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MUSEUM MONDAYS: Alonzo Pond'20 in Algeria

October 17, 2010


Alonzo Pond’20 arrived in Algeria in the fall of1925. Expecting a rustic expedition on camelback through the Algerian Sahara, Pond embarked instead on a highly publicized journey by cars equipped with an abundance of camping equipment, a photographer and a New York Times reporter.

Pond enrolled in Beloit College in 1914; he did poorly in his classes but worked closely with the Logan Museum collections, and wrote for the Round Table. After being placed on academic probation in the summer of 1917, Pond left Beloit to work for the American Field Service in France during World War I as a cook and then as an ambulance driver. In France, Pond gained skills that would later help him on his journey through Algeria including first aid, driving on rough terrain, and the French language. Pond returned to Beloit and graduated in 1920.

objects 1018George Collie, the director of the Logan Museum, asked Pond to travel to Europe in 1924 to purchase artifacts for the museum. While there, Pond met Maurice Reygasse, a government functionary and amateur archeologist. Through Reygasse, Pond was given an opportunity to explore the Algerian Sahara and meet and study the Tuareg people who live there. He brought back a detailed photographic record, approximately 90,000 archaeological objects, and 543 ethnographic objects that are now housed in the Logan Museum. The ethnographic collection has recently been made available on-line through the Beloit College Digital Collections:

The 1925 expedition began 5 years of ethnologic and archaeological field work that the Logan Museum sponsored in Algeria. The Great Depression drained museum benefactor Frank Logan’s finances and the museum’s African work was discontinued after 1930. A new exhibit, Splendid Work: The 1930 Algerian Field School (, explores the experiences of the 14 students who went on the last expedition in 1930. It recently opened on the first floor of the Logan Museum and will run through Nov 28.

(The forked-horn camel saddle pictured above was brought back by Pond during one of the Algerian expeditions.)

-by Molly McCracken'12 and Dan Bartlett, curator of exhibits and education at the Logan Museum