Guide to the James B. Watson papers, 1904-1998
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.2003-15
Creators:
Watson, Virginia
Watson, James B. (James Bennett), 1918-2009
Dates:
1904-1998
bulk 1933-1987
Languages:
Multiple languages
Collection is primarily in
English
. Some field notes and TAT Protocols are in
Tok Pisin
, and some of the Brazilian research materials are in
Portuguese
. Some of the language files are in
Gadsup
,
Agarabi
,
Awa
,
Tairora
, and
Tok Pisin
. The West Irian Development Plan materials are primarily in
Dutch
.
Physical Description:
52.5 Linear feet
123 boxes
47 sound recordings
Repository:
This collection contains the professional papers of cultural anthropologist James B. Watson, and documents his fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Del Norte, Co., as well as his teaching career at the University of Washington. Included are field notes, lecture notes, correspondence, maps, photographs, books, articles, journals, grant proposals, surveys, data punch cards, conference materials, and sound recordings.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection is comprised of the professional papers of James B. Watson, the bulk of which relate to his research and academic work on the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The series are Research, Writings, Correspondence, Professional Activities, University Files, Biographical Files, Maps, Photographs, and Sound Recordings.
The Research series contains Watson's research on Hopi food classification systems in Arizona, Cayua acculturation in Brazil, social stratification between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking residents of Del Norte, Co., numerous research projects in Papua New Guinea, and gift exchange theories.
The Arizona, Hopi Food Classification Systems subseries consists of his research among the Hopi in Arizona, primarily on their food classication systems. Included are field notes and reports.
The Mato Grosso, Brazil and Cayua Acculturation subseries consists of research materials conducted while Watson was working as an assistant professor in Sao Paulo. Included are field notes, bibliographies, a journal, and a language notebook primarily regarding his research on culture change among the Cayua.
The Del Norte, Colorado Surveys subseries contains material related to research conducted in the summers of 1949 and 1950 as part of a study on social stratification between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking residents of Del Norte. Included are datasets from several community surveys on education, occupations, business, and cultural attitudes, along with research notes and background materials.
The Papua New Guinea subseries consists of research materials on the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Included are field notes, language materials, bibliographies, grant documents and research proposals, genealogy data, long reports and patrol reports, data punch cards, and TAT (thematic apperception test) protocols. There is material from several research projects including the Committee on New Guinea Studies (CONGS), the Kainantu Blood Group Study, and the New Guinea Religions Project. Watson's wife, Virginia Drew Watson, also has research material in this series. Language documentation include lexicons and notes about Agarabi, Auyana, Awa, Tairora, Gadsup, and Tok Pisin.
The subsubseries Micro-evolution Studies Project (MES) consists of related Papua New Guinea research as part of this multi-year project. Material included is correspondence, financial documents, memorandums and planning documents, grant proposals, language files, and work papers.
The Gift Exchange Theories subseries consists of Watson's research on gift exchange theories, primarily as they relate to small autonomous peoples. The material consists of research notes, paper ideas, bibliographies, and grant applications.
The Other Research subseries consists of papers and research that are not easily catagorized. Included are subject files on perception, notes and critiques of
Marshal Sahlins's Stone Age Economics,
and a research project by Watson studying innovation in high school social studies curriculum.
The Writings series primarily consists of journal articles produced over the duration of his career. Included are research notes, drafts, and some correspondence. A print copy is included where possible. There is significant material related to his book Tairora Culture, including chapter drafts, outlines, and reader comments. The writings by others are primarily annotated copies of articles, rare and small print-run items, or manuscripts by others sent to Watson for comment.
The Correspondence series contains professional and personal correspondence with Watson's colleagues and contemporaries in the field, including J. David Cole, Terence Hays, Paula Brown-Glick, Richard Lieban, Howard P. McKaughan, Harold Nelson, Kerry Pataki-Schweizer, Kenneth E. Read, Sterling Robbins, and Roy Wagner. Topics include his academic career, student dissertations, research grants and fellowships, and research related to Papua New Guinea, and in particular the Micro-evolution Studies project.
The Professional Activities series primarily consists of conference notes, papers, presentations, and symposium documents. Included are materials for the American Anthropological Association, the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania, the Pacific Sciences Conference, as well as symposiums held at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Some of the files are related to specific symposiums Watson attended or helped to organize, the bulk of which are related to Papua New Guinea. Also included are Watson's lecture notes, and materials related to the United Nations West Irian Development Plan
The University Files series contains material related to Watson's academic career. The bulk of the files are course materials from the classes he taught at the Univesity of Washington, which include lecture notes, syllabi, exams, and student papers. Other materials includes student dissertation files and some of Watson's course work from the University of Chicago.
The Biographical Files series includes numerous editions of his curriculum vitae and bibliographies.
The Maps series contains maps used in Watson's research, which includes Brazil; Del Norte, Co.; and Papua New Guinea. The bulk are maps of Papua New Guinea, and include published maps, annotated maps, hand-drawn maps, patrol reports, and linguistic maps.
The Photographs series contains photographs of Watson's fieldwork and professional career. The bulk of his fieldwork photographs are from Del Norte, Co. and Papua New Guinea. The Del Norte photographs include aerial images along with photographs of residents, houses, and cultural activities. The photographs from Papua New Guinea include images of a taro garden, a woman before and at her marriage ceremony, and images of tools found at an excavation site near the Wahgi Valley.
The sound recordings contain seven identified recordings made in the Papua New Guinea Eastern Highlands, Kainantu District during James and Virginia Watson's first trip, 1954-1955. Also included are 31 recordings of lectures and classes by James Watson and others, two recordings of popular music, and six reels recorded at the Pacific Science Congress in Tokyo in 1966. The remaining 23 uncataloged recordings are unidentified or partially identified.
Please see individual series descriptions in the finding aid for additional information.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection is arranged in 9 series:
Series1: Research, 1933-1993
Series 2: Writings, 1904-1995
Series 3: Correspondence, 1933-1994
Series 4: Professional Activities, 1944-1998
Series 5: University Files, 1939-1991
Series 6: Biographical Files, 1941-1991
Series 7: Maps, circa 1920s-1970
Series 8: Photographs, circa 1942-1977
Series 9: Sound Recordings, 1954-1984

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
James B. Watson (1918-2009) was a cultural anthropologist and university professor. He is primarily known for his ethnographic studies of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, with a concentration on acculturation. He taught at the University of Washington, was the prinicipal investigator for the Micro-evolution Studies project (MES), and the author of numerous journal articles and books.
Watson was born in Chicago, Ill., and raised in Bangor, Maine. He studied anthropology at the University of Chicago, earning his B.A. in 1941; his M.A. in 1945; and his Ph.D. in 1948. Fred Eggan acted as his advisor while he was pursuing his doctorate. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor at the Escala Livre de Sociologia e Politica, Sao Paulo (1944-1945); Beloit College (1945-1946); University of Oklahoma (1946-1947); and as an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis (1947-1955). He then became a full professor of anthropology at the University of Washington (1955-1987), where he spent the majority of his career.
His ethnographic research began with his fieldwork among the Hopi in Arizona in 1942. He researched Hopi food classification systems, which would become the subject of his master's thesis. Watson would next study the effects of acculturation among the Cayua people in Mato Grosso, Brazil in 1943-1945. This research would become the basis of his dissertation, later to be published as
Cayua Culture Change: A Study in Acculturation and Methodology.
His wife, anthropologist Virginia Drew Watson, accompanied him and conducted her own research. While at Washington University, he directed fieldwork in the summers of 1949 and 1950 in Del Norte, Co., conducting several community surveys on education, occupations, business, and cultural attitudes. These surveys were part of a larger study on social stratification between English-speaking and Spanish-speaking residents of Del Norte.
Watson is most noted for his work in the Papua New Guinea Highlands, where he was one of the first generation of Highland ethnographers. Along with Virginia Drew Watson, he studied the Kainantu peoples of the Eastern Highlands including the Tairora, the Gadsup, the Auyana, and the Awa. He was involved in several research projects, including the Committee on New Guinea Studies (CONGS), The Kainantu Blood Group Study, and the New Guinea Religions Project.
He was also the principal investigator for the Micro-evolution Studies project (1959-1968) where he directed a team of researchers examining the interconnections of the Kainantu peoples from the perspectives of ethnography, linguistics, archaeology, and physical anthropology. Other MES researchers include Kenneth E. Read, Robert A. Littlewood, Howard McKaughan, Kerry J. Pataki-Schweizer, and Sterling Robbins. This research on Papua New Guinea is best described in his book Tairora Culture: Contingency and Pragmatism (1983).
He was professionally active, attending and organizing sessions at annual meetings for the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO). He also organized symposiums at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. Additionally, he served as a consultant to the United Nations on their West Irian Development Plan in 1967. Watson retired from teaching in 1987, but continued to publish and remain involved in AAA and ASAO. He died in 2009.
Sources Consulted: 1999 Westermark, George.
ASAO Honorary Fellow: James B. Watson.
Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania Newsletter 104: 21
Chronology
1918
Born on August 10 in Chicago, Illinois
1941
B.A. in anthropology, University of Chicago
Lecturer, University of Chicago
1941-1942
Fieldwork: Hopi
1943
Married Virgina Drew
Fieldwork: Mato Grosso, Brazil
1943-1945
Fieldwork: Brazil
1944-1945
Assistant Professor, Escala Livre de Sociologia e Politica, Sao Paulo, Brazil
1945
M.A. in anthropology, University of Chicago
1945-1946
Assistant Professor, Beloit College
1946-1947
Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma
1947-1955
Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
1948
Ph.D. in anthropology, University of Chicago
1949-1950
Director, Washington University summer field project
1949-1950
Fieldwork: Del Norte, Colorado
1953-1955
Fieldwork: Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
1955-1987
Professor of Anthropology, University of Washington
1959
Fieldwork: Papua New Guinea and Netherlands New Guinea
1959-1968
Principal Investigator, New Guinea Micro-evolution Studies Project
1963-1964
Fieldwork: Eastern Highlands, Papua New Guinea
1966-1967
Senior Specialist, Institute of Advanced Projects, East-West Center
1967
Consultant for United Nations Development Programme, West Irian
1967
Fieldwork: West Irian (Indonesia)
1987
Retired from teaching at University of Washington
2009
Died on November 12

Administration
Processing Information note
The collection was received by the National Anthropological Association in one deposit with a preliminary arrangement and inventory by Anne Watson by research topic. Upon receiving the collection, it was arranged into nine series based on research and file type. James B. Watson's original file folder titles have been retained where appropriate. The series have been arranged alphabetically by file title, except for Writings and Correspondence, which also have chronological arrangement.
Processed and encoded by Adam Fielding, 2014.
Author
Adam Fielding
Sponsor
Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by James Watson's daughter, Anne Watson, in 2003.

Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography
1943
How the Hopi Classify Their Foods.
Plateau 15(4):49-57.
1952
Cayua Culture Change: A Study in Acculturation and Methodology.
American Anthropological Association, Memoir No. 73.
1953a
Four Approaches to Culture Change: A Systematic Assessment
. Social Forces 32(3): 137-145.
1953b
Way Station of Westernization: The Brazilian Caboclo.
in
Brazil: Papers Presented in the Institute for Brazilian Studies
. Emilio Willems. Pp: 7-55. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
1961 with Zigas, Kooptzoff, and Walsh.
The Blood Groups of Natives in Kainantu, New Guinea.
Human Biology 33(1): 25-41.
1963a
Caste as a Form of Acculturation.
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 19(4): 356-379.
1963b
A Micro-evolution Study in New Guinea.
Journal of the Polynesian Society 72(2): 188-192.
1965
From Hunting to Horticulture in the New Guinea Highlands.
Ethnology 4(3): 295-309.
1968
Pueraria: Names and Traditions of a Lesser Crop of the Central Highlands, New Guinea.
Ethnology 7(3): 268-279.
1970
Society as Organized Flow: The Tairora Case.
Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 26(2):107-124.
1972a with Solon T. Kimball, eds.
Crossing Cultural Boundaries: The Anthropological Experience
. San Francisco: Chandler.
1972b with Virginia Watson.
Batainabura of New Guinea
. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files.
1977
Pigs, Fodder, and the Jones Effect in Postipomoean New Guinea.
Ethnology 16(1): 57-70.
1983
Tairora Culture: Contingency and Pragmatism
. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
1989
The Sorcerer's Rainstone
in
The Humbled Anthropologist: Tales From the Pacific
. Philip R. DeVita, ed. Pp. 129-145. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Conditions Governing Access
Some research proposals not authored by Watson are restricted until 2083.
Preferred Citation note
James B. Watson papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.

Related Materials
The National Anthropological Archives also holds the papers of Virginia D. Watson.
Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD holds the Micro-evolution Project Papers, MSS 436.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Sound recordings Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Books Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Papua New Guinea Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Brazil Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Language and languages -- Documentation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Programs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mato Grosso (Brazil : State) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Field notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Maps Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Punched cards Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Journals (periodicals) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Grant Proposals Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Articles Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnology -- Brazil Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnology -- Papua New Guinea Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Papua New Guinea -- Social life and customs Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lecture notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746
naa@si.edu
http://www.anthropology.si.edu/naa/