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STEWART, THOMAS DALE (1901-1997), Papers

T. Dale Stewart attended the George Washington University (A.B., 1927) and Johns Hopkins University (M.D., 1931). He received an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Cuzco in 1949.

In 1924, Stewart started at the Smithsonian's Division of Physical Anthropology working under Aleš Hrdlicka. He became an aid in 1927, an assistant curator in 1931, and curator of physical anthropology in 1942. In 1961, he was appointed head curator of the Department of Anthropology, and in 1962, he became the director of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. In 1966, he was named senior scientist in the department of anthropology. He retired in 1971, becoming anthropologist emeritus. Stewart was a visting professor of anatomy at Washington University in St. Louis in 1943 and visiting professor of physical anthropology at the Escuela Nacional d'Antropologia in Mexico in 1945. He was a lecturer in anatomy at George Washington University in 1958-1967.

Stewart described his chief interests in anthropology--anthropometry, early man, and forensic anthropology--as being determined by Aleš Hrdlicka, in whose footsteps he followed. Anthropometry showed up in a great deal of his work. In 1952, he edited the fourth edition of Hrdlicka's Anthropometry. His interest in early man in American is reflected in his revision Hrdlicka's strong views that man is a recent arrival in the Americas. He believed that the Melbourne skull from Florida was older than Hrdlicka thought. He was the first to describe Tepexpan Man from Mexico and Midland Man from Texas. He also studied the remains of Neanderthal men that Ralph S. Solecki, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, had undercovered at Shanidar Cave in Iraq. In forensic work, as Hrdlicka's heir, Stewart assumed work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officials. Moreover, Stewart devised new methods and published books and articles concerning forensic work, including his Essentials of Forensic Anthropology. In closely related work during 1954-1955, the United States Army engaged Stewart to go to Japan to examine skeletal remains repatriated by North Vietnam.

In areal specialization, Stewart was essentially an Americanist. In North America, he worked in Alaska with Henry B. Collins in 1927, and in subsequent years he excavated several ossuaries and other sites in the Washington, D.C., vicinity. These included a site on Potomac Creek in Virginia, Piscataway sites in Maryland, and the Townsend site in Delaware. He also carried out laboratory studies and prepared reports on skeletal remains uncovered by Smithsonian colleagues. Moreover, he had the great collection of skeletal materials, mainly American, at the Smithsonian with which to work. Stewart also did field work in Mexico in 1939 and 1945, in Guatemala in 1947 and 1949 (cases in which he studied not only skeletal material but also living Maya), and and in Peru 1941 and 1949.

In 1938-1960, Stewart was a contributing editor of the Handbook of Latin American Studies. He was the president of the Anthropological Society of Washington in 1944-1946, of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in 1951-1952, and the American Institution of Human Paleontology in 1955-1962. He was editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in 1943-1948 and secretary-treasurer of the AAPA in 1960-1964. In 1962, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Viking Medal in Physical Anthropology in 1953, the Joseph Henry Medal of the Smithsonian Institution in 1967, and an award from the physical anthropology section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in 1981.

The papers largely concern the Stewart's life as a researcher. They consist mainly of a large amount of correspondence and a large file of dossiers based on his publications, appearances at professional meeting, and unreported research projects. Into this file he placed related travel papers, correspondence, notes, illustrations, and other such materials.

List of correspondents


QUANTITY: 10.25 linear meters (35.5 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Biographical material and newspaper clippings; (2) correspondence, 1935-1972; (3) correspondence, 1949-1990 (most 1962-1985); (4) research material, papers, and publications; (5) organizations; (6) exhibits, 1960s; (7) George Washington University teaching materials; (8) trip files; (9) publications; (10) printed and processed material; (11) photographs



In 1947, Smithsonian physical anthropologist T. Dale Stewart began a program of cooperation with Carnegie Institution of Washington anthropologists and Guatemalan scientists. Sponsored by the United States Department of States, the project was designed to promote relations between scientists of the Western Hemisphere. Stewart's activities involved a physical anthropological study of highland and lowland Mayans and the study of remains at highland archeological sites. The photographs are views made of structures at Uxmal and Chichén Ítza. Also included are photographs of Stewart and his family. In addition, there are lists of captions for a 1949 trip to Peru, but the photographs are not included.

DATE: 1947-1949

QUANTITY: ca. 50 items



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 81-59


The collection consists of prints and negatives copied from originals at the St. Francis Indian Mission in St. Francis, South Dakota. Father Eugene Buechel, a Jesuit at St. Francis and Holy Rosary missions, took many of them. In 1922, Buechel started making photographs at the mission and in the surrounding countryside and continued the work into the 1940s. The photographs captured Dakota Indian and mission life.

DATES: 1920s-1940s

QUANTITY: ca. 4200 items


FINDING AID: Reference prints

RESTRICTION: The collection has been obtained largely for reference purposes. Copies can be furnished only with permission of the St. Francis Indian Mission.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 74-10


Included are views of excavations at Safety Harbor, Florida, in 1930; Powell Farm, Fairmont, Illinois, in 1931; and Canaveral, Florida, in 1932.

QUANTITY: 53 snapshot prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 86-55


Matthew W. Stirling attended the University of California (B.A., 1920) and George Washington University (M.A., 1922). He received a D.Sc. from Tampa University in 1943.

In 1920-1921, Stirling was a teaching fellow at the University of California. In 1921-1924, he was a museum aid and assistant curator in the Smithsonian Institution's Division of Ethnology. After an absence from the Smithsonian staff, he became the chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1928. He continued in the position until 1957, his title changing to director in 1947. After his retirement, Stirling was a Smithsonian research associate, a National Park Service collaborator, and a Committee on Research and Exploration member for the National Geographic Society.

Besides his career as an administrator, Stirling was an active field worker. His efforts, while touched with romantic impulses, sometimes had remarkable scientific significance. On his first effort, in 1922, he explored the cave country of France by bicycle. In Florida during the winters of 1923 and 1924, he began scientific work, excavating on Weeden Island for Bureau of American Ethnology Chief J. Walter Fewkes. During the 1930s, he returned to the South working along the Gulf Coast and directing Civil Works Administration archeology in Florida and Georgia. In the summer of 1924, he was at Mobridge, South Dakota, excavating historic Arikara villages.

In 1925, having resigned from the Smithsonian, Stirling led the Smithsonian Institution-Dutch Colonial Government expedition to the interior of New Guinea and did ethnological and physical anthropological studies among Negritos. He also collected natural history specimens. In New Guinea, Stirling used an airplane, shot a considerable amount of motion picture film (now in the Human Studies Film Archives), and gathered many anthropological specimens. These were outstanding features of his work.

In 1924, Stirling first ventured into Latin America by exploring the upper Amazon in Campa territory and collecting textiles. In 1931-1932, he was a member of Donald C. Beatty's Latin-American Expedition (see Numbered Manuscripts) and did ethnological work among the Jivaro of Ecuador. Next Stirling turned to Central America. Having visited Copán and Quiriguá and heard reports of extensive ruins in southern Veracruz, he secured funding from the National Geographic Society and, between 1938 and 1946, explored Tres Zapotes, Cerro de las Mesas, La Venta, and San Lorenzo. Not only did he identify Olmec culture, he also dated it as the precursor of other Mesoamerican cultures, including the Mayan. From 1948 to 1954, he turned to work in Panama, Ecuador, and Costa Rica in a search for links between Mesoamerican and South American cultures.

Stirling was president of the Anthropological Society of Washington in 1934-1935 and vice president of the American Anthropological Association in 1935-1936. In 1939, 1941, and 1958, he received the National Geographic Society's Franklyn L. Burr Award for meritorious service in geographic work.

Stirling married Marion Illig in 1933. She came to share in much of his work.

The Stirling collection largely concerns the New Guinea expedition. In addition, there are photographs of the Jivaro, Cuna, and Choco and archeological work in Veracruz. Additional material relating to Stirling's career, particularly his work in Florida and Latin America, are in the series of Numbered Manuscripts and among the Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology.

DATES: 1918-1975

QUANTITY: ca. 3.5 linear meters (ca. 11 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Journals and reports; (2) clippings; (3) correspondence; (4) maps; (5) ephemera; (6) miscellany; photographs, including (7) New Guinea lantern slides; (8) New Guinea prints; (9) New Guinea negatives; (10) Jivaro lantern slides; (11) San Blas (Cuna) prints; (12) San Blas negatives; (13) Choco lantern slides; (14) Mexican lantern slides (La Venta, Tres Zapotes, Cerro de las Mesas).

FINDING AID: Register by Paula R. Fleming

STRONG, WILLIAM DUNCAN (1899-1962), Papers

As a youth, William Duncan Strong's chief academic interest was in natural science, especially zoology. His father's concern with Indians of Oregon, however, possibly predisposed him to an interest in Native Americans. While he was an undergraduate at the University of California, Alfred L. Kroeber's influence redirected his studies to anthropology. Under Kroeber, Strong worked on Max Uhle's Peruvian archeological collections.

While continuing his education, Strong served as a university research assistant in anthropology and carried out considerable field work. In the winter of 1923-1924, he undertook archeological investigations in the southern San Joaquin Valley of California under Edwin W. Gifford. Under Kroeber in 1924-1925, he studied the political, ceremonial, and territorial organization of the Serrano, Cahuilla, Cupeño, and Luiseño of Riverside and San Diego counties in California. Strong also carried out archeological surveys and excavations in the middle Columbia River Valley in Oregon and Washington. Exceptional work came in 1925 when Strong collected faunal specimens on an expedition to Baja California under Schenck.

In 1926-1929, Strong served as assistant curator in ethnology and archeology at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. In 1927-1928, he became the anthropologist on the Rawson-MacMillan Subarctic Expedition to do ethnological, historical, archeological, and physical anthropological research on the Nascapis and Eskimos of Labrador and on Baffin Island.

While he was a professor at the University of Nebraska and director of the University of Nebraska Archeological Survey, Strong entered an area of research for which he would become widely known. This was the archeology of the Great Plains, a region that had been but little explored by archeologists. Strong's work helped correct misconceptions about prehistoric settlement of the region and made it an area of interest to archeologists. In this work, Strong also developed the direct historical method for interpreting archeological data.

His field work in the Plains included several seasons and extended through his appointment at Nebraska, his employment by the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology, and a professorship at Columbia University from 1937 to 1962. His field work included the 1931 Morrill expedition to survey sites in central and eastern Nebraska and South Dakota and 1931 and 1932 excavations at Signal Butte in Nebraska. During the same period he also excavated the Leavenworth (Lewis and Clark) and Rygh village sites in South Dakota. In addition, he carried out ethnological investigations of Arikaras living at Nishu, North Dakota. In 1938, he directed excavations at the Old Fort Abraham Lincoln village site in North Dakota.

In 1933-1934, Strong returned led a Smithsonian expedition supported by the Civil Works Administration. The area of interest was the southern San Joaquin Valley. There, assisted by Winslow M. Walker and Waldo R. Wedel, Strong directed excavations at Tulamniu, a Yokuts village, and carried out an archeological survey of the eastern Chumash area.

In 1933, Strong surveyed northeastern Honduras, especially along the Patuca River. He also carried out archeological work on Bay Island and ethnological investigations of the Sumu Indians. In 1936, he led a second expedition to Honduras sponsored jointly by the Smithsonian and Harvard University. Alfred V. Kidder II and Drexel A. Paul, Jr, joined him in this work. The expedition concentrated on the northwestern part of Honduras, particularly at Naco and other sites in the Chamelicon Valley.

Beginning in 1940 and continuing through much of his life, Strong was active in Peruvian archeology. In 1940, he carried out a broad archeological survey of sites. In 1941-1942, he concentrated his work on the Pachacamac Valley. In 1946, as part of a large and multifaceted project to explore the history and ecology of the Virú Valley, he conducted investigations concerned with cultural stratigraphy with the assistance of Clifford Evans. In 1942-1953, he led an expedition to the Nasca and Ica valleys.

In 1935, while on the Bureau of American Ethnology staff, he was detailed as an anthropological consultant to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. From 1942 to 1944, he was director of the Ethnogeographic Board, an organization jointly sponsored by the Smithsonian, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, and National Research Council to serve as liaison between war agencies and the academic community knowledgeable about human and natural resources. In 1934, Strong became a trustee of the Laboratory of Anthropology at Santa Fe, and he eventually became a research associate of the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Pennsylvania University Museum. He was a member of the National Research Council Division of Anthropology and Psychology and a member of the Institute of Andean Research.

In 1937-1938, Strong was vice president of the American Anthropological Association and, beginning in 1937, chairman of the National Research Council Committee on Basic Needs in American Archeology that was originally concerned with the quality of Work Projects Administration archeology. In 1946, he became the National Research Council liaison member of the Committee for the Recovery of Archaeological Remains, the support group for salvage archeology in areas to be inundated by the construction of federal dams (see Frederick Johnson Papers). In 1940, he became a member of the National Research Council Committee on War Services of Anthropology and, in 1941, chairman of Section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1941-1942, he was president of the American Ethnological Society, and, in 1946, president of the Institute of Andean Research. In 1948-1949, he was chairman of the anthropological section of the New York Academy of Science. In 1955-1956, he served as president of the Society for American Archaeology. Among his honors was appointment as Loubat Professor of American Archaeology at Columbia University and receipt of the Viking Fund Medal in 1954.

Strong's papers appear to cover a great deal of his professional career, especially the field work. There seems, however, to be little or nothing about his work on the Uhle collection or work carried out while he was with the Field Museum other than the research in Labrador. Some early work is represented by photographs only.

The original negatives made in Labrador are at the Field Museum in Chicago. The prints include information not on the negatives. Material concerning Strong's 1933-1934 work in the southern San Joaquin Valley (Kern County, California) is described in the entry for the Tulamniu Project. Material relating to work with the Ethnogeographic Board is in the records in the Smithsonian Archives. Some material relating to his Bureau of American Ethnology work is among the records of the bureau, including correspondence filed under the term "Virú Valley." Photographs made in the Santa Barbara Mountains along the Sisquoc River in 1934 and a journal concerning the 1936 trip to Honduras are included in the series of Numbered Manuscripts.

The correspondence in these papers is largely concerned with the period after Strong's appointment to the anthropology faculty at Columbia University. He was department chairman for several years, and some letters concern its administration. The papers also include a considerable amount of material that related to Strong's classroom teaching. These include lecture notes and students' papers. One of the information files consists largely of notes and clippings that apparently relate to courses in the history of American archeology and to Strong's general interest in the history of anthropology.

List of correspondents

DATES: 1924-1962

QUANTITY: ca. 9.5 linear meters (ca. 31 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Miscellaneous personal papers, 1915-1963; (2) correspondence, 1922-1965; (3) teaching materials and course work, 1928-1961; (4) field work, 1921-1963; (5) manuscripts of writings, 1922-1962; (6) writings by other authors, 1902-1961; (7) miscellaneous research notes; 1917-1960; (8) papers relating to organizations, 1926-1961; (9) maps and charts, 1902-1949; (10) miscellany, 1902-1961; (11) photographs

FINDING AID: Robert Lynn Montgomery, Register to the Papers of William Duncan Strong. National Anthropological Archives, 1996.


The black-and-white lantern slides are by an ethnologist and specialist in Southeastern Indians who worked for the Bureau of American Ethnology between 1900 and 1944. Included are portraits, dwellings, other structures, artifacts, maps, plans of square grounds, linguistic tables, a few games, dances, and views. Tribes included are Alibamu, Catawba, Choctaw, Creek, Hitchiti, Houma, Natchez, and Seminole. The original negatives are available, and file prints are available in the reference print file.

For papers of Swanton, see material in the series of Numbered Manuscripts.

DATES: No date (probably ca 1900-1930)

QUANTITY: 172 slides


FINDING AID: None (But see the list of Swanton photographs of southeastern Indians in the reference file prints.)

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 76

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