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Morss, Noel (1904-1981) Papers, 1927-1980: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum of Archaeoogy and Ethnology

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Harvard University

©1999 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives
Call No.: 998-21
Location: Archives
Title: Morss, Noel (1904-1981) Papers1927-1980
Creator: Noel Morss
Quantity: 7 boxes (3.25 linear feet)
Sarah R. Demb, January 1999

Acquisition Information:

The Noel Morss Papers were donated to the Peabody Museum Archives by Noel's son, Christopher Morss, in November 1998.

Historical Note

Noel Morss was born in Boston on December 25, 1904 to Ethel Read Morss and Everett Morss. He prepared for college at the Groton School, and graduated from Harvard in 1926 with a B.A. in economics. Morss went on to receive a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1929 and to practice professionally as an attorney. His interest in anthropology and archaeology was bolstered by his Chestnut Hill neighbors Dr. Hugh O'Neill Hencken and his wife Thalassa Cruso, and by summers later spent leading Peabody Museum archaeological expeditions to Arizona & Utah in 1925,1927, 1928 and 1929. According to J . O. Brew, Morss was "the scholar who defined the Fremont Culture of eastern Utah." His publications on Fremont figurines were highly regarded by his anthropology colleagues. Although Morss did not pursue this interest professionally, his work was of such caliber that he was appointed Chairman on the Visiting Committee, Harvard University Department of Anthropology & Peabody Museum in 1954; and was PM Research Fellow in Prehistory of the American Southwest 1955-60.
Morss also served as Secretary and Treasurer of the American School for Prehistoric Research (ASPR) under Director and founder Dr. George Grant MacCurdy, and was a founding member of the Council on Old World Archaeology (COWA). Morss' long tenure in ASPR spanned his role as an early trustee from 1926 to 1953, to becoming an "ASPR member in the museum" from 1954 onwards (when the ASPR then became a part of the Department of Anthropology in accordance with its founder's will), while serving as secretary and treasurer from 1954 to 1980. Morss died on April 24, 1981.

Sources:

Scope and Content

The Noel Morss Papers are organized in two main records series, I. Professional Organization Records, and II. Professional Papers. Series I contains the records of two professional organizations of which Morss was an active member: the American School of Prehistoric Research (ASPR) and the Council on Old World Archaeology (COWA). Series II contains Morss' own professional papers which he organized into two categories: I. Archaeology and II. Peabody Museum. Each subseries of Series II includes correspondence, memoranda, photographs, and reprints. Series, subseries and folder titles reflect Morss' own.

Inventory

Correspondent Index


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