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"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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expedition source material

Annotations to the Journal of Stanley Hedberg

Date of Note/View Entry Keyword(s) Note

May 22, 1926 FRAGMENT

Portions of Stanley Hedberg’s journal are missing; thus it appears here in four fragments. Each fragment is individually numbered and the pagination given here for the entire surviving journal indicates the fragment number as well as the page number for the original typewritten page within that Fragment. Thus “{F1.1}” and “{F1.2}” indicate respectively the first and second page of Fragment 1; while “{F2.1}” and “{F2.2}” indicate the first and second pages of Fragment 2, and so on. Each fragment consists of the following journal entries:
FRAGMENT 1: End of May 22, 1926 through June 29, 1926.
FRAGMENT 2: July 18, 1926 through July 22, 1926.
FRAGMENT 3: End of July 31, 1926 through September 24, 1926.
FRAGMENT 4: September 25, 1926 through November 7, 1926.

 
May 22, 1926 Dyaks

Stirling and Hedberg both use this older English spelling for “Dayak,” a general name given to a large number of ethnic groups of interior Borneo. The term, which means “interior or inland person” in some Borneo languages, was originally used in a derogatory sense by Muslim coastal groups. Generally denoting the agricultural peoples of Borneo, it excludes the Malay or Muslim coastal groups, who were first converted to Islam in the sixteenth century. See Chapter 5: “Dayak” (pp. 146-171) in Beyond the Java Sea: Art of Indonesia’s Outer Islands by Paul Michael Taylor & Lorraine V. Aragon. (New York & Washington D.C., Harry N. Abrams & National Museum of Natural History, 1991).

 
May 22, 1926 Leroux

Correctly spelled “le Roux,” but Hedberg usually spells as “Leroux” or occasionally, “leRoux” without using a space.

 
May 23, 1926 Albatros

Correctly spelled “Albatross” in English, but Hedberg writes “Albatros” throughout this journal when writing about both the steam ship (as in this case) and the base camp of the expedition (Albatross Camp). Presumably, since the Dutch word albatros has one “s,” that was the name of the Dutch ship and the Dutch name of the camp; and Hedberg (unlike Stirling) spells it this way.

 
May 23, 1926 Posthumus

Stirling generally misspells his name as “Posthumous” while Hedberg always correctly spells it “Posthumus” or abbreviates it as “P.”

 
May 23, 1926 paits

Malay, pahit “bitter”; thus “bitter drink” – usually referring to a gin (or Dutch jenever) drink.

 
May 23, 1926 the

Errors and inconsistencies in capitalization are frequent throughout the text, and because the meaning is clear, they are not noted with a “[sic]” everytime they occur.

 
May 23, 1926 Splitsings Camp

Also spelled “Splitzings” Camp or “Splitingscamp” (in Dutch, “Splitsingsbivak” means “split/junction [in the river] camp”) this camp site, pre-dating the 1926 expedition, was located near the junction of River “A” and the Rouffaer River.

 
May 23, 1926 Fomalhaut

The Fomalhaut was one of the Dutch coastguard steam ships used to transport expedition members and supplies, including the airplane (See Matthew Striling’s journal entries for April 1926). Photos of this ship show the correct spelling to be “Fomalhaut” which is the name of the brightest star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. However, it is spelled as “Fomalhout” in Stirling’s journal and in handwritten photo captions on the backs of several photos (See photos of ship at Ambon).

 
May 23, 1926 Wollaston

Alexander Frederick Richmond Wollaston (1875-1930) participated in two expeditions to West New Guinea (1910-1913) which attempted to climb to the peak of Mount Carstensz (now Mount Jaya) in the Nassau (now Sudirman) Mountains. The second of these expeditions, led by Wollaston himself, departed from the southern coast of the island. The expedition moved upstream along the Setakwa and Otakwa (aka Utakwa) as far as they were navigable, collecting anthropological, ornithological, and entomological specimens on the way. A party of the explorers almost reached the peak of Mount Carstensz, but was forced to turn back short of the summit. See Wollaston’s Pygmies and Papuans (New York: Sturgis and Walton, 1912), a book Stirling and other American 1926 expedition members often cited. See also C. Ballard, “A.F.R. Wollaston and the ‘Utakwa River Mountain Papuan’ Skulls” in Journal of Pacific History 36(1):117-126 (2001).

 
May 24, 1926 Doc

Hedberg refers to Dr. Matthew Stirling as either “Matt” or “Doc.”

 
May 24, 1926 macon
[sic, = makan (Malay)]

“Makan” is a Malay verb meaning “to eat”; the noun “makanan” means “food.”

 
May 24, 1926 graflex

Graflex was the name of a Rochester, New York camera producer. It manufactured the dominant portable professional camera in the United States from the 1930s through the end of the 1950s. Its camera was engineered for general purpose photography, such as wedding, portraiture, product, documentary, advertising, and landscape shots.

 
May 25, 1926 godowns

The Anglo-Indian term “godown,” meaning “warehouse, storage place,” may be derived from Malay gudang “store-room, warehouse.” See Henry Yule’s Hobson-Jobson: A glossary of colloquial Anglo-Indian words and phrases, and of kindred terms, etymological, historical, geographical and discursive (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1903), entry under “Godown” (p. 381-2).

 
May 25, 1926 "deng deng"
[sic, = dendeng (Malay)]

The Malay word dendeng (consistently misspelled by Hedberg) means “jerked or dried meat.”

 
May 26, 1926 prows

Though in standard English “prow” refers to the bow or forward part of a ship's hull, Hedberg, like many English-speakers in the Malay-speaking world, uses the word to mean the Malay perahu (alternatively spelled prau) “boat” (especially a relatively small boat, in contrast to Malay kapal meaning “ship”).

 
May 26, 1926 Manlkwari
[sic, = Manokwari]

Manokwari lies in a bay near the northern coast of the Bird’s Head (Dutch: Vogelkop; Indonesian: Kepala Burung) Peninsula of western New Guinea (See Matthew Stirling’s journal entries for April 26 and 27, and expedition photos from Manokwari).

 
May 26, 1926 Aneta

ANETA (Algemeen Nieuws en Telegraaf Agentschap) was the news agency of the Dutch East Indies at the time of the Stirling Expedition. In late 1928 it was renamed NIROM, Nederland-Indische Radio Omroep Maatschappi.

 
May 27, 1926 “Hutfor dumah” [sic]

Sic, = God verdoemen (Dutch) “God-damned”

 
May 28, 1926 Head Camp

Head Camp, also abbreviated as “H.C.” by Hedberg, was later broken into two separate camps along the Rouffaer river, a “Lower” and an “Upper” Head Camp. Stirling and le Roux would arrive at Lower Head Camp on August 12th, while Stanley Hedberg and Richard Peck would first arrive there on Sept 5th.

 
May 28, 1926 Bandoeng

Bandoeng, now spelled Bandung, is located in western Java.

 
May 28, 1926 adapt [sic, = atap (Malay)]

Atap (in Malay/Indonesian) refers to palm or pandanus leaves folded onto crosspieces, commonly used for roofing material (like large shingles) throughout Indonesia.

 
May 29, 1926 ratan

Spelled rotan in Malay, it is one of a number of species of climbing palms with tough, pliable stems (such as Calamus) used in wickerwork, furniture, or, in this case, as a whip for punishment. Hedberg uses two spellings (both found in English dictionaries): “ratan” and “rattan.”

 
June 1, 1926 Hollandia

Hollandia, now renamed Jayapura, served as the regional capital of northern (and later all of) Netherlands New Guinea and later became the capital of the province of Papua (formerly Irian Jaya), Indonesia. See Schoorl, Pim (editor): Nederlands-Nieuw-Guinea 1945-1962: Ontwikkelingswerk in een periode van politieke onrust. (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1996; 658 pp., photographs, index).

 
June 2, 1926 Soerabaia

“Surabaya” in current spelling, located in East Java.

 
June 3, 1926 mandoer

A Malay word meaning “overseer or foreman”; correctly spelled mandoer in 1926 prior to later spelling reforms and today spelled mandur.

 
June 5, 1926 Motor Camp

The third major camp set up on the expedition, Hedberg frequently abbreviates this as “M.C.”

 
June 5, 1926 Swartz Valley

Likely referring to the 1920 Dutch expedition led by A.A.J. van Overeem. Stirling refers to this as the “Swart Valley,” but it is also known today as the Toli River/Valley.

 
June 6, 1926 Bryan

Perhaps intended to refer to the English poet, Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron, 1788-1824).

 
June 6, 1926 Boramese

Hedberg refers to this tribe as either “Boramese,” “Boremesa,” or, “Boromesa,” while Stirling spells it “Boromesa” or “Boromeso.”

 
June 7, 1926 Eddie

Elsewhere Hedberg spells this as “Eddy.” Stirling spells it “Edi” in his journal.

 
June 8, 1926 mantrie
[sic, = mantri (Malay)]

The Malay word mantri can mean a “low-ranking government employee, usually a tecnician” (J. Echols and H. Shadily, Indonesian-English Dictionary, 3rd edition, Jakarta: Gramedia, 1990); but in both the Stirling and Hedberg journals, the word seems to indicate the personal assistant of a Dutch or American expedition member. Hedberg misspells this word throughout the text, e.g.: matrie, mantrie, mantrai.

 
June 8, 1926 Hurrah Hurrah, Chin Chin

Hedberg clearly enjoyed this Ambonese song and refers to it many times in his journal. See his August 29th journal entry {F3.59}.

 
June 9, 1926 “Wild Men From Borneo”

The “Wild Men From Borneo” were made famous by the American showman P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) and other circus and sideshow managers during the mid to late 19th century. They were two brothers of very small stature (approximately 40 inches tall and weighing 40 pounds each) under the stage names, “Plutano and Waino.” Their real names were Hiram and Barney Davis and they were not from Borneo, nor did they at all physically resemble the Dayaks. Hiram was born in England (1825) and Barney was born in Long Island, N.Y. (1827). See Robert Bogdan’s Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988; pp. 121-127).

 
June 11, 1926 storm king

The brand name of a type of lamp or lantern that was used during the expedition. Hedberg later refers to it only by the name “Storm King.”

 
June 11, 1926 Kampong

Kampong or kampung (Malay) means “village”; sometimes spelled campung by Hedberg.

 
June 12, 1926 Davidson’s
[sic, = Davidsons]

The Davidsons are also mentioned by Stirling and are refered to in his April 7th journal entry {p. 1} as “our two friendliest friends, Captain Davidson, the British war aviator, and his wife.”

 
June 13, 1926 “In White Rainment” [sic]

Le Queux, William F. In White Raiment. London: F.V. White, 1900.

 
June 14, 1926 telegram

When Hedberg quotes a telegram only the spelling errors have been noted with a “[sic].”

 
June 16, 1926 Prince Albert

A brand of pipe tobacco sold by John Middleton, Inc., named after Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Prince Albert tobacco is still available today in its distinctive red packaging.

 
June 19, 1926 clambo
[sic, = kelambu (Malay)]

Kelambu (Malay) means “mosquito net”; Hedberg misspells this word (sometimes as an English plural form by adding "s") throughout the text, e.g.: clambo, clamboos, klambo, klamboos, klambus, klambas.

 
June 21, 1926 bivauc

Hedberg incorrectly spells bivouac as “bivauc” throughout. This French (and English) word for “encampment in the open” is still frequently used in western New Guinea in the form bifak, from Dutch bivak. It is not marked with a “[sic]” in the text.

 
June 22, 1926 Summons

Mason, A. E. W. The summons. New York: George H. Doran Co., 1920.

 
June 28, 1926 Corona

This was the typewriter that Hedberg used in the field to type this journal and, as mentioned here, to copy portions of Stirling’s journal as well.

 
July 18, 1926 B.C. [Batavia Camp]

Hedberg frequently abbreviates camp names such as A.C. (Albatross Camp), M.C. (Motor Camp), H.C. (Head Camp) and E.C. (Explorators Camp).

See film footage of Batavia Camp: Film Selection #15

 
July 18, 1926 delite

Hedberg sometimes replaces “-ight” with “-ite” such as in delite, rite, brite, lite, daylite, nite, and tonite. These words are not noted with a “[sic]” except for the word site when it is used to mean sight, and the one occurrence of the word mite when it is used to mean might.

 
July 19, 1926 roofs

The word “roofs” is underlined in the original journal.

 
July 20, 1926 Ompah

Hedberg refers to Oompah as “our personal convict” and spells his name either as “Ompah,” “Umpah,” or “Oompah.” Stirling uses the spelling “Oompah.”

 
July 20, 1926 Kalongs

Keluang (Malay) or, dialectally (especially in Eastern Indonesia) kalong refers to the “flying fox” (Pteropus sp.), a large fruit-eating bat (not a bird, though many Indonesian folk classification systems consider bats types of birds).

 
July 20, 1926 Beos

Beo (Malay) “a myna bird.”

 
July 20, 1926 bagoose macan
[sic, = bagus makan]

Bagus makan (rather ungrammatical Malay) means “eat well; good food.”

 
July 20, 1926 Torakai tribe

Hedberg is probably referring to the Kaiy (alternatively called “Taori-kaiy” or “Taori-Kei”) ethnolinguistic group. See: Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th edition (Raymond G. Gordon, editor; Dallas: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 2005, p. 416.), which estimates the 2005 population of this group as 220 persons.

 
July 20, 1926 pass along [sic]

Hedberg either means to say “We pass a long mud flat” or, “We pass along a mud flat”

 
July 20, 1926 thot

Hedberg frequently spells “thought” and “brought” as “thot” and “brot.”

 
July 21, 1926 Briggs

Hedberg is likely referring to the comic strip by Clare Briggs entitled, “Ain’t It a Grand and Glorious Feelin’?” which ran in American newspapers in the early 1920s. “Ain’t that a Grand and Glorious Feeling?” is also the title of a song recorded in 1928 (after the time of Hedberg’s writing) by Arthur Briggs, a trumpeter and band leader of the Savoy Syncopators Orchestra.

 
July 22, 1926 P.A.

Henceforth, when Hedberg writes, “P.A.” he is referring to Prince Albert tobacco.

 
August 1, 1926 River D

Probably a reference to the van Daalen River.

 
August 1, 1926 Browne [sic]

Kodak Brownie Camera.

 
August 1, 1926 Gentlemen of the Science River

Hedberg will also just refer to this as the “unknown river,” while Stirling refers to this as the "Brown River."
See photos from "Brown River"
See Film Selection #18

 
August 4, 1926 bali bali [sic]

Sic, = balai-balai (Malay) “wooden or bamboo sleeping platform.” Hedberg also mispells this in his October 8th journal entry {F4.19}.

 
August 5, 1926 Dr. Wetmore

Dr. Alexander Wetmore, an ornithologist, was the Assistant Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution from 1925 to 1945 and Secretary from 1945 to 1952.

 
August 5, 1926 Hoover

Chas. L. Hoover worked as an American consul in Batavia, Java. He had written a letter to Alexander Wetmore (dated February 3, 1926) informing him of the party’s arrival on January 3, 1926. He was highly skeptical of the purpose of the expedition and who was paying the expenses. He writes to Wetmore, “I am of the opinion that a syndicate has been formed to take moving pictures in this country, and that the scientific aspect of the expedition has been featured for the purpose of enlisting aid which would not otherwise be forthcoming.” Hedberg adamantly denies this in his August 5th journal entry {F3.17}.

 
August 8, 1926 K.P.M.

K.P.M. is an abbreviation of Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (“Royal Packet Steam Navigation Company”).

 
August 9, 1926 Explorators

Explorators camp is also spelled as, “Exploritors,” “exploratuers,” or, abbreviated as “E.C.” by Hedberg. Refered to as “Exploration Camp” on the “Map of The Mamberamo River Netherlands New Guinea” it was located near the village of Tombe and was the last main camp on the expedition. Stirling does not specifically name the camp in his journal but refers to it as, “our camp by the gorge to Tombe.”

 
August 16, 1926 a talk with Doc Hoffman

The remaining text in this August 16 journal entry {F3.30} is clearly different in syntax and grammar indicating perhaps that Hedberg was taking quick notes or even typing while he was listening to Doc Hoffman.

 
August 20, 1926 Red

The Papuan named “Red” is first described in Hedberg’s June 6th journal entry {F1.56}.

 
August 24, 1926 Ackley

The Ackley was a specialized camera that could be angled in many directions – analogous to today’s Steadicam. In a 1924 article in the Los Angeles Times, Dorothy Calhoun describes the Ackley: “a camera arranged on ball bearings and steered in any conceivable direction by a lever so that it can lie down, roll over and over and lie on its head. It is panoramic and also telescopic, making it possible to get the close-ups of Rod la Rocque’s face in the tossing motor boat from the top of a breakwater half a mile away.” (Calhoun, Dorothy. “A Camel Through a Needle’s Eye.” Los Angeles Times. April 20, 1924, p. B11) Photographer Paul Strand took a well known photograph of an Ackley camera in 1922, titled “The Ackley Camera.”

 
August 24, 1926 universal

This universal camera referenced here was a motion picture camera made by Universal Camera Co., a division of Burke & James, Inc., of Chicago. Burke & James distributed a book describing their camera: Motion Photography with the Universal Camera. A Description of Methods and the Machine. (Chicago: undated). This is not to be confused with another company with a very similar name, the Universal Camera Corporation, which was incorporated in 1933 in New York. Cynthia A. Repinski’s The Univex Story: Universal Camera Corporation (privately published by C.A. Repinski, 1991, ISBN 0931838177), describes that later company from its beginnings. Universal Camera Corporation produced low-priced cameras, and was especially successful selling low-priced still and motion picture cameras in the 1940s.

 
September 2, 1926 September 2nd

This date is also the only day for which substantial text from the journal of a Dutch member of the expedition has been published. C.C.F.M. le Roux included within his later book De Bergpapoua’s van Nieuw Guinea en hun woongebied (Le Roux 1948, vol. 1, p. 94-95) “a few passages regarding our trek into the little settlement of Tombe, among the Dem tribe,” quoting his own field journal about this contact.

 
October 2, 1926 Damoonarue

Matthew Stirling spells this “Damunaru,” or “Damuneru.” Hedberg also spells this “Damunaro,” “Damoonrau,” “Damanoorue,” “Damoonarus,” or “Damoonaru.”

 
October 2, 1926 flambosia
[sic, = framboesia]

Framboesia, (or, frambesia) known more commonly as yaws, is an infectious tropical disease caused by a spirochete bacterium, and characterized by bumps on the face, hands, feet and genital areas.

 
October 3, 1926 Aguintawa

Hedberg uses different spellings throughout: “Agentuwa,” “Agentuawa,” “Agentoowa,” or “Agentoowah.” Matthew Stirling spells this “Agintawa,” and in his journal on Oct. 5th he ascertains that this “is the name of a district or tribe comprising the territory south of the Aeijabu, comprising a number of separate small villages…”{p. 280}

 
October 4, 1926 Aermba

Hedberg is likely referring to what he and Stirling later spell as the “Aeimba” village.

 
October 8, 1926 Abegs [sic]

The Malay word for “sweet potato or edible tubers” is ubi.

 
October 8, 1926 Shirts

A name of one of the Papuans.

 
October 9, 1926 Egoon

Hedberg also spells his name “Igoone” elsewhere in the journal. Stirling spells it “Igoon”

 
October 9, 1926 Tombay

Hedberg alternates the spelling of this village between “Tombay” and “Tombe.”

 
October 9, 1926 Phootwee

Spelled “Phootewee” everywhere else in the journal.

 
October 11, 1926 Bigiciga

Hedberg also spells this as “Bigicia”

 
October 13, 1926 hot potch

This is an anglicization of the Dutch word “hutspot” meaning a stew, usually with vegetables and meat. By a separate route, the same word “hutspot” (etymologically, “a pot from a hut or village/rural house”) also came to mean, figuratively, a mish-mash or mixture of things, thus the English word “hodge-podge.”

 
October 13, 1926 Sain

Matthew Stirling spells his name “Sian”

 
October 15, 1926 hotch pot

See previous annotation for “hot potch.” (October 13 Journal Entry {F4.32})

 
October 16, 1926 Van

For the remaining journal entries Hedberg often refers to Dr. van Leeuwen as just “Van.”

 
October 18, 1926 ceremony

See Stirling’s Oct 25 journal entry, in which Stirling associates the custom with marriage. The custom of cutting off joints of fingers during times of mourning for the recently deceased has been widely reported from highland western New Guinea. See photographs in Plate LXXX, vol. 3 of De Bergpapoea’s van Nieuw-Guinea en hun woongebied by C.C.F.M. le Roux (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1950). Also see illustration of Dani woman in mourning, for example, in Hampton’s Culture of Stone: Sacred and Profane Uses of Sone among the Dani (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1999) plate 2 and fig. 1.15 on p. 22; and discussion, pp. 21-22. More discussion of this practice is in Gardner and Heider’s Gardens of War: Life and Death in the New Guinea Stone Age (New York: Random House, 1968), p. 96.

 
October 22, 1926 Nogolow

Matthew Stirling spells this “Nogullo.”

 
October 23, 1926 Elgin

Elgin National Watch Company (of Elgin, Illinois).

 
October 23, 1926 Ocabu

Stirling spells this river as “Ooabu,” and he describes it in his Oct. 22 journal entry as, “a tributary of the Nogullo south of the Delo.”

 
October 24, 1926 Goolalew

Hedberg also spells this “Goolaloo” and “Goulaloo.” Stirling spells it “Gulalalu,” or “Gulalu.”

 
October 25, 1926 Atas

Atas is a Malay word meaning “upper or above.” In this case, Hedberg is likely referring to Upper Head Camp.

 
November 2, 1926 Towasi and Imba

Hedberg mentions these names (Towasi and Imba) again in his November 3rd journal entry but spells them as “Towasse” and “Imabaa.” Stirling uses the spelling “Towase” in his journal.

 
November 3, 1926 Nov. 3

Hedberg originally incorrectly typed “October” then someone, perhaps Hedberg himself, crossed that out and wrote in “Nov.” by hand.

 
November 4, 1926 Nov. 4

Hedberg originally incorrectly typed “October” then someone, perhaps Hedberg himself, crossed that out and wrote in “Nov.” by hand.

 
November 5, 1926 Nov. 5

Hedberg originally incorrectly typed “October” then someone, perhaps Hedberg himself, crossed that out and wrote in “Nov.” by hand.

 
November 5, 1926 red dope

A lacquer used to protect, waterproof, and tauten the cloth surfaces of airplane wings.

 

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