[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FMUS.PEAB:pea00061View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement

Gillin, John Phillip (1907–1973) Papers, bulk 1927–1973: A Finding Aid

Peabody Museum Archives
Harvard University



Descriptive Summary

Repository: Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Call No.: 997-8
Location: Peabody Museum Archives
Title: Gillin, John Phillip (1907–1973) Papers,
Date(s): 1927–1973 (bulk)
Creator: Gillin, John Phillip
Quantity: 8 linear feet
Abstract: The papers detail Gillin's research in South and Central America and his professional activities. Also included are materials originating from Gillin's wife, Helen L. Gillin.

Processed by:

Sarah Demb 1997-1998 edited by Patricia H. Kervick, Associate Archivist; September 2010

Acquisition Information:

These papers were donated by the Wilson Library, UNC Chapel Hill, and John Gillin's son, John Christian Gillin, M.D. May 1997

Access Restrictions:

Restrictions on access: none.

Use Restrictions:

Restrictions on use: none.

Biographical Sketch

American anthropologist, John Phillip Gillin was born in Waterloo, Iowa on August 1, 1907. The son of John Lewis Gillin, sociology professor, Gillin received his A.B. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin in 1927 and his M.A. in sociology, psychology and anthropology in 1930. Gillin's formal introduction into anthropological field work began in 1932-33 with an expedition to British Guiana to study the Carib Indians of the Barama River.
At the Peabody Museum, Gillin trained under Roland Dixon and A.M. Tozzer and received his PhD in anthropology in 1934 (The Barama River Caribs of British Guiana). Gillin was on the Peabody staff in 1934 and made trips to Ecuador on the Museum's behalf, studying the cultures of the Imbabura province. He also worked on Peabody archaeological sites at Nine Mile Canyon, Utah, culminating with his Peabody Papers publication, Archaeological Investigations in Central Utah, (vol. XVII, No. 2, 1941.)
From 1937 to 1941, Gillin held a position at Ohio State University. During this time he also spent a year at Yale University in the Institute of Human Relations, studying the intersection of psychology and anthropology. In 1942 Gillin accepted a position in the anthropology department at Duke University. With the onset of World War II, he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Lima, Peru. Gillin continued to teach at Duke until 1946 when he accepted a professorship at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill where he founded the anthropology Ph D program. He left UNC in 1959 to found the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh where he retired from in 1972.
In 1973, Gillin passed away at his home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina where he had chosen to retire. John Gillin is remembered for his field study of Central and South American culture, for shaping U.S. Latin American policy, and for his pioneering work in interpreting culture within the framework of scientific investigation.


Scope and Content Note:

The papers detail Gillin's research in South and Central America and his professional activities. Originally deposited in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, they were transferred to the Peabody Museum in 1997. The papers include correspondence, field notes (Africa, British Guiana, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala), student work, teaching materials, writings, card files, and photographic material. There is also one box of his wife Helen L. Gillin's material which includes journals (Ecuador), correspondence (Brasil, Peru, Ecuador), and reports. This collection would be of interest to researchers in broader areas than Latin American culture, such as visual anthropology, human ecology and the history of anthropology.