Felix M. Keesing Papers

Manuscript A1999:003

Biographical Note

Felix Maxwell Keesing was born 5 January 1902 in Taiping (Penang), Straits Settlements, British Malay. He attended the University of New Zealand, graduating with his BA in 1924 and his M.A. in 1925. Keesing later attended Yale University (1928/29) and the University of Chicago (1929/30). He received his Doctor of Letters (D Litt.) from the University of New Zealand in 1933 and studied the following year at the London School of Economics and Political Science. That summer, Keesing taught summer school at the University of Hawaiʻi, remaining as a member of the Department of Anthropology. According to an article in Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi in March 1934 indicating the Keesing was to be on the summer school faculty, Keesing had served as the director of research in the Pacific dependencies for the Institute of Pacific Relations.

During his stay at the University of Hawaiʻi Dr. Keesing became department chair for the combined department of Anthropology and Sociology. Based on the catalogs of courses for 1937/38 and for 1938/1939, it appears that the departments merged effective fall semester 1937. Keesing was listed by the catalogs as chair of the department for 1939/40 and 1940/41. In 1941/42, Keesing is listed as the only full professor in the combined department, with Dr. Andrew Lind as department chair. The following year, Dr. Keesing is not listed as faculty.

In 1942 Dr. Keesing left the University of Hawaiʻi for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., at which time he became a teaching associate at the Columbia University Naval School of Military Government and Administration. The following year he started as a professor at Stanford University. In 1948, President Truman appointed Keesing as the senior United States commissioner on the Commission on the South Pacific, where he served (while still active on the faculty of Stanford University) until 1957. Dr. Keesing died of a heart attack on 22 April 1961.

Inventory to the Keesing Papers

Maori Land Confiscations

  • Folder 1: Native Land Confiscations: Their Place in the Economic and Social Development of the Maori.
  • Folder 2: Native Lands Confiscations Commission — Minutes
  • Folder 3: Extract from New Zealand Gazette no. 72, 28 Oct. 1926; “Ngati Maniapoto and Confiscations”; misc. clippings and sketches.
  • Folder 4: [Waikato Confiscations]
  • Folder 5: LS, A[pirana] T[urupa] Ngata to F.M. Keesing 24 June 1949



  • Folder 6: Education in the Pacific — Conference & Report, -Aug. 1936
  • Folder 7: Education in the Pacific — Conference & Report, Sept – Dec. 1936
  • Folder 8: Education in the Pacific — Conference & Report, 1937-1939


General Correspondence

  • Folder 9: 1936 – May 1937
  • Folder 10: June – Sept 1937
  • Folder 11: Oct – Dec 1937
  • Folder 12: 1938
  • Folder 13: Feb. – June 1938
  • Folder 14: July 1938 – 1939


Correspondence: Stella Jones

  • Folder 15: 1934 -1936
  • Folder 16: 1941


Correspondence: Guam Study

  • Folder 17: 1938-1939
  • Folder 18: 1938-1939


Indian Affairs

  • Folder 19: 1941
  • Folder 20: Three Documents: “Analysis and Explanation of the Wheeler–Howard Indian Act”; “Facts About the New Indian Reorganization Act”; and “The Unfinished Tasks of the Indian Service”
  • Folder 21: Medical Dictionary English — Navajo, 1941


Menomini Indians of Wisconsin: Proofs

  • Folder 22: Table of Contents; Introduction; Chapter I; Chapter II, pp. 18-40.
  • Folder 23: Chapter II, pp. 41-52; Chapter III
  • Folder 24: Chapter IV and Chapter V
  • Folder 25: Chapter VI and Chapter VII
  • Folder 26: Chapter VIII and Chapter IX, pp 194-211
  • Folder 27: Chapter IX, pp 212-221; Chapter X; Bibliography


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