Voices in a Silenced Archive: The Photographs of the Menage Scientific Expedition

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Book Chapter

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From 1890 to 1893, two young, white, American men, Dean Conant Worcester, and Frank Swift Bourns travelled through the central and southern Philippines as the leaders of the Menage Scientific Expedition. They collected thousands of zoological specimens, took scores of photographs, and wrote extensive letters detailing their activities, all of which they sent back to their sponsoring organization, the Minnesota Academy of Natural Sciences. For decades, the archive of the Menage expedition was largely intact. In time, however, most of the collection was dispersed until only 122 photographs remained in the original repository. This essay is about the challenges of understanding those photographs as they exist in that archive. The essay argues that the photographs are valuable for understanding the history of photography in the Philippines but that it is difficult to interpret and understand them given the lack of relevant contextual information resulting from the dispersal of other items from the archive.


Book chapter published in Silence and its Derivatives: Conversations Across Disciplines by Mahshid Mayer and Marion Schulte. ISBN: 978-3031065224

Find this book at your library: https://sjf.on.worldcat.org/oclc/1343953665

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