PITT RIVERS MUSEUM, OXFORD | Extracts
Later, Blackwood made two 18-month field trips to New Guinea in the 1920s and 1930s, collecting 2,300 artefacts which now reside in the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford.
She spent her early career in the Human Anatomy Department at Oxford, under Arthur Thomson, Professor of Anatomy.
She worked as Thomson’s research assistant and became Departmental Demonstrator, a position which involved teaching physical anthropology to students, as well as researching and cataloguing the anatomy collections.
In 1924 Blackwood was awarded a fellowship and went to North America spending three years gathering anthropometric data from African-American, Native American, Asian and white communities.
Back in Oxford in 1928, she was promoted to University Demonstrator in the Human Anatomy Department.
In 1929 she set out on another field trip, this time to New Guinea with funding from the National Research Council in Washington DC.
She was away for 18 months and for most of that time was in Buka and Bougainville, where she studied every aspect of local life and built up a large collection of objects, over 400 of which were donated to the Pitt Rivers Museum when she got back to Oxford.
In 1935 she published Both Sides of Buka Passage.
In 1936, Blackwood was transferred to the Pitt Rivers Museum as University Demonstrator in Ethnology. Her move coincided with her second field trip to Melanesia.
This time she was travelling under the auspices of the Pitt Rivers Museum to gather material for the collections. She worked in New Guinea and New Britain for nearly 18 months. As a result of this trip well over 2,000 objects were accessioned into the collections at the museum.
She was made Lecturer in Ethnology in 1946 and was also active in related organisations: she was a member of the Council for British Archaeology, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, and served as Vice-President of the Royal Anthropological Institute.
Blackwood could be outspoken and was stickler for correct museum practices and procedures. She commanded great respect, but was an incredibly private person.
Beatrice Blackwood worked at the Museum from the late 1930s until her official retirement in 1959, but was still at work until a few days before her death in 1975 at the age of 86.