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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: 5.4 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 1936-1948.

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 orchard 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  The collection also contains articles by and about May, as well as other articles and unpublished manuscripts by other authors such as Theodore P. Bank II, W. W. Bolton, Walter J. Eyerdam, and Ales Hrdlicka.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:
Series 1: Personal journals, scrapbooks, and papers
Series 2: Articles and manuscripts
Series 3: Letters
Series 4: Photographs, negatives, and lantern slides
Series 5: Artifacts

Alternative formats: Copy negatives and copy prints of the glass lantern slides have been created and are accessible within the collection.

Digitized copies: Selected photographs from this collection, primarily from the 1936-1938 Smithsonian expeditions to the Aleutians, 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. Digitization of the photographs for the 1936-1938 Smithsonian expeditions was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Alaska State Library interlibrary cooperation grant in 2009.

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.  The glass lantern slides are unavailable to researchers without special permission of the Archivist. Copy negatives and prints of the slides are available.

Rights note: Archives and Special Collections holds copyright to collection materials created by Alan G. May.

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. The guide was further revised and the collection placed in new boxes in 2014 by Arlene Schmuland.

Container list:

Series 1.  Personal journals, scrapbooks, and papers; 1915-1986.  3.9 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. The journals are in chronological order by date of trip.

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) and photographs of Amaknak, Atka, Attu, Little Kiska, Kagamil, and Kodiak Islands, as well as Unalaska, Dutch Harbor, and Makushin.

1936-1949

1/10-13, 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) and photographs of Juneau, Yakutat, Nuchek, LaTouche, Seward, Port Hobron, Belkofski, King Cove, Unalaska, Wislow Island, Chernofski, Umnak Island, Kagamil Island, Chuginadak, Split Rock, Amaknak Island, Amlia, Attu, Bering Island, Agattu, Ilak, Nikolski, Dutch Harbor, and Seattle.

1937-1945

1/4-17

1938 archaeological expedition of the Smithsonian Institution to the Aleutian Islands journal.  Includes photographs from Unalaska, Ship Rock, Ananolak Island, Amlia Island, Kanaga, Ilak, Amchitka, Nikolski, Umnak Island, Bering Island, Nikolskoe, Syevexnoe, Saranna, Staraya Gavan, Glavinka Gavan, Paeobrajenskoe, Kagamil, Bogoslof, Ship Rock, Fire Island, and Amaknak Island.

1938-1944

1/18-2/2

Tahiti journal and associated papers

1939-1940

2/3-7

Harvard Peabody Museum expedition to the Aleutian Islands journal

1948

2/8-12

Round the World cruise journal and associated papers

1961 June-September

2/13-16

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

1966 January-April

2/17-21

Africa and Kenya trip journal and associated papers

1967 January-April

2/22-24

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

1968 January-March

3/1-5

South America journal and associated papers

1969 January-March

3/6-10

Africa journal and associated papers

1970 January-March

3/11-15

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

1971 January-March

3/16-20

Central America journal and associated papers

1972 January-February

3/21-24

Micronesia journal and associated papers

1973 January-March

4/1-2

Caribbean Islands journal and associated papers

1974 January-February

4/3

England journal

1974 October-November

4/4-5

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

1974 December-1975 February

4/6-8

California, Guatemala, and the earthquake journal and associated papers

1976 January-February

4/9-11

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

1977 February-March

4/12-13

England and Yugoslavia journal and associated papers

1977 October

4/14

California trip journal

1978 January

4/15-16

Spain, Morocco, and Portugal journal and associated papers

1978 April

4/17-20

People’s Republic of China journal and associated papers

1978 November-December

4/21

California trip journal

1979 March

4/22-23

China and Nepal journal and associated papers

1979 November

4/24

California trip journal

1980 February

4/25

California trip journal

1981 January-February

4/26

Canadian Rockies trip

1981 August

4/27

England trip journal

1981 September-October

4/28

Bahamas trip journal

1982 February

4/29

Anchorage, Alaska trip journal

1982 August

4/30

South Laguna and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico trip journal

1983 February-March

4/31

California and South Pacific islands trip journal

1984 February

4/32

California and the People’s Republic of China trip journal

1984 October-November

4/33

Caribbean Islands, Devils Island, and up the Amazon to Manaus trip journal

1986 January-February

4/34

Other personal papers

1942-1988

Series 2.  Articles and manuscripts; 1935-1977.  0.2 cubic feet.

Box/
Folder

Description

Dates

4/35

Published articles by Alan G. May

1942-1966

4/36

Articles drafts and notes by Alan G. May

undated

4/37

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

1935-1977

4/38

Articles by Walter J. Eyerdam

1958

4/39

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

1928-1929

5/1

“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

5/2

“Old time Tahiti: a sketch of 1) the period of violence, 2) the period of the French.”  Unpublished manuscript by W.W. Bolton.

1938

5/3

Notebook of the Society for American Archaeology

1939 February

Series 3.  Letters; 1942-1988.  0.2 cubic feet.

Box/
Folder

Description

Dates

5/4

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

1952-1964

5/5

Letters from William S. Laughlin

1946-1985

5/6

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, negatives, and lantern slides; 1927-1986.  1.05 cubic feet.
Most of the images in this series are roughly grouped by trip, location or subject. For the 1936-1938 Smithsonian expeditions to the Aleutians, the photographic prints and negatives have been grouped together in folders by geographic location or subject which are in alphabetical order. Many of the images are also co-located as prints within the journals in Series 1. Date spans are approximate and may not be accurate.

Box/
Folder

Description

Dates

5/7

Agattu

1936-1988

5/8

Amchitka

1936-1988

5/9

Amlia

1936-1988

5/10

Attu

1936-1988

5/11

Belkofski and King Cove

1936-1988

5/12

Bogoslof

1936-1988

5/13

Chernofski, West Split Rock, Ananliak, and Ship Rock

1936-1988

5/14

Hrdlicka, Hubbard, people, and graves

1936-1988

5/15

Ilak

1936-1988

5/16

Inside Passage

1936-1988

5/17

Juneau

1936-1988

5/18

Kagamil and Chuginadak

1936-1988

5/19

Kanaga

1936-1988

5/20

Kodiak

1936-1988

5/21

Komondorski Islands

1936-1988

5/22

Mendenhall Glacier

1936-1988

5/23

Nikolski

1936-1988

5/24

Seward

1936-1988

5/25

Ship Rock and Nikolski

1936-1988

5/26

Ships and boats

1936-1988

5/27

Specimens

1936-1988

5/28

Unalaska and Dutch Harbor

1936-1988

5/29

Wislow

1936-1988

5/30

Wrangell and Ketchikan

1936-1988

5/31

Yakutat, Port Hobron, LaTouche, and Nuchek

1936-1988

5/32

Fiji Islands

1939-1940

5/33

Honolulu and “Niagara”

1939-1940

5/34

Moored

1939-1940

5/35

New Caledonia, Noumea

1939-1940

5/36

New Hebrides

1939-1940

5/37

Raiatea

1939-1940

5/38

Tahiti Islands

1939-1940

5/39

South Pacific

1968-1986

5/40

Yakutan

1968-1986

5/41

England and Yugoslavia

1968-1986

5/42

Spain, Morocco, and Portugal

1968-1986

5/43

China and Nepal

1968-1986

5/44

Cabo San Lucas and Baja

1968-1986

5/45

Canadian Rockies and Whidbey Island

1968-1986

5/46

England

1968-1986

5/47

Bahamas

1968-1986

5/48

Anchorage

1968-1986

5/49

South Laguna and Puerto Vallarta

1968-1986

5/50

South Pacific

1968-1986

5/51

China

1968-1986

5/52

Caribbean and Amazon

1968-1986

5/53

Family and personal

1927-1972

5/54

Aleutian Islands

1936-1938

5/55

Tahiti and South Seas

1939-1940

5/56

Harvard-Peabody Museum expedition to the Aleutian Islands

1948

6-7

Glass lantern slides from the Smithsonian Institution expedition to the Aleutian Islands [closed to access]

1937

5/57-59

Contact prints of glass lantern slides

1937

5/60-62

Copy negatives of glass lantern slides

1937

Series 5.  Artifacts, circa 1916.  0.05 cubic feet.

Box

Description

Dates

7

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

circa 1916