Scope and Contents of Collection
Title: David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 576
Mandeville Special Collections Library
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
Language of Material:
2.6 Linear feet
(3 archives boxes, 1 record carton and two card file boxes)
Date: 1966 - 1985
Typescripts and films by husband and wife ethnographic team, David and Dorothy Counts. The collection includes typescript
field journals, constructed from field notes, from ethnographic work conducted in New Britain, Papua New Guinea, as well as
16mm film documenting the Kaliai myths. The collection also contains thirty-three reels of 8mm film from the Counts' trip
to New Britain in 1985.
Counts, David R.
Counts, Dorothy Ayres
David and Dorothy Counts both attended Southern Illinois University; David studied anthropology, and Dorothy studied political
science and anthropology. From 1966 through 1967 the Counts conducted their doctoral research in the Kondoka village in West
New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea. They received their doctorate degrees in 1968, and moved to Ontario, Canada. David
taught as a faculty member at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and Dorothy taught at the University of Waterloo in
the Department of Anthropology.
From 1975 through 1976 the Counts returned to New Britain, where they studied the Kaliai myths. In March of 1980, Dorothy
published an article in
The Journal of the Polynesian Society entitled "Akro and Gagandewa: A Melanesian Myth," based on her research in New Britain at the time.
In 1985 they returned to New Britain to conduct research for three months, from July 22nd through September 24th, in the village
of Kandoka. Dorothy studied census cards from New Britain, as well as the cause of death for the villagers of Kandoka. She
also researched domestic violence and how it affected the family structure, as well as the apparent epidemic of female suicides
in New Britain, which she noted was closely linked to spousal abuse.
In 1999 Dorothy Counts took a position as a research officer and team leader for the Secretrait of the Pacific Community,
which sponsored a multi-site study on the effects of violence towards women on the health and safety of the family. In December
of 1999, the Counts moved to the Okanagan Valley and taught anthropology at the Okanagan University College. In 2005 the Counts
became study group leaders and taught a course on Pacific Island cultures at the Society for Learning in Retirement in Okanagan.
Scope and Contents of Collection
The David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films reflect the Counts' trips to New Britain, Papua New Guinea in
1966-1967, 1975-1976 and 1985. The collection includes field journals with notes from both David and Dorothy Counts; thirty-three
rolls of 8 mm film with candid shots from the Kandoka village; and 16 mm film from 1975 and 1976 documenting the Kaliai myths.
The collection is arranged in two series: 1) WEST NEW BRITAIN JOURNAL and 2) FILM.
SERIES 1: WEST NEW BRITAIN JOURNALS
The first series, WEST NEW BRITAIN JOURNALS, contains typescript journals from 1966-1967, written seperately; as well as a
single journal, written by both David and Dorothy Counts in the summer of 1985 during their trip to the village of Kandoka
in Papua New Guinea. The 1985 collaborative journal is derived from field notes from both David and Dorothy that were combined
chronologically. It also contains kinship charts, scanned photographs, and an index. The series also contains five CD-ROMs
that contain the journal text. These CD-ROMs are restricted and researchers must use printed copies.
SERIES 2: FILM
The second series, FILM, includes 8mm and 16 mm film from the Counts trips to New Britain in 1975-1976 and 1985. This series
is arranged into two subseries: A) 8 mm Film and B) 16 mm Film.
A) The first subseries, 8 mm Film, contains a video from the village of Kandoka, as well as surrounding villages in New Britain.
The footage, which was shot in 1985 by the Counts, comes from thirty-three reels of raw footage taped on individual reels,
which are also included in this series. The series contains an archival and a user copy entitled "Village of Kandoka".
B) The second subseries, 16 mm Film, contains eleven 16 mm reels. This footage, taken during the Counts' trip in 1975 and
1976, contains information about the Kaliai myths. Dorothy Counts used this footage as part of her research for the article
"Akro and Gagandewa: A Melanesian Myth," published in 1980. The series also contains archival and user copies of the footage
from the eleven reels of 16mm film.
The CD-ROMs are restricted; researchers must use the paper printouts. Films and betacam SP masters are restricted; researchers
must use the VHS user copies.
David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films. MSS 576. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Kaliai (Papua New Guinea people)
Tales -- Papua New Guinea -- New Britian Island