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©2008 The President and Fellows of Harvard College
Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 2004.24 (F)
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Putnam, F.W. (Frederic Ward), (1839-1915). Collection of Negatives,
Creator: Frederic Ward Putnam
Quantity: 14 negatives
Abstract: This collection contains negatives taken by Frederic Ward Putnam during an expedition to the Serpent Mound in Ohio from 1883-1888. The negatives capture camp life, landscapes and burial mounds. This expedition was a result of Professor Putnam's strong encouragement of research involving man's early occupation of the New World.
Frederic Ward Putnam was born April 16, 1839 in Salem, Massachusetts to Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Putnam III. His family includes a long line of New England families (Putnam, Appleton, Fiske, Ward, and Higginson) some of which date to 1640. In 1864, Putnam married Adelaide Martha Edmands; they had three children: Eben Putnam, Alice Edmands Putnam, and Ethel Appleton Fiske Lewis. On March 10, 1879, Mrs. Adelaide Putnam passed away; in 1882, Putnam remarried Esther Orne Clark.Professor Putnam's early education consisted of home and private schooling, and it was at this time that he expressed an interest in studying nature. Putnam, along with his father, cultivated plants and later began observing the birds in the area. Later, he trained under Henry Wheatland as an intern at the Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1856, at the age of sixteen, he successfully published List of the Birds of Essex County. In that same year, he entered Harvard College where he studied under the tutelage of Professor Louis Agassiz at the Lawrence Scientific School, serving as his assistant from 1857-1864. Putnam also took classes from Asa Gray and Jeffries Wyman, both of whom, along with Agassiz, were highly distinguished natural science scholars.As a student, and throughout his life, Frederic Ward Putnam continued studying natural history through his scientific investigations of specimens and organisms and while studying under Professor Agassiz, his focus changed from ornithology to ichthyology. Putnam's academic achievements are reflected in his life science contributions and in the leadership roles he assumed in prominent local institutions and organizations such as the following:
- Curator of Ichthyology, Boston Society of Natural History, 1859-1868
- Superintendent of the Museum of the East Indian Marine Society, 1867-1869
- Museum Director, Essex Institute, 1869-1873
- Assistant in Ichthyology, Museum of Comparative Zoology of Harvard University, 1876-1878
- Superintendent of the Museum, Peabody Academy of Sciences, 1869-1872
- President, American Folklore Society, 1901
- President, American Anthropological Association, 1905In 1873, Professor Putnam was elected to the post of permanent secretary of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a position he held until 1898, at which time he was bestowed with the presidency of the Association. In 1875, Professor Putnam was appointed Curator of Harvard's Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. With Putnam at the helm, the focus of the Peabody Museum shifted from archaeology to physical anthropology and ethnology, earning the Museum the distinction of becoming the first American museum to specialize in these subject areas. Putnam was appointed professor of anthropology in 1885 (the position was authorized in 1887). In 1876, Putnam directed the first major construction of the Peabody Museum building that currently sits on Divinity Avenue in Cambridge. By 1897, Harvard College officially merged with the Peabody Museum thus acknowledging Putnam's place among the faculty.In addition to these accomplishments, Professor Putnam helped establish the journals American Naturalist,Science,American Anthropologist, and founded organizations, such as Anthropology of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the Archaeological Institute of America, and the American Anthropological Association. He also co-founded the anthropology programs at the American Museum of Natural History, Columbia University, and the University of California, Berkeley. At the age of sixty-four, he became the University of California's first Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Anthropological Museum. In 1909, Putnam retired from the University of California and was later appointed Professor Emeritus there. That same year, he became Professor Emeritus at Harvard College and Curator of the Peabody Museum serving as Honorary Director, in 1913.Professor Frederic W. Putnam's publications number more than 400, and cover the subjects of natural history, archaeology, anthropology, and scientific administration. His archaeological explorations encompass sites in Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin, Kentucky, New Jersey, and California. Professor Putnam was deeply involved in various associations, academies, and historical societies throughout the United States and abroad, including Edinburgh, Florence, Lima, London, Paris, and Stockholm. Among many of the awards he received, the French Government bestowed upon him the cross of the Legion of Honor, and the University of Pennsylvania honored him with the Drexel Gold Medal and the degree of Sc. D.Professor Frederic Ward Putnam, whom Edward Morse called "the father of American archaeology", passed away on August 14, 1915 in Cambridge, Massachusetts leaving behind a venerable and memorable legacy.Sources:
- Browman, David L. "The Peabody Museum, Frederic W. Putnam, and the Rise of U.S. Anthropology, 1866-1903." American Anthropologist vol. 104, no. 2 (June 2002): 508-19.
- Kroeber, A.L. "Frederic Ward Putnam." New Series, American Anthropologist vol. 17, no. 4 (October-December 1915): 712-18.
- Ninth Annual Report of the Trustees of the Peabodoy Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology 1876, President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1876: 6.
The Frederic W. Putnam's negatives are from his expedition to the Serpent Mound in Ohio from 1883-1888; the original images consist of 4"x5" glass plate negatives. The 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
- Peabody Museum Director Records, Frederic W. Putnam (1839-1915), 1870-1923,unacc. These director records reflect the wide scope of not only Putnam's individual activities, but the museum collections themselves and the global community in which these activities took place.
- Accession 999-24: Putnam, Frederic Ward (1839-1915) Papers, c. 1855-1935. This group of Putnam papers was transferred to the PM Archives by the Kent State University Archives in 1999. These materials were originally part of the Ralph Dexter Papers at the Kent State Archives.
- Accession 90-37: Photographs of Turner Group Excavation Site in Ohio (formerly PA-IN 10-33). Two boxes of excavation photographs of the Ohio Mounds
- Peabody Number 2004.1.147: Photographs of Excavation Sites in Ohio (John Cone Kimball) (formerly PA-IN 10-102). Three boxes of excavation photographs, including Fort Hill, Serpent Mound, Turner Group, and Stubbs Earthworks.
- Accession 2004.1.149: Photographs of Excavation Sites in Ohio (John Cone Kimball) (formerly PA-IN 10-103). Four boxes of excavation photographs, including Serpent Mound, Turner Group, and Stubbs Earthworks.
- Papers of Frederic Ward Putnam, 1851-1916; call number: HUG 1717. These papers document the professional life and activities of Frederic Ward Putnam. The collection includes correspondence, drawings, photoprints, lectures, and scrapbooks.