Dorothy Jean Ray, letter, to Peter B. Dirlam, 1970 June 28





3001 Veazey Terrace N. W., #317 Washington, D. C. 20008 28 June 1970

Mr. Peter B. Dirlam Box 416 Southbridge, Mass. o1550

Dear Peter:

I have come up tiwh an idea for and interesting project, but I'm writing you to see if you can give me information that might help solve a little problem of possible sources of funds for translating.

The writing of my ethnohistory has been at a stanstill for many months because of my Russian translating. I believe that I told you that I had taught myself to read Russian as a sort of survival measure-sink or swim-in the oceans of valuable material locked up in the Cyrillic alphabet. I'm not especially good, but I have been able to accomplish everything I set out to do.

myThis particular project has to do with Vasiliev's and Shishmarf's two-year expedition to the arctic (Kotzebeu Sound, northern Siberia, etc.) in 1820 and 1821. This expedition has rarely been mentioned in books and articles about Alaskan history. Bancroft in his History of Alaska said, "No report of the expedition is extant" (thought he had hired Ivan Petroff as full-time translator), and neither Andrews or Hulley even mentions it. In the course of buring myself in the Library of Congress I have found five accounts of this expedition, four in Russian and one in German.Three of these should be translated for the use and enjoyment of those who cannot read Russian. It will add a missing chapter to exploration of the North.

The longest account [] K. K. Hillsen (about 35,000 Russian words) was written by a man aboard the Good Intent (Shishmaref's ship) and was published in three installments in a journal in 1849. It is primarily about the doings of the Good Intent in both 1820 and 1821, but also mentions a great deal about Vasiliev's movements. A second account is a summary of this article in German, published in 1851.

A third account is about an 18 page or 4000 word summary of the entire expedition by Vasilii Berkh, and published in 1823. A fourth account is merely a summary of this. A fifth account is a very interesting article of about 8000 words containing Shishmaref's observations about the Chukchi in 1821.

Because my Russian is strictly of a home-grown variety, I take important passages to a Russian-born friend who translates for me verbatim. However, we have translated very little of this expedition because the

Stef. does not have those.

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journeys cover a much larger territory than the Bering Strait.

It seems to me that this entire journey (as found in accounts 1, 3, and 5) should be translated verbatim. I would edit the translations and write a preface to place the journey in its proper geographical, historical, and ethnological perspective.

My problem is wondering where to get some [money] to pay Mrs. Josephson for the translating. She is a semi-retired lawyer, and I can't ask her to do all of this gratis, even though I would be willing to do all the rest of the work without compensation as a contribution to knowledge if need be. Since I am not now connected with any inatiation it is sometimes difficult to get research funds; but it is doubly difficult to get funds for such projects as translating. Do you know of any fund or foundations that I could apply to for translating this material--it would probaly run between $700-900; I'm not at all sure of the exact amount because my estimate of the Russian length (English is always longer in translation) of these accounts is a rough guess.

I'm not sure where it would be published. I think that Arctic Anthropology would be interested, but I haven't written yet to Chet Chard; perhaps even Anthropological Papers of University of Alaska. I did write to Henry Michael, editor of the Anthropology of the North: Translations from Russian Sources, Arctic Institute of North America, thinking they might have funds for translating, but he said they don't even have funds for further publishing, and I have heard rumors that the end of the series may not be far off.

This project might even make a nice little book. I wrote Mr. Cuningham, editor-in-chief of the University of Washington Press, who wrote me that he would be delighted to publish it because they hoped to inaugurate a Russian translations series, BUT he could not give me any encouragement right at the moment because they have not yet found funds for such a program. I thought that by publishing it on a royalty basis, Mrs. Josephson could be compensated in that way.

You can see that things are bad all over. But I think this idea is a worth-while project, and I thought I would tap your experience in such matters of translating and publishing funds first of all. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

The University of Washington Press tells me that they have only a few copies of Eskimo Masks left, and they are not planning to reprint it in the near future, but it is to be translated into Danish and possibly one or two more Scandinavian languages by Rhodos of Copenhagen.

I wrote a long (70 pages) manuscript about Bering Strait Eskimo place names for a journal called Names (American Name Society), but it is so lengthy that they might have to publish it in two parts. It won't

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be printed for more than a year.

I don't think I tild you that the Indian Arts and Crafts Board decided that they couldn't use the scrimshaw photos that you so kindley sent me, so they got some others. I'm sorry they could not use them.

Have you made any northern trips lately? Last evening, I met a lovely young woman, wife of First secretary, Norwegian Embassy, who once was a nurse in Greenland. Have you seen the material that Heinz Israel of the Dresden Mesum has been putting [out] about Greenland? His latest is Kulturwandel gronldndischer Eskimo im 18. Jahrhundert (Wandlungen in Gesellschaft und Wirtachaft unter dem Einfluss der Hernbuter Brudermission (Moravians!), Akademi-Verlag, Berlin, 1969. (Vol. 29)

With best wishes,

Sinserely your, Dorothy Dorthy Jean Ray

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