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Department of Anthropology

Anthropologist Esther Goldfrank and Carl Leon (Comanche)

Anthropologist Esther Goldfrank and Carl Leon (Comanche), Laguna, New Mexico, 1920s



still from film about Filipino weaving

Three films depicting Filipino weaving and pottery making will be preserved with a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation



still from film about Filipino pottery

The Human Studies Film Archives has more than 8 million feet of ethnographic film






NAA Closing September 15, 2000 to June 1, 2001

In preparation for its move to the Museum Support Center in Suitland, Maryland, the National Anthropological Archives will close its doors between September, 2000 and June, 2001. During this period, the NAA's staff and volunteers will catalogue, conserve and crate the archives' collections, which now comprise 7,800 linear feet of ethnographic fieldnotes and manuscripts, 400,000 photographs, 8 million feet of ethnographic film, 600 hours of video, and 2,500 sounds recordings. Although the NAA will be temporarily closed to visiting researchers, archives staff will continue to provide reference and duplication services, as moving conditions permit.

New This Month: Online Finding Aids for the Papers of:

Also available is a finding aid for the Manuscript and Pamphlet File, a miscellaneous collection of correspondence, notes, drawings, maps, photographs, administrative reports and other documents produced and collected by ethnology curators and research collaborators in the Department of Anthropology of the United States National Museum (later, the National Museum of Natural History) between 1880 and 1960.

NAA Receives Grant from National Film Preservation Foundation

The archives has received a $3,950 grant from the NFPF to help preserve Whipple Hall's film footage of the Philippines. This award is one of the first federally supported grants made available through the National Film Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization created by Congress to save America's film heritage.

Whipple Hall was an American businessman who settled in the Philippines before the First World War. After a wartime stint in the Navy, Hall returned to the Philippines as an importer of paper products. As an amateur film enthusiast, he had a keen interest in material culture as well as an eye for the exotic. His footage contains rare images of ethnic groups living in the northern highlands of Luzon, beyond what was at that time the end of the road north of Manila.

The collection includes three 16mm films taken in the early to mid 30s: Good Friday, East of Bontoc and Firewalkers. Together they provide exceptional illustrations of costume, agriculture, weaving and pottery techniques, basketry and house design as well as use of household items, many of which are identical to those in the Smithsonian's ethnology collections. The NFPF grant will cover laboratory work for a new negative, answer print and video copy for each film roll.

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

Quoted without Comment:

"We never take photographs until we make strong contact with people. We take our time, eat with them, chat, share their lives. We usually try to learn at least 50 words of their language. The best photographs came on the second or third visit, when you feel like one of them."  Photographer Carol Beckwith describing her ethnographic methodology, as quoted in The New York Times, Saturday Dec. 4, 1999, page A17

Publication date: August 2000

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