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Exhibition of the Laura C. Boulton Collection of Musical Instruments and Various Objects in Use in Ceremonies and Daily Life of Native Africans

January 10 – February 10, 1933

Laura C. Boulton, with her husband Rudyerd Boulton, now of the staff of the Field Museum, made three trips into Africa with The Straus Central African Expedition for the American Museum of Natural History, The South African Expedition for the Carnegie Museum, The Pulitzer Angola Expedition for the Carnegie Museum, in 1929, 1930, and 1931.

Mr. and Mrs. Boulton made additional journeys into unknown and remote regions to study the distribution of animal and plant life in the mountain rain forests. They ascended Mount Moco, the highest mountain in Angola, and were the first scientists to explore and collect specimens on this mountain.

Mrs. Boulton, musician as well as scientist, made intensive studies of native African music and folk lore, and recorded both phonographically and in script many Bantu melodies from "the Blue," untouched by any influence of European civilization. A unique collection of musical instruments was made, about one hundred, every type found among the Ovimbundu and Vachokwe- inportant tribes of Angola- embracing various fundamental tone principles, string, tympanie, and wind.

About two hundred native folk tales similar to "Breer Rabbit" stories were recorded.

The Great Zimbabwe ruins were visited, the main temple and fortress of the Land of Ophir presumably, which flourished many hundreds of years before the advent of the white man. Photographs of these and other contemporary ruins were made, together with photographs and tracings of the remarkable and beautiful Bushman rock cuttings and paintings of periods 50000 to 25000 B.C.

Pre-European blast furnaces for metal were found in upper Angoniland. Dive of the six excavated were prehistoric. The arts of metal working are ancient throughout Africa and the native blacksmith's goatskin bellows are found everywhere. Many still photographs were made and many thousand feet of motion pictures showing the native dances and customs in differenct sections of the continent. These and the sound-records will be used in illustrating the lectures to be given by Mrs. Boulton on

Africa, The Cradle of Art
Wednesday Evenings, January 18 and 25, at 8:15

This text was taken from the exhibition catalogue.


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