National Anthropological Archives

Guide to the Timothy Asch papers,
1947-1995

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.1996-16
Creators:
Asch, Timothy, 1932-1994
Dates:
1947-1995
Languages:
English
.
Physical Description:
62 Linear feet
Repository:
Timothy Asch was an anthropologist and ethnographic film maker who devoted his professional life to using film as a recording and teaching medium. His papers cover the period from 1966 until his premature death in 1994 and reflect his active career in the field. A large portion of the files relates to his work among the Yanomami people of Venezuela and to his concern with bias in film making.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Timothy Asch document his career as an anthropologist, educator, photographer and filmmaker through correspondence, photographs, research files (articles and notes), and teaching materials (course information and lecture notes). The files relating to Asch's film projects include articles, field notes, and reviews. The major correspondents in this collection are Patsy Asch, Tom Beidelman, Napoleon Chagnon, James Fox, Robert Gardner, Douglas Lewis, Peter Loizos, David & Olga Sapir, and Minor White.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into the following 13 series:
  • Series 1) Correspondence (1953-1994)
  • Series 2) College and graduate School (1955-1965)
  • Series 3) Teaching materials (1964-1993)
  • Series 4) Film projects (1964-1991)
  • Series 5) Articles and reviews (1972-1994)
  • Series 6) Alpha-Subject (1955-1989)
  • Series 7) Conferences, film festivals, and film organizations (1963-1993)
  • Series 8) Grants (1962-1993)
  • Series 9) Other people's work (1952-1995)
  • Series 10) Personal and family (1951-1994)
  • Series 11) Photographs (1947-1991)
  • Series 12) Sound recordings (bulk 1960s-1970s)
  • Series 13) Note slips, rolodexes, and business cards (1987, undated)

Biographical note
Biographical note
Asch studied photography at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. While serving in the United States Army in Japan from 1951-55 he spent his off-duty hours photographing rice production and household activities in remote Japanese villages. After his military service, he enrolled in Columbia University graduating in 1959 with an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. After graduation, he went to work at the Peabody Museum at Harvard as an assistant editor to John Marshall on the Kung Bushmen film project. In 1964, he received a Masters Degree in Anthropology from Boston University where he studied in the African Studies Progam and read Anthropology with T.O. Beidelman at Harvard. In 1968, Asch and Marshall founded Documentary Educational Resources, a film distribution company. Anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon approached Asch in 1968 to film among the Yanomammmi people of Venezuela. This collaboration led to a major project resulting in over thirty films.
Chronology
1950-1951
California School of Fine Arts and Apprenticeships with photographers Minor White, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams
1953-1954
Military Service in Korea
1959
B.S. in Anthropology Columbia University
1959-1962
Ethnographic film consultant, Harvard University's Peabody Museum
1964
M.A. in Anthropology Harvard University
1965-1966
Curriculum Consultant, Ethnographic studies and the Bushmen Social Studies Curriculum Project (initially Educational Services, Inc., later called Educational Development Center)
1966-1968
Lecturer in Anthropology and Theater Arts, Brandeis University
1966-1968
Anthropology Curriculum and Media Consultant to the Newton Public Schools
1967-1994
Co-Founder and Director of Documentary Educational Resources, Watertown, Massachusetts, a non-profit curriculum development corporation distributing educational media
1968-1970
Visiting Assistant Professor, Anthropology Department, New York University
1969-1973
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Brandeis University
1973-1979
Research Fellow in Ethnographic film, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
1974-1976
Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
1975
Research Cinematographer, National Anthropological Film Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1976-1981
Senior Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, Institute of Advanced Studies, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
1982
Visiting Research Scholar, Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
1983-1994
Director, Center for Visual Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California

Administration
Author
Jill Fri, Ann Hunt, and Yu-Ra Jung
Processing Information
Processed by Jill Fri, Ann Hunt, and Yu-Ra Jung in Fall 2004. Encoded by Rihoko Ueno, 2011 December. Revised and encoded by Katherine Madison, 2018 June.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Patsy Asch in 1996.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Timothy Asch papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Related Materials
The Human Studies Film Archives holds 93,000 feet (43 hours) of original film footage and the accompanying sound as well as the edited films from the 1968 and 1971 film projects by Timothy Asch and Napoleon Chagnon documenting the Yanomamo Indians of southern Venezuela and northern Brazil (between the Negro and Upper Orinoco rivers).

More Information
Selected Filmography
Selected Filmography
1963. Dodoth Moring (Uganda). John and Lorna Marshall
1969. The Feast. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1971. Yanomamo: A Multidisciplinary Study. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1973. Magical Death. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1975. A Father Washes His Children. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1975. A Man and His Wife Make a Hammock. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1975. New Tribes Mission. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1975. The Ax Fight. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1976. Tapir Distribution. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1976. The Yanomamo Myth of Naro. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1976. Jaguar: A Yanomamo Twin-Cycle Myth. Napoleon Chagnon (Southern Venezuela)
1977. The Sons of Haji Omar (Afghanistan). Asen Balikci and David Newman
1979. A Balinese Trance Séance. Patsy Asch and Linda Connor
1980. Jero on Jero: A Balinese Trance Séance Observed. Patsy Asch and Linda Connor
1983. The Medium is the Masseuse: A Balinese Healer. Patsy Asch and Linda Connor
1983. Jero Tapakan: Stories from the Life of a Balinese Healer. Patsy Asch and Linda Connor
1991. Releasing the Spirits: A Village Cremation in Bali. Patsy Asch and Linda Connor
1993. Patsy Asch and Douglas Lewis in Tana Ai, Flores in Eastern Indonesia


Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sound recordings Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 1953-1994 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthropology Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Film -- theory Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Venezuela Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 1947-1991 Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Language and languages -- Documentation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Albert, Bruce Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Andrews, Scott Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Balikci, Asen, 1929- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Beidelman, Tom Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Bermudez, Beatrice Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brigard, Emilie de Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cardozo, Jesus Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carpenter, Edmund, 1922-2011 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Chagnon, Napoleon A., 1938- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Connor, Linda Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Fox, James Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Freeman, Derek Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Harrison-Pepper, Sally Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heider, Karl Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Homiak, John P. (John Paul), 1947- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Jules-Rosette, Benneta Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kamerling, Lenny Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lewis, Doug Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lizot, Jacques Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Loizos, Peter Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mello, James F., 1936- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Middleton, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Piault, Collette Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Preloran, Jorge, 1933-2009 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Rouch, Jean Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ruby, Jay Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smith, Patrice Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Storas, Frode Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tax, Sol, 1907-1995 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wayang, Mark Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Wayang, Mary Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Young, Tao Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746
naa@si.edu