Scope and Content of Collection
Bruce, James Stuart
Title: James Stuart and Stevey Bruce Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1957 - 1985
2.00 linear feet
(2 archives boxes and 2 oversize folders)
Abstract: Papers and photograph collection of James and Stevey Bruce, anthropologists, photographers, and filmmakers, specifically of
New Guinea native tribes. The collection contains mainly narratives (scripts) to films of his expeditions, plus many photographs
and slides. Bruce made expeditions from 1961 to 1982 to New Guinea to study, photograph, and film tribes inhabiting many of
the islands, including the John Frum Cult on Vanuatu Island, a cult based on a belief system around the Gods living in the
USA, who are responsible for the "magical" appearance of manufactured items that cannot be fashioned from the jungle or sea;
and other tribes inhabiting Malaita, Solomon Islands and tribes in Indonesia. Many of his photographs, taken principally by
his wife Stevey Bruce, are of ceremonial dances and rituals and document the ceremonial dress of the native tribes as well
as depicting village life.
University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
La Jolla, California 92093-0175
Collection number: MSS 0673
Language of Material:
Collection materials in English
Collection is open for research.
James Stuart and Stevey Bruce Papers, MSS 0673. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
James Stuart Bruce was born in Butte, Montana June 12, 1919. At the age of six he and his family moved to the island of Cyprus
where his father was the managing director of Cyprus Mines Corporation. James Bruce lived in Cyprus from 1926 to 1938 and
spent three years at school in Beirut, Lebanon. He then attended Pomona College and graduated with a B.A. in 1942. From
1942 to 1945, James Bruce served in the Army Corps of Engineers with duty in New Guinea and the Philippines. His service
in New Guinea brought him in contact with native tribes and contributed to his interest in studying New Guinea tribes later
on in his life. After the war, from 1947 to 1954, James Bruce was self-employed as a ceramic manufacturer in Pasadena, California.
James Bruce had a continuing interest in Melanesian cultures. He traveled to various locations to film, photograph, and study
the native populations of New Guinea. One group of natives he documented were members of the John Frum Cult, a culture based
on a belief system around the "gods" living in the USA, who are responsible for the "magical" appearance of manufactured items
that cannot be fashined from the jungle or seas. During World War II, generous American soldiers with their abundance of goods
gave freely to the people and unwittingly helped solidify the beliefs of the cult. He also filmed and photographed tribes
on the islands of Malaita and Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. James Bruce published multiple articles in EXPLORERS JOURNAL
and PACIFIC MAGAZINE and authored, "BEYOND THE RANGES," published in 1991.
James was married to Stevey Bruce, who traveled with him on many expeditions. She helped with research, filming, and maintaining
their expedition diaries.
Scope and Content of Collection
The James and Stevey Bruce papers, arranged in four series, contains scripts, photos and tapes. The scripts correspond with
James' videotapes of his expeditions to New Guinea. The photographs are also of his expeditions to New Guinea. Of particular
note within the collection are two scrapbooks of color photographs documenting James' expeditions. The papers are arranged
in four series: 1) MISCELLANEOUS, 2) FILM SCRIPTS AND VIDEOTAPES, 3) AUDIOCASSETTE TAPES, and 4) PHOTOGRAPHS.
SERIES 1: MISCELLANEOUS
This series contains news clippings, a vita and James' dissertation from UCLA titled "Cargo Cults of the South Seas with a
Special Emphasis on the John Frum Cult and the Maasina Cult."
SERIES 2: FILM SCRIPTS AND VIDEOTAPES
This series is arranged in two subseries: A) Scripts and B) Videotapes. The Scripts subseries is a compilation of scripts
to the films of James' and Stevey's expeditions to New Guinea. They include scripts (narratives) of films that pertain to
James' dissertation on Cargo Cults in the South Seas. The Videotapes subseries includes 3 videos of his travels in New Guinea,
titled "The Valley Beyond," "The Island That Time Forgot," and "John Frum Cargo Cult Festival."
SERIES 3: AUDIOCASSETTE TAPES
This series is arranged in two subseries: A) New Guinea Tapes and B) Miscellaneous. The New Guinea Tapes subseries records
rituals of, ceremonies of, songs by and interviews with New Guinea natives. The Miscellaneous tapes are more recent conversations
between Stevey Bruce and UCSD Melanesian Collection colleagues.
SERIES 4: PHOTOGRAPHS
This series is arranged in three subseries: A) Prints, B) Slides and C) Scrapbooks. The Prints subseries portrays village
life as well as natives in ceremonial dress. The Slides sub-series document James' expeditions to New Guinea from James expeditions
from 1961 to 1982. The Scrapbook subseries contains two scrapbooks entitled New Guinea and New Guinea Patrol, which document
the 1961 expedition to Dutch New Guinea, including Waina Suanda, Amgotro, Poenda, and Oebroeb. The photographs depict ceremonial
dances, including a Fertility Dance and Dance of the Dead, as well as pictures of village life.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Bruce, James Stuart -- Archives
Bruce, Stevey -- Archives