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
1877 TRIBES OF THE EXTREME NORTHWEST. Contributions to North American
Ethnology, Volume 1. Washington: Government Printing Office.
Inuit between Barter Island and the Mackenzie traded narwhal skins to be used as kayak
coverings, p. 10| kayak frames traded from St. Lawrence Island to Plover Bay in Siberia, p.
15| 2-hole Aleut and Kodiak kayaks, p. 85| 3-hole kayak p. 85.
Danish National Museum
1921-33 MISCELLANEOUS ARTIFACT CATALOG ENTRIES. Unpublished English
translation (22 typescript pages), Library, Canadian Museum of Civilization,
Museum catalog entries include artifacts from South Alaska, Iglulik, Caribou, Netsilik and
Copper Eskimos. Full-size kayaks and paddles included from the above places.
1971 ROCK ENIGMAS OF ANCIENT CHUKCHI (PEGTYMEL' PETROGLYPHS).
(Original: Naskal'nye zagadki drevnei Chukotki (petroglify Pegtymelya). Moscow:
Nauka Publishing House).Unpublished translation (26 typescript pages),
Library, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.
Describes petroglyphs of hunters in kayaks spearing swimming deer and multiple paddlers
in open skin boats hunting sea mammals.
1981 SEA KAYAKING: A Manual for Long-Distance Touring. Vancouver: Douglas &
Focuses on long sea expeditions covering equipment, techniques, seamanship, navigation,
winds and weather, tides and currents, hazards and emergency procedures in frigid and
tropical waters, first aid, camping, food gathering, & overall planning.
Drage, Theodore S.
1968 AN ACCOUNT OF A VOYAGE FOR THE DISCOVERY OF A NORTH-WEST
PASSAGE. Two volumes.(Originally published in 1748, London: Jolliffe, Corbett
and Clarke).New York: Johnson Reprint Corp.
Engraving of southern Baffin kayak, opp. p. 27| kayak and related clothing and furnishings
described, pp. 27-30| model kayak mentioned, p. 32| umiak, pp. 32-33.
Dumond, Don E.
1974 PREHISTORIC ETHNIC BOUNDARIES ON THE ALASKA PENINSULA.
Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 16(1):1-7.
Kayak reference to Pinart's baidarka trip from Unalaska to Kodiak in 1871, p. 1.
1960 CANOES AND KAYAKS OF WESTERN AMERICA. Seattle: Copper Canoe Press.
Eskimo and Aleut kayaks and umiaks, pp. 11-28.Refers to Alaskan boats and contains
interesting, but undocumented, statements about a Chugach Eskimo kayak with upturned
ends similar to the Mackenzie Delta type, p. 14.
Dyson, George B.
1986 BAIDARKA. With a foreward by Kenneth Brower. Edmonds, Washington: Alaska
Northwest Publishing Co.
The book begins ..., with the coming of the Russians to Alaska and their discovery of the
Aleuts’ hunting skill with kayaks.
It continues with George’s re-discovery of the baidarka and his far-ranging travels with his
2000 THE ALEUTIAN Kayak. Scientific American April 2000. 84-91.
A popular well-written article. Many drawings and photographs.
1980 INUIT ART RE-BORN IN KAYAK. Ottawa: The Citizen, July 14, p. 24.
Photos and text showing skins being sewn to recover a National Museum of Man kayak
Elliott, Henry W.
1881 THE SEAL-ISLANDS OF ALASKA. In The History and Present Condition of the
Fishery Industries. Tenth Census of the United States.
Skin boats, p. 99|preparation of skins for use on skin boats on St. Lawrence Island in
1874, p. 99| includes a glossary of English and Russian words as well as Russian/English
weights and measures| Drawing on plate 23 shows Mahlemoot? bidarka.
1886 OUR ARCTIC PROVINCE: Alaska and the Seal Islands. New York: Charles
Bidarka description, p. 133| Aleut or Kodiak paddler, p. 133| Aleut or Kodiak whale hunt, pp.
151-154|Women's use of bidarka, p.164| use of kayak on Kuskokwim, p.411| King Island,
p.427|drawings pp.119, 135, 140, 152, 156, 168, 212, 379, 426, 459.
Ellis, Alec R. and C.G. Beams
1963 HOW TO BUILD AND MANAGE A CANOE. Two volumes. Glasgow: Brown, Son
& Ferguson, Ltd.
Volume 1 contains the text and reduced illustrations, while volume 2 consists of full-size
drawings. Detailed descriptions and directions for constructing a two-seat
canvas-covered kayak built in the European wooden stringer and canvas tradition.
1956 EARLY NORDIC-ARCTIC BOATS. Arctica 11:57-87.
Article most concerned with the genesis of the Nordic clinkerbuilt plankboat.Kayak and
umiak references in passing.
Florian, Mary-Lou E.
1975 MATERIALS OF FABRICATION OF KAYAKS. Unpublished manuscript in
Zimmerly kayak files.
Qualitative analysis of wood, skin and plant material used in the fabrication of a number of
1977 WOOD OF KAYAK NMM IV-E-1071. Unpublished manuscript in Zimmerly kayak
Documents Hooper Bay, Alaska kayak frame as being made from spruce (Picea sp.).
Freeman, Milton M.R.
1964 OBSERVATIONS ON THE KAYAK-COMPLEX, BELCHER ISLANDS, N.W.T. In
Bulletin 194, pp. 56-91. Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Describes the use, manufacture and ownership of kayaks in the Belcher Islands between
1959 and 1961.
1973 THE RESTORATION AND CONSERVATION OF A THREE-SEATED KAJAK FROM
THE ALEUTIAN ISLANDS IN THE WORKSHOPS OF THE UBERSEE-MUSEUM,
BREMEN GERMANY. 10 photos, 12 pp.Paper presented at a professional
meeting ? in 1973.
The kayak is actually Pacific Eskimo and not Aleut as stated. See Svend Anderson,
1969-70, for provenience of this kayak as the two articles talk about the same kayak.
1968 THE AMMASSALIMIUT KAYAK AND ITS DEMOGRAPHIC EVOLUTION. (Original:
Le Kayak Des Ammassalimiut: Evolution Technique. Objets et Mondes
8(4):247-264). Unpublished English translation (14 typescript pages), Library,
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.
This article and the two that follow it trace the evolution of the changing form and
distribution of the Ammassalik (East Greenland) kayak from 1884 to 1966. Many drawings
and photographs show the
construction techniques in detail. (PDF
- photos and drawings soon -
(PDF - photos and drawings soon -
Gessain, Robert and P.E. Victor
1969a THE AMMASSALIMIUT KAYAK AND ITS TECHNICAL EVOLUTION. (Original: Le
Kayak Des Ammassalimiut: Evolution Technique. Objets et Mondes
9(2):145-166). Unpublished English translation (22 typescript pages), Library,
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa.
See Gessain, 1968.
Gessain, Robert and P.E. Victor
1969b THE AMMASSALIMIUT KAYAK AND ITS TECHNICAL EVOLUTION. (Original: Le
Kayak Des Ammassalimiut: Evolution Technique. Objets et Mondes
9(3):225-244). Unpublished English translation (20 typescript pages), Library,
Canadian Museum of Civilization,
1952 THE ARCTIC WOODLAND CULTURE OF THE KOBUK RIVER. Museum
monographs 9. Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of
Describes a river canoe/kayak which has a kayak-type framework, but is only partially
decked, p. 59| photo of two river kayaks lashed together, p. 60.
1974/75 CHANGES IN THE LIFE OF THE POLAR ESKIMOS RESULTING FROM A
CANADIAN IMMIGRATION INTO THE THULE DISTRICT, NORTH GREENLAND.
Discusses the reintroduction of the kayak to the Polar Eskimos by the Canadian Eskimos as
well as the reasons for the demise of the kayak in the first place.
1959 I AM ESKIMO, AKNIK MY NAME. Juneau: Alaska Northwest Publishing Co.
Drawing of Bering Strait style kayak on p. 28| description of kayak making (North Alaska,
Kivalina style) on pp. 24, 25| minor notes throughout.
1967 THE PACALIK KAYAK OF THE BELCHER ISLANDS. In Contributions to
Ethnology, V. Bulletin 204:124-163.Ottawa: Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Details the construction of a two-hole Belcher Island kayak, a type apparently unknown
before the 1940s.
1886 THE CRUISE OF THE MARCHESA TO KAMSCHATKA & NEW GUINEA. In two
volumes. London: John Murray.
Description of Kodiak-style three-hole kayak found in village of sea-otter hunters on an
island off the southeast coast of Kamchatka, pp. 224-226. Drawing of bifid bow of Kurile
canoe, p. 228.Three-hole kayak drawing, p. 226.
1963 A PRELIMINARY REPORT OF KAYAK-ANGST AMONG THE ESKIMO OF WEST
GREENLAND: A Study in Sensory Deprivation.
Analysis of 13 cases of kayak-angst as collected in 1905 by Bertelsen. Calm sea
conditions demanding minimal body movements develop a lowering in the level of
consciousness.Psychophysiological disequilibrium follows exacerbated by cultural
1975 DAS GABEN SIE UNS: Indianer und Eskimo als Erfinder und Entdecker.
Hamburgisches Museum fur Volkerkunde.Wegweiser zur Volkerkunde Heft 17.
Hamburg: Im Selbstverlag.
Plate six illustrates an Eastern Arctic-type kayak 624 cm long with a flat coaming.Said to be
dated 1880 and from the Bering Strait area.
1916 THE LABRADOR ESKIMO. Anthropological Series No. 14.Memoir 91, Geological
Survey, Department of Mines. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.
1887 REPORT OF THE CRUISE OF THE REVENUE MARINE STEAMER CORWIN IN
THE ARCTIC OCEAN IN THE YEAR 1885. Washington: Government Printing
Engravings from photos show King Island type kayak (between pages 14 & 15), a
three-holed bidarka and some umiaks (between pages 58 & 59).
1889 REPORT OF THE CRUISE OF THE REVENUE MARINE STEAMER CORWIN IN
THE ARCTIC OCEAN IN THE YEAR 1884. Washington: Government Printing
Upper Kowak, kayaks and Canoes, pp. 84-85.Kayak photos opp. pp. 82 & 84 - Norton
1971 A JOURNEY FROM PRINCE OF WALES'S FORT IN HUDSON'S BAY TO THE
NORTHERN OCEAN. Reprint of 1795 edition. Edmonton: M.G. Hurtig Ltd.
P. 167, brief paragraph on the kayak of the Eskimos along the Coppermine River.
Heath, John D.
1961 THE KAYAK OF THE ESKIMO. American White Water 7(2):3-11.
General description of kayak construction as well as delineation of various kayak types
and their characteristics.Other brief discussion of paddles and paddling and rescue
1968 THE KING ISLAND ROLL. American White Water 13(4):11.
Drawing and caption explain how the roll was performed with a single paddle.
1968 THE WORLD'S (ONETIME) BEST: Eskimo Kayakers of King Island. American
White Water 13(4):7-12.
Description of the construction and use of the King Island type kayak including a
single-bladed paddle roll technique for recovery from a capsize.
1969 COMPARATIVE STUDY OF KAYAKS. Unpublished manuscript No. 1084.1 (23
typescript pages). Archives, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa. (IV-X-18M).
Description of Arctic kayaks from Greenland to Siberia comparing features of form and
1972 THE KING ISLAND KAYAK. Unpublished manuscript No. 1084.2 (35 typescript
pages of text, 54 pages of photos
with captions). Archives, Canadian
A field and museum specimen study of the traditional King Island kayak detailing
construction and use.
1977 SOME COMPARATIVE NOTES ON KAYAK FORM AND CONSTRUCTION. In
Contextual Studies of Material Culture. David W. Zimmerly, ed. Pp. 19-26, Paper
No. 43, Canadian Ethnology Service, Mercury Series. Ottawa: Canadian Museum
Kayaks from North and East of Seward Peninsula are compared with those to the south
with the similarities and differences related to various theories of Eskimo migration and
[Full-text PDF – 8 pages]
Heizer, Robert F.
1945 INTRODUCED SPEAR THROWERS IN CALIFORNIA. The Masterkey
Mentions Aleut kayaks and people brought down to engage in sea otter hunting off the
1960 THE ALEUT SEA OTTER HUNT IN THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY.
Anthropological Papers of the University of Alaska 8(2):131-135.
Short description of two-hole baidarkas and their use in the sea otter hunt.
1951 KAYAK TO CAPE WRATH. (Original: Ethnographische Skizzen uber die Volker
des Russischen Amerika.Acta Societatis Scientiarum Fennicae, v. 4, 1856| v. 7,
1863). Alaska Division of State Libraries.
Koniag Eskimo: kamleika, p. 366| baidarka headdress, p. 368| blue paint, p. 368| skin boats,
pp. 379-380| whale hunting, pp. 387-392| sea otter hunt, pp. 392-395| seal hunt, pp.
395-397| burial with baidarka, pp. 402-403| training age, p. 411.
1944 ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN THE THULE DISTRICT. Meddelelser
om Gronland 141(1). Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzels Forlag.
Archaeological kayak parts, pp. 230-233| model kayaks and umiaks, p. 284| above items
pictured in plates 17, 42 and 49.
1962 OTTO FABRICIUS' ETHNOGRAPHICAL WORKS. Meddelelser om Gronland
140(2).Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzels Forlag.
Excellent descriptions of Greenland kayak seal hunting equipment and its use, pp.
28-66.Drawing of Greenland kayak (reproduced from D. Crantz: Historie von Gronland, vo.
1, Pl. 7, p. 198 -- 2nd ed.Barby 1770), p. 29.
1967 CONTRIBUTIONS TO POLAR ESKIMO ETHNOGRAPHY. Meddelelser om
Gronland 182(2):1-180. Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzels Forlag.
Drawings, discussion and Eskimo terms for kayaks and kayaking, pp. 74-95.
1881 REPORT OF THE CRUISE OF THE U.S. REVENUE-STEAMER CORWIN.
Washington: Government Printing Office.
Nunivak kayak, p. 6.King Island kayak, p. 15.Kotzebue Sound kayak, p. 25.Kayak racing, p.
26.Umiak pp. 28-29.Beluga whale hunt, p. 59.
1946 WATER TRANSPORT: Origins & Early Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. Reprinted 1970, Newton Abbot: David & Charles.
The Skin Boats of the Eskimos and other Arctic Peoples, pp. 155-175.The Origins of Skin
Boats, pp. 175-180, argues that kayaks evolved from pointed bark canoes and umiaks
from Tibetan-type of skin-covered coracles.
1944 THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF KODIAK ISLAND. Philadelphia: The Wistar Institute
of Anatomy and Biology.
Boats, pp. 60-62.Accounts of Koniag boats given by early explorers.Includes kayaks
(bidarki) and umiaks.
1945 THE ALEUTIAN AND COMMANDER ISLANDS AND THEIR INHABITANTS.
Philadelphia: The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology.
Good survey of the literature section on boats, pp. 119-127, weapons, pp.127-133.
1976 SEA CANOEING. LONDON: A & C Black.
Complete instructional book on coastal and ocean kayak paddling in modern craft.
No. of publications: 242 End of Kayak Bibliography
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