These papers consist of photographs, including images of Deignan in Siam in the 1930s and on the 1948 Arnhem Land Expedition; letters written by Deignan to his mother
from Siam, Central America, and Europe, 1931-1939; letters written by Deignan to family members, 1942-1948, including a few from Australia while serving on the Arnhem Land
Expedition; official letters concerning his USNM career; certificates; and biographical materials on Deignan.
Herbert Girton Deignan (1906-1968), ornithologist and authority on the birds of Thailand, received the B.A. degree from Princeton University in 1928. That same year
he took a position as Master in the Prince Royal College in Chiengmai, northern Siam. Deignan remained in Siam intermittently until 1937 and amassed a large collection of
birds for the United States National Museum (USNM). In 1938, he was appointed Scientific Aid in the Division of Birds, USNM. He was promoted to Assistant Curator in 1940,
Associate Curator in 1942, and Curator in 1959. Deignan retired in 1962.
During World War II, Deignan served in the Office of Strategic Services, 1944-1946, primarily in southern Asia. In 1948, he went to northern Australia as a member of the
Commonwealth of Australia-National Geographic Society-Smithsonian Expedition to Arnhem Land. He also conducted field work for the USNM in Thailand, 1952-1953, and Madagascar,
Photograph depicting Smithsonian officials Dr. Frank M. Setzler, Dr. David H. Johnson, and H. G. Deignan with opened boxes and artifacts from the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land in 1948. Collection includes a narrative description provided by the news service.
The Harris & Ewing photo studio, started in 1905 by George W. Harris and Martha Ewing, was both a portrait studio and news service. The news service was sold in 1945 but maintained the name, "Harris-Ewing Photographic News Service," in its publications after that time.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 80-36
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The artifacts pictured and other artifacts from the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land can be found in the Departments of Anthropology, Vertebrate Zoology, Invertebrate Zoology, and Paleobiology in accession 178294.
Additional photographs by Harris & Ewing can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 33, Photo Lot 77-80, and Photo Lot 78-20.
The National Anthropological Archives holds the Frank Maryl Setzler Papers, which include information on his curatorial activities.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
American Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, 1948 Search this
Photo lot 80-36, Harris & Ewing Photographic News Service photograph of Smithsonian officials unpacking boxes from American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution