Robert E. Pearlman

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Robert E. Pearlman
L to R: Karol L. Rose, Robert E. Pearlman are standing in front of a sunset sky and a body of water, with a green lawn visible in the near distance. They have a grey porch wall behind them and they are holding beverages.
L to R: Karol L. Rose, Robert E. Pearlman
Born(1939-09-16)September 16, 1939
DiedFebruary 11, 2021(2021-02-11) (aged 81)
Occupation(s)graphic designer, advertising executive, explorer, and author
Years active1957-2021
Known forResearch and exploration with the Maasai
Notable workThe Maasai Mara Expeditions

Robert Eugene Pearlman (September 16, 1939 – February 11, 2021) was an American explorer, graphic designer, author and publisher. He was primarily known for his work with the Maasai people of Kenya, where he conducted several cultural outreach expeditions in the late 20th and early 21st century.[1][2] He was a board member of The Explorers Club and a 1998 recipient of the club's Sweeney Medal.[3]


Pearlman was born on September 16, 1939, in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. He graduated high school in 1957 in Carmel, New York.[4][5]

In 1970 Pearlman collaborated with his first wife Ruth (née Himelfarb) on a cookbook[6] for homemade infant food.[7] Ruth Pearlman (later Ruth Sember; she and Pearlman divorced in 1975) received her doctorate from Columbia University and went on to a career as a physicist and later a financial advisor before her death in June 2014.[8][9] Their son Scott A. Pearlman, also a member of the Explorers Club, died in 1997;[10] the Scott Pearlman Field Awards of the club are named in his honor.

Pearlman's early career included work as a medical illustrator and as a documentary filmmaker for LIFE magazine. After moving to Italy in the late 1960s (to go scuba diving), he returned to New York City in the early 1970s and was a founding partner of the Cavalieri Kleier Pearlman advertising agency.[11]

Pearlman's second marriage to the former Gail Ash also ended in divorce. His third wife Karol Rose[12] is the author of several books on work-life effectiveness and employee benefit programs.[13][14]

Pearlman served as the director of marketing communications for Hadassah before his retirement.[15] He was a past director of the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation.

Pearlman lived on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.[5][16] He died of complications from lung cancer in San Miguel on February 11, 2021.


In 1973, Pearlman embarked on his first solo expedition to Kenya, learning the Maa language and living with the Maasai. This initial contact later grew into the Maasai Mara Expeditions.[1]

In 1984, he received a Lindbergh Foundation grant for intercultural communications for a project titled "Learning How the Maasai See". The Maasai Mara Expeditions, organized and led by Mr. Pearlman in 1981-85, were a flag expedition of The Explorer's Club. Parts of the expedition were filmed by British television for inclusion in a 13-part series titled Village Earth,[17] which aired on ITV in April 1983.[18] The Maasai segment was later aired in the United States on the Discovery Channel.

In 1989-91, Pearlman worked as a USAID consultant for the government of Botswana, and from 1984 to 1989, he was a member of Yale University's Council Committee for the Peabody Museum of Natural History. He also coordinated the 1981 youth essay contest at The Planetary Society's Planetfest '81 celebration; 25 essay winners joined Carl Sagan, Ray Bradbury, Gene Roddenberry and more to witness the Voyager encounter with Saturn at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.[19] He produced pro bono marketing materials for The Cousteau Society for five years, and he was also a member of an Explorers Club sponsored Whale Rescue Expedition to Baja, Mexico, to test equipment for marine mammal strandings.[5]

From 1999 to 2003, he organized and led a series of expeditions to document Floppy/Flaccid Trunk Syndrome, a mysterious disease that causes paralysis in African elephants.[20]

In 2004, Pearlman co-founded (with Charles F. Brush III) the Maasai Oral Histories project, creating field recordings of the Maasai and collaborating with educators to expand awareness of traditional Maa language and culture.[21]


Feeding Your Baby, the Safe and Healthy Way, co-author, Random House, 1972.[6]

Loews Monte Carlo Casino Guide to Gambling, Monaco, 1975

Yugoslavia: At the center of the cosmos, Town & Country Magazine. July 1979

Maasai Language and Symbols: Keys for Survival, 1981 Rolex Spirit of Enterprise, Page 312

The Last Manyatta, The Explorers Journal, Volume 62, Number 1, 1984, Page 19[22]

The Maasai Mara Expeditions, Communicating with an Endangered Culture, The Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, December,1987 Volume 77, Number 4, Page 141.[1]

Botswana: A strategic Investment Opportunity, USAID, 1990

What's Killing the Wild Elephants of Africa, Explorers Journal, Volume 79, Number 2, Page 24[23]

Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives, by Jason Schoonover, 2007. Rocky Mountain Press.[5]

Work/Life Effectiveness, 1983 (as publisher)

The Explorers Journal, 1983–84 (as publisher)

Pearlman is profiled in Jason Schoonover's book Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives.[5]

Explorers with the same name[edit]

The founder of the collectSPACE website is also a well-known explorer and Lindbergh Foundation collaborator named Robert Pearlman, but they are not the same person. The space journalist is Robert Zane Pearlman and the Maasai Mara expedition leader was Robert Eugene Pearlman.


  1. ^ a b c Pearlman, Robert (1987). ""Communicating with an Endangered Culture: The Maasai Mara Expeditions"". Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences. 77 (4): 141–145. ISSN 0043-0439. JSTOR 24536718.
  2. ^ "Maasai Visitor: Regina Nakola Speaks History to Save Tribe". The Vineyard Gazette - Martha's Vineyard News. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  3. ^ "The Explorers Club -". Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  4. ^ " High School Yearbooks". Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  5. ^ a b c d e Adventurous dreams, adventurous lives. Schoonover, Jason. Vancouver: Rocky Mountain Books. 2007. ISBN 978-1-894765-91-6. OCLC 144602053.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ a b Pearlman, Ruth (1972). Feeding your baby the safe and healthy way. New York, NY: Random House. ISBN 0-394-46246-7. OCLC 227059.
  7. ^ Brozan, Nadine (1972-08-30). "Prepared Baby Food Is Convenient, but Is It Best for the Child? (Published 1972)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  8. ^ "Diane Gutwillig and Scott Pearlman Are Wed (Published 1985)". The New York Times. 1985-09-16. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  9. ^ "Ruth Sember Obituary (2014) - Public Opinion". Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  10. ^ "Scott Anthony Pearlman b. 7 Dec 1958 Chambersburg, Franklin, Pennsylvania, United States d. 29 Oct 1997 Texas, United States: Himelfarb Family Tree". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  11. ^ "Advertising (Published 1978)". The New York Times. 1978-05-30. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  12. ^ "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Ashley Pearlman, David Desjardins (Published 2004)". The New York Times. 2004-02-08. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  13. ^ ThriftBooks. "Karol Rose Books | List of books by author Karol Rose". ThriftBooks. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  14. ^ "Karol Rose on Workplace Flexibility | The Takeaway". WNYC Studios. Retrieved 2021-01-24.
  15. ^ "WEDDINGS; Ms. Hoover And Mr. Rose (Published 1999)". The New York Times. 1999-07-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  16. ^ "The Covid-19 International Oral Histories Project". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  17. ^ "Village Earth[11/04/83] (1983)". BFI. Retrieved 2021-02-02.[dead link]
  18. ^ "Sign In to The Times & The Sunday Times". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  19. ^ "Return to the Rings". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  20. ^ "The Floppy Trunk Expeditions". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  21. ^ "Maasai Oral Histories Project | The Team". 2016-04-01. Archived from the original on 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  22. ^ Pearlman, Robert (1984). "The Last Manyatta". The Explorers Journal. 62 (1): 19.
  23. ^ Pearlman, Robert. "What's Killing the Wild Elephants of Africa". Explorers Journal. 79: 24.

External links[edit]