Forest Life and Adventures in the Malay Archipelago – Eric Mjöberg (1930) (1st US ed)


Forest Life and Adventures in the Malay Archipelago – Eric Mjöberg (1930) (1st US ed)


Title: Forest Life and Adventures in the Malay Archipelago

Author: Eric Mjöberg, A. Barwell (trans.)

Publisher: William Morrow & Company, 1930. First US edition.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Very good. Very slight fading to spine, else fine. With black-and-white photographic plates and a colour frontispiece. A folding map of Borneo at the back. Deckle edges. 201pp., app 9″ by 6″.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Eric Georg Mjöberg (6 August 1882 – 8 July 1938) was a Swedish zoologist and ethnographer who led the first Swedish scientific expeditions to Australia in the early 1900s, and worked in Indonesia. The plant Vaccinium mjoebergii J.J.Sm. was named after him, as were Mjoberg’s toadlet, the grasshopper Goniaea mjoebergi, the crab Uca mjoebergi, Mjöberg’s forest dragon, the Atherton Tableland skink (Glaphyromorphus mjobergi), Mjöberg’s bush frog, and Mjöberg’s dwarf litter frog.

Mjöberg led expeditions to North West Australia in 1910/11, and to Queensland in 1912/13. He worked for the Deli Experimental Station at Medan in Sumatra from 1919 to 1922, and was curator of the Sarawak State Museum in Borneo from 1922 until 1924. He also worked in various museums in Sweden.

He was employed by the State Entomological Institution from 1903 to 1906 and at the National Museum at different times between 1903 and 1910 during which time he was a master at several higher schools in Stockholm from 1907 until 1909, and travelled in Sweden for study purposes through 1902 to 1909 before he led expeditions to Australia. A lecture tour in the USA lasted from 1916 to 1917 after which he was Swedish consul in Sumatra in 1920 among other postings and a study period in the US from 1921 to 1925.

In the early 1900s Mjöberg set off to the Kimberley region of Western Australia in an attempt to prove his Darwinian human evolution theory. What he did not know was that his expedition would have dire repercussions for years to follow for indigenous Australians, and for himself. In Western Australia, Mjöberg became obsessed with the Aboriginal people, and what started off as collecting native flora and fauna for research, soon led to the desecration of sacred burial grounds and the smuggling of human remains back to Sweden.

Historians have described Mjöberg as aggressive, arrogant and devious, a leader who made enemies with local Aboriginal people, pastoralists and even his own scientific team.

After 1911, he made a second expedition to Australia’s east coast: Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, removing one set of remains from each.