More Challenging Research

The project still has legs as new information comes in. It’s amazing to watch the “ebb and flow” to Caroline’s story. As you may know, I have been so fortunate to receive original letters written by her and sent to me by the Pillsbury Family!

All of the pages have been photographed and made into PDFs so that I can sit and read them without going back to the originals and putting white gloves on. So much for that idea on several very significant letters from the expedition! Now I’m taking those difficult and delicate pages and transcribing them but it’s a painful process. Just to give you an idea, the image below is just one of about 30 pages. They were done by Caroline with her ragtag typewriter towards the end of her journey when the ribbons were weak and the paper a challenge for her to type on.

Letter from Fly River

I’ve had some wonderful suggestions on how to transcribe these difficult pages. Anymore suggestions?

This part of Caroline and Margaret’s journey was the Fly River Territory. Only a few white men had ever been in this part of Papua New Guinea prior to the 1920s. Can you imagine what it would be like for these two young women? As I try to compare these letters with her book, New Guinea Headhunt, there are so many pieces and parts to the story that could never be included in the 441 page publication. As Caroline expressed in one of the letters, this journal and letters could be a book of its own!

It took me more than two decades of travel to Papua New Guinea before I was able to experience the Fly River and Lake Murray. It is amazing and so is the culture.

Major elder of Usokos Village in the Lake Murray/Fly River Territory of Papua New Guinea.
Body detail, Lake Murray

Please watch for more news as I absorb what Caroline wrote in these extremely important letters.

I’m also preparing for some online presentations with prestigious organisations. Keep a watch for upcoming announcements – and more clips from Caroline’s letters.

Incredibly proud to have a positive review by a member from Oslo University.

“…….Through the pedagogical approach
of revivifying Caroline Mytinger’s works, Michele
Westmorland materializes lives lived before.
Looking back through the lens of filmmaking may
excite biographical insights through its retrieval
of half-forgotten narratives. A portrait maker,
with her palette, brings biography to life. As an
educational asset, the film may stimulate questions
about how the once scientifically endorsed notion
of a ‘type’ – ‘physique’ or ‘character’ – made
its way into both popular and artistic portrayal.”
ARNE RØKKUM Oslo University

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 26, 872-918
© Royal Anthropological Institute 2020
Book and film reviews 903

It is planned to have the entire review placed on the HHR website in the near future


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