The Jack Tobin Marshall Islands Anthropology Collection, 1950-1985

Dr. Jack A. Tobin (1920-2010) first went to the Marshall Islands in 1950 as a student of Dr. Len Mason, to work on the Pacific Science Board's Coral Atoll Project (CAP) -- an initiative meant to study the needs of atoll dwellers with limited resources and growing populations. Arno Atoll was chosen as the first CAP research site, and the first 225 photos in this online collection derive from Dr. Tobin's time there. (Read Dr. Tobin's typescript description. Len Mason's final report, Anthropology-geography study of Arno Atoll, Marshall Islands is available in the Pacific Collection; Other reports in this series are cataloged under the series title Scientific Investigations in Micronesia.)

Later in 1950, Tobin was hired as an anthropological field consultant by the Civil Administration Unit of Naval Operations. During the Trust Territory Administration era, he served as the sole district anthropologist for the Marshall Islands, a position he held through 1957. Between 1967 and 1975, he served as community development adviser to the Marshall Islands.

Dr. Tobin extensively documented his time in Micronesia, both in written and photographic form. The photos in this collection date from 1950 through 1985, with the majority taken between 1950 and 1972. These images include not only the Marshalls, but also various atolls and islands throughout what was then the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

In addition to his own photographs, Dr. Tobin also amassed a large collection of military images, most of which deal with issues surrounding nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands. Those images have been included on this site strictly for educational purposes in keeping with fair use conventions of U.S. copyright law.

Starting in 2004, Dr. Tobin began transferring his research materials to the Pacific Collection at UH-Manoa's Hamilton Library. Shortly before his passing in June 2010, he transferred the bulk of his materials to the Library, including twelve linear feet of manuscript materials and roughly 2,000 photos and 35mm slides. For more detailed information on the materials in the physical collection, including copyright information, what has been posted online and how it is arranged, see the "about" pages.

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Collection Items