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38-22 , 41-47, unaccessioned

Putnam, Frederic W., 1839-1915. Peabody Museum director records, Frederic W. Putnam ((1839-1915), 1870-1923 : A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University
January 1999 ; revised June 2001


©2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 38-22, 41-47; unaccessioned.
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Putnam, Frederic W., 1839-1915 Peabody Museum director records, Frederic W. Putnam (1839-1915),1870-1923 : A Finding Aid
Creator: Frederic Ward Putnam, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Curator and Director
Quantity: 4 linear feet (9 boxes); c. 12 oversize rolled maps and plans
Abstract: The Putnam Director Records contain a mixture of curatorial, administrative and professional papers and reflect the wide scope of both the museum collections and Putnam's individual activities .

Processed by:

Sarah R. Demb , Peabody Museum Archivist.

Acquisition Information:

38-22, 41-47, unaccessioned.
Series II, III and VIII were artificially created sometime after Putnam's death, at the wishes of museum curators who requested that these materials be separate from the rest of Putnam's general correspondence. Materials donated to the PM by F. W. Putnam's daughter, Alice Putnam, were accessioned as 38-22 and 47-41. These materials were transferred from the PM accession files to the PM Director Records in the PM Archives in 1997. The rest of the records were transferred to the PM Archives from within the Museum at an unknown date and did not need to be accessioned by the museum registrar.

Access Restrictions:

Unrestricted, except for fragile maps and plans.

Use Restrictions:

Unrestricted, except for fragile maps and plans.

Creator Sketch

It is safe to say that the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology would not be what it is today - a premier research facility with outstanding collections - without Frederic Ward Putnam. A multi-faceted and energetic man (see the chronology below for a selected list of his many and varied appointments), he was appointed the Harvard College Peabody Professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology in 1885. He retained that post until 1909 and was Professor Emeritus from 1910 until 1914. As Director, he was responsible for a variety of museum functions which included not only administrative duties but field collecting, curation of collections, fund raising, and teaching in the Harvard College Department of Anthropology which he helped to establish in 1897. He served on the Committee of the Department of Anthropology from its inception in the same year through 1908. Putnam also served as a Museum Trustee from 1875 through 1896, and became Honorary Curator/Director upon his retirement in 1909, in which capacity he served until his death in 1915.



Scope and Content Note

These Director Records reflect the wide scope of not only Putnam's individual activities, but the museum collections themselves, the global community in which these activities took place, and the museum's prominent role in establishing American archaeology and anthropology as an academic discipline. Thus, the records contain a mixture of curatorial, administrative and professional subjects, often in the same individual items or groups of materials.
The records are organized in the following series: I. Mounds sites correspondence and reports 1880 - 1923; II. Alice C. Fletcher/Thaw Fellowship correspondence; III. E.H. Thompson Chichen Itza (Mexico) manuscript and correspondence 1891 - 1905; IV. Incoming correspondence and reports 1870 - 1916; V. Professional organizations correspondence and ephemera 188? – 1915; VI. Biographical materials 1884–1915. VII. World Columbian Exposition Records 1890-95; VIII. Erminnie Smith correspondence 1879–1886; IX. Oversize Materials: WCE Maps & Plans, 1893, n.d.

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