American Anthropologist Frederick Starr joined the missionary/explorer Samuel Verner on a collecting expedition to the Congo from 1905-1906. He collected nearly 5,000 artifacts including musical instruments, shields, baskets, masks, stools and games that have become part of the Museum's collection of material culture from the Congo region. During his year in Africa, Starr kept a detailed field diary, housed at the University of Chicago Library, where he recorded his daily observations, lists of people he encountered, as well as descriptions of the artifacts he collected. Starr's field notes relating to the AMNH collection have been transcribed and linked to the artifacts, and are accessible online.
In addition, from 2003 to 2005 interns in the Division of Anthropology also transcribed passages from Starr's twelve field notebooks that describe contextual ethnographic information relating to the Congo, including such themes as language, body adornment, architecture, dance, religion, as well as details of Starr's travels throughout the Congo.
This diary is available online, searchable by a notebook number or subject, and can be a valuable research tool for anyone interested in Frederick Starr, his collection and collecting habits, the people of the Congo, and the historical events taking place during the early 20th
Thank you to the Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library for giving permission to use the Starr Congo Expedition field notes for transcribing and publishing them on the Anthropology Division web site.
Thank you to interns Will Baker, Sephanie Bereau, Jesse Cohen, Melissa Husby and John Whitney, who thoroughly interpreted and transcribed the Starr field notes, linked them to the artifacts, and organized the supplementary material so that it can be available online to researchers. Without their hard work, this resource could not have been made possible.