Guide to the Papers of Elmer Harp , 1947 - 2001Stefansson Mss-177

Biography

Elmer Harp, Jr. was born April 13, 1913 in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from Harvard College with a B.S. in anthropology in 1938. Before volunteering for the United States Navy in 1943, he worked as an engineer at Lincoln Electric Company in Ohio. During World War II he served as captain of a PT boat in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. After the war he returned to Harvard and in 1947 completed his M.A. in anthropology. Shortly after graduation he was hired as Curator of Anthropology for the Dartmouth College Museum. He remained in that position until 1952, adding in 1951 an assistant professorship in anthropology, which he held until 1957. During that time he also participated as a "special student" in the Russian Area Program at Harvard (1952-1954) adding classes in Russian language and area study courses to his resume. He received his Ph.D from Harvard in 1953. In 1957 he became a full Professor of Anthropology at Dartmouth College from which he retired in 1978 with Emeritus status. However, he continued teaching until 1981. Additional accomplishments include a Fulbright Fellowship in Denmark from 1959 to 1960, where he compared Danish Eskimo artifacts with those he had excavated; Chairman of the Anthropology Program and Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College from 1960-1972 (a department that Harp helped to establish with Robert McKennan in 1963); and Director of the Dartmouth College Museum from 1961 until 1968.

As part of his research and teaching Harp traveled and worked extensively on archeological expeditions to Quebec, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Labrador and Hudson Bay; including the Strait of Belle Isle, Coronation Gulf, Bathurst Inlet, and the Belcher Islands; often taking students along. Elmer Harp was one of the first archeologist to utilize near-ground aerial photography and served as a consultant on a variety of projects for the Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the US Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of the Interior and the Arctic Institute of North America.

Harp was a member of several anthropological associations and published extensively in journals and academic publications. His 1971 research on the "Dorset" Eskimo of Port-aux-Choix, Newfoundland, who lived in the Eastern Arctic from 100 BC - 1000 BC, and subsequent paper on his archeological discoveries related to their origins and link to Eskimo cultures in the the Canadian Arctic and Alaska, remains an important contribution to the discipline. Additional publications are "Evidence of Boreal Archaic Culture in Southern Labrador and Newfoundland" (1963), "The Cultural Affinities of the Newfoundland Dorset Eskimo" (1964), "Photography in Archeological Research" (1975) and "Lives and Landscapes: A Photographic Memoir of Outport Newfoundland and Labrador, 1949-1963" (with M.A.P Renouf).

Elmer Harp, Jr. died in 2009 in Hanover, NH.

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