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H. U. Hall Siberian Expedition records


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-6324

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Maria Antonina Czaplicka was a Polish anthropologist whose work focused on the aboriginal peoples of northwest Siberia. In 1914, she became the first woman ever to lead an anthropological expedition.

Czaplicka left Poland in 1910 to study at the London School of Economics under C. G. Seligman and at Somerville College, Oxford under R. R. Marett. Encouraged by Marett, Czaplicka prepared a major study of the native Siberian peoples, culminating in her book, Aboriginal Siberia. This literary research prepared her for research in the field, and in 1914 Czaplicka set out for Siberia in charge of a joint expedition between the Pitts River and University Museums.

Czaplicka chose to survey the Yenisei province of northwestern Siberia, and she was accompanied by anthropologist Henry U. Hall of the University Museum, who served as curator of the General Ethnology section from 1915 to 1935 and who helped edit Czaplicka’s first book while at the London School of Economics. Czaplicka was also joined briefly by ornithologist Maud Haviland and artist Dora Curtis.

Following the 1915 completion of the expedition, Czaplicka returned to England to become the first woman to lecture at Oxford. As well, Czaplicka toured American universities, provided intelligence for the British government during the War, and promoted the independence of Polish and other Eastern European states.

Czaplicka died tragically early in 1921. Her death was ruled a suicide by poison.

The textual records from the Siberian Expedition consist of .25 linear feet of material divided into the following four series: Catalogs, Reports and Publications, Correspondence, and Photographs.

The series Catalogs includes a catalog of the ethnographical collection created in Siberia for the Museum, as well as a list of photographs, glass-plate negatives, and film negatives from the expedition.

Reports and Publications comprises a scrapbook of news clippings about Czaplicka compiled by H. U. Hall (also included is a preservation photocopy), a report by Hall on the expedition, a map of the itinerary, and Hall’s written plans for a book about the expedition.

The correspondence consists of letters regarding the collection, particularly the bequest to Hall of Czaplicka’s manuscripts in 1921, inquiries about the collection, and the recovery of Hall’s papers. For correspondence between Hall and George B. Gordon, Director of the Museum, see Director's Office Records.

Photographs includes a complete set of field photographs taken by Hall. Prints can be found in Special Collections—Photographic Archives—Standard Size Prints—Asia. The negatives can be found in the photographic archives by number. Includes two panoramic views of Freetown, Sierra Leone taken by local photographer A. Liskcarew, collected by Hall while on the expedition.

Hall, Henry Usher. "The Siberian Expedition" in The Museum Journal, Vol. VII, No. 1. March 1916. Hall, Henry Usher. "Shamanist Bird Figures of the Yenisei Ostyak" in The Museum Journal, Vol. X, No. 4. December 1919. Czaplicka, Maria Antonina. My Siberian Year. 1916.

University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by E. Cory
Finding Aid Date
May 2014
Use Restrictions

Although many items from the archives are in the public domain, copyright may be retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. The user is fully responsible for compliance with relevant copyright law.

Collection Inventory

Re: Collections, 1921-1944.
Box 1

Ethnographical Collection, 1915.
Box 1
List of Photographs, 1915.
Box 1

Report and Map, 1915.
Box 1
Scrapbook of News Clippings, 1913-1919.
Box 1
Publication Plans, 1928.
Box 1

Photographs, 1914-1915.
Box AS4
A. Liskcarew Images of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
Box (OV)P L-AF1

Print, Suggest