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ABBOTT, WILLIAM LOUIS (1860-1936), Collection

William L. Abbott studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and, after receiving an M.D., continued his training in London. Although a highly successful student, he seems never to have fully committed to medicine. Instead, around 1880, using his own resources, he turned to a life of exploration and the study of natural history.

Abbott's early expeditions began in the United States; but, in time, he went abroad at ever increasing distances, to the Greater Antilles, East Africa, Kashmir, and Turkistan. In 1896, he began work in Malaya and Indonesia that would largely occupy him until 1915. Using Singapore as a base, he sailed his ship, the Terrapin, to points on both coasts of the Malay Peninsula, Trang in Thailand, the Anambas Islands, the Mergui Archipelago, the Nicobars and Andamans, both coasts of Sumatra and the nearby islands (notably Nias, the Mentawai Islands, and Enggano), the Rhio Archipelago, and Borneo. On many voyages, he collected both biological and ethnological specimens and photographs. At times, however, he was accompanied by the Englishman Cecil Boden Kloss, who handled the ethnological work. Kloss retained his own notes and many of his photographs.

Abbott's work in 1916 and 1923 was in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Afterwards, he retired to a farm on the Elk River in Maryland.

Abbott has been described as one of the great field naturalists of all time simply for the quantity of material he collected. Virtually the only body of work he left is his large collection of specimens and the notes, letters, and photographs that relate to them. Although he contributed to the collections of several museums, the chief benefactor was the United States National Museum. Its staff and associates produced around forty publications based on his material. Abbott himself published very little.

The papers appear to have been brought together in the Smithsonian's Department of Anthropology to process ethnological specimens from Malaya and Indonesia and to prepare publications and an exhibit. Included are some of Abbott's original letters, notes, maps, and many photographs. Most of these materials concern the Enggano, Jakun, and Dyak. Many other documents are copies of or extracts from Abbott's letters. The originals are now in the Smithsonian Archives. There are a few manuscripts, many simple lists of accessions compiled in the Department of Anthropology, and letters and other materials of Otis T. Mason and Walter Hough accumulated as they worked on the collections. In addition, there are printed materials apparently used by the department's staff for reference purposes. Some photographs made in Borneo in 1914 are by Henry C. Raven, Abbott's field assistant and, later, an independent collector financed by Abbott.

Other than Kloss, Mason, and Hough, correspondents include J. Walter Fewkes, William H. Furness III, Alfred C. Haddon, Aleš Hrdlicka, Elmer D. Merrill, and William Palmer. None of the correspondence is extensive. Additional materials of Abbott and Raven are in the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and their materials (often duplicate photographs) are included in several collections in the National Anthropological Archives.

DATES: 1888-1919

QUANTITY: ca. 3.75 linear meters (9 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Correspondence, 1896-1919; (2) subject file, 1897-1914; (3) register of accessions, 1890-1906; (4) lists of objects by accession number and location; (5) lists of objects by type or geographic location; (6) drafts of unpublished articles, with working materials, n.d.; (7) printed material, 1888-1905; (8) photographic prints, n.d.; (9) photographic negatives, n.d.

FINDING AID: Judith Boruchoff, Register of the Papers of William Louis Abbott, National Anthropological Archives, 1986.


Hector Acebes, a native New Yorker and a 1947 graduate in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an industrial film maker with offices in New York, Madrid, and Bogota. He is also an explorer who photographed and filmed his expeditions in Africa and Venezuela (see NAA MS 4389). His adventures have appeared on television and in several books.

A set of 37 58x58-centimeter [20x20-inch] photographic prints show images of the French Sudan, Guinea, Togo, Dahomey, Cameroon, the Congo Republic, Belgian Congo, Ruanda, Kenya, and Tanganyika. Included are portraits of Kikuyu, Masai, Tusi dancers, Mangbetu, Garoua, Fulani, and Bassari.The prints were made for an exhibit.

Other sets, all ca. 28x35.5 centimeters (11x14 inches), include fourteen prints of Jivaro made in January, 1950; 24 prints on the Vaupés River, September, 1950; 28 prints made on a journey up the Orinoco to the Guaica, February, 1951; 23 prints of Arhuaco, 1958, and 26 prints of Yuco made in 1960. Also included is a photographs of the cover of Acebes' Orinoco Adventure, 1954, and coverage of his expeditions in Look, April 8, 1952, and Time (Latin American edition), December 24, 1951.

Many photographs are portraits, and many (except the Arhuaco) show body and face painting. Another general subject is housing. For some groups, there are photographs of fishing and hunting (Guaica); musical pipes (Guaica), a bridge, weaving, and bows and arrows (Arhuaco).

There are also photographs of expedition members, including Acebes.

DATES: 1949-1960

QUANTITY: ca. 162 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 94-28


Ahlborn is a cultural historian and curator in the Division of Community Life of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. The photographs were taken in Bagio, Banawe, and Bontoc and show Igorot and Ifugao subjects. The views include villages, houses, terraces, and religious figures.

DATE: 1958-1959

QUANTITY: 17 prints, 15 black and white negatives, and 4 thirty-five-millimeter color negatives

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 83-23

ALBERT, ETHEL MARY (1918-1989), Papers

Ethel Albert was trained at Brooklyn College, Columbia University, and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D. in philosophy, 1949). She taught philosophy at Brooklyn College (1946-1947) and Syracuse University (1949-1952); speech at the University of California at Berkeley, 1958-1966; and anthropology and speech at Northwestern University, 1966-1977. She was a research associate at the Harvard University Laboratory of Social Relations in 1953-1955.

As Albert's interests developed, she came to focus on ethics and values and approached them through ethnological studies. In 1953-1955, while a research associate with the Laboratory of Social Relations, Albert worked with the Navahos. As a Ford Foundation fellow in 1955-1957, she carried out an ethnographic study of the Rundi in central Africa.

For the Rundi, the papers comprise ethnographic material, including texts and biographies that served as major sources of data for Albert's work on values. For the Navaho, the papers include material relating to a study of values cited in Evon Vogt and Albert's People of Rimrock, 1967, but was never published. Another group of materials consists of manuscripts and notes relating to a study of fatalism for which Albert used a cross-cultural approach. The material from this and the study of the Navaho includes anthropological data used to illustrate Albert's ideas. Mainly, however, these notes and manuscripts serve to illustrate Albert's processes in developing ideas.

DATES: 1940s-1960s

QUANTITY: ca. 2.4 meters (ca. 8 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: Materials from the Rundi study, including (1) reports; (2) journals; (3) note; (4) rough ethnographic notes; (5) biographies; (6) material relating to Rundi texts; (7) photographic slides; other material, including (8) material relating to the study of values; (9) material relating to the study of fatalism; (10) miscellaneous notes; (11) unpublished writings; (12) published articles; (13) miscellany

FINDING AID: Draft series and folder list


Oscar T. Lewis collected the specimens on the southeast side of Shemya Island, Semichi Island Group, Aleutian Islands. The Air Force destroyed the site when it built a base. Included are bone, ivory, and stone tools and human skeletal remains. The objects are National Museum of Natural History accession 390,872.

DATE: 1940s

QUANTITY: 40 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 92-11


The color prints show a canoe with paddles built in 1940 by William Tennisco, of Calabogie, Ontario. Tennisco was a member of the Golden Lake Band. The canoe is accession 361,008, catalog 423,739, in the specimen collection of the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology.

DATE: No date

QUANTITY: 3 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 89-22


George V. Allen is a Lawrence, Kansas, attorney and collector of photographs. This collection of Western views--mainly stereographs but also cartes de visite and other styles of mounted prints, photogravures, lantern slides, autochromes, and glass negatives--was formed between the 1950s and 1980s.

Except that almost all photographs relate to American Indians and all relate to Indian or frontier themes, the collection is a random accumulation. Many images are portraits showing such well-known Indians as American Horse, Big Bow, Four Bears, Iron Bull, Ouray, Red Cloud, Red Dog, Red Shirt, Sitting Bull, Spotted Tail, Three Bears, and Two Guns White Calf. There are also photographs showing dwellings, transportation, totem poles, ceremonies, children, camps, towns, hunting and fishing scenes, wild west shows, food preparation, mortuary customs, delegations (including Sauk and Fox meeting Lewis V. Bogey and Charles E. Mix, Washington, D.C., 1867; Kiowas and Cheyennes at the White House, 1863; and Dakotas and Crows who visited President Warren G. Harding, 1921), and schools (Worcester Academy in Vinita, Oklahoma; Chilocco Indian School; Carlisle Indian Industrial School; Haskell Institute; and Albuquerque Indian School).

There are also a few archeological photographs including a pictograph of a bear on the Purgatoire River near Los Animas, Colorado; southwestern ruins; Snackwine's Grave Mound in Ohio; and the Essex Institute's excavation at Marblehead, Massachusetts, November, 1874). In addition, there are photographs that relate to expositions (Centennial Exposition, Philadelphia, 1876; World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, 1893; Louisiana Purchase Exposition, St. Louis, 1903; and Centennial Exposition of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1876). Additional images show prisoners from Indian Territory taken to Fort Marion, Florida in 1875; Dakota Indians involved in the Great Sioux Uprising in Minnesota; the Crook expedition of 1876; the Sanderson expedition to the Custer Battlefield in 1877; the Fort Laramie Peace Commission of 1868; the captivity of Sitting Bull and his followers after the Battle of the Little Big Horn; and the aftermath of the massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890.

Outstanding single views include the Zuni Indians led to the sea by Frank H. Cushing; Episcopal church, rectory, and school building, Yankton Agency; Matilda Coxe Stevenson and companion taking a photograph of a Zuni ceremony; John Moran sketching at Acoma; Ben H. Gurnsey's studio with Indian patrons; interior of the Denver Curiosity Store; Quapaw Mission; baptism of a group of Paiutes, Coeur d'Alene mission; Luther S. "Yellowstone" Kelly; U.S. court-martial commission involved with the trial of Colonel Joseph J. Reynolds, 1877; President Harding at Sitka, Alaska; Walter Hough at Hopi in 1902, and Mrs. J. Walter Fewkes at Hopi in 1897.

Tribes represented include Acoma, Apache, Arikara, Assiniboin, Bannock, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Chippewa, Choctaw, Cochiti, Comanche, Cree, Crow, Dakota, Diegueño, "Digger," Eskimo, Flathead, Gros Ventre, Haida, Havasupai, Hopi, Iroquois, Isleta, Kalispel, Kansa, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Kwakiutl, Laguna, Mandan, Maricopa, Micmac, Miwok, Modoc, Mohave, Navaho, Nez Perce, Nootka, Omaha, Osage, Paiute, Papago, Pawnee, Pima, Pomo, Potawatomi, Pueblo, Puyallup, Quapaw, Salish, San Felipe, Santa Clara, Santo Domingo, Sauk and Fox, Seminole, Shawnee, Shoshoni, Siwash, Tesuque, Tlingit, Taos, Tonkawa, Umatilla, Ute, Washo, Winnebago, Yavapai, Yuma Apache, and Zuni

List of photographers, publishers and distributors

DATES: ca. 1860s-1930s

QUANTITY: ca. 1500 items

ARRANGEMENT: Numerical order

FINDING AID: List by region and photographer keyed to photograph numbers.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 90-1


The print is an informal shot of J. Lawrence Angel, Bernice Chase, Angela Margola, Donald Ortner, Miroslav Prokopec, and Lucile E. St. Hoyme.

QUANTITY: 1 print



The American Anthropological Association was incorporated in Washington D.C. on March 26, 1902. This created a society "to promote the science of anthropology, to stimulate and coordinate the efforts of American anthropologists, to foster local and other societies devoted to anthropology, to serve as a bond of union among American anthropologists and anthropological organizations present and prospective, and to publish and encourage the publication of matter pertaining to anthropology." The act of incorporation furnished the AAA it first constitution. At its founding meeting in Pittsburgh on June 30, 1902, bylaws (styled a constitution) offered membership to all persons interested in anthropology. A council (called the board of managers in the act of incorporation) controlled the society's affairs, and an executive committee managed affairs during the council's adjournment. The general membership elected the officers.

The main AAA organ has been the American Anthropologist (AA), originally the publication of the Anthropological Society of Washington (ASW). Even after the Journal passed to the AAA, it continued for many years as the organ of the ASW, American Ethnological Society, and certain other anthropological societies. The AA served for scientific papers and, until the early 1950s, reports of its sponsoring organizations and anthropological news of general interest. The AAA series of Memoirs began in 1906. The series has appeared irregularly, originally as an independent publication and later as AA supplements.

In 1947, the AAA began issuing a newsletter. At first it appeared under the title News Bulletin and has had several names since--Bulletin, beginning in 1953; Fellow Newsletter/Bulletin and then Fellow Newsletter, 1960; and Newsletter, 1963. In 1974, expanding its purview to the entire discipline, it became the Anthropology Newsletter. It has become the main medium for reporting anthropological developments and AAA business. Since 1953, it has included the AAA annual report.

In 1911-1914, with the American Folklore Society, the AAA sponsored Current Anthropological Literature, a series devoted to bibliography. From the mid 1940s to the 1970s, the AAA joined the Linguistic Society of America in issuing the International Journal of Linguistics.

Other than publishing, a major AAA function has been its annual meeting. During its first several decades, membership was small so that it was highly important to hold meetings in conjunction with meetings of organizations with similar interests and, to a degree, common membership. The original constitution stressed meeting with Section H (Anthropology) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science whenever possible so that the interests of both organizations would be protected. The AAA found, however, that it could not follow the AAAS into the Midwest without suffering poor attendance. As a result, around 1913, the AAA adopted a policy of limiting meetings to the northeastern and Middle Atlantic states, giving favor to Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington. The policy was rescinded in 1929 and again in 1931. By that time, however, it had given rise to regional AAA branches--the Central States Branch (later the Central States Section and eventually the Central States Anthropological Society) in 1922 and the Western States Branch in 1929.

During its first decades, the AAA also undertook several common-interest projects such as standardizing nomenclature and a system of linguistic transcription. During the 1950s and 1960s, the special projects focused on establishing anthropology in secondary schools, curriculum development, anthropology in museums, employment, motion picture film, and the preservation of field notes.

In recent decades, the AAA has become increasingly concerned with government programs and activities. Providing precedence, the AAA regularly supported the priorities of science in relation to antiquities, from the adoption of the Federal Antiquities Act of 1906 through the era of state surveys and Tennessee Valley Authority archeological projects. Interest in government programs intensified during the late 1940s and 1950s as employment and much federal money became available through the Interagency Archeological and Paleontological Salvage Program, Point IV, National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The AAA has also attempted to fend off undue influences on research and what many members considered questionable applications of anthropology. Franz Boas's condemnation of the World War I use of anthropologists as spies provided precedence. More recent expressions have been a host of resolutions, much committee work, and occasional statements having to do with threats of nuclear holocaust, foreign adventures by the government, peace advocacy, protection of minorities and aboriginal peoples, human rights, and international cooperation. The total effect of this involvement has been seen by some as a revolution within the AAA as it developed from an organization primarily concerned with scientific knowledge to one that is, in addition, actively involved in lobbying and other efforts to influence the government.

From this need for influence has grown a great concern for the AAA to project a strong professional presence. This was the main reason behind 1946 constitutional changes that grouped professional anthropologists into a corps of fellows and giving them control of the AAA. It also led to the establishment of a part-time executive secretariat in 1947 and the progression to a full-time executive secretary (later executive director) based in Washington, D.C. To strengthen the discipline, this office became a center distributing information, compiling directories, holding meetings of a loose federal of anthropological societies, and extending business services to other anthropological organizations.

During the 1950s and early 1960s, anthropologists made an issue over government interference with academic freedom. During the 1960s, these protests became particularly strong because of the government's Operation Camelot. The project used social scientists in research considered threatening to Chilean political stability. It resulted not only in outrage from some but also the appointment of an ad hoc committee to examine questions of ethics. This was one the factors that led to the establishment of a code of ethics and a committee to resolve conflicts over conduct.

Developments during the 1980s include attempts more fully to involve younger, less-established members. Voting and office holding was extended beyond the class of fellows, and the AAA established committees to deal with special problems of women and minority members.

The year 1983 brought a crises over AAA arrangements to handle the business affairs of other anthropological organizations when the Internal Revenue Service declared it fell outside the scope of a tax exempt status. As a result, the AAA revised its constitution to become "a general membership organization consisting of divisions, sections, branches, and interest groups (referred to collectively as units)" governed by a board of directors with representatives from these several units and representing major subfields of anthropology or a general unit of members unaffiliated with any other unit. The units, however, retained their own officers, bylaws, and other elements that helped preserve their identities. In 1985, this led to the merger of the AAA with the AES, CSAS, Northeastern Anthropological Association, Society for the Anthropology of Visual Communication, Council on Anthropology and Education, Society for Latin American Anthropology, Society for Medical Anthropology, Society for Humanistic Anthropology, and Society for Psychological Anthropology. Other organizations that had a business relationship with the AAA declined the new arrangement. To include all major divisions of anthropology, new AAA divisions were created.

To promote anthropology and recognize outstanding anthropologists, the AAA offers several awards: the Alfred Vincent Kidder Award is for eminence in American archeology, especially in the Southwest or Middle America; the Distinguished Lecture Award, for intellectual contributions to the discipline; the Distinguished Service Award, for services and contributions to the discipline; the Margaret Mead Award (given jointly with the Society for Applied Anthropology), for young scholars for interpreting anthropological data for the public; the Anthropology in the Media Award, for public communication through the media; and the Edward J. Lehman Award, for demonstrating the relevance of anthropology to government, business, or industry.

The records consist mainly of accessions transferred from the Washington, D.C., office. The AAA has received the material in two ways. Some was accumulated naturally in the administrative offices in Washington during the course of business. This material is relatively complete. The exceptions are presidents' records, some presidents having transferred their files to the Washington office after retirement from their office while others have chosen not to do so.

Other material has a more difficult history. Some represents documents that, through the years, officers have passed to others and sometimes went from one storage place to another before deposit in the Washington office. This may explain the scantiness of records for certain periods (although researchers should also consider whether certain officers have simply retained materials among their own papers). Yet other material has been transferred from constituent AAA units as it existed in 1985. In a few cases, these materials predate the merger.

List of correspondents

DATES: ca. 1915-1984

QUANTITY: ca. 36 linear meters (ca. 120 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (The material is imperfectly arranged and only tentative series titles are provided.) (1) Presidents' correspondence, 1947-1960, 1965-1967; (2) auditors' reports, 1950-1967; (3) annual dues register, 1917; (4) checkbook, 1918-1919; (5) general file, ca. 1917-1967; (6) secretaries' correspondence, 1931-1949; (7) material concerning race; (8) visiting lecturer program; (9) material concerning grants, 1966-1971; (10) records concerning projects; 1968-1971; (11) records relating to the Committee on Ethics, 1965-1971; (12) records concerning Simon Fraser University, 1969-1972; (13) records concerning publications, 1959-1969; (14) records concerning government and other organizations, 1960-1972; (15) material concerning issues (problems); (16) records concerning employment (manpower working group and employment survey of departments of anthropology), 1971-1973; (17) newsletters; (18) executive board agenda and minutes, 1947-1971; (19) past president's files, 1968-1979; (20) officers' correspondence, 1915-1953; (21) resolutions, 1966-1982; (22) committees and special projects, 1920-1952; (23) relations with other organizations, 1964-1977; (24) materials relating to annual meetings, 1953-1975; (25) materials relating to the program committee, 1976, 1977, 1979; (26) records concerning publications, 1958-1980; (27) material concerning nominations, 1960-1979; (28) records concerning committees, conferences, and other special concerns, 1959-1974; (29) miscellany, ca. 1951-1968; (30) records concerning the Anthropology Curriculum Study Project; (31) records concerning the Southwestern Anthropological Association, 1969-1983; (32) records concerning the Council on Anthropology and Education, 1968-1975; (33) records concerning the Central States Anthropology Society, 1960-1968; (34) records concerning the Society for Medical Anthropology, 1967-1975; (35) records concerning Latin American policies regarding anthropological and archeological research, ca. 1975-1980; (36) financial records of the American Ethnological Society, 1916-1924); (37) financial records, 1966-1984; (38) additional unsorted records

FINDING AID: Kent Griffiths, Register to the Records of the American Anthropological Association, National Anthropological Archives, 1998.

RESTRICTION: Access to records less than ten years old requires the permission of the AAA through its executive director.

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