Jordan Haug, a Ph. D. candidate in Anthropology, traces his love for books and his fascination with distant lands and cultures to his youth, when, as a boy of 11, he stumbled upon the only three English language books available in a Tokyo public library. Feeling alienated after a recent move to Japan from his stridently Christian hometown in Texas, Haug was inspired by the brave new worlds opened up to him in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Ruth Benedict’s The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, and Margaret Mead’s Growing up in New Guinea.
While he was inspired by all three books, it was Ruth Benedict’s “ethnography from afar,” he says, that helped him “contextualize his own sense of culture shock after moving from rural Texas to Tokyo, Japan. And, it was Mead’s “ethnography of socialization and sexual maturation on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea” that really captured his imagination. “When I put that book down,” recalls Haug, “ I knew I wanted to be an anthropologist.”
Last fall, after placing 1st in the UC San Diego Library’s Student Book Collecting Contest, Haug was named 1st prize winner of the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, a competition sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliographic Societies (FABS), and the Center for the Book and the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress. The prestigious prize, which is awarded to university students who have assembled outstanding book collections, includes $2500 for the winning student as well as a $1000 prize for the sponsoring library.
Haug was honored for his distinctive book collection on “Mormon Fundamentalism and Polygamy,” which numbers nearly 100 volumes.
“My collection is especially unusual because it comprises a wide range of limited edition and self-printed materials—including pamphlets and brochures— that are not readily available in the book market,” said Haug.
It is not surprising to learn that Haug approaches book collecting with an anthropologist’s sensibility. He began to build his award-winning collection on Mormon fundamentalism and polygamy while spending several months observing and living amongst a group of Mormon polygamists in Utah. The collection is a subset of an enormous collection of books and related materials on ethnographic writing that he began collecting in his boyhood.
His early exposure to Margaret Mead fueled his lifelong passion for the ethnography of Melanesia, which led him to graduate studies at UC San Diego. The University boasts some of the top scholars in the world focusing on Melanesia, including the late Donald Tuzin, the late Fitz John Porter Poole, and Joel Robbins, and the UC San Diego Library houses one of the world’s premier Melanesian archives. The Tuzin Archive for Melanesian Anthropology, recently named for Don Tuzin, includes the personal papers of anthropologists, linguists, missionaries, and others; photographs, film, and video; sound recordings, native art, and manuscripts; as well as a variety of correspondence, field and research notes, and manuscripts.