- Janet Elliott Wulsin
Janet Elliott Wulsin (1894–1963) was an early 20th century explorer whose accomplishments place her in line with contemporary women explorers such as
She was born Janet January Elliott to a wealthy
New Yorkfamily. Her father was a railroad executive.
Janet served as a
Red Crossnurse in the French Third Republicduring World War I. In 1919, she left New York for Paris, where she married Frederick Wulsin, a Harvard Universitygraduate from a prominent Ohiofamily.
Inspired by the travels of
Roy Chapman Andrews, the Wulsins resolved to travel the world. From 1921 to 1925, the couple mounted expeditions to the far reaches of China, Tibet, and Outer Mongoliato study the people, flora, and fauna of the region. With a grant from the National Geographic Society, they took 28 camels, six horses, four Mongolian camel drivers and 10 Chinese "specimen collectors." Together, the Wulsins collected 1,400 botanical and zoological specimens and documented Buddhist rituals. They also took hundreds of photographs, documented tribespeople and desert landscapes, and were even allowed to photograph the interior of several of the great Tibetan Buddhist lamaseries, one of few early Westerners allowed to do so.
National Geographicpublished one account of their expeditions, but Janet's contributions went uncredited. Stray newspaper articles in the United States were often misleading or inaccurate. The Wulsins returned to the United Statesin 1925, and later divorced. Elliott remarried Richard Hobart, a banker and collector of Chinese art.
Janet's role in her first husband's expeditions went largely uncredited until after her death in 1963, when her daughter,
Mabel Cabot, found her mother's private letters and diaries and published "Vanished Kingdoms" (ISBN 0-641-68638-2), a biographical account of Janet's explorations.
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