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Wulsin, Frederick Roelker and Janet Elliott Wulsin Papers, 1921-1924 inclusive: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University



Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 56-55
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Wulsin, Frederick Roelker and Janet Elliott Wulsin Papers,
Date(s): 1921-1924 (inclusive)
Creator: Frederick Roelker Wulsin and Janet Elliott Wulsin
Quantity: .25 linear feet4 folders
Abstract: The collection includes family correspondence, mostly Janet Wulsin to family (1921-1924), personal logs, calendars, and diaries (1921) and Frederick Wulsin's manuscript, "The Road to Wang Yeh Fu" [published in National Geographic, 1926, vol. XLIX].

Acquisition Information:

These papers are a gift of Dr. Frederick R. Wulsin and were donated to the Museum in 1956. In 1997 they were transferred from the Museum accession files to the Archives.

Access Restrictions:

Restrictions on access: none

Use Restrictions:

Restrictions on use: none

Biographical Sketch

Janet January Elliott was reared in an affluent family in Boston and New York, the daughter of railroad executive, Howard Elliott. Anxious to explore, Janet was tired of the "the superficial social life of her world in New York," and, in 1918, at age 24, she joined the Red Cross as a nurse in France to help out the war effort and to be near her fiancé, Frederick Roelker Wulsin, whom she married in 1919. Frederick was a lieutenant in the Army and, prior to his graduation from Harvard in 1913, spent time in East Africa collecting specimens for the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Frederick intended to become an explorer and scientist, and in 1921, the couple left New York for China.
The young couple spent the next four years on expeditions, using their Peking (now Beijing) house as a home base. In 1921, they traveled for several weeks to Shansi Province. The next trip, the "great trek" of 1923, was funded by the National Geographic Society and took them through the Alashan desert to Kansu Province (Gansu), to several monasteries (Labrang, Kumbum, and Choni), to Lanchow, and then back to Peking for several months. Janet became pregnant and left China in 1924, giving birth to Frederick Jr. the following spring. In the meantime, Frederick completed another expedition and returned to America in December of 1924. Janet and Frederick had two more children: Howard Elliott Wulsin and Janet January Wulsin. The couple divorced in 1929. Frederick married Susanne Emery in 1930, who, along with her husband Harry, had traveled in China with the Wulsins. Frederick had a long and distinguished career teaching anthropology at Tufts University; he died in 1961. Janet married Richard Hobart in 1932, and they had one daughter, Mabel "Muffie" Hobart (Cabot). Janet died in 1963.


Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of 4 folders of records and includes personal logs, engagements notebook, calendar diary, address book, family correspondence (1921-1924) and Frederick Wulsin's manuscript, "The Road to Wang Yeh Fu" [published in National Geographic, 1926, vol. XLIX].

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