The Archbold Collections at the American Museum of Natural History is comprised of material that documents the expeditionary fieldwork of Richard Archbold and the Archbold Expeditions. It is housed within the AMNH Department of Mammalogy Archive, and encompasses a variety of formats, including photographs, slides, film, scrapbooks, correspondence, financial records, and field documentation such as catalogs, specimen lists, field notes and journals. These describe both the day-to-day activities of the expedition participants as well as the study of the scientific collections. The bulk of the items were created by or attributed to Richard Archbold, Austin Rand, Leonard Brass, William Richardson, Geoffrey M. Tate, G. H. H. Tate, and Hobart Van Deusen. All the Archbold-sponsored expeditions are represented in some way, some more thoroughly than others. Locations include Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, Queensland, Arizona, and the eastern United States. Dates range from the late 1920s to the 1980s, with the bulk of the material dating 1930 to 1964. Note that some of the notes and images are found repeated in various reproduced forms within the collection.
Series 1 (Archbold Archives) is a distinct collection of Archbold Expeditions related material. It was previously processed and arranged by Bill Glover and volunteers in 1988 and was described in the ‘Archbold Archival Index.’5 That written index was sourced to create the current series inventory, and the original arrangement into three subseries of Expeditions, Correspondence, and Billings has been maintained. Expeditions is organized by expedition name and includes correspondence, radio logs, specimen lists, field notes, journals, and administrative papers. Dates range from 1933 to 1976, and subjects include all seven Archbold Expeditions to New Guinea, the Cape York Expedition, the Arizona Expedition, and Musser’s Sulawesi Expedition. Correspondence has been arranged by subject, agency, or person, and includes letters and other communication regarding the management of Archbold Expeditions and Archbold Collections. Noted headings include the Archbold Biological Station, the seaplane Guba, and the papers kept by Leonard Brass and Hobart Van Deusen. Series II (Mammalogy field books), contains items found in the Department’s Field Book collection that are associated with expeditions undertaken by or sponsored by Archbold. Material types include field journals, research and reference material, catalogs, specimen lists, and photographic indexes. Dates span 1928 to 1980s and include Archbold’s early collecting experiences in the United States and Madagascar, as well as the Archbold Expeditions and the Cape York Expedition. Series III (Scrapbooks) are mostly bound volumes contain news clippings related to the Archbold Expeditions, dating from 1934 to 1956, with the bulk dating 1938-1939. One volume is dedicated to articles reporting the fabled 1945 military plane crash which purportedly discovered “Shangri-La” in Papua New Guinea. In actuality that area of the Grand Baliem Valley had been found and explored in 1938 by the 3rd Archbold Expedition. Series IV (Photographs and slides) is an unprocessed collection of visual material including photographs, lantern slides, slides, negatives and film, dating from the 1920s to 1964. Much has been loosely organized and arranged by expedition or topic, and many are captioned. Main subjects are the expedition locations and collecting subjects, as well as aerial photographs, and participants.