National Anthropological Archives

Guide to the Alan Sandstrom papers, 1968-2014

Collection ID:
Sandstrom, Alan R.
Physical Description:
10.75 Linear feet

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of Alan Sandstrom's correspondence, files relating to publications, newsletter editing (Nahua Newsletter),and biographical materials.
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 As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today.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.

The collection is arranged into 4 series: (1) Correspondence, (2) Publishing projects, (3) Nahua Newsletter, (4) Biographical files.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Alan R. Sandstrom is a sociocultural anthropologist with interests in cultural ecology, cultural materialism, economic anthropology, history and theory of anthropology, Native peoples of Mesoamerica and North America, and religion, ritual, and symbolism. He has conducted ethnographic field research among Tibetans in exile in the Himalaya region of Himachal Pradesh, northern India, and worked for more than 40 years among Nahuatl speakers of northern Veracruz, Mexico.
Sandstrom began fieldwork among the Nahua in Mexico in the summer of 1970, returning for a 16-month stay in 1972-1973 to collect data for a dissertation in anthropology at Indiana University. From 1974 until the present, the research has been a joint venture with his wife, Pamela Effrein Sandstrom, who earned master's and doctoral degrees in library and information science at Indiana University. Together, the Sandstroms have visited a small community of 600 Nahuatl speakers regularly over the intervening years. In 1985, they returned to the field accompanied by their three-year-old son, Michael Anthony Sandstrom. In addition to numerous shorter visits ranging from a few days to a few weeks, the Sandstroms have been in residence in the village for long periods during 1985-1986, 1990, and 1997-1998. The last extended stay was during joint sabbatical research leaves granted by Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in 2006-2007.
Sandstrom's long-term ethnographic fieldwork based on participant observation has been conducted in a single community he calls Amatlán (a pseudonym used to protect the privacy of research consultants and community members). The village is located in the municipio of Ixhuatlán de Madero, Veracruz, Mexico, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains; the community should not be confused with other locales in Veracruz named Amatlán. Research methodologies have included formal and informal interviewing, observation and photography of daily life and rituals, questionnaire research, elicitation of kinship data, compilation of census data, mapping for GIS analysis, and archival research in state and regional archives in Mexico. The Sandstroms' eight-month stay during 1980 among the Tibetans in exile in northern India provided a valuable cross-cultural perspective that has served to clarify the Mesoamerican data on religious ideology.

Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from Alan R. Sandstrom and Pamela Effrein Sandstrom in 2014.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Alan Sandstrom papers are open for research.
Access to the Alan Sandstrom papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
Alan Sandstrom papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Nahua Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Aztec (archaeological culture) Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Veracruz-Llave (Mexico : State) Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
North America Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Language and languages -- Documentation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746