Series 233 - Stephen Wurm research papers relating to Pacific linguistics

Identity area

Reference code



Stephen Wurm research papers relating to Pacific linguistics


  • 1922 - 2001 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

28 m (132 boxes)

Context area

Name of creator

(1922 - 2001)

Biographical history

Stephen Adolphe Wurm was born in Budapest, Hungary on 19 August 1922. Wurm completed his PhD in 1944 at the Oriental Institute of the University of Vienna in Turkic Languages and Anthropology. He was a lecturer in Altaic linguistics at the University of Vienna until 1951 then accepted a position in London to help set up the Central Asian Research Institute. In 1954 Wurm accepted a research fellowship in Oceanic Linguistics in the Anthropology Department of Sydney University and in 1957 accepted an appointment as Senior Fellow in Linguistics at the Australian National University. In 1961 he was a foundation member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies and became Chairman of the Linguistics Committee. In 1967 he was the first elected president of the Linguistic Society of Australia and the Australian representative on the UNESCO Comite International Permanent de Linguistes. When the new Department of Linguistics was established at the Research School of Pacific Studies, Wurm was appointed its first Professor and Head of Department. He retired in 1987 but remained actively involved in the field of linguistics right up until his death on 24 October 2001 in Canberra.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Correspondence, 1949–1987
Administrative papers, RSPAS, 1970–1994
Language journals, 1939–1966
Turkic language research notes, 1940s
Language research papers: Papua New Guinea, 1950s–90s, Solomon Islands, 1950s–90s, Pacific languages, Australian languages, 1950s–90s, languages – general, 1950s–90s
Atlases and maps, 1932–1980s
Index cards
Language recordings, 1950s–1990s: Papua New Guinea, 1956–1970,
Australian Aboriginal, 1957–1964, Solomon Islands, 1965–1970
Conferences and seminars, 1965–1970
Published articles by SA Wurm, 1940–2000
Periodicals, 1935–1981
Personal documents, 1922–1988
Awards, 1967–1988
Academic gown and large format material
Maps, 1940–1975


System of arrangement

Single number imposed to some material

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Open access. Some correspondence is in German and other languages, and many research materials are in other languages and scripts including short-hand. Most language recordings have not been copied for reference; some are available through Paradisec (

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Finding aids

Box list for boxes 1-132

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Related units of description

ANUA 260, Helen Groger-Wurm's papers include material relating to Wurm: scrapbooks, photographs, slides, film and obituaries

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Prepared by Maggie Shapley on 7 March 2007




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