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Archival Descriptions
Only top-level descriptions Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (MAA)
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FHYA curation of selected materials pertinent to Alfred Cort Haddon’s trip with the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) to South Africa in 1905, from the Department of Manuscripts and Archives at the Cambridge University Library

  • Selection
  • 2016 -

[Source - Chloe Rushovich for FHYA, 2017, using Nessa Leibhammer’s notes; Cambridge University Library’s materials: The FHYA selection of the items in the Cambridge University Library focused specifically on material related to Alfred Cort Haddon and the 1905 Natal leg of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BAAS) tour of southern Africa. Sir David Gill, the Astronomer at the Cape until 1906, suggested the BAAS trip to South Africa, in order to inaugurate a South African Science Association modelled on the British one. Three hundred delegates from the BAAS came to South Africa, with Alfred Cort Haddon acting as the chairman of the anthropological section of the BAAS.

Haddon was a British anthropologist and ethnologist who worked extensively with the University of Cambridge as a lecturer and a Fellow of Christ’s College. In the course of the Natal leg of the 1905 visit, Haddon collected items, currently held in the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, at the University of Cambridge. These items were selected by the FHYA for inclusion. Nessa Leibhammer then identified correspondences related to this visit for inclusion in the FHYA project. These correspondences and associated material can be found in the Royal Greenwich Observatory Archives collection in CUL, specifically within the Papers of the Cape Observatory. The RGO selection comprises of 4 volumes, sitting in the RGO 15 section of the archives, which houses all material from the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope. The material selected by the FHYA is specifically housed in the sections labelled RGO 15 189, RGO 15 190, RGO 15 191, and RGO 15 192. These contain bound volumes of correspondence related to the tour. Leibhammer further identified eight brown manila envelopes from the Haddon Papers in the CUL’s Department of Manuscripts and Archives, relevant to the items collected in 1905. These envelopes are: Haddon Papers 5015; Haddon Papers 5016; Haddon Papers 5065; Haddon Papers 5066; Haddon Papers 5412; Haddon Papers 5413; Haddon Papers 5414; Haddon Papers 5017; and Haddon Papers 5018.]

FHYA selection from the Anthropological Collection at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge

  • Selection
  • 2017 -

[Source - Carolyn Hamilton for FHYA, 2019: Leibhammer made the selection for the FHYA with the following considerations in mind: objects had to have been made in the 19th or early 20th centuries and had to have come from the KwaZulu-Natal region. Leibhammer also made sure to select a range of donors that included anthropologists, female collectors, and military or colonial officials. She ensured that the selection included a range of genre, such as carved wooden objects, metal and beadwork items. She also selected objects where she knew of the existence of similar objects in other collections that were likely to throw light on the objects at MMA. She thus relied in part on information gleaned from the MAA accession records and in part on her own knowledge of the field.

[Source - Chloe Rushovich for FHYA using Nessa Leibhammer and Rachel Hand’s notes, 2017: Rachel Hand, the Collections Manager for Anthropology at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge, along with Nessa Leibhammer for the FHYA, searched the MAA online database for all the items in the MAA collection that were labelled ‘Zulu’; ‘Natal’; ‘Zululand’; ‘KwaZulu-Natal’; and the term at the time for the inhabitants of southern Natal and the Northern Cape, ‘Kaffir’. Hand found the relevant material in MAA’s 3 stores. Leibhammer then manually combed through the Southern African card drawer and photographed the related catalogue cards, Accession Registers, and Annual Reports. During this process, Leibhammer narrowed the number of items for FHYA consideration from the 461 items initially identified to 75 items. The FHYA selection is co-terminus with Leibhammer’s selection.

The FHYA is also concerned with the archival material associated with historical objects, such as notes, catalogue cards, labels, accession registers, and annual reports. This material is a part of the history of both the museum and the object. MAA used catalogue cards to add additional object information from the very first accessions back in 1884 and replacement cards were made if the original was lost- usually using both different pens, and terms. Original sale or collector labels were sometimes stuck to the cards to add biographical layers of information, as well as letters, and, later, photographs. Staff and sometimes visitors, would add comments on provenances, measurements and locations over time. Reconnecting an author with their annotations can add to knowledge of the object’s history and associations. The era and author of the cards also is reflected in their physical aspects: initially details were handwritten in ink, the 1930s saw cards stamped and written on a typewriter, followed variously by handwritten details in ballpoint pen, finally moving to word-processed and laser printed texts. Like the cards the physical type of paper and pen used can suggest dates as well as authors. They can be used to confirm the identity of misplaced objects, e.g. Henry Bulwer’s collection bears distinctive long, rectangular shaped paper labels and his cursive script. Early labels were handwritten in ink, on small rectangular paper or parchment label and tied through small metal reinforced holes. Others were glued directly to the object. Smaller rectangular or square paper labels, with a printed outline, usually stuck directly to the object, usually originate in late nineteenth or early twentieth century salerooms or via a collector. Larger circular, metal-edged labels were written in the museum, probably from the 1970s onwards. The 1980s brought larger labels on thick yellow paper and remained handwritten. From c.2000, MAA has used acid-free yellowish paper labels, that are written on in light-sensitive and waterproof ink. The FHYA organized this material into ‘series’, with each series being named after the primary collector of the material.]