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04. Letter from Dr A Wetmore to Charles Mountford
Title : 04. Letter from Dr A Wetmore to Charles Mountford 04. Letter from Dr A Wetmore to Charles Mountford View More Images
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Creator : Wetmore, Alexander 1886-1978
Source : Mountford, Charles P., PRG 1218/17/7, p. 14-16, 18-24
Date of creation : 1948
Format : Letter
Catalogue record
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Copyright : This item is reproduced courtesy of Smithsonian Institution. It may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from Smithsonian Institution and the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

A letter written on 6th January 1948, by Dr A Wetmore of the Smithsonian Institution, with instructions for Charles Mountford regarding the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land. The letter includes comprehensive lists of equipment to be shipped out for the use of Wetmore's staff.

The equipment was provided for Frank Setzler, Deputy Leader and Archaeologist, Herbert Deignan, Ornitholigist, David Johnson, Mammalogist, Robert Miller, Ichytologist and NGS photographer, Howell Walker.

This document provides an insight into the huge amount of items needed for a long and remote Expedition, and into the logistical and organisational effort required to prepare, ship and manage such a large range of equipment. The items listed include blue [denim] jeans, string, tools, chemicals, stationery, fish traps, weapons, medicines, lighting etc

Once in the field, it was not possible to rush off and buy anything that was forgotten or broken - so everything had to be considered in advance and flown/shipped in to the field.

In addition, the storage and transport of the material needed to be managed on the ground in Arnhem Land, where heat, humidity and insects posed a risk to the equipment.

Related names :

American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948)

Mountford, Charles P.(Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976

Wetmore, Alexander, 1886-1978

Coverage year : 1948
Period : 1946-1979
Place : Washington
Further reading :
American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, (1948). Records of the American-Australian scientific expedition to Arnhem Land, Melbourne : Melbourne University Press, 1956-1964.

Lamshed, Max, 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, [Adelaide] : Rigby, 1972

May, Sally K. Collecting cultures : myth, politics, and collaboration in the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition, Lanham, Md. : AltaMira Press, 2010



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