AA 689  Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell  Guide to Records
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Series List and Summary Descriptions
AA 689  Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/01

Bound volumes of expedition journals, notes, anthropometric and morphometric data on Australian and foreign collections and blood grouping data.

 

THIS SERIES CONTAINS RESTRICTED MATERIAL
This series can be broken down into two major subseries. The first group, AA 689/1/1 to AA 689/1/2, comprises Birdsell's 'Daily Field' Journals which contains observations and data recorded on the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition of 1938-39, and the University of California Los Angeles expedition of 1952-54. There is a complete transcript of AA 689/1/1 in two volumes, AA 689/1/1/1 and AA 689/1/1/2, and a partial transcript of AA 689/1/2 in AA 689/1/2/1.

The second group, AA 689/1/3 to AA 689/1/16, comprises notebooks which contain data relating to both expeditions, notes and references.

Birdsell was not systematic about pagination throughout his journals. Each inventory 'details field' contains specific information about the pagination of that item.

All diary entries, notes, data, illustrations and maps have been hand written or hand drawn by Birdsell.

Aboriginal groups have been cross referenced with the 'Tindale tribe' index which links to the Catalogue in Tindale's 1974 publication Aboriginal tribes of Australia, their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names.

Birdsell was American and used Americanised spelling. In the instance where this occurs within a title, for example 'Australian Geneologies, 1, 1938-39, these have been summarily changed to the Australian-English spelling. Birdsell also used the standard American dating of month/day/year which have been noted according to the Australian standard of day/month/year.

Journals AA 689/1/3 to AA 689/1/16 were previously identified as 'Birdsell Collection Notebooks 1-19'. Each item which was previously identified under this system retains a note identifying the items as such.

Item AA 689/1/17 contains two tools used in the field, a Munsell Soil Chart and a Skin Colour Chart based on Munsell's colour categorisation.

The item previously identified as 'Birdsell Collection Notebook 10' which has the title 'Douglas Oliver's Series of Hybrids from Melanesia', has been transferred into series two AA 689/2/13.

  Date Range 1938 - c. 1977, Dates of annotation
Quantity 70 cm, 6 archive boxes and Albox folders
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/02

Bound volumes, notebooks and loose pages of genealogies and related data recorded while on the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition, 1938-1939, and University of California Los Angeles Expedition, 1952-1954.

 

THIS SERIES CONTAINS RESTRICTED MATERIAL
Genealogies AA 689/2/1 to AA 689/2/13 were collected by Joseph B Birdsell whilst on the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition of 1938-39, and the University of California Los Angeles expedition of 1952-54 with the aim of building 'a genealogical and sociological profile of the Australian Aboriginal population as it mingled with the European population across Australia'.

Researchers should also see related genealologies in the Board for Anthropology Research collection (see AA 346/5).

Birdsell was American and used Americanised spelling. In the instance where this occurs within a title for example 'Australian Geneologies, 1, 1938-39, these have been summarily changed to the Australian-English spelling.

All data has been hand written, with the exception typed notes regarding Aboriginal Stations which have been attached to the end of several books. Genealogical data extends over a full page spread and have been counted as such.

The item previously identified as 'Birdsell Collection Notebook 10' which has the title 'Douglas Oliver's Series of Hybrids from Melanesia' has been transferred into series two AA 689/2/13.

  Date Range 1938 - c. 1976, Dates of annotation
Quantity 57.5 cm, 4 archive boxes and Zetta Florence folder
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/03

Professional and personal correspondence

 

This series can be broken down into five major subseries. The first subseries, AA 689/3/1/1 to AA 689/3/1/59, comprises of correspondence from NB Tindale (see AA 338) to JB Birdsell. The date range for this group is from 21 August 1940 to 24 December 1989.

The second subseries, AA 689/3/2/1 to AA 689/3/2/17, comprises of correspondence from JB Birdsell to NB Tindale. The date range for this group is from 5 August 1976 to 5 April 1983.

The third subseries, AA 689/3/3/1 to AA 689/3/3/10, comprises of correspondence from JB Birdsell to various individuals. The date range for this group is from 7 November 1952 to 28 April 1993.

The fourth subseries, AA 689/3/4/1 to AA 689/3/4/25, comprises of correspondence from various individuals to JB Birdsell. The date range for this group is from 23 February 1953 to 11 June 1992.

The fifth subseries, AA 689/3/5/1 to AA 689/3/5/54, comprises of correspondence from RT Simmons and JJ Graydon to JB Birdsell which is primarily concerned with the testing and results of blood samples collected during the University of California Los Angeles expedition of 1952-1954 and several joint research papers. The date range for this group is from 28 January 1947 to 14 January 1974.

Australian Aboriginal groups have been cross referenced with the 'Tindale tribe' index which links to the Catalogue in Tindale's 1974 publication Aboriginal tribes of Australia, their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names.

  Date Range 21 August 1940 - 28 April 1993, Dates of annotation
Quantity 16.8 cm, 2 archive boxes
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/04

Photographic prints relating to Board for Anthropological Research expeditions; historical and studio portraits of Australian Aborginal people; foreign ethnology and cranial collections.

 

This Series can been broken down into five major sub-series. The first, AA 689/4/1 to AA 689/4/1/4, comprises portrait and profile photographs of individuals who were examined during the Board for Anthropological Research (BAR; see AA 346) expeditions to Koonibba, South Australia 1928; Hermannsburg, Northern Territory, 1929 and McDonald Downs, Northern Territory, 1930. JB Birdsell was not a participant in these expeditions.

The second sub-series, AA 689/4/2/1to AA 689/4/2/2, comprises photographs taken during the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition of 1938-39 and the University of California Los Angeles expedition of 1952-54 in which JB Birdsell was a participant.

The third sub-series, AA 689/4/3/1 to AA 689/4/3/2, comprises photos of historical importance collected by JB Birdsell from commercial photographic studios, institutions and other collections.

The fourth sub-series, AA 689/4/4/1 to AA 689/4/4/2, comprises photographs of individual subject photographs of the Vedda people of Sri Lanka, and numerous photographs of foreign ethnology from the Americas, Africa and Asia.

The fifth sub-series, AA 689/4/5/1 to AA 689/4/5/2, consists of morphological photos of Australian Aboriginal crania from the South Australian Museum collection, photographed in 1947.

The JB Birdsell collection of photographs were assigned numbers 1-1600, however this appears to be simply a numerical account and has no functional bearing on the collection. The photographs have been re-ordered into sub-series relating to expeditions and research.

  Quantity 12 Albox folders.
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/05

Negatives relating to the Harvard and Adelaide Universities 1938-1939 and University of California Los Angeles 1952-1954 expeditions and Solomon Islanders.

 

This series includes nitrate, glass and acetate negatives taken on or relate to the Harvard and Adelaide Universities, 1938-1939 and University of California Los Angeles, 1952-1954 expeditions. In particular are the following:

  • Nitrate negtives taken for the expedition sociological data cards and acetate negatives taken during the expeditions
  • Glass Negative taken during the visit of Governor Barron to Cape Barren Island, January 1911 and glass negatives of three Tasmanians
  • Acetate negatives if Solomon Islanders
  • Acetate negatives of A Atkinson and JW Beattie photographs
  • Negatives of figures from publications
  • Negatives of crania, archaeology and site excavations
  Date Range 1911 - c. 1954, Dates in annotations
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/06

Transparencies relating to the Harvard and Adelaide Universities 1938-1939 and University of California Los Angeles 1952-1954 expeditions

 

This series includes colour transparencies taken during the Harvard and Adelaide Universities, 1938-1939 and University of California Los Angeles, 1952-1954 expeditions and of maps, graphs, traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art.

  Date Range c. 1938 - c. 1954, Gap from 1939-1952; some are undated
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/07

Navigational, meteorological, anthropological, geographical, ecological maps relating to Australian and overseas.

 

This series comprises of 338 maps belonging to Joseph B Birdsell. The Birdsell Map collection had no evident original order, the current order was imposed by Patty Lindsell who arranged the maps into the following groups.

  • Maps 1-96 Navigational (Australia and Asia Pacific Region)
  • Maps 97-228 Meteorological (Australia)
  • Maps 229-318 Anthropological (Australia)
  • Maps 281-318 Geographical/Geological (Australia, Asia Pacific and USA)
  • Maps 319-335 Ecological (Australia)

An inventory of this series was written in the mid 1990s by Patty Lindsell, and ammended in 2006.

Please note that maps: 48, 58, 87-90, 92, 177, 248-259, 308 are not held.

  Date Range 1923 - 1976, Dates of publication or annotation
Quantity 25 cm, 338 maps
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/08

Figures for publication

 

This item contains figure for publication many of which relates to Birdsell, JB 1993 Microevolutionary patterns in Aboriginal Australia: a gradient analysis of clines. Oxford Universitey Press, New York.

These figures include maps, graphs and drawings on cardboard, paper, photographic film and photographic paper.

  Quantity 124 cm, 9 boxes and folders
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/09

Anthropometric data cards from Board for Anthropological Research expeditions and cranial data cards recorded at numerous institutions

 

THIS SERIES CONTAINS RESTRICTED MATERIAL
This series can be broken down into eight major sub-series of data cards. The first group, AA 689/9/21, comprises a photocopied report by Walter Edmund Roth (See AA 271), the Northern Protector of Aboriginies (NPA,] containing anthropometric data of individuals from North Queensland, 1898-1900.

The second group, AA 689/9/1, comprises anthropometric data cards copied by Birdsell from the original data recorded by William Lloyd Warner in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, 1926-1927.

The third group, AA 689/9/2-15, comprises copies of anthropological data cards recorded during the Board for Anthropological Research (BAR; see AA 346) expeditions conducted from 1923-1939.

The fourth group, AA 689/9/16 comprises the original anthropological data cards recorded in the field during the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition, 1938-1939. These have been ordered by Birdsell into genetic classes.

The fifth group, AA 689/9/17, comprises anthropological data cards recorded during the University of California Los Angeles and University of Adelaide Expedition, 1952-1954.

The sixth group, AA 689/9/18, comprises copies of anthropological data cards recorded during the BAR expedition to Bentinck, Mornington and Forsyth Islands, Queensland, 1960.

The seventh group, AA 689/9/19, comprises Australian Aboriginal Cranial data cards.

The eight group, AA 689/9/20, comprises non-Australian Cranial data cards.

Birdsell was a physical anthropologist, interested in theories of race. Language and terms referred to in this inventory reflect both scientific nature of the work and the social era in which they were collected, which my be considered inappropriate or offensive.

Australian Aboriginal groups have been cross referenced with the 'Tindale tribe' index which links to the Catalogue in Tindale's 1974 publication Aboriginal tribes of Australia, their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names (see AA 338).

Note that a set of data cards once held in the Birdsell collection have been moved to the CP Mountford (see AA 228) collection. These data cards contain information collected from individuals at Groote Eylandt, Yirrakala and Milingimbi in the Northern Territory during Mountford's expedition in April 1948.

  Date Range 1926 - 1960, Dates in annotations
Quantity 258 cm, 47 folders and boxes
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/10

Data analysis relating to the fieldwork of the Harvard and Adelaide Universities, 1938-1939 and University of California Los Angeles expedition, 1952-1954.

 

This series consists of data analysis and data processing relating to the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition, 1938-1939 and the University of California Los Angeles expedition, 1952-1954. These results were published in Birdsell, JB 1993 Microevolutionary patterns in Aboriginal Australia: a gradient analysis of clines. Oxford Universitey Press, New York.

  Date Range 1938 - 1954, Dates in annotations
Quantity 312 cm, 17 boxes
Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/11

Manuscripts, drafts and published articles

 

This item consists of thirteen folders of manuscripts drafts and published articles, as well as reviews, notes and supporting material.

  Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell

AA689/12

Notes relating to anthropology, physical anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, genetics, geology, ecology, biostatistics, serology, and zoology

 

This series includes notes taken from publications, references and bibliographies.

  Provenance Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell