Annotated Bibliography of Arctic Kayaks
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The web site at the bottom of the citation is a full-text original publication.
Kayak Bibliography David W. Zimmerly
1884 THE ESKIMO OF CUMBERLAND SOUND. [Original: Die Eskimos des
Cumberland-Sundes. Unpublished English translation (36 typescript pages)].
Ottawa: Library, Canadian Museum of Civilization. Globus (46):198-201,
Drawings of a Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island kayak on p. 214.
1978 THE ESKIMO KAYAK. Subject bibliography compiled for the Seventh Conference
of Nordic Libraries, Paris, September 1978. [Original in French, 4 pages.
Unpublished English translation (4 typescript pages)]. Ottawa: Library,
Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Sources are very brief, but there is some interesting filmography on kayak use.
Adney, Edwin Tappan and Howard I. Chapelle
1964 THE BARK CANOES AND SKIN BOATS OF NORTH AMERICA. Bulletin 230.
Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
This is a major work on kayaks including a discussion and scale drawings of almost all
types, pp. 174-211. Appendix by John Heath on the kayak roll, pp. 223-229.
Aigner, Jean S.
1974 STUDIES IN THE EARLY PREHISTORY OF NIKOLSKI BAY: 1937-1971.
Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 16(1):9-25.
Contains a good summary of Aleut prehistory and a claim that Aleuts had kayaks 4,000
years ago (p.11).
1908 THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE. In two volumes. London: Archibald Constable
and Company Limited
Netsilik kayak construction, pp. 305-306| photo of frame, p. 304| covering kayak, pp.
322-323| Amundsen tries kayak, pl 226| photo of kayak, p. 223| comparison to Greenland
kayak, p. 222| photo of three-kayak raft, p. 113.
Anderson, Svend T.
1969-70 ARTICLE ON AN ALEUT KAYAK, A GIFT TO UBERSEE MUSEUM, BREMEN,
GERMANY IN 1857 BY WHALE-HUNTING COMPANY OF ABO. (Original in
Swedish, Budkavlen 1969-70:132-134).Unpublished English translation (4
typescript pages), Library, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.
Picture and description is of a three-hole Kodiak, not Aleut, kayak, no. C4785. See also
K.A. Fritsch, 1973.
1934 THE ESKIMO KAYAK. The Polar Record (7):52-62.
Describes a kayak made in England based on an Angmagssalik model used in the British
Arctic Air Route Expedition of 1930-31.Also discusses other aspects of kayaking in East
1961 THE ESKIMO ROLL. Canoeing pamphlet 4. London: British Canoe Union. 147a
Station Road, E.4
11 page pamphlet that describes methods to roll modern kayaks.
1972 CANOES AND CANOEING: A Bibliography. Bibliographical Services Division,
Provincial Library, Regina, Saskatchewan.
Mostly about canoes except for English publications that refer to kayaks and these are
usually the commercial type. Very uneven in coverage.
1975 ARCTIC TWILIGHT: The Paintings of Kivetoruk Moses. American Heritage
Moses was a native of Cape Espenberg. One of his pictures on bottom of p. 18 shows a
Cape Espenberg-type kayak with a dead seal strapped on the front right side.
1961 BOATS. Lewis Henry Morgan, trans. (Original: Lodi.In Istoriko-etnograficheskii
atlas Sibiri.M.G. Levina and L.P. Potapova, eds. Pp. 107-129.Akademiia Nauk
SSSR, Institut etnografii.Leningrad: Izdatyelstvo Akademii nauk SSSR).
Unpublished English translation (66 typescript pages), Library, Canadian
Museum of Civilization. E99.56, Box 668 f. 7.
Photos and drawings of many Siberian boats including Eskimo, Koryak and Chukchi
1964 THE KORYAKS. In The Peoples of Siberia.M.G. Levin and L.P. Potapov eds.Pp.
851-875. (Original: Narody Sibiri. Published in Russian, 1956, Moscow).
Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Photograph of a Koryak kayak on p. 863.
1985 FROM THE BELCHERS TO GREAT WHALE BY KAYAK. Inuktitut (60):4-17.
In the summer of 1943, four Inuit made a crossing from the Belcher Islands to the mainland
Arima, Eugene Y.
1964 NOTES ON THE KAYAK AND ITS EQUIPMENT AT IVUYIVIK, P.Q. In Bulletin 194,
pp. 221-261. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Well-illustrated and documented study of the refurbishing of a kayak (NMM IV-B-767) at
1973 HOW TO BUILD AN ESKIMO KAYAK. Unpublished manuscript No. 1005.20, pp.
79. Archives, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa. (IV-B-82M).
Draft ms. with instructions, but few illustrations for building two sizes of Eastern Canadian
Arctic kayaks and two sizes of Caribou Eskimo kayaks.
1975 A CONTEXTUAL STUDY OF THE CARIBOU ESKIMO KAYAK. Paper No. 25,
Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury Series. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of
Good study including a summary survey of kayak types and discussion of kayaks in the
1975 HOW TO BUILD KAYAKS OF THE CANADIAN ARCTIC. Unpublished manuscript
No. 1005.23, pp. 100, 9 photos, 11 illustrations.
Archives, Canadian Museum of
Information for the recreational paddler to build two East Arctic and two Caribou Eskimo
1987 INUIT KAYAKS IN CANADA: A Review of Historical Records and Construction.
Based Mainly on the Canadian Museum of Civilization's Collection. Paper No.
110, Canadian Ethnology Service Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization
A score of scale lines drawings, mostly of kayaks in the Canadian Museum of Civilization,
are included along with some photographs.
1991 CONTRIBUTIONS TO KAYAK STUDIES. Edited by Eugene Y. Arima, John D.
Heath, Guy Mary-Rousseliere, Kenneth I. Taylor, William S. Laughlin, Knut
Bergssland, John Brand, Joseph Lubisher, George Dyson and Gert Nooter.
Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury Series, Paper 122. Ottawa: Canadian
Museum of Civilization.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization has been active in kayak studies since the 1960s.
This volume of collected papers continues this involvement and reflects the Museum’s
major kayak collection. The first two papers describe King Island and North Baffin kayaks,
their construction and other details, and includes line drawings. Other articles, also
illustrated with line drawings, are on kayak design variation; Greenland kayaks; "kayak
fear"; Canadian revival; and the fascinating Aleut designs. Although all the studies are
kayak-related, they vary in specific focus and approach.
1857 A PERSONAL NARRATIVE OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE NORTH-WEST
PASSAGE. London: Hurst and Blackett, Publishers.
Concerns Eastern Mackenzie Eskimos around Cape Bathurst. Description of kayak, p. 182|
use of double paddle, p. 185| repair of leaks, pp. 185-186, 188| whale hunt, pp. 182-183|
taboos for killing whales, p. 176| single paddle, p. 182|173, 179, 180-82.
Arutyunov, S.V., M.G. Levin and D.A. Sergeyev
1964 ANCIENT BURIALS ON THE CHUKCHI PENINSULA. In Henry N. Michael, ed.,
The Archaeology and Geomorphology of Northern Asia: Selected Works, pp.
333-346. Arctic Institute of North America, Anthropology of the North:
Translations from Russian Sources/No. 5. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Shows drawings of two ivory kayak models found in Ekven Cemetary in Uelen, East Cape,
Babcock, William H.
1913 ESKIMO LONG-DISTANCE VOYAGES. American Anthropologist 15:138-141.
Discusses 'Finn men' literature and some Greenland and Labrador material to posit
Labrador to Greenland Invasions of Eskimo.
1960 A NOTE ON THE 'POOR KAYAK' OF THE WESTERN LABRADOR ESKIMO. Man
Describes a frameless, sealskin-covered craft filled with snow and used at the floe edge
to retrieve shot seals.
1976 REBUILDING A KAYAK. May 1 edition of bi-weekly newspaper of Bethel, Alaska.
Tundra Drums 3(2):12, 13.
Contains many photos and some interesting text concerning the recovering and repairing
of a Hooper Bay, Alaska kayak originally built for the museum in Bethel, Alaska.
1956 THE GROWTH OF SOCIETY. In The Epic of Man: Part III. Life 40(9):70-83, 85,
86, 88, 91.
Photographs of Caribou Eskimo kayaks on pp. 80, 81, 86.
1929 HUDSON BAY IN 1928. The Geographical Journal 74(1):1-27.
Kayak mentioned on pl 12.Excellent photo of two Baker Lake kayaks tied together as a sort
of catamaran, p. 13.
1924 ETHNOGRAPHY OF THE EGEDESMINDE DISTRICT. Meddelelser om Gronland
West Greenland. Kayak clothing, pp. 181-188| The Kayak, pp. 260-277.Characteristics of
six types of West Greenland kayaks are discussed.
1928-29 THE GREENLANDERS OF THE PRESENT DAY. In Greenland.M. Vahl, ed., Vol.
2:1-207. Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel.
The Kayak, pp. 166-174.Characteristic features of six main Greenland kayak types and
their distribution and numbers.
1929 THE CARIBOU ESKIMOS: Material and Social Life and Their Cultural Position.
Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-24, Vol. 5, Part 1.
Kayaks and their fittings, pp. 185-188.
1929 THE CARIBOU ESKIMOS: Material and Social Life and Their Cultural Position.
Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-24, Vol. 5, Part 2.
Kayaks are discussed on pp. 5, 6, 76-79, 172-175, 261-263, 339-341.Tables included in
above show distribution of kayaks and appurtenances and give some bibliography.
1932-33 CHIEF MERCHANT N.C. GEELMUYDEN'S DESCRIPTION OF THE KAYAK AND
ITS EQUIPMENT. (Original: Overkobmand N.C. Geelmuydens beskrivelse af
kajakken og dens udstyr. Gronlandske selskab. Aarsskrift, 1932-33, pp.
225-228). Unpublished English translation (6 typescript pages), Library,
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.
Contains a brief biography of Niels Christian Geelmuyden (1706-1770) and describes the
kayak, its outfitting, hunting weapons, manner of hunting birds and seals, etc.
1941 EARLY COLLECTIONS FROM THE PACIFIC ESKIMO. In Ethnographical
Studies. Nationalmuseets Skrifter. Etnografisk Raekke 1:121-163.
Copenhagen: Gyldendalske Boghandel, Nordisk Forlag.
Description of one-hole Kodiak baidarka, Mus. Nr. DNM Ib 160, pp. 147-148; photo of same,
1945 ETHNOGRAPHICAL COLLECTIONS FROM THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE.
Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition 1921-24, Vol. 6, No. 2.
Kayaks and Accessories of the Netsilik Eskimos, pp. 78-81 Kayak and Accessories of the
Copper Eskimos, pp. 187-189.
1953 THE CHUGACH ESKIMO. Nationalmuseets Skrifter. Etnografisk Raekke 6.
Copenhagen: Nationalmuseets Publikationsfond.
Kayak description and measurements, both metric and anthropometric, pp. 45-49.
Black, Lydia T., translator and editor
1977 THE KONYAG (The Inhabitants of the Island of Kodiak). By Iosaf (Bolotov)
(1794-1799) and by Gideon (1804-1807). Arctic Anthropology 14(2):79-108.
Excellent glossary of old Russian terms and many references to baidarkas, pp. 84-85, 87,
90, 94-95, 98, 100-103 and to baidaras, pp. 86-88, 90, 92-93, 99-100, 102.
1907 THE ESKIMO OF BAFFIN LAND AND HUDSON BAY. Bulletin 15. New York:
American Museum of Natural History.
Cumberland Sound kayak, pp. 9-18; Netsilik and Caribou Eskimo kayaks, pp.
1964 THE CENTRAL ESKIMO. Originally published as part of the Sixth Annual Report
of the Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, 1888. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press.
Description of Cumberland Sound kayak and its use with comparative notes on other
kayaks, pp. 77-90. [Go to site that has the full book in PDF form]
1969 IMAANGMIUT ESKIMO CAREERS: Skinboats in Bering Strait. Ph.D. dissertation,
The Department of Social Relations, Harvard University.
Concerns open skin boats with passing references to kayaks.
1909 THE CHUKCHEE. Reprinted from Volume 7, Jesup North Pacific Expedition,
1904-1909. Memoir 11, American Museum of Natural History.
Descriptions of skin boats with some notes on the Koryak and Asiatic Eskimos, pp.
1971 NOTES ON A LABRADOR KAYAK. Unpublished manuscript in Zimmerly kayak
files. 15 xerox sheets.
Notes on a kayak constructed in summer 1971 in Nain, Labrador for the Moravian Mission's
[Full-text PFD – 15 pages]
1995 THE ALEUTIAN KAYAK: Origins, Construction, and Use of the Traditional
Seagoing Baidarka. Camden: Ragged Mountain Press.
Excellent how-to-build book. Full of construction tips. P. 176.
1919 NOTES ON THE BOATS OF SIBERIA. The Mariner's Mirror 5(3): 66-72, 101-107,
130-142, 184-187| 6:15-18.
'Canoes and Boats of Skin Sewn on a Wood or Bone Frame', pp. 130-142| illustrations of
kayak bow shapes, p. 132.
1966 THE KAYAK HUNTER. American Whitewater 12(1):5-9.
General article on a Greenland kayak hunter and his equipment and methods.Includes
comments by John Heath on kayak fear and on kayak equipment.
1894 ALASKAN BOATS. Outing Magazine 23:388-391.
Short popular article mentioning Aleut bidarkas and Eskimo kayaks and umiaks from King
Island and Point Barrow.
1958 MOONLIGHT AT MIDDAY. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Story of Unalakleet man in kayak hunt for bearded seal, pp. 161-165.Good photo of Bering
Sea kayak being made and Norton Sound/Bering Strait type kayak between pp. 42 and 43.
1932 NORTHERN LIGHTS: The Official Account of the British Arctic Air-Route
Expedition. London: Chatto and Windus.
Concerns the Angmagssalik area (East Greenland) kayaks| The Art of Kayaking, pp.
Collins, Henry B., Austin Clark & Egbert H. Walker
1945 THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Their People and Natural History. War Background
Studies No. 21. Washington: Smithsonian Institution.
Contains short description of skin boats and their use in hunting sea mammals, pp. 27-30.
Collins, Joseph W.
1895 HISTORY OF BOAT COLLECTION IN U.S. NATIONAL MUSEUM AND
DESCRIPTION OF MODEL. Four bound unpublished manuscript volumes in
archives of National Museum of History and Technology.
Descriptions and collection data on all kayaks and umiaks, both models and full-size, in
National Museum collections in 1895, pp. 52-56, 733-839.
1889 JOURNAL OF H.M.S. ENTERPRISE, ON THE EXPEDITION IN SEARCH OF SIR
JOHN FRANKLIN'S BY BEHRING STRAIT. 1850-55. London: Sampson Low,
Marston, Searle, & Rivington, Limited.
Definition of kayak, baidar and umiak, p. 74| purchase of kayak in Port Clarence and
Cambridge Bay, pp. 274-275, 333| three-piece keelson, p. 284| no umiaks in Cambridge
Bay, p. 284.
Cook, James and James King
1785 A VOYAGE TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN. Undertaken by the Command of His
Majesty, for Making Discoveries in the Northern Hemisphere. Second edition, in
3 volumes. London: H. Hughs.
Volume 3, app. 6 is a short comparative vocabulary of Aleut and Eskimo dialects.Kayaks in
vol.2: Prince William Sound, p.371|Kodiak, p.417|Cape Newnham, pp.436-437|East Cape,
p.451| Unalaska, p.513-515. Plate has 1-hole Aleut and 2-hole Pacific Eskimo kayaks.
Curtis, Edward S.
1930 THE NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN. Volume 20. Nunivak, King Island, Little
Diomede Island, Cape Prince of Wales, Kotzebue. Norwood: The Plimpton
Extensive material on kayaks, especiallyfor Nunivak Island, pp.12-13, 48, 50, 52-54, 71.
Also for Hooper Bay, King Island, Noatak, Cape Prince of Wales, Little Diomede Island and
Kotzebue.Extensive vocabulary items.
1774 PARTICULARS OF THE COUNTRY OF LABRADOR, EXTRACTED FROM THE
PAPERS OF LIEUTENENT ROGER CURTIS, OF HIS MAJESTY'S SLOOP THE
OTTER, WITH A PLANE-CHART OF THE COAST. Royal Society of London,
Philosophical Transactions 64, Part 2, pp. 372-388.
Labrador kayak description, p. 386.
No. of publications: 242
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