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Department of Anthropology

Shoe-shine boys, Soweto, South Africa

These youths from Soweto appear in "South Africa," a travelogue by Thayer Soule, 1950 (91.20.24). One of hundreds of film collections that are now part of the National Anthropological Archives.






Alice Fletcher

Alice Cunningham Fletcher






Roucouyenne from French Guiana. Photographed by Hassoldt Davis, circa 1947. Hassoldt Davis Collection (94.8.2).






Rainbow dancer. Photograph by Anne Hansen, 1947

"Rainbow Dancer," Gallup, New Mexico, August 1943. Photograph by Anne Hansen

Human Studies Film Archives Joins NAA

The HSFA joined the National Anthropological Archives in April, adding three staff members and more than 8 million feet of ethnographic film and video to its collections. The merger will make it easier than ever for researchers to locate materials, visit collections and order reproductions of archival materials.

The Human Studies Film Archives was founded in 1975 as the National Anthropological Film Center through the efforts of a passionately committed group of anthropologists and filmmakers – including Margaret Mead, Sol Worth, Walter Goldschmidt, John Adair, Timothy Asch, Jay Ruby, Karl Heider and John Marshall – who actively promoted the use of film in anthropological research and teaching. During its first six years of operation as an independent Smithsonian program, the film center launched a vigorous acquisitions and preservation program and produced over over a half-million feet of anthropological research film. In 1981, the film center joined the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History and was renamed the Human Studies Film Archives. To some, it seemed inevitable that these two premier anthropological collections would one day pool their resources.

The physical incorporation of the film archives will take place later this year, when the National Anthropological Archives moves to the Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland.

NAA Awarded Getty Grant

The National Anthropological Archives has received a $140,000 Conservation Treatment and Research grant from the Getty Grant Program for the conservation of works of art on paper. The Getty Grant is a matching award for the $228,664 award the archives received last June from the White House Millennium Council's Save America's Treasures program.

Alice C. Fletcher and Francis la Flesche Finding Aid Available

Intern Joy Rohde has completed a thoroughly revised Register to the Papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche. The collection reflects the professional lives of Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939 and include correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.

New Collections

The NAA has received the papers of Roy A. Rappaport (1926-1997) relating to his tenure as president of the American Anthropological Association. Rappaport was a distinguished scholar who specialized in the study of religion, in particular the relationship between religion, society and ecology. His books include Pigs for the Ancestors: Ritual in the Ecology of a New Guinea People (Yale, 1968) and Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity (Cambridge, 1999), which was lauded as a "milestone in the anthropology of religion."

Roy Abraham "Skip" Rappaport received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1966 and taught at the University of Michigan, where he was Walgreen Professor for the Study of Human Understanding and director of the Studies in Religion program. His academic honors include election to both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. An obituary appeared Anthropology News (December 1997).

Rappaport's professional papers are divided among three archives. His Maring (New Guinea) fieldnotes are located in the Melanesian Archive at University of California at San Diego, while his professional papers, course materials and files pertaining to environmental projects (notably his involvement in nuclear-waste issues in Yucca Mountain, Nevada) have been placed in the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan.

Other past presidents of the American Anthropological Association whose presidential papers, fieldnotes and photographs are housed in the NAA include:

Franz Boas (1907-08) Fred R. Eggan (1953)
W.H. Holmes (1909-10) John O. Brew (1954)
W. Jesse Fewkes (1911-12) George P. Murdock (1955)
Frederick W. Hodge (1915-16) Emil W. Haury (1956)
Walter Hough (1923-24) E. Adamson Hoebel (1957)
Ales Hrdlicka (1925-26) Harry Hoijer (1958)
John R. Swanton (1932) Sol Tax (1959)
John M. Cooper (1940) Margaret Mead (1960)
Neil M. Judd (1945) Leslie A. White (1964)
Clyde Kluckholn (1947) Alexander Spoehr (1965)
Harry L. Shapiro (1948) John P. Gillin (1966)
A. Irving Hallowell (1949) Frederica de Laguna (1967)
Ralph L. Beals (1950) William C. Sturtevant (1981)
W.W. Howells (1951) Nancy O. Lurie (1984-85)
Wendell C. Bennett (1952)


The NAA is the official repository for the records of the AAA, the American Ethnological Society, the Central States Anthropological Association, the Council for Museum Anthropology, the Society for Medical Anthropology, the Society for Visual Anthropology and more than 20 other national anthropological associations. The NAA is eager to hear from all past officers of these associations.

New film collections

of interest include the outtakes from and associated historical films used in the production of the 1986 film A $10 Horse and a $40 Saddle by graphic designer and filmmaker Bryan Dew. The film features interviews with Monroe Veach, a saddlemaker and self-described former cowboy and rodeo performer who was featured at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival in 1976. Mr. Veach, born in 1896 in Missouri, was drawn to being a cowboy by "the big hats, the boots, the high heels, horseback riding, and the horses" and since 1919 has made over 14,000 saddles. The footage is also a document of the history of the rodeo and its symbol of the West.

The NAA also acquired the travel films and footage of John V. Hansen, a Danish-born U.S. citizen and amateur filmmaker. The collection contains his first film, shot in 1936 in Denmark, as well as footage taken primarily in the late thirties and forties of Europe, the United States and Egypt. Hansen was vice president of the Amateur Cinema League, associate member of the Oval Table Society, associate of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and recipient of the Danish Knight of Dannebrog cross. The acquisition also contains an extensive collection of slides taken by Anne Hansen.

The National Anthropological Archives actively acquires ethnographic collections. A list of recent acquisitions (1997-99) and a Guide to the Collections are available online.

The Web Pages Formerly Known as "What's New"

February 2000
November 1999
June 1999

Publication date: April 2000

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