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Charles Wellington Furlong papers

Identifier: Ax 698

Scope and Contents

The collection is organized into the following series: Biographical Material, Articles, Manuscripts: Lectures, Notebooks, Leonard Furlong and the Philippine Islands, Photographs, Correspondence, Correspondence: Publishing Houses, Military, Tape recordings, Books, Miscellaneous, and Daguerreotypes.

Biographical material includes artwork by Furlong, summary of his work, biographical information and an autobiography.

The articles series is organized alphabetically by title of work and each entry may include research files, notes, drafts, clippings, photographs, cover designs and a final copy.

The manuscripts series contains lectures by Furlong organized alphabetically by title of work and may include drafts and correspondence. This series also includes lecture schedules, scrapbooks and calendars.

The notebooks series covers 1898-1958 and includes over fifty notebooks that contain almost daily entries from Furlong's travels, and also eight undated notebooks.

The Furlong and the Philippine Islands series contains manuscripts, correspondence, photographs and memorabilia.

The correspondence series is organized alphabetically by name or title.

The military series contains correspondence, publications, and a diary about the Marsh Darien Expedition.

Tape recordings include recorded lectures, interviews, and songs.

Also included in the collection are autographed books by other authors, clippings and notes by Furlong, personal accounts of Furlong by others, and personal miscellany.

The photographs series contains daguerreotypes of Furlong's relatives, negatives sorted by subjects (including Native American peoples and tribes, South America travels, rodeos, especially Pendleton 1880-1940), Wellington and Furlong autograph albums, portraits and other prints.


  • Creation: 1896-1967


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Collection includes sound recordings, moving images, and digital files to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary. Glass plate negatives and lantern slides are restricted due to the fragility of the format. All decisions regarding use will be at the discretion of the curator for visual materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Charles Wellington Furlong (1874-1967) was an explorer, writer, lecturer, an artist, a college professor, a scientist, a cowboy, a collector, and a foreign correspondent to name but a few of his ‘trades.’

He was born in Cambridge, MA, and educated at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and other colleges and academies. He was on the faculty of Cornell University, 1896-1904 and 1906-1910. Much of his career was spent on expeditions to various parts of the world for scientific or literary purposes. He was in North Africa, 1904-1905; Tierra del Fuego, 1907-1908; and Venezuela in 1910. In 1915 he was a member of an expedition to the West African islands for the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology (the Kitty A expedition). During World War I he was an observer with American and Allied forces in the Near East. In 1912-1913 and again in 1920, he was in the American West, observing and participating in rodeos. He later traveled in Africa, the Near East, and South America.

He was married twice, in 1899 to Eva C. Earll and then in 1933 to Edith Virginia Calista Spinney. Furlong had two children by Earll, Roger Wellington Furlong and Ruth Earll Furlong. Roger became a businessman and Ruth was principal of the Ethical Culture School in New York City.

Furlong began his career as an artist, receiving formal education at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and L’École des Beaux Arts in France. He was a private art instructor and then became head of the Art Department at Cornell. Throughout his career he continued to paint. He created botanical illustrations, the originals of which are at the Hopkins Gallery at Dartmouth College, and painted scenes from North Africa and the sub-Antarctic that hang in major museums.

He became an explorer in 1904, traveling to Morocco and Tripoli. He was pursed by a notorious bandit, and became the first American to explore the Tripolitan Sahara. He discovered the century-old wreck of the frigate U.S.S. Philadelphia, the sinking of which had led to a peace treaty between the U.S. and Tripoli. Furlong’s book Gateway to the Sahara was published in 1909.

Harper’s Magazine funded an expedition to Tierra del Fuego in 1907-1908, where Furlong, the first American to cross the inland area, botanized, collected ethnological artifacts and data, explored, mapped, and created navigational charts of the region. His ethnological research led him to a friendship with Vilhjamur Stefansson, an ethnological expert of the Artic regions, and the two developed a theory of migration based on physical similarities between the Eskimos and the Tierra del Fuegians. Furlong eventually served as assistant curator of the Vilhjamur Stefansson Arctic Collection at Dartmouth, and contributed his own papers on Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia to that institution.

Charles W. Furlong traveled more in South America in 1910-1911, pursuing ethnological research in South American museums, traversing the Dutch Guinea wilderness and was, again, the first American to travel from the Oronoco River across the pampas of Venezuela. The rigor of his travels affected his health and when he returned to the United States, he went West to recover, following the example of his good friend, Theodore Roosevelt.

He lived and worked on ranches in Oregon and Montana. While restoring his health, he was also studying the cowboy ethnography and that of the Crow, Blackfeet and Umatilla tribes. Hearing of the first Pendleton Round-Up in 1914, Furlong and his friends rode almost a hundred miles to attend. Challenged to demonstrate that he was no longer a dude, Furlong entered the Wild Bull Riding contest and stuck for a record 12½ seconds on the back of the notorious Sharkey, winning the championship and setting a longstanding record. His cowboy days and Pendleton experience were documented in his 1921 book, Let ‘er Buck: The Passing of the American West. Universal Studios made a silent movie from the book in 1925 but it no longer survives. The book inspired publisher George P. Putnam to convene a “Rough Riters” tour in the 1920s, bringing writers through the West and to the Round-Up. Furlong served as Grand Marshall of the Westward Ho! Parade in 1966, and donated some of his paraphernalia to the Round-Up Museum.

In 1915, Harper’s sponsored another expedition, this time to the West African islands aboard the schooner Kitty H, in conjunction with the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology. The Lusitania sank during the expedition’s voyage across the Atlantic and Europe plunged into war. As an officer of the Massachusetts Naval Brigade Furlong quietly offered his services to the U.S. government, and began a series of scientific expeditions that also provided military and political intelligence. On another Harper’s expedition to the Azores and Canary islands, Furlong also engaged in yet another branch of research, discovering unknown records of Columbus’ visit to the islands on his way to “discover” America.

When the U.S. entered World War I, Furlong began open military service, creating the Geographic Military Intelligence Division. He produced a series of tactical field handbooks for officers on Mexico, Siberia, and Russia that provided invaluable data about the oil production facilities and potential of each region. In 1918 he was named a member of the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, and served as a military aide to President Wilson. Furlong’s reports on geopolitical and economic situations helped shape the talks.

Charles Furlong was recalled to the U.S. for appointment to the War College during 1923-1924, and was the first of three officers chosen from 80,000 to attend a special course. He served as a Reserve officer for 34 years, attaining the rank of colonel. Records related to his military career are housed at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. (Furlong had an extraordinary circle of acquaintances and was a friend and admirer of Herbert Hoover.)

In 1919 Charles Furlong went to Rome as a military attaché, providing intelligence about the Middle East and the Balkans. He served as an emissary to the Sheik of Senoussi, King Faisal, Major General Sir Harry Watson, General Sir Archibald Wavell, and Field Marshall Allenby, and knew T.E. Lawrence. In addition to his diplomatic and intelligence activities in the Middle East, Furlong also fought with desert bandits and traveled with tribesmen. He won respect and honors from people and governments in the region. In 1925 he helped establish a voting system in Tacona, Africa, personally designing ballots and setting up polling places in remote areas. He returned to the Middle East on a special mission to Turkey, and attended the fiftieth anniversary of the Republic of Turkey as an honored guest. Charles Furlong continued to be an active emissary to the Middle East and a valued consultant through the end of the Second World War.

In 1925-1926 Furlong traveled in South America, settling boundary disputes between Peru and Chile, hunting for treasure, and preserving the birthplace of Simon Bolivar. A later expedition to French Guiana inspired him to write a report condemning the conditions of the penal colony on Devil’s Island that eventually led to the closing of the prison and to penal reform. His reports on the Magellan region led to the establishment of a tourist cruise to South American, and helped protect its wool industry during World War II.

In 1929-1930 he explored Kenya, Tanganyika, the Belgian Congo, Uganda, and the Sudan, the first white man to live among the pygmies of the Ituri Forest. He found the last surviving member of the Stanley expedition and was given Stanley artifacts for his collections.

Somehow Furlong also found the time to write many articles and books, and to lecture extensively on a variety of subjects to learned societies and to cruise ship passengers.

Charles Wellington Furlong was committed to scholarly inquiry in many forms. Correspondence with the University of Oregon Libraries documents that Furlong was instrumental in arranging the donation of his teacher, Henry Turner Bailey’s, collection to the Library, and made other suggestions in support of strengthening collections related to his own wide interests, such as conservative politics. Furlong was a religious man who mentioned religious sources in every one of his lectures.

Furlong’s brother, Leonard, served in the Philippine Constabulary. Charles’ donation of his brother’s papers established the core of a Philippine collection at the University of Oregon.


19.5 linear feet (21 containers)

Language of Materials



Charles Wellington Furlong (1874-1967) was an explorer, writer, lecturer, an artist, a college professor, a scientist, a cowboy, a collector, and a foreign correspondent to name but a few of his ‘trades.' The collection contains biographical and military records, manuscripts, articles and lectures by Furlong, notebooks and journals, Philippine Island material, photographs and daguerreotypes, correspondence, audio recordings and books.


The collection is organized into the following series: Biographical Material, Articles, Manuscripts: Lectures, Notebooks, Leonard Furlong and the Philippine Islands, Photographs, Correspondence, Correspondence: Publishing Houses, Military, Tape recordings, Books, Miscellaneous, and Daguerreotypes.

Other Finding Aids

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections and University Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by donation from Charles W. Furlong in 1965.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected items are available online in the Charles W. Furlong photographs, 1895-1965 in Oregon Digital.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to the Pendleton Round-Up and Charles Wellington Furlong at Special Collections and University Archives include:

The rodeo images in the Charles Wellington Furlong photographs form part of the Pendleton Group, a series of photograph collections from the Pendleton area, 1880s-1940s.

Images from certain photographers, such as Bowman, may be found in many of these collections. The Pendleton Group includes the Lee Drake photographs (PH 021), the Lee Moorhouse photographs (PH036), the Charles W. Furlong photographs (PH 244), the Walter S. Bowman photographs (PH004), and the Electric Studio/O.G. Allen photographs (PH033). Related images are also held in the Print Collection (PH035) and the Park Weed Willis photographs (PH 288).

Other significant Furlong collections are held by Dartmouth College and materials about his military career are at Hoover Institution.

Artifacts from Furlong’s expeditions are located at Dartmouth; the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, NY; The Peabody Museum of Harvard, Cambridge, MA; The Peabody Museum of Salem, MA; The Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, New York City, NY; and the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, NY. Botanical specimens from Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia are at: Cornell University; the Gray Herbarium of Harvard, Cambridge, MA; New York Botanical Gardens, New York City, NY; and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Some of Furlong’s saddles and a cowboy outfit are on permanent display at the museum of the Pendleton Round-Up.

Physical Description

10 record storage boxes, 1 manuscript box; photo boxes: 9 boxes, 1 folder.

Processing Information

Collection processed by manuscripts staff and Cassie Schmitt, 2011.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Charles Wellington Furlong Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA