“I would like to visit the research institute and museums of the Smithsonian Institution, which have conducted extensive studies on various tribes in our Far East. A few years ago, several people from that institution were sent to the Far East to conduct research and collect materials”, Bronisław wrote in a letter dated 1 August 1906 to the Committee of the Amur Krai Research Society. It is not known exactly what he was doing in New York – his stay in America is one of the white spots in his biography, but certainly he was there in early October.
Currently, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. has 159 photographs of indigenous peoples of Sakhalin taken by Piłsudski. The mystery is what route and in what circumstances they ended up there, although it is very likely that it was through Franz Boas, who is called the father of American anthropology. At that time, Piłsudski was supposedly advised that when handing over the photos, he should not get rid of the negatives and the right to use them.
Antoni Kuczyński, “Bronisław Piłsudski (1866-1918), an Exile and Researcher of the Culture of the Peoples of the Far East”, “Niepodległość i Pamięć”, 22/2 (50), 7-93, 2015
Kazuhiko Sawada, A Story of Bronisław Pilsudski. A Pole Named King of the Ainus, Sulejówek 2021