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Putnam, Frederic Ward (1839-1915), Papers, bulk 1855-1935 : A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Archives, Harvard University


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Call No.: 999-24
Repository: Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology Archives, Harvard University
Creator: Frederic Ward Putnam (1813-1915)
Title: Putnam, Frederic Ward (1839-1915), Papers,
Date(s): 1855-1935 (bulk)
Date(s): 1886
Quantity: 4 linear feet
Abstract: This collection of Putnam papers were formerly part of the Ralph Dexter Papers at Kent State University Archives. They include FW Putnam family correspondence, professional papers and ephemera.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

The papers were transferred to the Peabody Museum Archives by the Kent State University Archives in 1999. At Kent State, the papers were part of the Ralph Dexter Papers. They were probably loaned from Harvard to Ralph Dexter for his research for a biography of Putnam.

Conditions Governing Access:

Restrictions on access: none

Conditions Governing Use:

Restrictions on use: none

Related Peabody Museum Collections:

Biographical Sketch

It is safe to say that the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology would not be what it is today - a premier research facility with outstanding collections - without Frederic Ward Putnam. A multi-faceted and energetic man (see the chronology below for a selected list of his many and varied appointments), he was appointed the Harvard College Peabody Professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology in 1885. He retained that post until 1909 and was Professor Emeritus from 1910 until 1914. As Director, he was responsible for a variety of museum functions which included not only administrative duties but field collecting, curation of collections, fund raising, and teaching in the Harvard College Department of Anthropology which he helped to establish in 1897. He served on the Committee of the Department of Anthropology from its inception in the same year through 1908. Putnam also served as a Museum Trustee from 1875 through 1896, and became Honorary Curator/Director upon his retirement in 1909, in which capacity he served until his death in 1915.


Scope and Content Note:

This collection contains family and professional papers and ephemera and includes correspondence, scrapbook, biographical printed materials and notes, essays, 70th birthday photographs and correspondence. Also included are institutional clippings, lecture notes, curatorial correspondence, financial records, writings, reports. There are records pertaining to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, professional associations, mound exploration and the World Columbian Exposition, Chicago. The collection includes one oversize item, a broadside for the Putnam lecture on mound builders, 1866.

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