Emma Shaw Colcleugh Collection , 1863-1937

(bulk 1884-1902)

Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Brown University
300 Tower Street
Bristol, RI 02809
Tel: (401) 863-5700
email: haffenreffermuseum@brown.edu

Published in 2013

Collection Overview

Title: Emma Shaw Colcleugh Collection
Date range: 1863-1937, (bulk 1884-1902)
Creator: Emma Shaw Colcleugh, 1846-1940
Extent: 6.25 Linear Feet
Abstract: The collection encompasses the years of 1863 until 1937 and consists of five scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, two separate inventories of field collections, a bill of sale, two photographs, a postcard and Pas Indian Reservation (Saskatchewan, Canada) documents including a Cree Syllabary Hymn and Psalms book, a treaty form and a ration ticket. Scrapbooks are arranged by Emma Shaw Colcleugh by geography, subject and in varying chronological order.
Language of materials: English
Repository: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Collection number: msESC

Scope & content

As travel writer for the Providence Daily Journal and Providence Daily Bulletin, Emma Shaw Colcleugh created scrapbooks of articles that she wrote documenting her various travels abroad, her many lectures, photography as well as subjects of personal interest. She also collected ethnographic material during these trips, amassing 218 objects from the Subarctic, Americas, Oceania and Africa by the time she retired from journalism in 1927. In 1930, she sold the bulk of her field collections to Rudolf F. Haffenreffer, Jr. The scrapbooks were donated to the museum by her nephew, Richard Jackson and great-niece, Deborah Jackson in 1990.


Arranged into four series by collection number and type of materials

Biographical Note

For a more detailed biography see Out of the North: The Subartic Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Emma Shaw was born on September 3, 1846 in Thompson, Connecticut, the child of George W. Shaw and Abby Carpenter. She moved to Providence, Rhode Island at age 18 to begin a career as a primary school teacher. In 1875, she began her interest in travel based journalism by writing about her trip to the upper banks of Lake Superior to visit relatives in Minnesota, subsequently published in the Providence Daily Journal. Between the years of 1884 and 1910 she traveled extensively; documenting her travels as an early ethnographer, visiting Alaska (1884 & 1885), Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba (1888-1893) and the Northwest Territories (1894), Canada, where she first began collecting ethnographic material, Hawaii (1891 & 1897), Samoa, Fiji Islands, New Zealand and Tahiti (1897), Cuba (1898), Puerto Rico (1900), Africa (1902) and South America (1910).

She married Frederick William Colcleugh, a Canadian (d. 1907) on May 17, 1893, and lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, for four years before divorcing in 1897. She was also an avid photographer, often giving lectures on her travels with accompanying stereopticon presentations. Emma Shaw Colcleugh retired from journalism in 1927 at age 81 and in 1930, sold the entirety of her field collections to Rudolf Haffenreffer, Jr.. In 1932, she wrote a series of nineteen articles for the Providence Evening Bulletin entitled “I Saw These Things” which documented her experiences during her years of traveling. Her last trip was a solo train ride to Florida in 1937 at age 91.

Access & Use

Access to the collection: All responsible investigators shall have access to the collection for legitimate research and study, subject to procedures necessary to safeguard the objects and to restrictions required by limitations of normal operating hours, exhibition requirements, available study space and facilities, and the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology staff time.
Use of the materials: Costs of reproducing documentary materials and photographs may be charged to investigators. No distinctions in such charges shall be made on the basis of the value or rarity of the original materials. Methods of reproduction may be limited if necessary to protect the originals from possible damage.
Alternate form: Scrapbooks and inventory of field collections are also available on microfilm
Preferred citation: Emma Shaw Colcleugh Collection. ESC. Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University. Bristol, Rhode Island.
Contact information: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology
Brown University
300 Tower Street
Bristol, RI 02809
Tel: (401) 863-5700
email: haffenreffermuseum@brown.edu

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Ethnographic objects and inventories purchased from Emma Shaw Colcleugh by Rudolph F. Haffenreffer Jr., 1930. Scrapbooks donated by Richard Jackson and Deborah Jackson in 1990.
Processing information: Collection arranged and described by Anthony M. Belz, January 2012; revised July 2013
Author: Finding aid prepared by Anthony M. Belz, January 2012, revised July 2013. Encoded November 2013
Encoding: This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit November 2013

July 2013

  • Descriptive rules: Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)

    Additional Information

    Location/Existence of copies: Scrapbooks and inventory of field collections are also available on microfilm
      Hail, B. & Duncan, K. (1989). Out of the North :The Subarctic Collection of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Studies in Anthropology and Material Culture Volume V. Bristol, RI: Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.
      Hail, B. (1991). I Saw These Things. The Victorian Collection of Emma Shaw Colcleugh . Arctic Anthropology 28 (1). p 16-33. Art and Material Culture of the Sub Arctic and Adjacent Regions. University of Wisconsin Press.


    Series I: Scrapbooks, 1883-1937
    A collection of five scrapbooks consisting of articles written by Emma Shaw Colcleugh and organized by Colcleugh according to date and geographic location.

    Container Description Date
    Text 1 Scrapbook
    1.0 bound volumes

    Dimensions: 10" x 12" x 1 3/4"

    Text 2 Scrapbook
    1.0 bound volumes

    Dimensions: 10" x 12" x 1 3/4"

    Text 3 Scrapbook
    1.0 bound volumes

    Dimensions: 10" x 12" x 1 3/4"

    Text 4 Scrapbook
    1.0 bound volumes

    Dimensions: 10" x 12" x 1 3/4"

    Text 5 Scrapbook
    1.0 bound volumes

    Dimensions: 9" x 10" x 1 1/4"


    Series II: Inventory of field collections
    Two inventories of Colcleugh’s ethnographic collection; one of handwritten field notes and one typewritten as part of the sale to Rudolph Haffenreffer in 1930.

    Container Description Date
    Notebook of field collections
    1.0 notebook

    Dimensions: 7" x 8" x 1"

    Green List Inventory/Bill of sale
    1.0 item


    Series III: Associated Materials, 1863-1896
    Related items from travels; newspaper clipping, postcard, personal photographs and blank Canadian reservation forms.

    Container Description Date
    Providence Journal Newspaper Pages
    2.0 pages

    26 April 1896
    Cree syllabary Psalms and Hymn Book
    1.0 item

    Cree language -- Writing
    Ration Ticket
    1.0 item

    Blank Treaty form
    1.0 item

    Cree Indians -- Treaties
    Photograph of Emma Shaw
    1.0 photographs

    Photograph of Emma Shaw
    1.0 photographs

    Postcard photograph of Emma Shaw Colcleugh's Den
    1.0 postcard

    Series IV: Ethnographic Collection
    Collection of ethnographic objects acquired during Colcleugh’s travels and sold to Rudolf Haffenreffer in 1930.