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An Introduction to Polynesian Anthropology

Affiliation with Yale University

Affiliation with Yale University

The following is taken from the Director's report of 1920, page 17.

The administrative organization of most American museums consists of a board of trustees and a director. The trustees are usually laymen unfamiliar with scientific problems and must therefore rely for guidance on the recommendations of the director. After full consideration the Trustees of the Bishop Museum have decided to expand this traditional policy by establishing affiliations with some strong university which includes in its faculty and administrative officers men familiar with planning and carrying on scientific projects and which sustains close relations with other institutions interested in research.

Under this plan the Director maintains active relations with two institutions and the Trustees have the assurance that plans and methods which involve the activities and funds of the Museum receive not only their criticism but also that of others. The Director, likewise, has the advantage of personal consultation with a group of men interested in the ethnology and natural history of the Pacific but who are not available as members of the Museum staff.

page 46

To inaugurate this plan arrangements for a three-year period have been made with Yale University, whereby the Director of the Museum shall be a member of the University Faculty and the equipment of the Museum made available for advanced students of the University.

It was under the above plan that H. E. Gregory, while still holding his position on the Yale Faculty, was appointed Director of Bishop Museum on three-year terms. Later, the term was extended to the date of his retirement from the Yale Faculty. I succeeded Dr. Gregory, on his retirement in 1936. I was appointed to the Yale Faculty as Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate School and, on the recommendation of Yale University, also appointed Museum Director by the Trustees of Bishop Museum for a term of three years. Later the appointment was extended to the date of my retirement from the Yale Faculty.

The other outcomes of the affiliation between the two institutions are the Yale-Bishop Museum Fellowship and the establishment of a Bishop Museum Visiting Professor to Yale University (p. 57).

Bishop Museum Fellowships

In order to further research work in science, an agreement was made with Yale University in 1920 to establish four Bishop Museum fellowships of 1,000 dollars each for research in anthropology, botany, zoology, geology, and geography. The fellowships were open to men and women who had completed at least one year of graduate study at an institution of high standing, but preference was to be given to candidates who had already obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy or who had otherwise demonstrated their fitness to undertake original research. The results of all research were to be submitted to Bishop Museum for publication.

The fellowships made it possible for men of recognized standing to undertake the field work essential to the solution of problems in which they were interested. They also served to enhance the usefulness of the Museum by making its collections, library, and other equipment available to an increasing number of students. Incidentally, the Museum benefited materially by having specimens from various areas added to its collections and having its collections studied by qualified scientists.

In 1926, the number of fellowships was reduced from four to two, and in 1930, the stipend for each fellowship was raised from 1,000 to 2,000 dollars. After 1941, the fellowships were discontinued for the duration of the war, owing to the difficulty of transport in the Pacific area.

The fellowships were awarded first in 1921, and from 1921 to 1940, inclusive, they have been awarded 47 times as follows: anthropology 15, botany 14, geology 11, and zoology (including malacology and entomology) 7. The projects in anthropology which necessitated trips to Pacific islands were as follows:

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1923 Harry L. Shapiro Norfolk Island
1931 Gordon Macgregor Tokelau
1931 Edwin G. Burrows Uvea, Futuna, Alofi
1933 Laura M. Thompson Lau Islands, Fiji
1934 Ernest Beaglehole Pukapuka, northern Cook Islands
1935 Clellan S. Ford Yasawa Islands, Fiji
1936-37 Alfred Métraux Easter Island

Alfred Métraux visited Easter Island in 1934-35 as a member of the Franco-Belgian Expedition, but he worked on his material at Bishop Museum.

The other fellowship holders who worked on projects at the Museum were the following:
1921Ruth H. GreinerPolynesian art designs
1923Panchanan MitraPolynesian affinities with India
1930Laura M. Thompsonarchaeology of Guam
1938-39Katharine Luomalacomparative study of Polynesian myths and the diffusion of myth motives

Panchanan Mitra, who was Professor of Anthropology at the University of Calcutta, visited various museums during his fellowship.