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COLLECTION Identifier: 2003.36

Lorna and Laurence Marshall expeditionary notebooks and journals


Diaries, record books, and laboratory notebooks documenting Lorna and Laurence Marshall's journeys to Africa from 1951-1968 and their ethnographic research of the Ju/'hoansi people of Nyae Nyae (now Nambia).


  • 1928
  • 1951-1968


Conditions Governing Access


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright access is restricted (see accession file)


1.6 linear feet
According to Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites, Lorna told Toma (a Ju/'hoansi man), "they [the Marshall family] believed it good for people with different ways of life to learn to understand each other as best they could." This collection of diaries and logs reflects Lorna's beliefs and the anthropological journals record detailed observations on Ju/'hoansi activities, practices, and communication techniques amongst themselves and the Marshall family. Lorna also writes about the difficulties of ethnographic work; the loneliness of being in Africa and removed from her familiar world in America.

Although these journals cover the Marshall's journeys to Africa from 1951 to 1968, they also provide many details: Laurence K. Marshall's "record books" encompass records of daily accounts, expenditures, travel planning information (packing lists, distance and mileage, etc) and contact information of various associates. Also included are Laurence's logs and items such as a financing plan regarding a film study center and a copy of the Harvard Crimson containing a review of John Marshall's film about the Ju/'hoansi (item 2003.36.1.22).

Biographical Sketch

Lorna Jean McLean Marshall, born September 14, 1898 in Morenci, Arizona territory, married Laurence Kennedy Marshall in 1926 and had two children: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, born 1931, and John Kennedy Marshall, born 1932. Lorna, a teacher at Mount Holyoke College before her marriage, received a BA from University of California, Berkeley (English Literature) in 1921, and an Masters degree (English) from Radcliffe College in 1928. Laurence, born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1889, attended Tufts University and co-founded Raytheon Corporation in 1922. He worked at Raytheon until retiring in 1950, after which Laurence took his son, John, to the Kalahari Desert in Africa. According to Laurence's obituary, he wanted to do something constructive upon retirement that included spending time with his family. The following year, the Marshall family went to Africa to undertake ethnographic research on the Ju/'hoansi people of the Nyae Nyae (now Namibia).

Despite their lack of training in the field, the family was profoundly affected by their time spent in the Kalahari, and with the Ju/'Hoansi and related tribes. The family returned to Africa several times over the next two decades, sometimes for periods extending more than a year. Lorna began studying anthropology and ethnology and eventually became a leading authority on the Bushmen. Over the years, she published numerous articles and several books: The !Kung of Nyae Nyae (1976) and Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites (1999). During this time, Elizabeth also began writing and eventually published several books: The Secret Life of Dogs and The Harmless People (1959). John Marshall utilized his role as cameraman to become an accomplished documentary film maker and an advocate for Ju/'hoansi rights.

Laurence died in 1980 and Lorna in 2002, leaving behind a legacy of research on what became, according to Lorna's obituary, one of the world's most studied groups of traditional hunter-gatherers.
  1. Collins, Geneva : Epic Kalahari documentary may help Bushmen repel 'theMyth'
  2. McCarthy, Susan: ElizabethMarshall Thomas
  3. Harvard Gazette Archives.Marshall Collection opens at Peabody.
  4. Marshall, Lorna. Nyae Nyae !Kung Beliefs and Rites. Cambridge, MA. : Peabody Museum ofArchaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, 1999.
  5. New YorkTimes obituary for Laurence Marshall, Nov 8, 1980, p.28, accessed through Proquestdatabase.
  6. New York Times obituary for Lorna Marshall, July30, 2002, p.17, accessed through Lexis-Nexis database.


  1. Series I: Lorna Marshall Diaries andNotes 1951, 1952-1953, 1955
  2. Series II: Laurence K. MarshallRecord Books 1928, 1951-1952, 1955, 1956-1957, 1959, 1961, 1964, 1966, 1968
  3. Series III: Laurence K. Marshall Laboratory Notebooks 1950,1956-1957, 1959

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


These papers are a gift of John Kennedy Marshall and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas


Related Peabody Museum Collections

  1. Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Diary 2003.37
  2. LaurenceK. and Lorna J. Marshall Photograph Collection 2001.29
  3. Exhibit: "Regarding the Kalahari: The Marshall Family and the Ju/'hoansi !Kung 1950-1961" from 3/18 through 9/29/2004
Related Collections at Harvard University:
  1. Lorna Marshall notebooks, 1943-1994 (inclusive), at Schlesinger Library (consists ofrecipes, household shopping, and dinner arrangements)

General note

Collections records may contain language, reflecting past collecting practices and methods of analysis, that is no longer acceptable. The Peabody Museum is committed to addressing the problem of offensive and discriminatory language present in its database. Our museum staff are continually updating these records, adding to and improving content. We welcome your feedback and any questions or concerns you may want to share.

Processing Information

Processed by: Beth Bayley Simmons College intern; edited by India Spartz, Senior Archivist

October 2004
Link to catalog
Marshall, Lorna and Laurence expeditionary notebooks and journals, 1928, 1951-1968 : A Finding Aid
Peabody Museum Archives
October 2004

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository

The Peabody Museum Archives contains primary source materials that reflect the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. Archival collections contain photographs, documents, papers, and records of enduring value that were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or other related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of many of the Museum’s artifact collections. To learn more about research visits at the Peabody Museum, please see

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