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Old 05-20-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
Matt R
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Lawrence Griswold...the real Indiana Jones???

Has anybody heard of this guy...it appears he is, or rather was the real deal. Lawrence Griswold was a Harvard educated American archaeologist in the 1930's & 40's and spent a considerable amount of time in South America & the Far East, from tramping around Mayan ruins to hunting for Komodo dragons.
I am reading his book 'Tombs, Travel & Trouble' written by Griswold in 1937 (which I discovered by accident on ABE Books when looking for other period books on Archaeology) and it is, quite simply, amazing (assuming his exploits are true...and I have no reason to doubt them so far)
To quote from the foreword of the book;
'In fact most of the time I was either scared to death, too busy to think about it all, or just damned annoyed. Adventures, in retrospect are pieces of extremely bad luck that missed a fatal ending. A set of circumstances starts a chain of consequences. If you are in the immediate vicinity the chances are you are about to undergo an adventure. If it turns out fatally for your side, it's a tragedy. If it turns out fatally for the other side or with nobody hurt at all, it's a comedy. One or the other, tragedy or comedy - it's never adventure when it's going on!'
The book has a map on the inside of the cover which could be straight out of the IJ stories...I will put an image up when I get the chance.
Reading continues...
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Old 05-20-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
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Lawrence Griswold...very dapper!

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Old 05-30-2013, 04:54 PM   #3
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This is the inside of the book cover and is the same both front & back.
The book is a great read and Griswold is reminiscent of both Indiana Jones & also Frank Buck from Bring 'em Back Alive...definately a man of his time.
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Old 05-30-2013, 05:36 PM   #4
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Wow, very cool. If only he had a fedora
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:03 PM   #5
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Lawrence Griswold sounds like an interesting person.
There is not much on the Internet about him, except for his book Tombs....

I did find this, he imported snakes:
The EMPRESS OF ASIA, under the command of Captain A. V. R. Lovegrove, concluded
a Pacific crossing upon reaching Vancouver on June 21st, 1935. On this crossing
Hawaii was called upon prior to reaching Victoria. Over 100 passengers embarked
at Honolulu. The ship reported an uneventful passage. Cargo included mail and a
large consignment of general freight.

Lawrence Griswold, an archaeologist and naturalist was a passenger on this
voyage. He was returning from the Far East after securing white monkeys and
cobra snakes for zoological institutions in New York and Washington.
http://www.empressofasia.com/np_june21_1935.htm

I ordered a copy of his book.


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Old 06-03-2013, 07:24 PM   #6
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His grandson Clarke was a genius with food additives and an experienced world traveler...
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Old 06-08-2013, 09:53 AM   #7
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I managed to get an original library copy of Lawrence Griswold's book
"Tombs, Travel and Trouble" and read it.

It was written in the 1930's style of adventure books, somewhat similar
to Frank Buck's books which I have read, also some of Richard Halliburton.

Mr. Griswold always travelled with partners, a crew, and local men, never any women.

The book was about his adventures in locating lost cities in Central
and South America, living with the Amazon indians, exploring the Philippines,
then to the Dutch East Indies to capture Komodo Dragon lizards for a zoo in New York.
And he takes time off to hunt tigers.

He provides little details on his personal life except that he went to
Harvard University at some time.

He gives directions for shrinking heads and for capturing giant lizards.

He seems to be a "snake magnet", encountering various dangerous snakes
wherever he goes.

Illustrations from the book:


Introduction page


Komodo dragons


Shrunken heads

I can not find any information on Mr. Griswold after he published the book,
and very little before, including when or where he was born, where he grew up,
and if he is still around.

He does not cover this adventure in his book, but he went to China to look for Pandas
around the same time (1930's).

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Old 06-08-2013, 04:51 PM   #8
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Thanks WilliamBoyd8, nice pictures. I also found this article from the New Zealand national library website, it shows an extract from The Evening Post dated Saturday 13th August 1938.

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi...-1----0--&st=1

"IN STRANGE PLACES

Lawrence Griswold, the author of "Tombs, Travel and Trouble" (Robert Hale), has directed archaeological exploration in Africa, Tibet, Mexico, and Central America. He also conducted one of the few scientific expeditions to Komodo, that weird volcanic island in the Pacific, inhabited by fiesh-eating dragons and other prehistoric survivals. In his new and fascinating travel book he relates his adventures over a period of sixteen years'. He tells of lost cities in the jungle; of encounters with strange and savage peoples; of long-forgotten outcasts of civilisation "gone native"; of wild animals and reptiles. For thrilling reading, some of his chapters can rarely, if ever, have been surpassed in an account of personal experiences. There is his account of the journey to Komodo and his capture of live dragons there; his five days' drift in the Sulu Sea with twenty drunken Chinese and one pint of drinking water; and his life as a captive among the head-hunting jibaros. But the sustained excitement of adventures is not the only outstanding quality of this book, for the author writes of his exploits with such vividness, with such genuine humour and modesty, that his narrative is a real and continual delight to the reader."

Last edited by Matt R : 06-08-2013 at 04:57 PM.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:29 PM   #9
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Looks like he also wrote the following books, although detailed information is scarce...

The Other America. Puttnam & Sons, New York (1941). Topic - South America.

This Sword for Allah. Graphic Arts Press, Washington D. C (1952). Topic - Middle East, Palestine.

Pay Per Kill Arabs (trans from Arabic title ادفع دولارا تقتل عربيا shown on Google Books) (1954). Topic - Palestine.

Confusion in the Confetti Islands. (1972). No publisher details listed.
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Old 06-08-2013, 11:48 PM   #10
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He also appeared in advertisements for Camel cigarettes:

Deep in the jungle fastness of Central America amid the ruins of a lost city...
Lawrence T. K. Griswold right has headed expeditions to Tibet, Komodo,
the Amazon, and the lost cities of the ancient Mayas.
He lists Camels as one of the necessities on the trail.
"At best, eating in the jungle is no picnic," says Griswold.
"I've found that smoking Camels is an aid to my digestion.
Camels ease tension and give me a 'lift' in energy when I need it most."
http://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7q833mxb14/data/0292.pdf

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Old 06-12-2013, 06:08 PM   #11
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This looks familiar:
When I got clear there wasn't a man in sight. As I stood looking for one of the
foremen, another of the mestizos broke out of the forest to my left
about thirty feet away. Dressed only in cotton pants he carried his
machete threateningly and his expression was murderous. He loped toward
me, his body bent slightly forward and the long machete swinging easily
from his right hand.

Everything suddenly seemed perfectly simple.
I stood my ground, raised the revolver and shot him.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #12
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Chapter 5...Mutiny-and Sudden Death...shame about Gable!
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Old 04-03-2014, 01:35 PM   #13
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It's crazy that there's not alot of information about him. Now I want to find his books too...Matt R, thanks for bringing this to light.
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