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Smith, Augustus Ledyard (1901-1985). Field notes and diaries, ca. 1927-1958: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University
October 2008



Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 2007.15
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Smith, Augustus Ledyard (1901-1985). Field notes and diaries,
Date(s): 1927-1958
Creator: Augustus Ledyard Smith
Quantity: 4 linear feet(4 boxes)
Abstract: This collection consists of A. Ledyard Smith's personal and official field notes and diaries, most of which are related to his work at Uaxactun in Guatemala from ca. 1927 to 1937. Also included are Smith's diaries from the Motagua Valley Project (1940) and Guatemala Highlands Project (1945).

Processed by:

Stephanie Glickman M.A. candidate, Art History, Boston University; October 2008 ; edited by Patricia H. Kervick, Associate Archivist; October 2008

Acquisition Information:

# 2007.15
These papers are a gift of A. Ledyard Smith, Jr. and Camilla Moss Smith; 2007

Access Restrictions:

Restrictions on access: None

Use Restrictions:

Restrictions on use: None

Biographical Sketch:

Augustus Ledyard Smith, a Maya archaeologist, graduated from Harvard in 1925 and worked in the field programs of the Carnegie Institution's Division of Archaeology in the late 1920s and 1930s. He is perhaps best known for his work at Uaxactun, where he first worked under Oliver Ricketson, Jr. and later was field director. The Uaxactun excavations marked a turning point in Smith's career and in the archaeological research of the region. It was the first excavation in the area to combine large scale digging with ceramic analysis, and the work linked both architecture and pottery into Initial Series dating. In addition, Lowland Maya Preclassic or Formative levels were first disclosed at Uaxactun. Smith's Uaxactun monograph, published in 1950, established him as a key scholar in this area.
Following his work at Uaxactun, Smith worked on excavations in the Guatemalan Highlands under A.V. Kidder, with whom he published a monograph on the Motagua drainage in 1943. After World War II, he resumed work in the Highlands and later worked at Mayapan, in Yucatan–the last archaeological project of the Carnegie Institution. He worked there from 1950 to 1958 and, with Karl Ruppert, Smith worked on the settlement map and survey of Mayapan and published the results in Mayapan, Yucatan, Mexico in 1962.
Smith joined the Peabody Museum's staff as an assistant curator after the Carnegie Institution closed is archaeological division in 1958. His contributions to the development of the cultural heritage and history of Guatemala were recognized in 1968, when that country's government honored him with the Order of Quetzal.


Scope and Content Note:

A. Ledyard Smith's notes are compiled in small leather-bound journals, which are organized chronologically in folders for each of the three Guatemalan sites: Uaxactun, Motagua Valley, and Guatemala Highlands. The Uaxactun papers date to ca. 1927 to 1937, the Motagua Valley papers date to 1940, and the Guatemala Highland papers date to 1945. The Peabody Museum has in its collections a number of related artifacts from Uaxactun, Motagua Valley, and Guatemala Highlands, as well as from Mayapan in Yucatan, Mexico.

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