Columbia University Libraries Columbia University Libraries
Columbia University Archives

» Address and contact information for this repository




Department of Anthropology Records, 1930-1985.

Summary Information

At a Glance

Title:Department of Anthropology Records, 1930-1985.
Physical description:3.42 linear ft. (3 record cartons, 1 document box).
Language(s): Material is in English.

Arrangement

Arranged in two series

Description

Scope and Content

Correspondence, financial reports, budgets, newspaper clippings, contracts, personnel records, flyers, supply orders and receipts, and other material document the operations of the Anthropology Department. Research projects conducted by graduate students and faculty and funded by the Columbia Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRSS) contain research proposals and progress reports. Material includes routine correspondence regarding expenditures and dispersement of funds, salaries, appointments, fieldwork arrangments, progress reports, publications, and other research project issues. Prof. Benedict headed the project "Acculturation," and Prof. Franz Boas headed: "Race and Heredity." Correspondence for chairmen Charles Wagley, Joseph H. Greenberg, Conrad M. Arensberg, Morton H. Fried, Robert F. Murphy, Elliott P. Skinner, Ralph S. Solecki, and Ralph L. Holloway documents the Department during the 1960s-1980s, including the student strike in 1968 and the Department's participation in the subsequent restructuring of the University's governance.

Series I: Research, 1930-1979

This series contains correspondence, reports and newspaper clippings relating to research projects conducted by graduate students and faculty of the Department of Anthropology.

Subseries I.1: Council for Research in the Social Sciences, 1930-1962

This series contains records related to research projects conducted by graduate students and faculty that were funded by the Columbia Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRSS). These files are arranged by project number and title for ease of access. Correspondence includes that between Ruth Benedict and CRSS administrator Thomas Hayden on the dispersal of funds, progress reports, publications, and other research project issues. The files contain research proposals and subsequent progress reports. Material includes routine correspondence regarding expenditures, salaries, appointments and fieldwork arrangements. Research data is not significant in these records.

Graduate research training in Ecological Anthropology, or “Human Ecology” was funded by the Research Training Grants branch of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The principal investigator was Prof. Andrew P. Vayda. The bulk of these files contain appointments, grant proposals, and fund applications.

Subseries I.2: Fieldwork and expeditions, 1931-1979

This series contains correspondence, reports and newspaper clippings documenting field schools and expeditions not funded by the CRSS. Material documenting a particular research project or expedition was removed from the general chronological “current expedition” file and labeled accordingly. The records document relations between the Anthropology Department and the Department of the Interior for both archeological and ethnographic field work.

Of note are newspaper clippings, telegrams, and letters documenting the death of student Henrietta Schmerler, murdered by 22 year-old Max Seymour, while conducting field research at an Apache reservation in Arizona. Correspondence includes telegrams, reports, and letters between Frank D. Fackenthal, Secretary of Columbia College, William Donner, Superintendent at the Whiteriver [Fort Apache] Indian Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior, and Professor Boas. Newspaper clippings and letters report the incident, along with editorials directed at the field of ethnography, the Anthropology Department, and Columbia University. Also included are letters authored by Henrietta Schmerler during her field work to both Franz Boas and others.

The archeological investigation of the Borough of Brooklyn was undertaken by the Department of Anthropology and funded by the National Parks Service. According to the contract, “funds were appropriated to the Service by Interior Department Appropriation Act of 1957 for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of Public Law 214, 84th Congress (69 Stat. 445) relative to the conduct of an historical and archeological investigation of the burial site of 256 Maryland soldiers who fell in combat during the Battle of Brooklyn on the 27th day of August, 1776…”

Expeditions and other projects not identified as CRSS-sponsored may still have some relation, such as the funding for Arabic language training for Kepler Lewis. He led an ethnological study group in Lebanon which was part of a larger “Middle East Research Project.” Professor Joseph H. Greenberg was the faculty advisor to the project.

Photographs accompany field notes for the excavation of the MacHaffie site, Folsom culture.

Subseries I.3: National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), 1966-1973

Graduate research training in Ecological Anthropology, or “Human Ecology” was funded by the Research Training Grants branch of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The principal investigator was Prof. Andrew P. Vayda. The bulk of these files contain appointments, grant proposals, and fund applications.

Subseries I.4: Publication, 1931-1972

contains articles and miscellaneous manuscripts relating to departmental contributions in Anthropological literature. An annotated manuscript, along with a carbon copy, titled “Notes on Child Development at San Ildefonso,” by William and Marjorie W. Whitman is included and may be a draft of their work, The Pueblo Indians of San Ildefonso, a changing culture, New York, Columbia University Press, 1947.

Subseries I.5: General A-Z, 1933-1976

This series contains correspondence and reports relating to research not described by the previous subseries.

Series II: Administration, 1931-1985

This series contains budgets, correspondence, reports and appointment records relating to the administration of the Department of Anthropolgy.

Subseries II.1: Personnel, 1944-1985

The personnel subseries consists of appointment records and search files which are restricted 75 years after the date of creation. These records were rearranged alphabetically from chronological order for ease of access.

Subseries II.2: Budget, 1931-1976

are filed by the academic year. Information on faculty appointments, tenure, and salaries can be found in the Budget files. Departmental Chairman correspondence and information about research assistants and other staff related to the Council for Research in the Social Sciences projects are generally located in this subseries as well.

Subseries II.3: Executive Officers & Chairmen, 1936-1974

consists of correspondence files for the departmental chairs and executive officers and are arranged chronologically by name. Ruth Benedict was “Executive Officer.” Correspondence from “Departmental Representative” is included. Files labeled by subject or correspondent’s office, were maintained and filed alphabetically. Correspondence between the department and the University President concerns alumni fundraising, the “capital campaign,” endowed professorships, and general accounting procedures.

Files titled “Restructuring” relate to changes in the organization of the University as a result of the spring 1968 student riots. By October of that year, the University Student Council, Executive Committee of the Faculty, Office of the vice Provost for Academic Planning, Student for a Restructured University, and the Student Representatives to the Special Committee of the Trustees announced a joint sponsorship of public hearing on proposals for a University restructuring. The formation of the University Senate, composed of students, faculty, and administrators, resulted from these efforts.

Correspondence concerning time limits for registered graduate students to complete their Ph.D degrees, and the interruption of studies due to military service during the late 1960s, coincide with the Vietnam conflict.

Subseries II.4: Students, 1947-1979

consists of reports, lists, correspondence and publications. Files in this subseries are also restricted for 75 years after the date of creation, except for those documenting student clubs.

Subseries II.5: General A-Z, 1938-1980

contains administrative records not described by the previous subseries. Topics include curriculum, fees, and laboratory space. Oversized architectural plans were removed and filed with the University Archives Flat Files Collection.

Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

Personnel and student records are restricted for 75 years after the date of creation.

 This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

      offsite requestMore information and link to off-site request form

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Department of Anthropology Records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Central Files, 1890-1971

Within the Central Files, refer to files on Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas.

Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968

Council for Research in the Humanities Records, 1926-1968

Columbia University Archives Historical Biographical Files (see the Ruth Benedict and Franz Boas files).

Selected Related Material-- at other respositories

Franz Boas Papers, ca. 1858-1942, American Philosophical Society Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Margaret Mead papers and South Pacific, Ethnographic Archives, 1838-1996 (bulk 1911-1978), Library of Congress Manuscript Division, Washington, D.C.

Franz Boas Field notebooks and physical anthropological data, 1889-1897, undated, Northwestern University Library, Chicago, Illinois.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Records processed 12/--/2004 Jennifer Ulrich

Finding aid written 2004 Jennifer Ulrich

Finding aid reformatted 09/--/2008 Evan Roth (SEAS 2010)

Finding aid edited 07/--/2010 Jocelyn Wilk

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion July 13, 2010

Finding aid written in English.

    2010-07-13 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Additional Creators

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Arensberg, Conrad M. (Conrad Maynadier), 1910-1997.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Benedict, Ruth, 1887-1948.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Fried, Morton H. (Morton Herbert), 1923-1986.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Greenberg, Joseph H. (Joseph Harold) 1915-2001.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Holloway, Ralph L.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Murphy, Robert Francis, 1924-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Skinner, Elliott P. (elliott Percival), 1924-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Solecki, Ralph S.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Wagley, Charles 1913-.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Genre/Form

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Budgets.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Reports.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Subjects

HeadingCUL Archives:
Portal
CUL Collections:
CLIO
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
ArchiveGRID
Anthropology--Study and teaching.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Faculty.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Student strike, 1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Students.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Ethnology--Study and teaching.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Human ecology--Study and teaching.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Historical Note

The Department of Anthropology at Columbia University was established in 1902 as part of the Faculty of Philosophy, under the direction of Professor Franz Boas. At the time of its establishment, the department was also staffed by Livingston Farrand as Adjunct Professor and Joseph Hershey Bair as Assistant. Courses offered in 1902 included Anthropology, General Introductory Course, Ethnography of America, Ethnography of the Pacific Islands and of Africa, The Statistical Study of Variation, introductory and advanced course, Ethnology-Primitive Culture, Physical Anthropology, and American Languages and Research Work in Physical Anthropology, Ethnology, and North American Languages. Courses in anthropology were first offered in 1896 by the Department of Philosophy and Education, then called Philosophy, Psychology, and Education. Courses were consolidated under one department in 1897 in the Faculty of Philosophy with Livingston Farrand as Instructor and Franz Boas as Lecturer. The following year, the Department of Philosophy and Education was staffed by James Cattell and Boas, later changing its name to the Division of Philosophy, Psychology and Anthropology.

A renowned anthropology scholar and professor, Franz Boas was trained in Germany, immigrated to the United States in 1888, taught at Clark University, and was curator at the American Museum of Natural History. He was first appointed as lecturer in physical anthropology at Columbia in 1896. Boas attracted many students to the program during his tenure, advancing the department as a leader in the field. Students of Boas included Ruth Benedict and Margaret Mead. Benedict, Associate Professor of Anthropology, eventually served as Executive Officer for the Department.

The Department conducted several projects funded by Columbia's Council for Research in the Social Sciences (CRSS), a multidisciplinary organization that promoted social science research at Columbia University. Professor Benedict headed Project no. 35: "Acculturation," Professor Franz Boas headed Project no. 19: "Race and Heredity," and Federico De Onis and Ruth Bunzel contributed to project no. 39. "Religion and Culture in Mexico." Established in 1925, Columbia's CRSS was modeled after the national council founded two years earlier, in 1923.

Although the field of archaeology is often found within departments of anthropology at other colleges and universities (and some archaeological expedition records are found in this collection), these courses are currently offered by the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. Relevant courses may be found in other departments as well, reflecting the field's multidisciplinary nature. Classical archaeology courses were first offered by the Department of Greek and Latin in 1890. Prior to the founding of the Department of Fine Arts and Archaeology in 1934, courses on ancient art and architecture were offered in the School of Architecture - a department established in 1881as part of School of Mines and housed in that school until 1902.