd Semester)

P 522 Descartes Seminar 1962-1963  (1st Semester)

P 523 Spinoza Seminar 1962-1963  (2nd Semester)

P 526 Descartes Seminar


1959-1960  (2nd Semester)

P 527 Spinoza Seminar


1960-1961  (1st Semester)

P 585 Ethical Values and Legal Systems


1955-1956  (1st Semester)

1958-1959  (2nd Semester)


1960-1961  (2nd Semester)

P 593 Philosophy of History


1957-1958  (1st Semester)

Box 7 1959-1960  (1st Semester)

1961-1962  (2nd Semester)

Introduction to Anthropology Undated 

Miscellaneous Lecture Notes Undated  

Subseries: Seminars

Descartes 1956-1957  

Spinoza 1954  

Theory of Myth 1951-1952 

Subseries: Exams

Masters and Ph.D Exams Undated 

Miscellaneous Exams Undated  

Series: Professional Materials

Box 7 Anthropology Department Meeting Agendas 1966-1968 

Miscellaneous untranslated materials Undated 

Resume Undated  

Sigma Xi award Undated  

Theories of Ritual Bibliography (Fragment) Undated