Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Register of the David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films MSS 576
MSS 576  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (104.60 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents of Collection
  • Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 576
    Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 2.6 Linear feet (3 archives boxes, 1 record carton and two card file boxes)
    Date: 1966 - 1985
    Abstract: 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.
    Creator: Counts, David R.
    creator: 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.
    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.
    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.

    Preferred Citation

    David and Dorothy Counts New Britain Journals and Films. MSS 576. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Kaliai (Papua New Guinea people)
    Tales -- Papua New Guinea -- New Britian Island