Harvard and Adelaide Universities Expedition, Anthropological Data Cards, with Sociological Photographs attached. 1938-39.

Archive Collections / Dr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell / Series AA689/09 / Harvard and Adelaide Universities Expedition, Anthropological Data Cards, with Sociological Photographs attached. 1938-39.
Anthropological Data Cards recorded in the field containing additional sociological information to the BAR Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition set.

This item contains the anthropological data cards recorded in the field during the Harvard and Adelaide Universities Board for Anthropological Research (BAR, see AA 346) expedition in 1938-1939. This expedition was assigned the symbol 'N.' All individuals recorded within the data cards during the expedition were assigned an individual subject number; the data cards are numbered: N1- N2458.

It is important to note that the Birdsell set of anthropological data cards contains a significant amount of sociological information which was not transferred to the BAR data card set.

The Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition traveled through South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia between April 1938 and June 1939. The expedition was in two parties which had slightly different itineraries. The parties consisted of Norman B Tindale and Dorothy M Tindale (see AA 338), in the other Joseph B Birdsell and Bee G Birdsell.

At the conclusion of the expedition, a copy of the Anthropological data cards were made for the BAR. The BAR copy of the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition data cards (see AA 346/4/20) are organized numerically by (individual subject) number and ordered by field station.

Birdsell took the original anthropological data cards, along with their accompanying sociological photographs and negatives, back to United States of America. The Birdsell set of data cards were ordered by genetic class according to Birdsell's 1938-39 'Tribal Series' groupings. See: Birdsell, JB 1993, Microevolutionary patterns in Aboriginal Australia: a gradient analysis of clines. Oxford University Press, New York, Appendix A-3. pp.35-36.

On the top right corner of the data card Birdsell has annotated in red pencil the relevant 'B' group. For example '20' denotes the individual as being included in Birdsell's group 'B20 Upper Mitchell Drainage.' The Birdsell data cards have been ordered by genetic class within the regions:

  • B1 south-west Coast

  • B2 south-west Hinterland

  • B3 south-west Interior

  • B4 South Coast

  • B5 Nangatadjara Tribe

  • B6 Mandjindja Tribe

  • B7 Ngadadjara Tribe

  • B8 Southern Hinterland

  • B9 Central Interior

  • B10 Murray Drainage (Lower Murray River)

  • B11 south-east Coast

  • B12 Darling Drainage

  • B13 East Coast

  • B14 north-east Coast

  • B15 Eastern Interior

  • B16 Cardwell Region

  • B17 Ravenshoe Region

  • B18 Cairns Area

  • B19 Kuranda Region [North Queensland]

  • B20 Upper Mitchell Drainage

  • B21 Cooktown Region

  • B22 Gulf of Carpentaria

  • B23 Lower Cape York

  • B24 Upper Cape York

Birdsell also includes individuals into the groups B25 and BNO [Not Observed]. These groups were not included in his published data.

The Anthropological data cards are printed with data fields recording the following information: Place, Date, Observer, Recorder, (the individual's subject) Number, Sex, Child, Adult, Group or Tribe, Name, Birthplace, Rank, Occupation, Kinship with, Father's Group or Tribe, Mother's, Family Number, and also headings for other kin details, and other details including Genetic class, Blood group and Age. The card also includes printed headings and categories for the recording of physical observations and anthropometric measurements numbering to 80. Most cards have JB B[irdsell] recorded as 'Observer' and BG B[irdsell] or DM T[indale] as 'Recorder'[s].

It is important to note that the Birdsell set of anthropological data cards contains sociological information which was not transferred to the BAR set. This information generally includes: place of birth, siblings, marital status, children, occupations, and details on the subject's mother and father's birthplace and or tribal groups. Some of this information was recorded in the BAR data cards, but the transferal of data was both inconsistent and incomplete. This level of varying data differs from card to card.

In the Birdsell set the anthropological data cards have their sociological photographs attached. This photograph consists of two black and white prints, usually a front and profile portrait showing head and torso. The photographs also show the (individual's subject) numbers and place.

A number of individuals were not photographed. In some cases juveniles were photographed with siblings or with one of their parents. Each data card contains information as to whether a photograph was taken, and lists the reel and frames exposed. This data can be cross referenced with other siblings or family members to confirm if siblings are in the same photographic frame.

It should be noted that in the category of 'Family No.' the Birdsell's numbering system, 'A-1', 'M-1' etc., directly relates to Birdsell's 'Australian Genealogies' volumes 1-2 (see AA 689/2/1/1 - 2). The numbering system used in the BAR set (AA 346/4/20) directly relates to Tindale's 'Harvard and Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition genealogies' (see AA 346/5/3) which is now located in the BAR collection.

Note that BAR Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition data card set (see AA 346/4/20) only contains the sociological photographs for the 'Old Australian White' Male and Female series [Numbered NW1 - NW 195]. The Birdsell collection contains both sociological photographs and anthropological data cards (see AA 689/9/16/39-40), as well the 'Dorothy Tindale Series' which acted as a control to ensure consistency of adjustment of the measuring instruments.

Further information on the Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition see Birdsell's 'Australian Daily Field Journal 1938-1939' (see AA 689/1/1); Tindale's Expedition Journals (see AA 338/1/15/1-2), supplementary papers (see AA 338/2/34-37). Publications that provide information on the methods and results of the expedition: Tindale, NB 1940, 'Results of the Harvard-Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition, 1938-38: Distribution of Aboriginal Tribes: A field survey,' Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 64:1, pp. 140-231. Tindale, NB 1941, 'Results of the Harvard-Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition, 1938-1939: Survey of the Haste-Caste Problem in South Australia,' Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of Australiasia (South Australian Branch), XLII (1941-1941), pp. 66-161. Also Birdsell, JB 1993, Microevolutionary patterns in Aboriginal Australia: a gradient analysis of clines. Oxford University Press, New York.

Note that the data cards contain variant spellings of tribal/language group names. In the descriptions here the various terms and spellings have been reproduced with preferred terms in square brackets. At the end of this series an attempt has been made to supply corresponding tribal/language group names according to standardised spellings adopted by NB Tindale (see AA 338) and AIATSIS (Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies); however, this has not been possible in all cases.

Note that language and terms reflect the author's attitude or that of the period in which the item was produced and may be considered inappropriate today in some circumstances.

Each folder contains an index of the sequence of data cards within that folder. A compete digital listing is accessible through the Archives Access Officer. All items include both data cards and photographs unless otherwise indicated by the index.

Birdsell's Harvard and Adelaide Universities expedition Anthropological Data Cards are housed in 40 folders:

  1. 'FB Males,' Areas B1- B4

  2. 'FB Males,' Areas B4- B5

  3. 'FB Males,' Areas B6-B8

  4. 'FB Males,' Areas B9-B12

  5. 'FB Males,' Areas B12-B14

  6. 'FB Males,' Areas B16-B18

  7. 'FB Males,' Areas B19-B20

  8. 'FB Males,' Areas B21-B22

  9. 'FB Males,' Areas B23-B24

  10. 'FB Male,' Areas B25-BNO

  11. 'FB Female,' Areas B1-B6

  12. 'FB Female,' Areas B8-B18

  13. 'FB Female,' Areas B19-BNO

  14. 'FB Juvenile Male,' Areas B1-BNO

  15. 'FB Juvenile Female,' Areas B1-BNO

  16. 'F1 Males,' Areas B1-B12

  17. 'F1 Males,' Areas B13-B25

  18. 'F1 Females,' Areas B1-B14

  19. 'F1 Females,' Areas B1-B25

  20. 'F1 Male and Female Juveniles,' Areas B1-B22

  21. 'F2 Males,' Areas B1-B23

  22. 'F2 Females,' Areas B1-B23

  23. 'F2 Male and Female Juveniles,' Areas B1-B23

  24. 'F3 Male, Female and Juveniles,' Areas B1-B23, and '¼' Males, Females and Juveniles, Areas B1-B25.

  25. '¾ Males,' Areas B1-B25

  26. '¾ Females,' Areas B1-B25

  27. '¾ Males and Females Juveniles,' Areas B1-B23

  28. 'Hybrid Males,' Areas B1-B23

  29. 'Hybrid Males,' Areas B1-BNO

  30. 'Hybrid Females,' Areas B1-B12

  31. 'Hybrid Females,' Areas B1-B23 and 'Hybrid Males and Females Juveniles,' Unsorted.

  32. 'Hybrid (Australian/White) Females Juveniles,' Unsorted.

  33. 'Tasmanian Hybrid Male and Females'

  34. 'Tasmanian Hybrid Juvenile Males and Females'

  35. 'Hybrid (Australian/Various Ethnic Groups) 'F-Xs and F-1s' Males.'

  36. 'Hybrid (Australian/Various Ethnic Groups) 'F-Xs and F-1s' Females'

  37. 'Hybrid (Australian/Various Ethnic Groups) Juvenile Male and Female'

  38. 'FB Melanesian' and 'Non-Aboriginal Hybrids' Males and Females.

  39. 'Old Australian White Males'

  40. 'Old Australian White Females' and 'Dorothy Tindale Series'

  41. Complete Index and notes for Harvard Adelaide Expedition Anthropological Cards.

This series includes references to named groups as listed above. These correspond to:

Tindale Tribes: Araba; Arakwal; Aranda; Badjalang; Badjiri; Balardong; Barara; Batjala; Bindal; Biria; Buluwai; Dainggati; Darambal; Dieri; Djankun; Djiru; Djirubal; Ewamin; Idindji; Jandruwanta; Janjula; Jauraworka; Jiman; Jirandali; Jokula; Jotijota; Kalali; Kalibal; Kalkadunga; Kamilaroi; Kandju; Kangulu; Kanolu; Karingbal; Keramai; Kitabal; Koa; Koamu; Kokata; Kokobididji; Kokobujundji; Kokoimudji; Kokojawa; Kokojelandji; Kokokulunggur; Kokomini; Kokopatun; Kokopera; Kongkandji; Korenggoreng; Kukatja (QLD); Kula; Kunggari; Kurnai; Lardiil; Maikudunu; Maikulan; Maithakari; Maljangapa; Mamu; Maranganji; Maraura; Minjungbal; Mirning; Muluridji; Mutumui; Nangatadjara; Nawagi; Ngaiawang; Ngaro; Ngatjan; Ngemba; Ngundjan; Nguri; Njikena; Nukunu; Olkolo; Pini; Pitjara; Ringaringa; Tagalag; Tjalkadjara; Tjapukai; Ualarai; Wailpi; Wakaman; Wakawaka; Walangama; Wanjiwalku; Wanjuru; Warakamai; Waramanga; Weilwan; Wembawemba; Widi; Wikmunkan; Winduwinda; Wiradjuri; Wirangu; Wongkumara; Wudjari; Wulgurukaba.

CreatorDr Joseph Benjamin Birdsell
ControlAA 689/9/16
Date Range1938  -  1939
Quantity 166cm,   41   grey Albox folders
Series AA689/09