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Waldemar Jochelson collection, 1899-1979 (bulk 1899-1942)

Identifier: Mss .D66

Scope and content

The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, photographs and memorabilia. The material relates to both Jochelson's and Brodsky's work and writings, and also includes many personal and family items. Much of the early correspondence is from the 1920s and 30s between Jochelson or Brodsky and former colleagues and professors, many living in Russia (the USSR at the time). Letters describe social conditions as well as covering professional topics. Correspondents include Waldemar Bogoras, another leader of the Jesup Expedition; Franz Boas; and Clark Wissler. All of Jochelson's letters and many of Brodsky's are in Russian, with translations provided by Leon Stavitsky. Photographs show peoples and places of Siberia and Alaska, as well as members of Jochelson's family. Memorabilia include eyeglasses, cups and saucers, and lithics and shells. The later part of the correspondence consists of correspondence between Dina Brodsky's niece, Lydia Domherr, and various scholars and libraries, attempting to publish and house the work of her aunt and uncle.


  • 1899-1979
  • Majority of material found within ( 1899-1942)


Language of Material

Many letters in Russian with English translations, some complete, others in outline.

Restrictions on Access

Please contact Special Collections; materials are sometimes restricted.

Biographical sketch

Waldemar Jochelson was an ethnographer and anthropologist, specializing in the Koryaks and Yukaghir of Siberia and the Aleuts and Kamchadals of Alaska. During the years 1901 to 1903, he was a leader in the Jesup North Pacific Expedition directed by Franz Boas. From 1923 to 1928, after returning to the U.S. from work in Russia, Jochelson was associated with the American Museum of Natural History. Jochelson was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, and graduated from a Russian gymnasium. His work for revolutionary organizations led to his imprisonment, then exile to Siberia in 1888. Jochelson spent ten years studying the languages and ethnology of the native peoples, remaining in Siberia after his term of exile expired, in order to continue his work. He was a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and an associate curator at the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology in St. Peterburg, 1912-1922, and published numerous works on anthropology, ethnology and languages.

Biographical sketch

Dina Jochelson Brodskaya, 1863-1941, was a medical scholar who worked with her husband, Waldemar Jochelson, in Siberia. Brodsky handled all of the anthropometric (physical measurements) and medical work, and most of the photography during the field work conducted by her husband. She used some of her anthropological measurements for her doctoral dissertation at the University of Zurich and also wrote of the women of northeastern Siberia. Franz Boas was the editor for much of her published work.


6 boxes (6 boxes) ; 8 x 30 x 39 cm. or smaller

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Lydia Domherr. Method of acquisition--Gift;.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation provided support to make this finding aid available in ArchivesSpace (2016-2017). Minimal level collection record created with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Hidden Collections grant, 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420