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Guide to the Alan G. May papers
1902-1990

Collection number: HMC-0690.
Creator: May, Alan G., 1895-1993.
Title: Alan G. May papers.
Dates: 1902-1990.
Volume of collection: 7.4 cubic feet. 
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Collection summary: Papers, photographs, and journals of an amateur archeologist who participated in expeditions to the Aleutian Islands from 1936-1940.

Biographical note:
Alan May was born in Norwich, England in 1895. In 1915, he enlisted in the British Army and served in World War I as a lieutenant in the 10th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment and later in the 49th Company of the Machine Gun Corps stationed in France.  May immigrated to the United States in 1918 and married Luella May Stilwell, also a native of England, in 1923. The couple purchased a fruit ranch in Wenatchee, Washington. In 1946, May bought property on Whidbey Island, which became his primary residence.  May was an amateur archeologist who traveled extensively.  He participated in the Smithsonian Institution's archaeological expeditions to the Aleutian Islands from 1936 to 1938 that were led by Dr. Ales Hrdlicka, as well as in a 1948 expedition to the Aleutians sponsored by Peabody Museum at Harvard University that was led by William S. Laughlin. May kept journals on his various travels and wrote several articles in the fields of anthropology and archeology, which were published in such publications as Natural History, The Smithsonian, and American Antiquity. Alan May died in Langley, Washington in 1993.

Collection description:
The collection consists primarily of papers concerning Alan May's archaeological activities and travels, including journals and scrapbooks documenting his archaeological, anthropological, and personal travels from 1915-1986.  These journals include various documents, letters, maps, drawings, clippings, articles, over 5,000 photographs, and other memorabilia.  The collection also contains articles by and about May, as well as other articles and unpublished manuscripts by other authors such as Theodore P. Bank II, W. W. Bolton, Walter J. Eyerdam, and Ales Hrdlicka.  Additionally, there are letters written to May by Bank, William S. Laughlin, and other correspondents, five albums of photographs documenting May’s archaeological expeditions and personal travels from 1927-1986, glass lantern slides depicting the 1937 Smithsonian Institution Expedition to the Aleutian Islands and artifacts from May’s military service during World War I.

For a complete itinerary of Alan G. May’s archeological trips from 1936-1940, see the attached list.

Arrangement: This collection is arranged into five series: personal journals, scrapbooks, and papers, articles and manuscripts, letters, photographs, and artifacts.

Digitized copies: Selected photographs from this collection are available online through the Alaska’s Digital Archives (search for “Alan G. May”).  For information about obtaining digital copies, contact Archives and Special Collections.

Access restrictions: Because the collection contains physical information about individuals who served as research subjects for his studies as well as other potentially culturally and personally sensitive information, all requests to access the collection must be accompanied by a letter from the researcher stating her/his commitment to abide by the American Anthropological Association’s Code of Ethics in using this collection.  May’s journals and photographs documenting his 1948 trip with the Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Aleutian Islands are closed to researchers until 2015. 

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections holds copyright to this collection.

Preferred citation: Alan G. May papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Separated materials: Publications from this collection have been removed to the Rare Books Collection.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to Archives and Special Collections by Alan G. May in 1989.  He also donated additions to the collection in 1990.

Processing information: This collection was originally arranged and described by Jeffrey Sinnott in 2004.  Megan K. Friedel revised the guide to the collection in 2010.

Container list:

SERIES 1.  PERSONAL JOURNALS, SCRAPBOOKS, AND PAPERS; 1915-1986.  5 cubic feet.

For a list of photographs in May's personal journals from his 1936-1938 archaeological expeditions to the Aleutian Islands with the Smithsonian Institution, see Appendix A to this collection. Trip itineraries for the Smithsonian expedition and for May's 1939-1940 trip to Tahiti are also available in Appendix B to this collection.

Box/Folder

Description

Dates

1/1-4

World War I scrapbook

1915-1917

1/5-9, Oversize folder 1

1936 archaeological expedition of the Smithsonian Institution to the Aleutian Islands journal.  Includes map of Uyak Bay Site at Larsen Bay on Kodiak Island (in oversize folder).

1936-1949

2/1-4, Oversize folder 1

1937 archaeological expedition of the Smithsonian Institution to the Aleutian Islands journal.  Includes a 1936 June 17 map of Smithsonian excavations at Uyak Bay on Kodiak Island (in oversize folder).

1937-1945

2/5 - 3/2

1938 archaeological expedition of the Smithsonian Institution to the Aleutian Islands journal.

1938-1944

3/3 - 4/3

Tahiti journal and associated papers

1939-1940

Box 14

CLOSED TO RESEARCHERS UNTIL 2015: Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Aleutian Islands journal

1948

4/4-9

Round the World cruise journal and associated papers

1961 June 14-September 22

5/1-4

Hong Kong, Penang, Singapore, and Johore journal and associated papers

1966 January 23-April 1

5/5-9

Africa and Kenya trip journal and associated papers

1967 January 31-April 16

6/1-3

South Pacific trip to Tahiti, Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, and Tasmania journal and associated papers

1968 January 25-March 12

6/4-8

South America journal and associated papers

1969 January 6-March 7

7/1-5

Africa journal and associated papers

1970 January 4-March 19

7/6 - 8/3

“Island Hopping” from South America to East Africa journal and associated papers

1971 January 21-March 19

8/4-8

Central America journal and associated papers

1972 January 19-February 18

9/1-4

Micronesia journal and associated papers

1973 January 31-March 6

9/5-6

Caribbean Islands journal and associated papers

1974 January 13-February 5

9/7-8

Hawaii, California, New Zealand, and Tahiti journal and associated papers

1974 December 25-1975 February 5

10/1-3

California, Guatemala, and the earthquake journal and associated papers

1976 January 19-February 13

10/4-6

California, Mexico City, and the Yucatan journal and associated papers

1977 February 23-March 19

10/7-8

England and Yugoslavia journal and associated papers

1977 October 6-28

10/9-10

Spain, Morocco, and Portugal journal and associated papers

1978 April 2-23

11/1-4

People’s Republic of China journal and associated papers

1978 November 24-December 16

11/5-6

China and Nepal journal and associated papers

1979 November 2-30

11/7

Other trip journals: England

1974 October 23-November 13

11/8-11

Other trip journals: California

1978-1981

11/12

Other trip journals: Canadian Rockies

1981 August 21-29

11/13

Other trip journals: England

1981 September 29-October 14

11/14

Other trip journals: Bahamas

1982 February 3-16

11/15

Other trip journals: Anchorage, Alaska

1982 August 9-12

12/1

Other trip journals: South Laguna and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

1983 February 22-March 7

12/2

Other trip journals: California and South Pacific islands

1984 February 7-22

12/3

Other trip journals: California and the People’s Republic of China

1984 October 9-November 4

12/4

Other trip journals: Caribbean Islands, Devils Island, and up the Amazon to Manaus

1986 January 29-February 17

12/5

Other personal papers

 

 

SERIES 2.  ARTICLES AND MANUSCRIPTS; 1935-1977.  0.2 cubic feet.

Box/Folder

Description

Dates

12/6

Published articles by Alan G. May

1942-1966

12/7

Articles drafts and notes by Alan G. May

undated

12/8

Publicity and articles about Alan G. May, archaeology, and anthropology

1935-1977

12/9

Articles by Theodore P. Bank II

1952-1958

12/10

Articles by Walter J. Eyerdam

1933-1958

12/11

Articles by and about Ales Hrdlicka

1908-1945

12/12

“Notes on Siberia and Russia.” Unpublished manuscript) by Walter J. Eyerdam.  Transcribed by Alan May with the permission of the author.

1928-1929

12/13

“The Private and Personal Diary of Walter J. Eyerdam, Member of the South Sea Whitney Expedition, from July 3rd, 1929 to August 26th, 1930.”  Unpublished manuscript by Walter J. Eyerdam.  Transcribed by Alan May with the permission of the author. 

1929-1930

13/1

“Old Time Tahiti: A Sketch of 1. The Period of Violence, 2. The Period of the French.”  Unpublished manuscript by W.W. Bolton.

1938

13/1A

“The Notebook of the Society for American Archaeology.”

1939 February 4

 

SERIES 3. LETTERS; 1942-1988.  0.2 cubic feet.

Box/Folder

Description

Dates

13/2

Letters from Theodore P. Bank II.  Includes articles, papers, and studies.

1952-1964

13/3

Letters from William S. Laughlin

1946-1985

13/4

Letters from other correspondents, including Knut Bersland, Walter J. Eyerdam, Stanley M. Garn, J. L. Giddings, Fergus Hoffman, A. Seymour Houghton, Frederica de Laguna, William D. Layman, Gordon Marsh, Simeon Oliver Nutchuk, Victor B. Scheffer, Helen Wheaton, and Doug Veltre

1942-1988

 

SERIES 4. PHOTOGRAPHS; 1927-1986.  1.75 cubic feet.

Box

Description

Dates

Boxes 15-16

Albums 1-2: Smithsonian Institution expeditions to the Aleutian Islands. Includes contact sheets and negatives of Agattu, Amchitka, Amlia, Attu, Belkofksi, King Cove, Bogoslof, Chernofski, West Split Rock, Ananliak, Ship Rock, Ilak, Juneau, Kagamil, Chuginandak, Kanaga, Kodiak, Kommandorski Islands, Nikolski, Seward, Unalaska, Dutch Harbor, Wislow, Wrangell, Ketchikan, Yukutat, Port Hobron, LaTouche, and Nuchek.

1936-1988

Box 16

Album 2: Tahiti and South Sea Islands. Includes contact sheets and negatives.

1939-1940

Box 17

Album 3: Trips. Includes color contact sheets and negatives of various places in the South Pacific, Mexico, Spain, Morocco, Portugal, China, Nepal, California, Canadian Rockies, Whidbey Island, England, Bahamas, Alaska, Caribbean Islands, and the Amazon.

1968-1986

Box 18

Album 4: Family and personal photographs, other photographs from the Smithsonian Institution expeditions to the Aleutian Islands (1936-1938) and from Tahiti and South Seas trip (1939-1940). Includes photographs, negatives, contact sheets, and slides.

1927-1972

Box 19

CLOSED TO RESEARCHERS UNTIL 2015:
Album 5: Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Aleutian Islands

1948

Box 20

Glass lantern slides from Smithsonian Institution expedition to the Aleutian Islands

1937

 

Series 5.  Artifacts, circa 1916.  0.25 cubic feet.


Box

Description

Dates

Box 20

World War I regimental artifacts, Norfolk Regiment.  17 items include shoulder pips, uniform buttons, and insignia.

circa 1916