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Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]
Extent: 1.5 linear feet
J.F.G. Umlauff of Germany sold this collection to Gordon of the Penn Museum in the 1910s and 1920s. Gordon expressed interest in this collection as he sought African and Oceanian specimens for the Penn Museum, artifacts from a location they previously possessed very few. J.F.G. Umlauff lived from 1833-1889 and owned a German ethnographic and artifact firm that was established in 1868 and flourished for more than a century, closing not until 1974. The firm was managed by J.F.G. Umlauff until his death, at which time the firm was taken over by his son Johannes Umlauff. The firm was still operated by J.F.G. Umlauff when he sold several African and Oceanian specimens to Gordon. The collection can still be found in the Penn Museum and is now organized into 3 separate series – correspondence, catalogues, and albums. The correspondence section consists of letters between Umlauff and Gordon, the catalogues section is comprised of many lists of the specimens Umlauff sold to Gordon and, finally, the album section consists of many photos of the artifacts sold. Overall, this collection remains important since it marks the first time the Penn Museum truly expressed interest and acquired many “primitive” African and Oceanian artifacts.