Carl V. Hartman and the Costa Rica Collections
Letters: February 20, 1903
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Read this letter in Spanish
127 West, 83 rd St.
Febr. 20 th 1903.
Doctor W. J. Holland.
In reply to your valued letter of the 10 th of Febr. I was only able
the other day to write you a few lines. Allow me now to answer your questions,
to give you a short sketch of my early training and some information about
my knowledge of museum work.
I was born in Örebro in Sweden [in] 1862. My father Doctor Carl
Hartman was a professor of natural history, author of the "Flora
of Sweden and Norway." Having finished my seven years course at the
college I first spent two years as a bookkeeper and student at an agricultural
school. I then entered into the service of the Academy of Agriculture
and devoted myself to various branches of applied botany. Having obtained
a stipend of the Academy of Science for the pursuit of studies at some
of the foremost botanic gardens of Western Europe, I spent six years
in Copenhagen, London, Paris, Erfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, etc.
When Dr. Carl Lumholtz (who is a Norwegian) organized his expedition
for the exploration of Sierra Madre he engaged my services as a botanist.
Soon however I became greatly interested in the archaeological and ethnological
features and as Dr. Lumholtz needed a special assistant, I turned my attentions
wholly to this line of investigation. After the conclusion of Dr. Lumholtz'
first expedition I went with him to the Columbian Exhibition at Chicago,
where I remained six months in the Anthropological Department, arranging
exhibitions and assisting in the purchase and packing of ethnological collections.
Returning to Sweden I received a favorable offer to carry out explorations
of my own in Central-America under the auspices of the Anthrop. Geogr.
Society. This position I accepted and carried on explorations, which extended
over a period of three years. On my way back I spent six months in the
principal museums of the United States studying the archaeological collections.
In Stockholm I undertook new training in the various duties of a museum
worker under the immediate supervision of Professor Hjalmar Stolpe. I
classified, arranged and labelled anew my collections and wrote descriptive
catalogues. At the same time I had the opportunity day after day of following
in detail the work Dr. Stolpe was doing in the different departments,
at that time especially valuable and instructive, on account of the complete
reorganization of the institution then going on, according to thorough
scientific and systematic plan.
Although the experience thus
gained during these three years of daily intercourse with Professor
Stolpe does not seem to cover a very long
time I consider the same really valuable, because my instructor is
undoubtedly one of the foremost museum men of Europe, having worked
some 30 years
inside the walls of the National Museum in Stockholm in association
Prof. Montelius and Hildebrand and having studied nearly all the
museums of Europe, North & South America and Asia. Although the great
life work of Stolpe has been principally in the domain of Scandinavian
research, he is known in Europe as an authority on general ethnology
also. During a tour around the world with one of the Swedish Princes
extensive collections, especially in Japan, China, India and South-America.
His principal study however has been that of the peoples of the Pacific
Islands, particularly their ornamental art.
[Not reproduced here are three paragraphs in which Hartman includes quotations
about Stolpe's eminent status in the museum field. They include comments
about Stolpe's work by Prof. Brinton (from Science), Prof. A.
B. Meyer (in German from Globus), and Prof. Alfred Haddon (in Evolution
of Art). They were included to bolster Hartman's arguments about
his training under Stolpe.]
These quotations I have given only for the reason, that you may understand,
that although as said my training inside the museum walls has been somewhat
short, I have however had the opportunity of getting the best instruction
possible. Even during the three months, which I passed last fall in the
museums of the United States in the company of Dr. Stolpe, I learned a
good deal. I am also assured of the most hearty cooperation by my former
superior in anything I undertake. He will always be glad to give me advice
As I have only today been offered definitely still another position
from the [American ?] Museum of Natural History to go into the field and
I am desireous [sic] of coming to a decision, I must beg of you a speedy
reply, if I am to consider a position in the Carnegie Museum, with a definite
offer on your part as to time, salary, opportunities etc.
Hoping that you will favor me in this I remain
very sincerely yours
C. V. Hartman
[Letter, February 20, 1903, C. V. Hartman to W. J. Holland, Holland
Archives, Box 8, file 53]