Scope and Contents
A detailed account of uncertain authorship recalling travel to and from Urga (presently known as Ulaanbataar, Mongolia) in Outer Mongolia. The author is perhaps Georg Soderbom; a member of Sven Hedin's expedition who often worked under Frans Larson Soderbom is pictured in many of the collection's silver plates. The account is replete with descriptions of travel conditions and methods, ethnographic notes, an encounter with "the Andrews expedition" (likely the Central Asiatic Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History led by Roy Chapman Andrews from 1922-1925), and the natural ecosystem. 79 silver prints adorn the text, depicting Soderbom, peoples encountered, vehicles, buildings, and so forth. For the purpose of this collection, all relevant silver prints are numbered as attachments to the appropriate page of the transcript; i.e., the second print affixed to page 32 of the transcript becomes 32b.
While exact provenance of the collection is unclear, it is believed the collection was owned by the Asian art dealer Abel William Bahr (1877-1959). Bahr was born to a German father and a Chinese mother in Shanghai, and became an avid collector of Chinese paintings, jades, and porcelains. He would become a prominent collector and, in 1908, helped to host the first exhibition of Chinese art under the auspices of the Royal Asiatic Society in Shanghai.