William Duncan Strong papers, 1902-1965
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.1974-28
Creators:
Strong, William Duncan, 1899-1962
Dates:
1902-1965
bulk 1927-1955
Languages:
Multiple languages
The collection is primarily in
English
. Some correspondence and publications are in
Spanish
, and a few publications are in
French
.
Physical Description:
64.88 Linear feet
87 boxes; 16 map folders; and 14 boxes of nitrate negatives, which are not included in the linear feet extent measurement
Repository:
William Duncan Strong's early interest was in zoology, but, while an undergraduate at the University of California, he was brought into anthropology under the influence of Alfred Louis Kroeber. He conducted archaeological and ethnological field research in several areas of the New World and was the first professionally trained archaeologist to focus on the Great Plains, where he applied the so-called direct historical method, working from known history in interpreting archaeological sites. Strong's papers include correspondence, field notes, diaries, newspaper clippings, teaching notes and student papers, manuscripts of his writings, writings by other authors, papers from the various organizations in which he served, maps, and a considerable number of photographs from his field work. The materials date from 1902 to 1965, with most of the materials being from 1927 to 1955.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Strong's papers include correspondence, field notes, diaries, newspaper clippings, teaching notes and student papers, manuscripts of his writings, writings by other authors, papers from the various organizations in which he served, maps, and a considerable number of photographs from his field work. The materials date from 1902 to 1965, with most of the materials being from 1927 to 1955.
Strong's papers reflect his professional life, but there is little personal material. Except for the Rawson-MacMillan Labrador Expedition, there is little information from Strong's years at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Other than information on field work expenses, there is little light shed on Strong's personal financial situation. There is no personal correspondence with either of his wives and little correspondence with family members, except for his brother, Ronald. Some correspondence from the late 1930s to the early 1940s is not present and its whereabouts is not known. Of special interest is a collection of drawings by Naskapi Indian children collected while Strong was on the Labrador expedition in 1928. Strong collected obituaries, vitae, news articles, and writings on and by other anthropologists. He was an inveterate doodler, and his fascinating creations appear throughout the papers.
Strong also collected materials from other researchers, including Loren Eiseley's 1931 field notes from the Morrill Expedition, Maurice Kirby's 1932 notes on the Signal Butte excavations, notes and drawings from the 1936 Honduras expedition by Alfred V. Kidder II, and the field notebooks kept by Clifford Evans for the 1946 Virú Valley expedition in Peru. Contributed photographs from field expeditions are from A.T. Hill, Waldo Wedel, and John Champe.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged in 12 series: (1) Miscellaneous personal papers, 1914-1963; (2) Correspondence, 1922-1965; (3) Materials relating to field work, 1921-1963; (4) Miscellaneous research notes, 1917-1960, most undated; (5) Maps and charts, 1902-1949; (6) Drawings by Naskapi Indians and Eskimos, 1910, 1928; (7) Manuscripts of writings, 1922-1962, undated; (8) Writings by other authors, 1902-1961; (9) Papers relating to organizations, 1926-1961; (10) Teaching materials and course work, 1909, 1928-1961; (11) Miscellany, 1902-1961, most undated; (12) Photographs, 1913-1950.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
William Duncan Strong (1899-1962) was a major figure in American anthropology. His accomplishments were as a field worker in archaeology and ethnology, archaeological theorist, writer, and teacher. He was, furthermore, a leader in anthropological organizations. In 1954, his position in the field was recognized by the award of the Viking Fund Medal for his contributions to archaeology.
William Duncan Strong's early interest was in zoology, but, while an undergraduate at the University of California, he was brought into anthropology under the influence of Alfred Louis Kroeber. He conducted archaeological and ethnological field research in several areas of the New World, including Labrador, southern California, Honduras, and Peru. Strong was the first professionally trained archaeologist to focus on the Great Plains, and it was there that he applied the so-called direct historical method, working from known history in interpreting archaeological sites. His work in all these areas are represented by notebooks, diaries, specimen catalogues, maps, and photographs.
Strong spent the majority of his professional life affiliated with various universities and taught many anthropologists who became influential in their own right. His students included Loren Eiseley, Waldo R. Wedel, Joseph Jablow, Oscar Lewis, John Landgraf, Dorothy Keur, David Stout, Charles Wagley, Eleanor Leacock, John Champe, Albert C. Spaulding, Victor Barnouw, John M. Corbett, Walter Fairservis, and Richard B. Woodbury. Strong preserved the student papers by some of these anthropologists as well as their correspondence with him.
Strong influenced American anthropology by his service in professional societies. He served as president of the American Ethnological Society, the Institute of Andean Research, and the Society for American Archaeology. He was the director of the Ethnogeographic Board (his journal from his tenure as director is in the papers) and chairman of the Committee on Basic Needs of American Archaeology. In this latter capacity, Strong was involved in establishing a program to salvage archaeological sites before they were destroyed by public works. Strong served as the anthropological consultant to the Bureau of Indian Affairs during Franklin Roosevelt's administration and advised on new directions to be taken in Indian Service policy.
Strong died suddenly on January 29, 1962.
Chronology
1899
Born January 30 in Portland, Oregon
1917 April-1919 January
In the United States Navy aboard the U.S.S. South Dakota on convoy duty in the Atlantic Ocean
1922
Collected faunal specimens in the Canadian Rockies, Skeena River district, for the University of California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology
1923
A.B., University of California
Studied Max Uhle's Peruvian archaeological collection
Collected faunal specimens, Columbia River, Washington
Winter, 1923-1924
Archaeological investigations in the southern San Joaquin Valley, California under the direction of Edwin Winslow Gifford
1924-1925
Expedition to study Shoshonean tribes (the Serrano, Cahuilla, Cupeño, and Luiseño) of Southern California (Riverside and San Diego counties) under Alfred Louis Kroeber
Archaeological surveys and excavations of three months each in the middle Columbia River Valley in Oregon and Washington
1925
Archaeological expedition and collection of faunal specimens in the San Pedro Martir Mountains, Baja California under W. Egbert Schenk
1925-1926
Research Assistant, Department of Anthropology, University of California
1926
PhD, Anthropology, University of California
1926 July-1929 August
Assistant Curator of North American Ethnology and Archaeology, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
1927
An Analysis of Southwestern Society
(doctoral dissertation)
1927 June-1928 September
Anthropologist on the Rawson-MacMillan September, 1928 Subarctic Expedition of the Field Museum
Studied Naskapi and Eskimos in Labrador and on Baffin Island
1929
Married Jean Stevens
1929 August-1931 July
Professor of Anthropology, University of Nebraska
1929
Published
The Aboriginal Society of Southern California
1929-1931
Director, Archaeological Survey of Nebraska, University of Nebraska
1930 June 11-September 6
Excavated at Rock Bluff cemetery site
1931
Helped organize the First Plains Conference (held August 31-September 2)
1931-1932
Morrill Expedition, central and western Nebraska and North and South Dakota: ethnological investigations of Arikaras at Nishu, North Dakota; excavation at Signal Butte, Nebraska; and excavation at Leavenworth and Rygh village sites in South Dakota
1931 July-1937 August
Senior Anthropologist, Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution
1932
Archaeological survey of northeastern Honduras along the Mosquito Coast and the Patuca River, archaeological work on the Bay Islands, and ethnological investigation of Sumu Indians
1933-1934
Two Civilian Works Administration archaeological expeditions (five months each) in California in southern San Joaquin Valley, Kern County, at Tulamniu (a Yokuts village) and eastern Chumash area
1934-1937
Trustee, Laboratory of Anthropology, Sante Fe
1935
Anthropological consultant to the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Assistant editor,
American Antiquity
Published
Archeological Investigations in the Bay islands, Spanish Honduras
and
An Introduction to Nebraska Archeology
1935-1937
Member, Committee on State Archeological Surveys, National Research Council
1936
Smithsonian Institution-Harvard expedition to northwestern Honduras to the valleys of the Chamelecon and the Ulua Rivers, Naco and other sites
1937-1962
Professor, later Chairman, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
1937-1938
Vice-President, American Anthropological Association
1938
Fort Abraham Lincoln (Slant Mandan village) site and Sheyenne-Cheyenne village site excavations in North Dakota
1939
Chairman, National Research Council's Committee on Basic Needs in American Archaeology
Excavated at Arzberger site in South Dakota and the area between the Chamberlain and Cheyenne Rivers
1940
Member, National Research Council's Committee on War Services of Anthropology
Expeditions to western Florida and southwestern United States, especially New Mexico
Peruvian archaeological survey
1941
Chairman, Section H, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1941-1942
President, American Ethnological Society
Peruvian excavations at Pachacamac in the Chancay Valley and the Ancon-Supe excavations
1942?
Peruvian excavations in the Naxca and Ica Valleys
1942-1944
Director, Ethnogeographic Board
1943
Published
Cross Sections of New World Prehistory
Appointed to Loubat Professorship at Columbia University
1945
Married Helen Richardson
1946
Peruvian excavations, Virú Valley Project
National Research Council liaison member of the Committee for the Recovery of Archaeological Remains
President, Institute of Andean Research
1948-1949
Chairman, Anthropology Section of New York Academy of Sciences
1949 July-August
Peru-Mexico trip
1950
Talking Crow site expedition
Excavated at Signal Butte
1952-1953
Peruvian expeditions, Nazca and Ica Valleys
1954
Awarded the Viking Fund Medal
Trip to western United States
1955-1956
President, Society for American Archaeology
1962
Died January 29
Selected Bibliography
1929
Strong, William Duncan.
Aboriginal Society of Southern California
. Vol. 26,
University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology
. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1929.
1935
Strong, William Duncan.
Archeological Investigations in the Bay islands, Spanish Honduras
. Washington: The Smithsonian Institution, 1935.
Strong, William Duncan.
An Introduction to Nebraska Archeology
. Vol. 93, no. 10,
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections
. Washington: The Smithsonian Institution, 1935.
1938
Strong, William Duncan, Alfred Kidder, II, and A.J. Drexel Pail, Jr.
Preliminary Report on the Smithsonian Institution-Harvard University Archeological Expedition to Northwestern Honduras, 1936
. Vol. 97, no. 1,
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections
. Washington: The Smithsonian Institution, 1938.
1943
Strong, William Duncan.
Cross Sections of New World Prehistory: a Brief Report on the Work of the Institute of Andean Research, 1941-1942
. Vol. 104, no. 2,
Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections
. Washington: The Smithsonian Institution, 1943.
Strong, William Duncan.
Archeological Studies in Peru, 1941-1942
. New York: Columbia University Press, 1943.
1948
"The Archeology of Honduras." In
The Circum-Caribbean Tribes
Vol. 4,
Handbook of South American Indians
, edited by Julian H. Steward, 71-120. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin No. 143. Washington: U.S. Government Print Office, 1948.
1952
Strong, William Duncan, and Clifford Evans.
Cultural Stratigraphy in the Virú Valley, Northern Peru
. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952.
For a complete bibliography of Strong's works, see Solecki, Ralph, and Charles Wagley. "William Duncan Strong, 1899-1962,"
American Anthropologist
65, no. 5 (October 1963): 1102-1111. https://anthrosource.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1525/aa.1963.65.5.02a00080

Administration
Processing Information
There are some folders in the collection with dates that fall earlier than 1902. These dates are publication dates and have not affected the date span of the collection. Although Strong died in 1962, the collection date span runs to 1965, reflecting the sudden nature of his death and subsequent additions to the collection as his affairs came into order.
Processed by Robert Montgomery, 2004.
Encoded by National Anthropological Archives staff.
Author
Robert Montgomery
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Strong papers were donated to the archives by Strong's widow, Mrs. Helen Richardson Strong. Most of the arrangements were handled by Ralph S. Solecki, then of Columbia University. He sent the papers to the archives between 1974 and 1979, and there have been small accretions since that time. These accretions came through Richard G. Forbis, Department of Anthropology, University of Calgary; Mildred Mott Wedel and Waldo R. Wedel, Department of Anthropology; and Nan A. Rothschild, Department of Anthropology, Barnard College. Mrs. Strong donated the rights in the unpublished material in the collection to the Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution.

Digital Content
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Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
William Duncan Strong papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access
The William Duncan Strong papers are open for research.
Access to the William Duncan Strong papers requires and appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.

Related Materials
Additional materials in the National Anthropological Archives relating to William Duncan Strong can be found in the records of the American Anthropological Association, Bureau of American Ethnology, Handbook of South American Indians, Institute of Social Anthropology, River Basin Surveys, the Society for American Archaeology, and Tulamniu Project (1933-1934); the papers of Ralph Leon Beals, John Peabody Harrington, Frederick Johnson, Frank Maryl Setzler, Ruth Schlossberg Landes, Albert Clanton Spaulding (including information on the Arzberger site), and Waldo Rudolph and Mildred Mott Wedel; Photographic Lot 14, Bureau of American Ethnology Subject and Geographic File; Photographic Lot 24, Bureau of American Ethnology-United States National Museum Photographs of American Indians; Photographic Lot 77-80, Portraits of Smithsonian Anthropologists; Photographic Lot 92-35, Ralph S. Solecki Photographs of Anthropologists; Numbered Collections, MS 4821 (records of the Anthropological Society of Washington), MS 4261 (photographs made on a site survey in the Santa Barbara Mountains, California, 1934), MS 4302 (journal covering the 1936 expedition to Honduras), MS 4846 (correspondence between BAE authors and the BAE editor's office), and MS 7200 (original field catalog of Honduran artifacts, 1936); and in the non-archival reference file. There are also materials in the Smithsonian Institution Archives in record units 87 (Ethnogeographic Board), 9528 (Henry Bascom Collins interviews), and 1050102 (papers of T. Wayland Vaughan). In the Human Studies Film Archives there is material on Strong in the video dialogues of Charles Wagley, 1983.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Excavations (Archaeology) -- California Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Eskimos Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
North Dakota -- Archeology Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
South Dakota -- Archeology Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arikara Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Great Plains Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Honduras -- Archeology Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Labrador (N.L.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Nebraska -- Archeology Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Naskapi Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Peru Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- California Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Columbia River Valley Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthropology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rawson-MacMillan Subarctic Expedition Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Institute of Andean Research Viru Valley Project Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Columbia University Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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naa@si.edu
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