After two months in the heart of Malaysia, Jacques de Morgan set about publishing his findings.

A detailed account

Jacques de Morgan returned with a sizeable body of records including detailed descriptions, more subjective observations, and sketches and specimens. As an engineer trained at the École des Mines, he was naturally interested in geology, botany and biology - chiefly arachnids and molluscs - and the history and habits of the local population.

Plate of malacofauna from a work published by Morgan. Perak, Malaysia.

This plate appeared in a work published by Jacques de Morgan on the molluscs of Perak.

Publications in several journals

On his return, he planned to publish a monograph presenting his observations and analyses. Unable to find a publisher for his book, Morgan decided instead to publish each article separately. By force of circumstances, the journals he chose were neither the most prestigious nor the most widely read, but rather the ones that agreed to publish his articles for free.

He published his ethnographic studies in the L’Homme – Journal illustré des sciences anthropologiques review, printed his travel journal and linguistic findings in the Bulletin de la société normande de géographie, and presented his research on molluscs in the Bulletin de la société zoologique de France.

A mixed reception

On completing his mission, Jacques de Morgan could pride himself on having undertaken a scientific journey at risk to his own life. But although his work aroused the odd remark, it does not seem to have elicited much response. Moreover, his family reproached him for publishing an article in L’Homme, a journal owned by the atheist and socialist Gabriel de Mortillet, whose values sat uncomfortably with their own. Nor was his expedition to Malaysia an unqualified business success. The contractors who accompanied Morgan failed to reward him in a way commensurate with his investment.