Scope and Contents
Many facets of Richard Lynch Garner's life and work as an early animal behaviorist observing primates in Africa are represented in these papers. Other than a few notebooks of poems and manuscripts of books Garner had published before he began his study of apes and monkeys, there is little material that reflects his personal life or his work before about 1890. These papers, covering the period of 1891 to 1941, contain a diary, correspondence, articles written for magazines, manuscripts, poetry, notes, data collected on chimpanzees, financial records, legal records, maps, biographical material, artwork, and photographs.
Many of Garner's observations and writings on the study of the languages of apes are included in this collection. Also included in these papers are comments, notes and essays written by Garner on the French administration of the Congo, on missionaries living in Africa and on the natives themselves. Many, but not all of Garner's writings have been published. Abstracts of many of his articles can be found in the folder "Synopses." Garner also created indices to his works, which may be helpful in navigating his writings.
, a book of poems by Garner, was published in 1891 and can be found in this collection along with his other poems. His manuscripts and poems are arranged alphabetically.
Of special interest in this collection is the diary Garner kept while in the French Congo. The diary covers the period of January, 1905 to February, 1906. Also in the collection are data that he collected on chimpanzees, records of his financial transactions with the natives (including the purchase of animals), and rough sketch maps of American Point and Cameroun. The folder "Artwork" contains oil, pen, and pencil drawings of animals, likely intended to illustrate Garner's writings. Among the photographs in the collection are images of Garner, African people, and some of the animals Garner worked with, in particular Susie, his chimpanzee.
Harrington's completed biography on Garner as well as his research notes, reference materials, and drafts can also be found in this collection. In addition, the collection contains obituaries for Garner, presumably collected by his son, Henry. Two letters from Henry Garner to Harrington can be found under "Incoming Correspondence." Most of the outgoing correspondence are addressed to Garner's son.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.