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Tozzer, Alfred Marston (1877-1954), Papers 1900-1980: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University

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©2001 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives
Call No.: 997-5
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Tozzer, Alfred Marston (1877-1954), Papers
Date(s): 1900-1980
Creator: Alfred Marston Tozzer
Quantity: 2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)

Processed by: Jerusha Maurer-White, May 2001

The Papers were processed by Jerusha Mauer-White in partial requirement for a Masters in Library Information and Science, Simmons College.

Acquisition Information:

The Tozzer Papers were deposited Peabody Museum Archives by Dr. Stephen Williams on behalf of Joan Tozzer Cave in 1994. The papers were donated to the Peabody Museum in 1997.

Access Restrictions:

Personal (field) correspondence is restricted. See Archivist for details. Letters of recommendation are restricted until 2022. Class lists with student grades are restricted until 2003.

Use Restrictions:

Copying: Unrestricted with the exception of the above and some fragile materials.

Historical Note

Alfred Marston Tozzer was born in Lynn, MA on July 4, 1877 to Samuel Clarence Tozzer, and Caroline Blanchard (Marston) Tozzer. He grew up in Lynn and after graduating from high school, attended Harvard College where he received the A.B. in 1900, the A.M. in 1901, and the Ph.D. in 1904, all three degrees in anthropology. On April 10, 1913 he married Margaret Tenney Castle of Honolulu, Hawaii, in New York. They had two daughters. The elder, Joanne, died young. The other, now Joan Tozzer Cave, grew up to stay in Cambridge.
Tozzer conducted his initial anthropological fieldwork in California and New Mexico among the Wintun and Navajo nations during his undergraduate summers in 1900 and 1901, focusing on linguistics. From 1902 to 1905 he held the American Fellowship of the Archeological Institute of America. This enabled Tozzer to spend four winters living with and studying the Lacandones of Mexico and Central America. He won their confidence and was admitted to their religious ceremonies. He published the results of his field work in A Comparative Study of the Mayas and Lacandones (1907).
From 1909 -1910, Tozzer lead a Peabody Museum expedition to Guatemala. During this expedition, he studied the ruins of Tikal and Nakum. He published material on these sites in 1911 and 1913. Tozzer's cross-disciplinary training under F. W. Putnam allowed Tozzer to move easily between archaeology and social anthropology. He served as the Director of the International School of Archeology in Mexico City in 1914 and as a result, was in Vera Cruz during the U.S. naval bombardment and its 6-month occupation by the United States Marine Corps.
During World War I, Tozzer was a captain in the Air Service. During World War II he was the director of the Honolulu branch of the Office of the Strategic Services. After World War II Tozzer returned to Harvard where he spent the rest of his professional life. He remained professionally active after his retirement, and lectured frequently. He was also a member of the Academic Board and became Secretary and Trustee of Radcliffe College in 1932. Tozzer's many devoted students went on to become pioneers in anthropology and his colleagues held him in high esteem. When the Peabody Museum's library was moved to a new facility in 1974, it was dedicated Tozzer Library in honor of his devotion to its collections and his enormous contribution to both Harvard and the field of anthropology in general.
Alfred Tozzer died beloved in his personal and professional communities on October 5, 1954.

Sources:

Chronology

Scope and Content

The Tozzer Papers are organized into two major records groups: The Alfred Marston Tozzer Papers (AMT) and the Margaret Castle Tozzer (MCT) Papers. The material reveals the close connections between AMT's personal and professional lives and documents his extensive contacts in the academic community and the Boston society in which he lived. Margaret's papers document both her husband's professional work and her family's contributions to Boston's art and anthropology communities.
The AMT Papers are arranged into two subsequent records groups: I. Professional Materials, and II. Personal Materials. These record groups are organized into the following series:
AMT Papers - series descriptions
Professional Materials
I. Field Notes 1909-1910: These field notes relate closely to the earlier Mexican field correspondence located in the Personal Materials records group.
II. Harvard University/Peabody Museum materials 1896-1954, n.d. This series contains 8 subseries:
Clippings scrapbook 1899-1922: The scrapbook contains material related to AMT's Harvard theatricals, early professional life, lecture programs, articles, military service articles, and professional invitations.
Academic appointments materials 1869-1955: This subseries is made up of the various letters, memos and certificates documenting Tozzer's academic career and military service status as well as his Harvard degrees.
Teaching materials 1917-1949: The teaching materials subseries includes class lists, exams and syllabi from the courses AMT taught at Harvard. Some class lists include grade information.
Lecture notes and publication draft 1929-1954: Lecture notes contain materials relating to presentations Tozzer gave to his Harvard class of 1900 in 1943, to the Harvard Club of Hawaii c. 1953, to a social club in 1943, to a Rotary Club in 1948, and to the Query Club in 1949. The draft is dated 1954 and appears to be a early version of Chichen Itza and its Cenote of Sacrifice; a comparative study of contemporaneous Maya and Toltec published by the Peabody Museum in 1957.
"The Walcott Affair" materials 1900-1913: The "Walcott Affair" subseries contains reprinted letters between Dr. Charles D. Walcott, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and Franz Boas regarding the misuse of funds for American Anthropologist, 1909; correspondence between AMT and H.H. Dorman on Edgar Hewett's proposal to move the American School to California from Santa Fe, Oct. 1913; and a telegram from Brian Boru Dunne, Editor of the New Mexican about Hewett.
Gordon R. Willey recommendation letters 1949 - 1950 [RESTRICTED]: These letters consist of three reprinted letters to Peabody Museum Director John Otis Brew from Demitri B. Shimkin and Clyde Kluckhohn of the Harvard University Russian Research Center, and David F. Aberle of the Harvard University Department of Social Relations, recommending Gordon R. Willey to the Presidents and Fellows of Harvard College as a candidate for the chair of Bowditch Professor at the museum. In addition, Brew's written chair proposal to the museum's faculty is included. Attached to the proposal is Gordon Willey's resume. This material is restricted until 2022.
"Crank letters and Pseudo- science questions" 1915-1928:These materials were selected from AMT's papers at his Bryant St., Cambridge house by the donor.
Handbook of Travel:A published volume (Harvard University Press, 1935) of the Harvard Travelers Club, edited by George Cheever Shattuck. The volume contains a chapter on anthropology by Tozzer.
Personal Materials This records group contains five series:
I. Correspondence 1856 - 1980:
This series includes Tozzer's letters home from his California, New Mexico and Mexican field seasons in 1900 - 05 [see archivist for permission to examine] which document both his personal observations and his professional field notes; telegrams of congratulation on the event of his wedding to Margaret; some unidentified miscellaneous items; letters relating to Tozzer's military service in WWII; "The Humboldt Letter" - a copy of a letter written by Harvard professor W.W. Goodwin to celebrated German explorer and scholar Baron Alexander von Humboldt on slavery, politics, and the Ostend Manifesto on Sept. 12, 1856 and accompanying letters related to Tozzer's request for the copy; a letter to Tozzer dated Dec. 18, 1928 refusing him permission to take a rubbing of a Standish sword; and a group of 1954 condolence correspondence relating to Tozzer's death.
II. Photograph materials 1882 - 1978:
This series includes one album/scrapbook that documents the Tozzers' married life; one family photo album, and a framed print. Most of the photos in the Tozzer family album are not dated. One item is a tintype that indicates that some of the earliest photos come from the mid-1800s. Dated photographs range from 1882 to 1911. The framed picture of AMT as a young man is undated.
III. Fiction and poems 1889 - 1955:
Fictional material consists of "The Lynn Weekly" a mock weekly newspaper that Tozzer wrote as a child in Lynn (1889), program and description of a minstrel show Tozzer performed in as a young man (1895), a short story "The Toltec Architect of Chichen Itza" written by Tozzer (n.d.), an untitled and undated poem by Tozzer, typed copies of telegrams sent to Dean Hartford for his fortieth birthday, and an untitled and undated anonymous poem.
IV. Ephemera 1873 - 1946:
This series consists of an 1873 pamphlet from Tozzer's parent's wedding, a Mexican visa, fifteen of Tozzer's datebooks from 1923-1946, and an undated greeting card from Mr. And Mrs. Bamberger containing a gilded leaf from a 19th century Persian Koran.
V. AMT obituaries 1954:
The obituaries include newspaper clippings from the Boston Herald, the Alexandria VA Gazette, and the Gardner Mass News (1954); items published in the Harvard Club of Boston Bulletin (1954), The Harvard University Gazette (Feb. 6, 1955), the Yearbook of American Philosophical Society (1956); and, memorial tributes of the National Academy of Sciences (by Herbert J. Spinden, 1957). Also included are personal obituaries by Gordon Willey (1954), Sargent Kennedy (1955) and Phillip Phillips (n.d.).
MCT Materials
The MCT Papers consist of one series of correspondence that falls into the following three topics: personal correspondence 1914-1930; museum contributions 1925-1954; and, the construction of Tozzer library, 1974.
I. Correspondence 1914-1978:
This series is arranged into three topic areas: personal correspondence, which includes letters from AMT in Mexico, 1930; letters that document MCT's numerous contributions to Boston museums; and, materials pertaining to the construction of the Harvard anthropology library named after AMT which consists mainly of photographs that have been transferred to the museum Photo Archives.

Related Collections:


Peabody Museum Archives
Alfred M. Tozzers Visual Materials Collection, n.d. 989-8: 13 cartons (unprocessed)
Alfred M. Tozzer Research Notes 1905-1917 41-10: one box of research notes including notes on Maya graffiti 1911-914, notes on Palenque 1905, pottery design tracings from Tlolotlatelco 1914, and notes on collections at the Bancroft Library, UC 1917

Harvard University Archives
Papers of Alfred Marston Tozzer, 1908-1937 (inclusive). 6 containers of mss. Includes some correspondence; student theme papers from English and anthropology classes, used by Tozzer for his analysis of undergraduate superstition; and typescript volume containing biographical information on Tozzer. Related publications and reference material also available in repository. HUG4845.xx

Tozzer Library, Harvard University
Alfred M. Tozzer Field Letters 1900-05 ACZ7427 /mss: transcriptions of AMT's early letters from the field.

Container List

Correspondent Name Index

Corporate Names Index


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