Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box

Department of Anthropology



Included are photographs of human bones used in a Department of the Interior Cultural Resource Management Studies publication in 1980. Some show the results of proper excavation, one an example of trephination, and several are views of a Maryland ossuary.

DATES: No dates

QUANTITY: 11 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 92-36


The photographs were made in the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology Processing Lab during an observance to mark the change of the chairmanship from Ubelaker to Adrienne Kaeppler.

DATE: January 31, 1985

QUANTITY: 10 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 85-14

UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, Working Papers Concerning Review of Federal Agencies and Implementation of Archeological Salvage Laws

During the 1960s and 1970s, the federal government adopted several pieces of legislation concerning archeological sites. These included the Historic Preservation Act of 1966, National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Archeological and Historical Preservation Act of 1974, and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. In addition, the president issued Executive Order 11593, dated May 13, 1971, insuring that federal agencies would record, preserve, and maintain cultural materials found on federal lands. Despite these efforts, growing criticism that the laws were not working well developed among archeologists. A particular problem involved the New Melones Dam in California, a project whose start virtually coincided with the act of 1966.

In May 1979, because of this growing concern, the chairman of the House Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs requested the General Accounting Office (GAO) to look into the matter. The questions were whether archeological resources were adequately protected, whether the laws worked, where problems existed, and what approaches existed to resolve problems. The chairman requested a specific report on the New Melones project and a report on the general problem.

To carry out the investigation, selected GAO personnel from the Washington, San Francisco, Denver, and Atlanta offices formed a team, and each office received specific responsiblities. Archeologist Charles R. McGimsey III served as a consultant.

The general investigation dealt with the operations of historic preservation offices of California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Georgia and some states' water and transportation authorities. There was also concern with federal agencies and projects, including the Bureau of Land Management, Water and Power Resource Service, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Transportation, Corps of Engineers, Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Soil Conservation Service, Advisory Council on Preservation, Interagency Archeological Service, National Technical Information System, Tennessee Valley Tellico Project, and the National Register. Many federal archeologists and leaders of nonfederal archeological organizations were interviewed.

The San Francisco office conducted most of the New Melones investigation.

Included are transcripts and notes concerning interviews, letters, memoranda, policy statements, planning documents, model and sample forms, agreements concerning archeological work, copies of laws and regulations, budget material, charts, maps, photographs (mainly the New Melones project), archeological publications, newspaper clippings, tables of organization, and drafts reports. Most material is organized into bundles. Each bundle usually concerns general background, a particular agency, or GAO administration.

DATES: ca. 1974-1981 (most 1979-1980)

QUANTITY: ca. 3.7 linear meters (ca. 12 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Headquarters administrative material and draft reports; (2) headquarters bundles; (3) San Francisco office bundles; (4) Denver office bundles; (5) Atlanta office bundles; (6) archeological publications concerning California ("grey literature")


RESTRICTION: By agreement with the General Accounting Office, pertinent agencies must give approval before researchers are allowed to examine the documents. Researchers should contact the archives about this before a visit.


In 1862, during the Civil War, the Surgeon General established the United States Army Medical Museum (AMM; now the National Museum of Health and Medicine of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology). Its initial interest was morbid pathology, specimens coming from victims of the war. As the museum developed, its purposes expanded; and, around 1864, it had surgical, photographic, medical and microscopic sections. In 1867, it reorganized into medical, microscopical, anatomical, comparative anatomical, and miscellaneous sections.

Of special interest is the anatomical section, for it received specimens of normal human anatomy, including a growing collection of human skulls and other parts. Many specimens were from American Indians but also included were remains of Europeans, Africans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. The collection was intended for anthropological research.

The anatomical collection grew as the result of the Surgeon General's Circular No. 2 of 1867. It called on military medical officers to collect crania together with specimens of Indian weapons, dress, implements, diet, and medicines. Other specimens came from arangements with the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian agreed to transfer its collection of human remains, including future acquisitions, to the AMM. In return, the AMM agreed give the Smithsonian artifacts that came into its possession.

Among specimens the AMM thus acquired were items from the United States Exploring Expedition of 1838-1842 (also known as the Wilkes Expedition). Other official expeditions that contributed specimens were Ferdinand V. Hayden's United States Geological Survey of the Territories, George M. Wheeler's United States Army Geographical Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian, and John Wesley Powell's Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Regions. Also going to AMM were Smithsonian specimens gained by the Bureau of American Ethnology, including those from the survey of mounds east of the Rocky Mountains. Individual mound explorers, army personnel, medical officers, and private physicians contributed to the collection through donations to the Smithsonian or through direct gifts to the AMM.

Although several early AMM staff members--including George A. Otis, Washington Matthews, and Daniel S. Lamb--actively researched the anthropological collection, later curators had little interest in it. By the late 1890s, the collection was virtually unused. William Henry Holmes, the Smithsonian's head curator for anthropology noticed this and informally requested transfer of the specimens, especially the American Indian skulls, to the USNM. Eager to devote space to active collections, AMM officials agreed. An exchange of letters between the Surgeon General and the Secretary of the Smithsonian proposed and approved the proposal. In May, 1898, the AMM transferred 2206 skulls to the Smithsonian.

With the collection in hand, Holmes pursued a cherished plan to establish a division of physical anthropology in his department. With the great wave of immigration to America, imperialistic expansion abroad, and questions about race and mixtures of races scientifically current, he successfully argued the utility of physical studies of the American people. As a result, in 1903, Aleš Hrdlicka, a physician and physical anthropologist, became a USNM curator. Following Hrdlicka's appointment, a second major transfer of material was made in January, 1904. There were 674 items, including articulated skeletons, pelves, brains, and physical anthropology instruments.

List of collectors, donors, and correspondents

DATES: ca. 1868-1897

QUANTITY: 1.3 linear meters (4.33 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: In numerical order by AMM specimen number

FINDING AID: List with AMM number, specimen, tribal attribution, place, date, and notes.

RESTRICTION: Microfilm of the documents must be used.


The photographs were prepared under the supervision of John Shaw Billings and Washington Matthews. They represent attempts to find satisfactory methods of superimposing images of several skulls for comparative purposes. For a description of the techniques, see John Shaw Billings, "On Composite Photography as Applied to Craniology," Thirteenth Memoir, and Billings and Matthews, "On a New Cranophore for Use in Making Composite Photographs of Skulls," Fourteenth Memoir, Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 3, parts 1-2, 1884.

The publications indicate that there were six photographs for each group of skulls. It appears, then, that no set in this collection is complete. There are also entire sets missing, and there is duplication of photographs.

Captions include the museum number, tribal or racial identification, number of skulls included in the set, photograph number, negative number, and data on photographic technique. Billings' and Matthews' articles include further information on the camera and other equipment. Tribes or races represented are Apache, Arapaho, Arikara, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Dakota, Eskimo, Hawaiian, Negro, Paiute, Ponca, San Miguel and San Nicholas islands (California), White, and Wichita.

Related photographs are in the papers of Aleš Hrdlicka, the Portraits of Anthropologists (filed "Washington Matthews"), and US Army Medical Museum Photographs of Measuring and Photographing Skulls.

DATES: ca. 1884-1885

QUANTITY: 100 mounted prints



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 6A.


The collection includes prints related to the work of George A. Otis at the United States Army Medical Museum.

DATES: ca. 1877-1881

QUANTITY: 23 prints



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 6B.


The collection consists of 20.3x25.4- and 25.4x30.5-centimeter (8x10- and 10x12-inch) collodion negatives. The large ones are partially masked. The images are skulls of the United States Army Medical Museum collection. They mostly show American prehistoric and historic remains. Included are American Blacks, Chinook, Choptank, Dakota, Eskimo of Greenland, Formosans, Hawaiians, Hidatsa, Nisqually, Philippine peoples, Ponca, Potowatomi, Pueblo, Tonkawa, and Ute. Archeological specimens are from the Aleutian Islands, California, the Dakotas, England (Roman period), Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, Peru, Vancouver Island, and Vermont. Two images show the skull of Charles Julius Guiteau, the assassin of President James Garfield.

Other than tribe or location, data for the specimens include Army Medical Museum specimen number, AMM negative number, and sex. For some, there is also information about the status or physical condition of the individual or observations of medical conditions shown in the specimens. Some specimens were obtained after battles or executions and such data is noted. There are also notes identifying donors who included army officers, physicians, scientists, and explorers such as Ferdinand V. Hayden, Edward Palmer, Frederic W. Putnam, George Rolleston, Paul Schumacher, and many others.

Some photographs may have been part of the Army Medical Museum's program of distributing images of its specimens. Many examples of this can be found in the papers of Aleš Hrdlicka. See also the descriptions of other Army Medical Museum photographs in lots 6A and 6B (entries 92 and 93). Some negatives in this lot (73-16C) are, in fact, composites like the prints in lot 6A. The Smithsonian's Division of Physical Anthropology of the Department of Anthropology also has a series of stereographic views of Army Medical Museum skulls.

The Army Medical Museum physical anthropology collection was transferred to the United States National Museum during a period around 1900. It is likely that many specimens in these photographs are now in the Smithsonian's collection. Notes show, however, that the museum transferred certain specimens to individual scientists or scientific institutions before it sent the bulk to the United States National Museum.

The Army Medical Museum records concerning specimens transferred to the Smithsonian are described in a preceding entry.

DATES: Probably late 1870s and 1880s

QUANTITY: ca. 100 negatives



CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 73-26C.


The photographs are copy prints from United States Army Medical Museum photographs. Washington Matthews is among the subjects.

DATE: 1884-1885

QUANTITY: 19 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 78-42


The collection consists of negative images of bones with noteworthy features. They are from Operation Glory (see Thomas Dale Stewart Papers). T. Dale Stewart's notes identify the bones and say why the photographs were made.

DATES: No date

QUANTITY: 3859 negatives

ARRANGEMENT: Undetermined


CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 81-52


The photographs were part of a project directed by physical anthropologist Francis Eugene Randall (1914-1949), of the United States Army Quartermaster Climatic Research Laboratory. Approximately 100,000 subjects, including a few thousand women, were measured and a reported 39,376 subjects were photographed. Later, under contract with the Department of the Army, Earnest A. Hooton and others at Harvard University used the material to produce Body Build in Relation to Military Function in a Sample of the United States Army, 1948; Measurements of Body Build in a Sample of the United States Army, 1949, and Handbook of Body Types in the United States Army: White Males, 1951.

The images, almost all negatives, include nude full-body front, back, and side views of each man. A computer printout with measurements of the subjects is available. It provides information about length of service, marital status, race, military unit, rank, birthplace, father's birthplace, mother's birthplace, ethnic extraction, religion, education, civilian occupation (general), military occupation, total somatotype, head somatotype, thorax somatotype, abdominal somatotype, weight (sevenfold), arm somatotype, leg somatotype, age, weight, stature, stature (sevenfold), body build, body build (sevenfold), total somatotype with third component, cervical height, stature-cervical difference, sitting height, relaxed sitting height, torso length, chest breadth, chest depth, chest circumference, waist circumference, arm length, leg length, bidethigh circumference, midthigh circumference, calf circumference, chest breadth/sitting height; chest breadth/sitting height (sevenfold), hip circumference, surface area in square meters, and chest-waist drop. The whereabouts of the original data is not known. The subjects are not named.

DATE: 1945-1946

QUANTITY: Presumably 39,376 composite negatives, each with three views of the subject; seventeen bound volumes; and typescript key to the computer printout (in the first volume)

ARRANGEMENT: By induction center and then numerically


RESTRICTION: Consult the archives about restrictions.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 76-96


Most photographs are from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Sugar Expedition to the eastern half of New Guinea. The primary purpose was to collect varieties of sugar cane grown by the natives to use in producing disease-resistant strains for American growers. During the expedition, photographs were made for the National Geographic Society and specimens were collected for the Smithsonian Institution. E.W. Brandes led the expedition, which included R.K. Peck, Jacob Jeswiet, and, at times, a priest named Kirschbaum. All made photographs. Other images are copies from Frank Hurley, Pearls and Savages: Adventures in the Air, on Land and Sea--in New Guinea, New York, 1924. The Department of Agriculture made yet other photographs at installations where the sugar cane was grown.

The expedition visited native settlements near Port Moresby, along the upper Fly River and Lake Murray, on the Sepik River, and in northeastern New Guinea. The photographs include settlements, people (including Negritos), artifacts, agriculture (especially sugar cane), head dress, tattooing, members of the expedition, and their airplane.

Some photographs are in E.W. Brandes, "Into Primeval Papua by Seaplane," National Geographic Magazine, volume 56 (September, 1929), pages 253-332. A few also appear in E.W. Brandes and G.B. Sartoris, "Sugarcane: Its Origin and Improvement," in United States, Department of Agriculture, Yearbook, 1936, pages 561-623.

The Human Studies Film Archives received the collection with motion picture film and transferred the stills to the National Anthropological Archives.

DATES: Most 1928-1929

QUANTITY: 76 prints and 118 negatives

ARRANGEMENT: (1) General; (2) Jeswiet's photographs; (3) National Geographic pictures; (4) ethnographic specimens


RESTRICTION: The National Geographic photographs cannot be copied without permission of the National Geographic Society.

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 91-8


The American Indian Chicago Conference (originally called the American Indian Charter Convention) was organized by University of Chicago anthropologist Sol Tax. Tax's idea, announced at the 1960 National Congress of American Indians convention, was to bring representatives of American Indian groups together to prepare statements concerning the conditions and their people's needs. Tax took the role of coordinator to initiate developments, assure that all Indian groups were represented, serve as or find expert advisers, and publicize results to the public and to those who formulate Indian policy. The University of Chicago was the sponsor for the meeting. Nancy O. Lurie, of the University of Michigan, served as assistant coordinator.

Tax, assisted by the National Congress of American Indians, formulated and circulated a proposed statement that served as a point from which discussions developed. Tax also invited a small group of Indian leaders who served as a steering committee. This preliminary meeting arranged several regional conferences where discussions could prepare for a large meeting in Chicago in June 1961.

Representatives at the large conference presented a cross section of the American Indian community--urban Indians, traditional Indians, modern Indians, and Indians from both recognized and nonrecognized tribes. Many people attended the meeting, and 439 of these registered. The registered attenders represented seventy-nine tribes.

The outcome was the Declaration of Indian Purpose, a lengthy document that dealt with problems and proposed approaches to solutions. In general, the declaration called for directing "the responsibility of the United States toward the Indian people in terms of a positive national obligation to modify or remove the conditions which produce the poverty and lack of social adjustment as these prevail as the outstanding attributes of Indian life today."

The declaration was presented to President John F. Kennedy by representatives of American Indian tribes in September 1962

The records include a diary, announcements, minutes, correspondence, financial papers, registration materials, clippings, photographs, tape recordings, and printed and processed materials. Also included are several papers prepared for conference members.

Correspondents include Joan Ablon, Tom Bahti, Samuel A. Barrett, Ben Bearskin, Brewton Berry, Herbert Blatchford, Zara Ciscoe Brough, John J. Brown, John N. Burkhart, Herman E. Cameron, Wallace L. Chafe, Norman A. Chance, Henry P. Chandler, Cherokee Printing Project (with booklets in Cherokee), Thomas E. Connolly, Dibben J. Cook, James W. Couture, Dewey W. Dailey, B.W. Davis, Angie Debo, Ada Deer, Vine Deloria, Field Foundation, Ann Fischer, Jack D. Forbes, Svend Fredericksen, Richard M. Gaffney, Al Gandy, Harry T. Getty, Ray, C. Goetting, J. Nixon Hadley, Robert L. Hall, Odd S. Halseth, Theodore Brinton Hetzel, Marie Inez Hilger, Preston Holder, Alvin M. Josephy, W.W. Keeler, Oliver La Farge, Ed La Planat, Howard L. Le Hurreau, Miguel Leon-Portilla, Alexander Lesser, Jerrold E. Levy, Lightfoot Talking Eagle, Nancy Oestreich Lurie, Irene Mack, La Verne Madigan, Carling Malouf, Calvin W. McGhee, D'Arcy McNickle, Karl Menninger, Robert S. Merrill, Helen Parker Midgett, Ralph Nader, Philleo Nash, National Congress of American Indians, Kirkland Ossinach, William L. Paul, Sr., Helen Petersen, Phelps-Stokes Fund (Wilton Sterling Dillon), Earl Boyd Pierce, Peter John Powell, Sister Providencia, Carol K. Rachlin, John C. Rainer, William Rickard, Robert W. Rietz, Georgeann Robinson, Robert A. Roessel, Reynold J. Ruppé, Schwartzhaupt Foundation, Mary Sellers, Omer C. Stewart, William C. Sturtevant, Frank Takes Gun, Pat Talachy, Walter Taylor, Robert K. Thomas, Frank Tom-pee-saw, United States Government (Congressmen, Department of the Interior, and Bureau of Indian Affairs, including Sam J. Ervin, Jr.), Murray Wax, Earl Welch, Rachel Welch, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Clarence Wesley, Rex Whistler, Robert A. White, and Bob Yellowtail.

Among the records are materials that relate to the compilation of Bruce MacLachlan, Myron Rosenberg, and Sam Stanley's map "The North American Indian: The Present Day Distribution of Indians in the United States." Included are population figures and narratives by Tax.

DATES: 1960-1966

QUANTITY: ca. 2.3 linear meters (ca. 8 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: (1) Preparatory materials; (2) regional meetings;

(3) convention materials; (4) correspondence; (5) clippings; (6) logistical and financial records; (7) miscellany

FINDING AID: Draft register

CALL NUMBER: Manuscript 4806


During the late 1940s, the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation (Arikara, Hidatsa, and Mandan) failed in an attempt to prevent the federal government from taking over tribal lands for the proposed Garrison Dam and Reservoir. Certain private groups, led by Galen R. Weaver, of the American Missionary Society, were concerned about the difficulties of forced resettlement for the Indians. They formed a committee to consider what might be done. From this effort came a grant from the American Missionary Society to the University of Chicago to finance a study. For this, Sol Tax served as director and students from the University of Chicago did the field work. During 1950, Robert S. Merrill spent several months at Fort Berthold and prepared a report that contained recommendations. Another University of Chicago student, Robert Rietz, became a Bureau of Indian Affairs employee and stayed on at Fort Berthold as a "community analyst."

The records include diaries, correspondence, census data, genealogies, economic and social data, folklore, linguistic texts, government publications, council publications, and newspapers. Correspondents include Alfred W. Bowers, Edward M. Bruner, James E. Curry, Ben Riefel, Sol Tax, and Galen R. Weaver.

DATES: 1949-1953

QUANTITY: ca. 1.1 linear meters (ca. 4 linear feet)

ARRANGEMENT: Roughly arranged by type of material


CALL NUMBER: Manuscript 4805


The prints include M. Redea, Severo Arrow Bear, and Rob C. Richards.

DATE: Probably late 19th century

QUANTITY: 2 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 76-103


Around 1805-1813, James Vann, a white man living among the Cherokees near present-day Buford, Georgia, built the house. Around 1951, Joseph R. and Sheila Caldwell carried out a study that produced these photographs. Included are several exterior and interior views and photographs of a plan and an elevation.

A related report and set of the photographs are among the records of the River Basin Surveys, Washington Office, Correspondence with Cooperating or Concerned Agencies and Individuals, Georgia.

DATE: ca. 1951

QUANTITY: 9 prints and negatives

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 81K.


These are mostly nineteenth-century prints from the Glass Negative Collection. The archives apparently assembled this lot from duplicates among the collections. Several prints were for exhibit purposes. In addition, there are prints accessioned or cataloged by the United States National Museum Department of Anthropology.

The printmakers are unknown. They probably include Charles M. Bell, De Lancey W. Gill, John K. Hillers, and A. Zeno Shindler. These men, with William Henry Jackson, are also the main photographers who took the photographs. There are also a very few photographs (some copied from originals) by Baer, of Prescott, Arizona; Baker and Johnson; Christian Barthelmess; Bert Bell; Mathew B. Brady; N. Brown and Son; Henry Buehman; David Ives Bushnell, Jr.; C.W. Carter; William G. Chamberlain; W.R. Cross; Jeremiah Curtin, William Dinwiddie; Thomas M. Easterly; J.C. Elrod; A.W. Ericson; Camillus S. Fly; Alexander Gardner; Jeremiah Gurney; C.P. Harrison; O.C. Hastings; Heyn Photo Company; of Omaha; Aleš Hrdlicka; Hutchins (photographer of Comanches); G. Wharton James; Albert E. Jenks; Love, of Pawhuska, Oklahoma; W.E. Marckel; F.H. Maude; McClees and Germon; McEvoy (photographer of Bannocks); Edgar A. Mearns; Victor Mindeleff; James Mooney; S.G. Morse; William Notman; Timothy O'Sullivan; Parker, of San Diego; A. Frank Randall; Frank A. Rinehart; H.P. Robinson; Frank Russell; Savage and Ottinger; Wells M. Sawyer; Thomas W. Smillie; William Soule; Ulke Brothers, of Washington, D.C.; Julian Vannerson and Samuel A. Cohner, of the McClees Studio in Washington, D.C.; A. Clark Vroman; R.H. Wallis; Orloff Westmann; Joel E. Whitney; G. Ben Wittick; and Charles E. Woodruff.

Shindler hand-colored a few prints.

DATES: 19th century

QUANTITY: 2555 prints

ARRANGEMENT: By size and then by photographer and then by tribe.

FINDING AIDS: List, with index by negative number.


Besides the Crow Indian Joe Medicine Crow, the photographs show his mother Amy White Man Runs Him, David Medicine Crow, and Chester Medicine Crow. Two images show Viola, a Smithsonian historian. Some were taken at a Baptist encampment on the Crow Reservation.

DATES: 1988

QUANTITY: 11 prints

CALL NUMBER: Photo Lot 89-41

VIOLA, HERMAN JOSEPH (1938- ), Papers

Herman Joseph Viola (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1970) is a historian of the American Indian. Formerly a National Archives archivist and founding editor of Prologue: the Journal of the National Archives, he was the director of the National Anthropological Archives from 1972 to 1989. Afterwards he was the director of the National Museum of Natural History's Quincentenary Project for the observance of Columbus's arrival in the New World.

The papers resulted from Viola's research. For example, there are notes from library and archival sources concerning Indian delegations used in writing Diplomats in Buckskin: A History of Indian Delegations in Washington City (Smithsonian Press, 1981).

DATES: Mostly 1980-1981 (compilation)

QUANTITY: ca. 2.7 linear meters (ca. 9 linear feet)



RESTRICTION: Most of the collection is closed to researchers

Follow the NAAs & HSFAs on social media:

facebook youtubeitunesu


[ TOP ]