Rup Chand was associated with the University of Michigan for over forty years as a collector and labeler of plant and bird specimens from India, Iran, Afghanistan, Tibet, and other parts of the Middle East and South Asia. The collection documents his travels and his work as a collector of plant and bird specimens, his association with Walter Koelz, collector of plants for the University of Michigan. The collection includes biographical information; correspondence; journals for the period 1934-1994 documenting his travels and specimen collecting; and photographs and slides of South Asia and the Middle East, and of his life and travels in the United States.
Call number: 0165 Aa 2 Language: The materials are in English. Repository: Bentley Historical Library
1150 Beal Ave. Ann Arbor, MI
firstname.lastname@example.org Home Page: http://www.bentley.umich.edu/
Finding aid prepared by: Daniel Santamaria
Access and Use
The papers were donated to the Library in September 2000, by Mrs. William Copeland (donor number 9021).
The collection is open for research.
To protect fragile audiovisual recordings (such as audio cassettes, film reels, and VHS
tapes), the Bentley Historical Library has a policy of converting them to digital
formats by a professional vendor whenever a researcher requests access. For more
information, please see: http://bentley.umich.edu/research/duplication/.
Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to the Regents of the University of Michigan but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Patrons are responsible for determining the appropriate use or reuse of materials.
item, folder title, box no., Rup Chand Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Rup Chand was associated with the University of Michigan for over forty years as a collector and labeler of plant and bird specimens from India, Persia, Afghanistan, Tibet and other parts of the Middle East and South Asia. Born April 16, 1902 in the Lahul district of the Punjab province of India, he was the son of Thakur Jai Chand and Thakur Kalzang Dolma. The Thakur family was a prominent family in Lahul; an ancestor had been given the status of chief of Ko-lon, a position that has been passed on to the oldest son of the family for generations.
In 1927 Chand joined the Indian Territorial Army Force, where he served with several family members. In the Summer of 1930, after leaving the army, Chand met University of Michigan professor Walter Koelz, who was collecting plant specimens for the Himalayan Research Institute of the Roerich Museum. Chand soon joined Koelz in his collection efforts. Chand and Koelz worked and traveled together for nearly thirty years. Chand himself collected more than 8000 specimen from places such as Assam, India, Persia, Nepal, Tibet and Afghanistan.
Chand visited the United States with Koelz in 1934 and 1937. In Michigan he met Professor Harley Bartlett, who extended a series of University appointments in order to help support Chand's plant collecting. When Koelz returned to Michigan in 1953, Bartlett helped to secure permission for Chand to immigrate to the United States in 1956. Chand lived with Koelz at his home in Waterloo, Michigan until the two had a falling out in 1960. Chand filed a $50,000 lawsuit against Koelz, which he claimed was his share of the profits from the pair's collecting efforts. Chand won the case in 1964 and was awarded over $15,000.
Chand worked independently on extensive labeling projects for the Koelz and Rup Chand collections until 1960, when a National Science Foundation Grant allowed the University Herbarium to hire Rup Chand as a full-time plant mounter. Chand often worked closely with Dr. Ralph Stewart, an expert on the flora of the Himalayas and Northern India. Chand officially retired from the University in 1970, but continued to work on a part-time basis. He also worked on translating the diaries of his travels with Koelz from Udru into English.
Rup Chand died on August 18, 1994 at the age of 92.
Collection Scope and Content Note
The Rup Chand Papers document Chand's travels and collection of plant and bird specimens throughout India, Tibet, Persia, Afghanistan, and other areas in South Asia and the Middle East in the 1930s and 1940s, and his life after immigrating to the United States in 1956. The Papers have been divided into four series: Biographical and Miscellaneous Material, Correspondence, Journals, and Photographs and Slides.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the finding aid database and catalog of The Bentley Historical Library/University of Michigan. Researchers desiring additional information about related topics should search the catalog using these headings.
Birds -- Collection and preservation.
Plants -- Collection and preservation.
Ann Arbor (Mich.)
Jammu and Kashmir (India)
Kulu Valley (India)
Chand, Rup, 1902-1994.
Koelz, Walter, 1895-1989.
University of Michigan. University Herbarium.
Chand, Rup, 1902-1994.
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Container / Location
Biographical and Miscellaneous Material [series]
The Biographical and Miscellaneous Material contains essays written in honor of Rup Chand after his death, autobiographical reminiscences of his childhood and early adult years in India, and newspapers clippings related to Chand and Walter Koelz. The majority of the newspaper clippings concern the 1960 lawsuit that Chand filed against Koelzwhich alleged that Koelz had unfairly kept all of the profits from the pair's plant and animal collecting efforts in Asia. The series also includes legal and financial documents, several of which are related to the lawsuit, handwritten instructions for Rup Chand's will, passports, and miscellaneous material, much of which is written in Chand's native language of Urdu. Of special note is an oral history interview with Chand that was recorded in 1981.
Memorial Essays 1994
Auto-Biographical Writings undated
Newspaper Clippings 1930s-1960s
Legal and Financial Documents, scattered dates
Instructions for Will undated
Oral History Interview 1981
(1 audio cassette)
The Correspondence Series includes Chand's correspondence with relatives in India, as well as with friends and acquaintances in the United States and other countries. The Indian correspondence is written primarily in Urdu.
India 1950s-1990s, undated
United States Correspondence 1960s-1990s, undated
Journals 1934-1994 [series]
The Journals Series consists of 3 linear feet of materials and spans the years 1934 to 1994. The typescript subseries contains journals that have been translated into English and cover the years 1935 to 1950 and include information on Chand and Koelz's travel throughout India, Persia, Tibet, and Afghanistan, including comments on their plant and animal collecting and interaction with the people of South Asia and the Middle East. The events of World War II and their impact on the countries Chand visited are also occasional topics. The hand written journal translations cover the same dates as the typescript journals, but sometimes differ slightly in content. The Urdu Journals subseries consists of Chand's original journal entries which begin in 1934 and continue until 1994. Journal entries past 1950 have not been translated into English.
Typescript Journals (in English) 1935-1945
Typescript Journals (in English) 1945-1950
Hand Written Journal Translations and Notes (in English) 1935-1945
Hand Written Journal Translations and Notes (in English) and miscellaneous 1945-1950
Original Journals (in Urdu) 1934-1974
Original Journals (in Urdu) and unidentified 1974-1994
Photographs and Slides 1930s-1990s [series]
The Photographs and Slides Series contains 1.75 linear feet of photographs which document both Chand's travels in India and other parts of South Asia and the Middle East, and his life in the United States. The South Asia and Middle East material includes remarkable photographs of the landscapes, buildings and ruins, plant and animal life and people of various parts of India, as well as of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Persia, Kashmir, and other areas in the 1930s and 1940s. The subseries includes a group of 8x10 prints as well as many prints and negatives of various smaller sizes, and glass plate slides. Photographs that included labels in English were organized alphabetically according to the location of the subject of the photograph. Many photographs, however, did not include labels or were labeled in Urdu. Photographs of Chand's life in the United States include a few prints of him and Koelz in Koelz's hometown of Waterloo, Michigan in 1934 and 1935, as well as portraits and other photographs of Chand from the 1960s to the 1990s. Also included are a small sampling of Chand's numerous photographs of his travels to Canada, Mexico, and various parts of the United States, a sampling of Chand's photographs of plants, flowers, and other nature scenes, and a folder of prints and slides of Ann Arbor.
South Asia and Middle East [subseries]
Ceylon (Sri Lanka)
India (miscellaneous locations)
Miscellaneous and unidentified
Small Prints and Negatives
India (miscellaneous locations)
Unidentified and Miscellaneous
Glass Plate Negatives 1930s
United States [subseries]
Rup Chand with others
Rup Chand's house
Waterloo and Stockbridge 1935, undated
North American Travel
Western United States 1935
Western United States 1970
Canada and Mexico
Miscellaneous United States Travel
(1 folder, 1 box)