Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1049: Vt-346

Papers of Jane C. Goodale, 1932-2019


Biographical materials, correspondence, notes, writings and lectures, photographs, etc., of anthropologist Jane C. Goodale.


  • Creation: 1932-2019


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research. Researchers must contact Research Services for access to audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Jane C. Goodale is held by Mary B. Crowther, to the extent that she owns it, during her lifetime. Upon her death, she hereby transfers and assigns to the President and fellows of Harvard College all right, title and interest, including copyright and all extensions and renewals thereof, in and to the work. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


5.34 linear feet ((10 + 1/2 file boxes, 1 card box, 1 folio box) plus 2 folio+ folders, 1 oversize folder, 16 photograph folders, 1 videotape)

Collection includes Jane Goodale's correspondence with family, friends, and colleagues; fieldwork and research notes; writings; lectures; schoolwork; and photographs. Materials in the collection cover Goodale's early and personal life, her education at Radcliffe College and the University of Pennsylvania, her fieldwork in Australia and Papua New Guinea, as well as her teaching career at Bryn Mawr College. Goodale's sister Mary Crowther sorted and organized the materials prior to their arrival at the Schlesinger Library and some of the folders include explanatory notes from her. Folder titles were mostly created by the archivist, with titles from original folders in quotes.

We recognize that western archival methods reinforce the privilege given to predominantly white, European voices and narratives in describing Indigenous cultural history. While Indigenous voices can be found within this collection, the materials reflect the perspectives and biases of western anthropological and ethnographical viewpoints. Due to the provenance and time period of this collection, outdated and potentially harmful terminology, including the term Aboriginal, may also be found throughout these papers.

Series I, PERSONAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL, 1932-2010 (#1.1-5.27, F+D.1, OD.1), includes notebooks, scrapbooks, yearbooks from high school and college, school papers and other writings, and personal correspondence. Materials in this series pertain mostly to Jane Goodale's early life and education from elementary school through graduate school, as well as correspondence with family and friends. Family correspondence provides insights into Goodale's daily life, her schooling and friendships, as well as her fieldwork in Melville Island, Australia, and New Britain, Papua New Guinea, her work at the University of Pennsylvania museum in the 1950s, and her teaching career at Bryn Mawr College. Series is arranged alphabetically, and chronologically within groupings.

Series II, PROFESSIONAL AND FIELDWORK, 1954-2019 (#6.1-10.10, 11FB.1, 12CB.1, F+D.2, Vt-346.1), contains published and unpublished writings, lectures, presentations, notes, and field notes related to Goodale's fieldwork in Melville Island, Australia, and New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Also included is correspondence with colleagues related to her fieldwork and career as a professor of anthropology. Of particular interest is a diary kept for a few months by Goodale during her visit with the Kaulong people in Papua New Guinea in 1963. The diary describes her initial responses to her surroundings and settling in to the village. Series includes materials related to Goodale's post-retirement from teaching, including a commemorative scrapbook given to Goodale upon her retirement from Bryn Mawr College in 1996. Series also contains materials related to Pulling the Right Threads: The Ethnographic Life and Legacy of Jane C. Goodale, edited by Laura Zimmer-Tamakoshi and Jeanette Dickerson-Putman. Series is arranged mostly chronologically.

Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS, 1936-2006 (#PD.1-PD.16), includes photographs of Jane Goodale with colleagues, family, and friends, as well as photographs taken in Papua New Guinea, including of the Kaulong people, anthropologist Ann Chowning, and Goodale. Series is arranged chronologically.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


American anthropologist Jane Carter Goodale was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1926 to Susan Bainbridge Sturgis and physician Robert Lincoln Goodale. She had three siblings, Susan, Mary, and Robert, Jr. Goodale attended Buckingham School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Oldfields School, an all-girls high school in Baltimore, Maryland, where she graduated in 1944. She went on to receive her BA (1948) and MA (1951) in anthropology from Radcliffe College. While studying for her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Goodale joined the National Geographic Society expedition to Melville Island to study the Indigenous communities in Australia. She began her ten-month doctoral research in Australia in 1954 where she traveled to the Northern Territory (Australia) to live among the Tiwi peoples of Melville Island. Goodale returned to the University of Pennsylvania and, while working full time at the University Museum, completed her PhD in 1959. She wrote her dissertation on the Tiwi peoples' life course, from birth to death, from a woman's point of view. This study was first published in 1971 as Tiwi Wives. Her next fieldwork trip took her to New Britain, Papua New Guinea, to live and experience life with the Kaulong peoples of Southern West New Britain. The first two trips (1962 and 1963-1964) were with a colleague, anthropologist Ann Chowning. Notes concerning their day to day experiences were published as The Two Party Line: Conversations in the Field in 1996. This work complements Goodale's ethnology of the Kaulong people, To Sing with Pigs is Human: Concepts of Person in Papua New Guinea published in 1995 and based on information gathered in two Kaulong communities in four visits to New Britain in Papua New Guinea over an eleven year period (1962-1973). She turned her attention back to the Tiwi community of Melville Island and made repeated visits between 1980 and 1997. In later years her project concerned changes and development in this community where she had been a participant observer since the 1950s.

From 1959 to 1996 Goodale taught in the Anthropology Department at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. She specialized in gender studies and focused on women's roles in Indigenous cultures in her work. Goodale was also a visiting lecturer in anthropology at the Darwin Institute of Technology, Australia, in 1986. During her teaching career Goodale would return periodically to the Northern Territory of Australia for research and would become an academic authority on the Tiwi people. Goodale died on November 5, 2008, from pulmonary hypertension.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Personal and Biographical, 1932-2010 (#1.1-5.27, F+D.1, OD.1)
  2. Series II. Professional and Fieldwork, 1954-2019 (#6.1-10.10, 11FB.1, 12CB.1, F+D.2, Vt-346.1)
  3. Series III. Photographs, 1930-2008 (#PD.1-PD.16)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2019-M198

The papers of Jane C. Goodale were given to the Schlesinger Library by her sister Mary (Maisie) B. Crowther.

Related Material:

There is related material at the University of California at San Diego; see the Jane Goodale Papers, 1948-1997 (MSS 643).

There is related material at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Library (AIATSIS); see the Jane C. Goodale papers, ca.1930-2008 (MS 4676).

Processing Information

Processed: May 2023

By: Laura Peimer and Sarah DeRupo, with assistance from Janin Escobedo-Garcia.

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Goodale, Jane C. (Jane Carter), 1926-2008. Papers of Jane C. Goodale, 1932-2019: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the 1933-1934 Alumnae Fund and Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA