A. W. F. Fuller

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Alfred Walter Francis Fuller (29 March 1882 – 13 December 1961) was a British anthropologist and ethnographic collector, best known for his collection of over 6,800 items from the Pacific that is now held in the Field Museum in Chicago.


Fuller was born in 1882 in Sussex to Rev. Alfred Fuller. He was educated at Dulwich College and subsequently became a solicitor. At the outbreak of World War I he joined the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry and rose to the rank of captain while serving on the Salonika Front. He saw action in Bulgaria, but by 1918 had retired on a disability pension due to ill-health. Always a keen anthropologist, Fuller began collecting on a large scale after the war, principally at auctions and from closing local museums. He married Estelle Cleverly in 1924 and with her continued to develop the collection and to build up a library of more than 20,000 volumes. He volunteered at the British Museum for a time and was a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He refused throughout his life to deal in objects, and the only sale he made was in 1958, shortly before his death, when he sold more than 6,800 items from the Pacific to the Field Museum in Chicago for £40,000 (the equivalent of £842,800 as of 2016).[1] After his death in 1961 the rest of his collection was dispersed by his wife: the library was eventually purchased by the Bishop Museum in Hawaii.


  1. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2016), "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  • Waterfield, Herminone; King, J. C. H. (2006). Provenance: Twelve Collectors of Ethnographic Art in England 1760–1990. Paris: Somogy éditions d'art. ISBN 0-304-36333-2.