Elizabeth Millicent Chilver, known as Sally Chilver, has died at the age of 99.

Mrs Chilver (1932, History) was Principal of Bedford College, University of London from 1964 to 1971 and Principal of Lady Margaret Hall from 1971 to 1979.

Mrs Chilver was the daughter of Philip Perceval Graves and Millicent Graves, and the niece of the poet Robert Graves. She was educated at Benenden School before beginning her degree at Somerville College.

She would work as a journalist from 1937-9 and again from 1945-47, spending the war employed by the civil service. In 1937 she married Richard Clemenston Chilver, a civil servant. He died in 1985.

From 1948 to 1957 Mrs Chilver was acting principal and secretary of the Social Science Research Council (precursor of the ESRC) and the Economic Research Committee of the Colonial Office. She was then appointed director of the University of London’s Institute of Commonwealth Studies, a post she held from 1957 to 1961, before shifting to work as a senior researcher at the Institute from 1961 to 1964.

Mrs Chilver was Principal of Bedford College from 1964 to 1971, when she returned to Oxford to take up the post of Principal, Lady Margaret Hall. She remained in this position until her retirement in 1979. She was also a trustee of the British Museum, a member of the governing body of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and the editor of Volume 2 of History of East Africa, published by Clarendon Press in 1965.

Mrs Chilver remained very much involved in the life of Somerville College throughout her life, and in recent years she enjoyed the company of Somerville students who visited her regularly. Her accounts of anthropological adventures in Africa and of her early family life, were enthralling. Somerville was due to hold celebrations for her 100th birthday in August. It a cause for sadness that she fell just short of reaching the birthday, which she and the College keenly looked forward to celebrating.

There is a Tribute to Mrs Sally Chilver on the website of Lady Margaret Hall.

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