Home Archives & Manuscripts Archive Contents FAWCETT PAPERS (A69)

Human remains thought to be those of the explorer, col. P.H. Fawcett were brought from Brazil to the RAI for examination and report. The remains were examined by Prof. A.J.E. Cave, Miss M.L. Tildesley, and Dr J.C. Trevor who reported conclusively that they were not those of Col. Fawcett. Col. Fawcett disappeared in the Matto Grosso in 1925 with his elder son and a companion. 1951-61.


AJEC        A.J.E. Cave, Prof. of Anatomy, St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School; RAI Council 1939-42

WBF        W.B. Fagg, CMG (1914-92), Keeper, Dept. of Ethnography, British Museum (1969-74); RAI Hon. Secretary 1939-56, Hon. Editor of Man 1947-65

BF            Brian Fawcett, Engineer, commercial artist, and illustrator, Carlisle; younger son of Col. Fawcett

MLT        Miss M.L. Tildesley (1883-1976), former Curator of Human Osteology, Royal College of Surgeons; RAI Council 1933-59 passim

JCT        J.C. Trevor (1907-67), Lecturer in Anthropology, Cambridge University; RAI Hon. Editor 1953-6, Council 1938-53 passim

 1/    Reports and correspondence

  1    Secretary-General, Hispanic Council, Canning House, London to WBF, 18 Sep. – reports arrival of Sr Assis Chateaubriand from Brazil with skeletal remains purporting to be those of Col. Fawcett; Chateaubriand proposes to hold a press conference and to hand the remains to Fawcett’s son, Brian; he also suggests an examination of the remains and proposes the RAI; WBF invited and RAI President, Prof. E.E. Evans-Pritchard. 2 leaves (tp.)

  2    BF to RAI, Carlisle, 25 Sep. – encloses photographs [not present] of his father as requested by MLT (tp.)

  3    RAI to BF, 27 Sep. – acknowledges receipt of letter, 25 Sep.

 3a    MLT to WBF, 2 Oct. – apologises to the Officers for speaking for the RAI on the matter of the bones, when only Officers are empowered to do so; she was representing the RAI at short notice; there was a sense of urgency (autogr.)

  4    ‘Report on human remains alleged to be those of the late Colonel Fawcett’ by Prof. A.J.E. Cave, 24 Oct. 1951 (tp., signed and dated by AJEC)
  5    Ibid., copy (tp.)

  6    Asst. Secretary, RAI to Hispanic Council, Canning House, 1 Nov. – encloses summary of AJEC’s Report prior to press release; asks for approval (tpc.)

  7    Summary of Report enclosed in /4 above (corrected tp.)

  8    Summary of Report (mimeo.) 2 copies

  9    Asst. Secretary RAI to BF, 1 Nov. – encloses summary of AJEC’s Report prior to press release; asks for his approval; inquiries about disposal of remains; returns photographs and denture (tpc.)

 10    Summary of Report enclosed in /9 above (corrected and annotated tp.)

 11    BF to RAI, Carlisle, 2 Nov. – comments on Report of which he approves; is writing to Sr Chateaubriand regarding disposal of remains; expresses gratitude for the expert opinion and the clear conclusion reached

 12    Chancery of the Brazilian Embassy, London to RAI, 14 Jan. – have been asked by Sr Chateaubriand for authenticated copy of the Report; requests return of enclosed Report with authentication (tp.)

 13    Certification of the Report by the President, J.P. Mills (tpc.)

 14    Cable from BF to RAI, Rio de Janeiro, 19 Jan. – requests full copy of Report (telegram)

 15    RAI to Hispanic Council, 1 Mar. – inquires about payment of expenses of the three investigators; suggests nominal fee (tpc.)

 16    Statement of expenses enclosed in /15 above (tpc.)

 17    RAI to AJEC, 8 Oct. – nominal payment obtained for his examination of the remains; requests details of expenses; nominal fee of five guineas arranged (tpc.)

 18    Ibid., to JCT, 8 Oct. – ibid.

 19    Ibid., to MLT, 8 Oct. – ibid.

 20    AJEC to RAI, 9 Oct. – undertook examination in order to assist the RAI; does not feel he can accept fee; appreciates offer (tp.)

 21    RAI to AJEC, 11 Oct. – Hon. Treasurer appreciates his refusal of fee; sum will be paid into RAI general funds (tpc.)
 22    MLT to RAI, 13 Oct. – gives estimate of her expenses (tp.)

 23    George C. Starry to RAI, La Trobe, Pennsylvania, 2 May – encloses letter for forwarding to BF (tp.)

 24    RAI to George C. Starry, 16 May – replies to letter above, /23 (tpc.)

 25    Ibid., to BF, 16 May – encloses letter (tpc.)

 26    BF to RAI, Carlisle, 28 May – acknowledges letter to which he has replied (autogr.)

 27    Wilmon B. Menard to RAI, Bordighera, Italy, 2 Jan. – requests photograph of remains and of the Amazon region (tp. with autogr. note)

 28    RAI to W.B. Menard, 20 Feb. – no photographs available (tpc.)

 29    Copy of letter to the Sunday Times from MLT, 28 Sep. – draws attention to ‘the convincing proof … of their [remains] non-authenticity’ in the Report by AJEC, JCT and MLT; it is clear this information was not given to the leaders of the Oxford and Cambridge expedition (tpc.); see /2/11 below for published letter

 30    Second copy

 31    Gérald Gatien to RAI, St Bruno, P. Québec, Canada, 10 July – requests information on the remains (tp.)

 32    MLT to G. Gatien, 7 Sep. – replies to his letter, /31 above; gives information on the Report and books by BF (tpc.)

 2/    Press Cuttings

  1    [?], 10 Nov. 1951 – on Examiners’ Report issued by RAI

  2    The Daily Mail, 20 Feb. 1952 – Brian Fawcett, ‘The Fawcett Mystery 1’, ‘By Plane to the Heart of the Jungle’

  3    Ibid., 21 Feb. – ibid., ‘The Fawcett Mystery 2’, ‘Pow-wow with 6 Tribal Chiefs’

  4    Ibid., 22 Feb. – ibid., ‘The Fawcett Mystery Remains’, ‘Murder Beside the Jungle Lagoon’

  5    Birmingham Gazette, 3 Mar. 1953 – report of meeting on publication of BF’s book, Exploration Fawcett

  6    The Bookseller, 21 Mar. – ibid. 2 leaves
  7    Yorkshire Observer, 7 Apr. – review of Exploration Fawcett

  8    Review of Ruins in the sky by BF, 1958

  9    ‘Why they killed the Colonel’ by Adrian Cowell, Sunday Times, 21 Sep. 1958

 10    ‘The fate of Fawcett’, Sunday Times, 28 Sep. – letters from BF, Leonard Melling, and Paul G. Williams

 11    ‘The Fawcett grave’, Sunday Times, 5 Oct. – letter from MLT; see /1/29 above for typescript

 12    Ibid. ? 12 Oct. – letter from W.H. Fox