999-33-20/74049.1; 999-33-20/74049.2; 2000.25.1; 2000.25.2; 2001.8.1
Ricketson, Oliver Garrison, Jr., 1894-1952. Papers and Photographs, 1920-1946, bulk: A Finding AidPeabody Museum Archives
©2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Last update 2016 August 25
Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 999-33-20/74049.1-.2; 2000.25.1-.2; 2001.8.1
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Creator: Ricketson, Oliver Garrison, Jr., 1894-1952.
Title: Papers and Photographs,
Quantity: 5 linear feet
Abstract: The Oliver Garrison Ricketson, Jr. Papers and Photographs comprise papers and photographs
of Maya archaeology, particularly the site of Chichen Itza, in Yucatan; index of ruins
in the Maya area; and information on expeditions based in Belize.
Vernica Downey, Simmons College GSLIS intern; updated and edited by India Spartz, Senior Archivist, 2005.
999-33-20/74049.1, 999-33-20/74049.2, 2000.25.1, 2000.25.2, 2001.8.1
These papers are a gift of Mary R. Bullard and Margaret Sprague.
1999, 2000, 2001
Archaeologist Oliver Garrison Ricketson, Jr., 1894-1952 was a pioneer in the study of pre-classical Mayan culture. He was best known for
his excavations of Mayan ruins at Uaxactun, Chichen Itza, and Baking Pot. He was also recognized for his long-term involvement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW) programs in Central America.
Ricketson was born September 19, 1894 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Oliver Garrison and Margaret Carnegie Ricketson and spent his childhood on Cumberland Island in Georgia. From 1907 to 1912, he was a student at the Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. In 1912, he entered Harvard College, earning his A.B. in 1916. At Harvard, he became interested in archaeology while taking
E. A. Hooton's physical anthropology course.
In 1920, Ricketson traveled to Arizona and began working on his first expeditions.
The following year, he traveled to Central America for the first time, accompanying Sylvanus G. Morley of the Carnegie Institution of Washington on an expedition across the Yucatan Peninsula. Throughout the 1920s, Ricketson spent
each dry season in Central America, excavating at Tulum,Uaxactun, Baking Pot,Chichen Itza, and other sites. His final Central American expedition was a 1929 air-reconnaissance
expedition over the Yucatan Peninsula with Charles A. Lindbergh. When not conducting fieldwork, Ricketson continued his education at Harvard, receiving
an A.M. in 1924 and a Ph.D. in 1933.
Most of Ricketson's fieldwork was conducted through the Carnegie Institution of Washington (CIW); in 1926, he was appointed head of the Uaxactun program. Ricketson was the first Carnegie relative (his mother was a Carnegie) to
work for a Carnegie foundation and later became one of the institution's longest-serving
staff members. However, his affiliation with the CIW ended under difficult circumstances
in 1941, when he resigned and vowed to retire from archaeology.
While working for the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Ricketson met Edith Hill Bayles, Morley's secretary during his 1925 excavations at Chichen Itza. They soon married in August 1925 and later had three children: Margaret, Mary, and
Oliver. In 1941, the couple divorced, and Oliver Ricketson married Anne Riggs that same year.
After his retirement, Ricketson moved to Ricketson's Point in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. During 1949 and 1950, he went on his last expeditions, traveling with
his wife by boat from New Bedford to Florida and back. In 1951, he conducted his final excavation, a restoration of the Russell
Garrison for the Old Dartmouth Historical Society. The following year, on October
17, 1952, Ricketson died in Bar Harbor, Maine.
- "Dr. Ricketson Dies; Archaeologist, 58. "New York Times. October 19, 1952.
- Lothrop, S.K. "Oliver Garrison Ricketson, Jr. 1894-1952. "American Antiquity. 19.1 (July 1953): 69-72.
The Ricketson Papers and Photographs, 1920-1946, document the professional work and
personal life of Oliver G. Ricketson, Jr., focusing on his fieldwork in Central America. This collection contains manuscripts,
publications, photographs, and field notebooks consisting of three record groups:
999-33-20/74049, 2000.25, and 2001.8.
The first record group (999-33-20/74049) contains the bulk of the collection and is
divided into four series:
- Series I Professional Papers and Travel Notes, 1920-1946 contains personal and professional correspondence, field notebooks, and reference
materials Ricketson used in the field. This series includes correspondence concerning
Ricketson's resignation from the CIW
- Series II Writings and Studies, 1925-1946 consists of offprints, drafts, unpublished papers, and manuscripts by others, including
poems by Edith Bayles Ricketson. Among Ricketson's unpublished papers and reports
are his report and notes on the 1929 Lindbergh flight. This series contains card files
for an ethnographic dictionary, a gazetteer, and a geography that Ricketson never
- Series III Personal and Family Papers, 1903-1951 documents Ricketson's family life, from childhood until shortly before his death in
1952. This includes diaries and letters from Ricketson's childhood and his undergraduate
years at Harvard College; travel notebooks from New Bedford to Florida in 1949,1950 and correspondence about his CIW resignation.
- Series IV Photographs, 1920-1940 features scenes of life in Central America,Mexico, and the American Southwest; few images of artifacts and archaeological sites are
included. The photographs are housed separately.
The second record group (2000.25) consists of two series:
- Series I (2000.25.1) contains a captioned photograph album, documenting Ricketson's
travels in Mexico, Central America, and South America.
- Series II (2000.25.2) consists of miscellaneous papers regarding Ricketson's publications
The third record group (2001.8) contains a field notebook and captioned photographs
of Flores and El Cayo from a disbound scrapbook.
- Accession 999-33-20/74049
- Series: I. Professional Papers and Travel Notes, 1919-1946 999-33-20/74049.1
- 1. Correspondence
Date: 1920-1921 999-33-20/74049.1.1-.4
- .2 Peten Expedition, 1921 (copy 1: Unedited)
- .3 Peten Expedition, 1921 (Copy 2: Edited)
- Original Letters
Date: 1920-1939 999-33-20/74049.1.5-.16
- General and Official Correspondence
Date: 1941-1946 999-33-20/74049.1.17-.18
- .18November 1945-January 1946
- 2. Travel Diaries and Field Notes
- .19 Canada, 1919; El Cayo, 1923
- .20 1921, 1922, 1929, 1930 seasons
- .21 El Cayo, March-April 1922
- .22 Lindbergh flight, October 1929
- .24 Coban,March - May 1932; 1934
- .25 Quirigua,1933; Zacualpa Highlands, November 1935
- .26 Quirigua, March-April 1934
- .28 Defense Supplies Corp. notebook, 1942-1943
- .29 Mapa de la frontera entre Guatemala y Mexico por Miles Rock,1895, with separate notes by Ricketson
- .30 Mapa catastral de la region nordeste de la republica de Guatemala, C. A. compilado
por la comision de limites, 1929
- .31 Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Research in Terrestrial Magnetism: letter with enclosed observers'
reports, data, and charts, 1926
- .32 Address book, ca. 1930-1950
- Series: II. Writings and Studies,
- 1. Offprints
Date: 1925-1940 999-33-20/74049.1.33-.34
- .33Archaeological publications
Date: 1925-1940, copy 2
- Burials in the Maya Area
- Astronomical Observations in the Maya Area,
- A Stratification of Remains ar an Early Maya Site,
- Notes on Two Maya Astronomic Observatories,
- Excavations at Uaxactun,
- Excavations at Baking Pot, British Honduras,
- Excavations at Uaxactun, 1933
- Maya Pottery Well from Quirigua Farm, Guatemala,
- Four Pottery Moulds from Guatemala,
- Examples of British Honduras Stories, Proverbs, and Riddles,
- Ruins of Tzalcam,Guatemala,
- La Institution Carnegie de Washington en Guatemala,
- Municipal Organization of an Indian Township in Guatemala,
- The Cuchumatanes Re-visited,
- .34 Archaeological publications,
Date: 1925-1940, copy 2
- 2. Drafts
Date: 1924-1940 999-33-20/74049.1.35-.37
- .35 The Cuchumatanes Re-visited, ca
- .36 Astronomic Observations in the Maya Area,
- 3. Unpublished and Occasional Papers,
- .38 El Peten, Land of the Ancient Itzas, ca.
Date: 1925 ?
- .39 Cut Human Long Bones from Uaxactun, ca.
- .40Latin-American Mexico, ca.
Date: 1920 ?
- .41 African Weapons South of the Sahara, ca.
- .42 Information for Expeditions Based on Belize, ca.
- .43 Report and notes of Lindbergh flight,
Date: October 1929
- .44 Recomendaciones para la conservacion de las ruinas Mayas en Quirigua,Guatemala
- .45 Un nuevo aspecto en arquelogia
- .46 Report on Political Organization of Indian Townships (in Guatemala), prepared for G. C. Shattuck's medical report on Guatemala,
Date: December, 1934
- .47 Report on the Organization of the Guatemala Public Health Service, prepared for G. C. Shattuck's medical report on Guatemala,
Date: December, 1934
- .48 Two satirical pieces, ca.
- Chewing Gum and Archaeology
- A report on the "congress of Scientists" to discuss the exploration of a lost Mayan
- .49 Lecture and slide list: Indian Background in Central America, Boston Public Library,
- .50 Lectures to boys with note cards: Exploration in Central America, ca
- 4. Miscellaneous Writings
- .51Portion of notes on a western ranch, ca.
- .52 Dr. Dock [a child's introduction to physiology], undated
- .53 Gray Car [a short story], undated
- .54the Baking Pot Ball [a satirical account],
- .55 Other writings:
- A bawdy ballad in another hand
- Fragment of a short story, Chiclero
- A short essay, Why Travel in Comfort?
- .56 Edith Bayles Ricketson: seven poems, including three poems written at or about Chichen Itza
- 5. Research Card Files
Date: 1940-1941 999-33-20/74049.1.57-.59
- .57 Fragments of an Ethnographic Dictionary: subject index, undated
- .58 Notes for a Central American Gazeteer, A-Cu, ca.
- .59 Notes for a Geography of Middle America,
- Series: III. Personal and Family Papers,
Date: 1903-1951 999-33-20/74049.1
- 1. Correspondence, ca
- 2. Childhood Diaries,
Date: 1903-1910 999-33-20/74049.1.64.1-.64.4
- 3. Personal Correspondence,
Date: 1941-1952 999-33-20/74049.1.65-.66
- 4. Inland Waterway Expedition (from New Bedford to Florida),
Date: 1949-1950 999-33-20/74049.1.67.1-.67.5
- .67.1 Vol. 1: October 22, 1949-January 17, 1950
- .67.2 Vol. 2:
Date: January 18, 1950-April 7, 1950
- .67.3Vol. 3:
Date: April 7, 1950-May 1, 1950
- .67.4Vol. 4:
Date: October 1-17, 1950;
Date: December 5-20, 1950;
Date: February 12-April 12, 1951;
Date: May 15-25, 1951;
Date: July 4-15, 1951
- .67.5 Supply and navigation log
- 5. Family History and Genealogy999-33-20/74049.1.68
- .68 Biographical information: John H. Ricketson, Oliver G. Ricketson, and Oliver G. Ricketson,
- 6. A. V. Kidder Correspondence,
Date: 1945 999-33-20/74049.1.69-.74
- .69 Original letter,
Date: November 1945
- .70 Reply with bibliography: notes and drafts,
Date: December 7, 1945
- .71 reply with bibliography: drafts
- .72 Copy of Kidder's letter (Copy 1: "Dark negative")
- .73 Copy of Kidder's letter (Copy 2: "Good negative")
- .74 Envelopes from the office safe of Prescott, Bullard and McLeod
- Series: IV. Photographs 999-33-20/74049.2.1-.14
- .1 Negative album: Arizona,
Date: 1920; Flores,
Date: 1921 [6A]
- .2 Negative album: Kayental Bluff; Mogollan Mts. To Globe, Fall
Date: 1922 [6B]
- .3 Negative album with prints: Unidentified images [6C]
- .4Negative album with prints: Unidentified images [6D]
- .5 Negative album: Central America [6E]
- .6 Mounted photographs: [6F]
- .7 Mounted photographs: Carnegie Institution of Washington[6G]
- .8 Photographs and negatives: Chichen Itza [6H]
- Miscellaneous, negatives [6H/1]
- Miscellaneous, negatives [6H/2]
- Miscellaneous, prints [6H/4]
- Line drawings: N.E. Colonnade, negatives [6H/5]
- .9 Negatives: Yucatan [6I]
- .10 Photographs: Western U.S. and Central America [6J]
- .11 Slide lists: Central America, ca.
Date: 1946 ?
- .13 Ricketson family in Guatemala and Honduras,
- .14 Ricketson family,
- Accession 2000.25
- Series: II. Ricketson Papers 2000.25.2.1-.5
- .1 Press clippings
- Fresh Discoveries in Maya Exploration, Carnegie Institution of Washington, no. 11 (September 16, 1928)
- "Mayas Paved Way for Modern Income Tax by Inventing Zero, Dartmouth Explorer Says."
Sunday Standard Times March 3, 1946:14
- "Foundation of Old Indian Fort is Reconstructed." Sunday Standard Times September 9, 1951 September 9, 1951: 12.
- "Dr. O.G. Ricketson Describes Russell Garrison Excavations." [1951?]; photocopy of original.
- .2 Correspondence,
- Typescript letter from Sol Tax,
Date: December 21, 1938
- Typescript letter from Maurice Ries, editor of Maya Research, concerning Cuchumatanes Re-visited,
Date: April 3, 1939
- Letter of commendation from Old Dartmouth Historical Society,
Date: September 24, 1951
- .3 El Peten, Land of the Ancient Itzas (manuscript), ca. 1925?
- .4 Illustrations for "Municipal Organization of an Indian Township in Guatemala" (mounted photographs), ca. 1939.
- .5 Miscellaneous illustrations, undated.
- Accession 2001.8
- Series: I. Ricketson Papers2001.8.1.1-.3
- .1 Field notebook, Guatemala, ca. 1926
- .2 Scrapbook pages with mounted photographs of Flores and El Cayo, undated