Both photos are from her first trip into Brazil in 1926.This trip changed her life's focus and she chose at the very end of life to return to her beloved Brazil.What motivated her and drove her to constantly learn is a fascinating study in itself.

Pictured with Guides the Brazilian government sent to accompany her on her first trip. She spent four months in Brazil on this trip, and encountered the Botocuddos and other indigenous groups.

Elizabeth K. Steen Homepage

First "white woman" to explore the Amazon River

A life of adventure, narrowly escaping the potentially amorous advances of the "chief" of a tribe who had never encountered a'tori' woman, traveling the world and studying art, attending a Governor's Ball in Brazil, studying anthropology with the great names of the 20th century, these are only some of the adventures of a life lived fully. Yet, "Bessie," has virtually disappeared from the historical record, a fate shared by many important women.

The purpose of this page is to share information., and keep her memory alive. If you have questions, corrections or additional information please contact me at . "Bessie," made three trips into the Brazilian interior. She brought back 8,000 feet of 35mm film, artifacts from the Caraja and Tapirape Indians, and notes. Her collection of artifacts is now at the Smithsonian, a part of the Museum of the American Indian. Her field notes, journals, films and photos remain illusive.

You may link to material appearing here, you may site it in writing, but remember this represents more than 1 year of intnesive work and it is under copyright protection! Please let me know when you link to my site, Thanks, Karen

Art and Anthropology

Growing up in Iowa circa 1900

Knoxville doesn't wonder

High school graduation picture

Local girl was with savages

Picture with colleagues

Iowa woman to visit Cannibals

Bessie's Art

Brazil refuses

Down the Araguaia and up the Tapirape in a Canoe

"Paddling my Own Canoe"

Stakes all on sex

'Magic' Saves Woman Explorer in the Wilds

A postcard to my mother,

The Great Depression and the Third Trip

Marion County Historical Society

Red Jungle Boy

Translated materials from Indian Service Archive

Archived letters, articles, and photos

University of Pennsylvania Museum Archives

Bancroft archive materials

University of Chicago & Radcliffe-Brown

DesMoines Register Archives

Smithsonian archive materials

Columbia & Franz Boaz letters

My Notes

My Journal or how I found things out


The Tapirape & Notes on Indigenous People

Top 10 Books on the Amazonia

Seventh-day Adventist Resources


Gateway to the Rain Forest for Students

Gateway to the Rain Forest for Teachers

Karen McIntyre is a Teacher/Librarian Return to Karen McIntyre Homepage to see a powerpoint with more pictures!

 This page maintained by Karen McIntyre all rights reserved

Last updated March 19, 2009