The Archie Wright French Collection consists of 13 scrapbooks and 1 photo album with some loose clippings and pamphlets all regarding the Panama Canal and Canal Zone, comprising 17 folders arranged in 1 box and 1 oversized container. Not much is known of Archie Wright French. He arrived from the United States into Panama to help work with the construction of the Canal as a white collar worker in 1905 and stayed on with his family after the Canal was completed as a clerical worker in Gorgas Hospital in Ancon, Canal Zone. French worked for the Hospital until sometime in the 1930's, but appears to have remained in the Canal Zone until at least 1945. French had at least two sons, A. W. French, Jr. and John Cecil French, who attended Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh in the early 1930's. A. W. French compiled 13 scrapbooks of clippings, pamphlets, brochures and typescripts relating to Panama, the Canal and the Canal Zone. He had special interests in the natives of Panama and in the history of the Canal project. An article by French in a loose clippings folder tells of a local festival he attended in Ocu, Panama, and a photo album consists mostly of photos of native (Indian) Panamanians in both Western and traditional dress. Of particular interest are accounts of the San Blas Indians in several articles and pamphlets. Public works projects and health conditions were also the interest of many in the Canal Zone, and many articles on Malaria and other tropical diseases are also in the collection. Of special interest are some souvenirs from Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, whose boat passed through the Panama Canal in 1928. Included in this is a flattened paper cup which was signed by Byrd and many of his companions on the voyage, as well as a photo of Byrd.
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Span Date: 1904 - 1945
Bulk Date: 1930 - 1942
Extent: 2 linear feet
Number of Boxes: 1 box and 1 oversized container
Provenance: Gift of Chicago Public Library, Special Collections, April, 1990 Processed by: Michael J. North Date: July 26, 1990
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