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Lothrop, Samuel K., (1892-1965). Collection of Negatives, 1915-1949: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University


©2007 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update 2016 August 29

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 2004.24 (D)
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Lothrop, Samuel K., (1892-1965). Collection of Negatives,
Date(s): 1915-1949:
Creator: Samuel K. Lothrop
Quantity: 953 negatives
Abstract: This collection includes negatives Samuel K. Lothrop took during Peabody Museum-sponsored expeditions to South and Central America, Antigua, and Puerto Rico. Many of the black and white negatives depict ancient ruins, artifacts, architecture, landscapes, and indigenous people engaged in daily and festive activities.

Processed by:

Staff of 2007-2008 NEH grant; finding aid created by Melissa Gonzales Simmons College intern; edited by Patricia Kervick, Associate Archivist, November 2007.

Acquisition Information:

These negatives are part of the core negative collection at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University and reflect research and field work undertaken by the Peabody Museum sponsored expeditions, Excavations in Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica, 1917-18; S. K. Lothrop. The Cocle Expedition, Panama, 1929-33; Douglas S. Byers, Henry B. Roberts, Samuel K. Lothrop, Frederick Johnson, and Loren B. Wedlock. Archaeology of southern Veraguas, Panama, 1940-47; S. K. Lothrop. Reconnaissance and excavation in Costa Rica, 1948-50; S. K. Lothrop.

Access Restrictions:

Most views are unrestricted except for culturally sensitive images. Permission to view culturally sensitive images may be obtained from the Peabody Museum's curatorial department.

Use Restrictions:

As the negatives have been digitized and are on the Peabody Museum Collections Online website, researchers are encouraged to view the images online at http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/col/default.cfm .

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Kirkland Lothrop was born in 1892. Upon his graduation from Harvard College, he joined A.V. Kidder's archaeological dig at Pecos (New Mexico), thus beginning a long and illustrious career at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. After earning a PhD in anthropology (Harvard), Lothrop was appointed Director of the Museum's Central American Expedition (1916-1917). From 1919-1934, he served as Associate in Anthropology and, in 1935, was promoted to Research Associate (Anthropology for Middle America), a title he held until 1940. That same year, he assumed the position of Assistant Curator (Middle America Archaeology) and became Curator of the Department in 1943. He assumed the position of Curator for Andean Archeology from 1947 until his retirement in 1960.
Lothrop was instrumental in founding the Institute of Andean Research and served as an active participant and President for many years. He also conducted expeditions sponsored by the Carnegie Institute of Washington (CIW) and the Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundation). During this time, he traveled extensively throughout Central and South America, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Upon his death in 1965, Lothrop's colleagues described him as a brilliant, unorthodox scholar with an innate talent for storytelling. He left behind a legacy of publications that discuss his archaeological and anthropological research and explorations including: The Discovery of Gold in the Graves of Chiriqui, Panama (1919); Tulum, An Archaeological Study of the East Coast of Yucatan (1924); The Architecture of the Ancient Mayas (1925); Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1926); Stone Sculptures from the Finca Arevalo, Guatemala (1926); Pottery Types and Their Sequence in El Salvador (1927); The Indians of Tierra del Fuego (1928); Diet and Stature in Tierra del Fuego (1928); A Modern Survival of the Ancient Maya Calendar (1930); Golden Relics of an Ancient American People (1934); Zacualpa: A Study of Ancient Quiché Artifacts (1936); Inca Treasure as Depicted by Spanish Historians (1938); and Gold Artifacts of Chavín Style (1951).


Scope and Content Note

From 1917-1950, Samuel K. Lothrop worked on numerous Peabody Museum sponsored expeditions, mostly in South and Central America, Antigua, and Puerto Rico. The majority of these black and white nitrate negatives vary in size: 1.25" x 2.5"to 3"x 4". The negatives are organized by negative number with some items broken down by geographic region/expedition. This collection is part of the Peabody Museum's core negative collection, which is being digitized under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant 2007-2008. Images can be viewed at the Peabody Museum's Collections Online website at: http://www.peabody.harvard.edu/col/default.cfm Perform a search by Peabody ID# begins with 2004.24; refine results by Keyword contains Lothrop.

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