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13th March 2013

Exeter aims to purchase book owned by Rector Marett

Exeter College is hoping to purchase a rare first edition of My Siberian Year by Maria Czaplicka that was once owned by Robert Marett, Rector of Exeter College from 1928-43.

The book contains an inscription to Marett from the author: ‘To R.R. Marett with feelings of deep gratitude from M. A Czaplicka – London July 22nd 1916’.

Czaplicka was a student of anthropology of Marett’s at Somerville College. Marett encouraged Czaplicka (a Russian speaker) to review the literature on the tribes of Siberia and this resulted in a book, Aboriginal Siberia (1914), which became the standard text book in its field. In 1914, again encouraged by Marett, Czaplicka travelled to Siberia for fieldwork, leading an expedition of Oxford University and Pennsylvania University staff. When the First World War broke out most of the party returned home but Czaplicka stayed to continue the expedition with two fellow anthropologists. The resulting diary of her travels, which includes many photographs, is My Siberian Year, which Czaplicka gave to her old tutor with such gratitude. The book went on to become very popular.

Exeter College aims to complete the purchase of the book shortly. If you would like to contribute to the cost of the book (£350) please contact the Development Office on 01865 279620 or

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