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COLLECTION Identifier: 56-55

Frederick Roelker and Janet Elliott Wulsin papers


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].


  • 1921-1924 (inclusive)

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions on access: none

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions on use: none


.25 linear feet (4 folders)
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].

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.

  1. Cabot, Mabel H. Vanished Kingdoms: A WomanExplorer in Tibet, China, and Mongolia, 1921-1925. New York: Aperture, 2003

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


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.

Related Peabody Museum Collections:

  1. 2001.7 Wulsin, Frederic Roelker Papers.
  2. 2004.8 Mabel H. Cabot: Research and Production Materials relating to Vanished Kingdoms book and exhibition.
  3. 56-55 Frederic R. Wulsin Photograph Collections [National GeographicExpedition to Central China; negatives from F. Wulsin's expedition to Africa; negatives ofPersia; negatives of Vietnam and Laos] Papers.
  4. 50-24 Photographs from Peabody Museum Harvard Expedition to Near East

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

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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