- Collection ID:
1951-2012, bulk 1969-2012
- Physical Description:
The Flora S. Kaplan papers document her field work, research, and professional activities from 1951-2012 (bulk 1969-2012) and primarily deal with her work as the director and founder of New York University's Museum Studies program and her field work in Benin and Mexico. The collection consists of correspondence, research files, book files, photographs, sound recordings, ephemera, and writings.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The Flora S. Kaplan papers document her field work, research, and professional activities from 1951-2012 (bulk 1969-2012) and primarily deal with her work as the director and founder of New York University's (NYU) Museum Studies program and her field work in Benin, Nigeria and Mexico. The collection consists of correspondence, research files, book files, photographs, sound recordings, ephemera, and writings.
Series 1. Museum Studies contains material related to the administration of NYU's Museum Studies program, Kaplan's participation in professional societies including ICOM (International Council of Museums), AAA (American Anthropological Association), and ACASA (Arts Council of the African Studies Association), and materials dealing with Kaplan's museum studies publications, especially
Museums and the Making of "Ourselves": The Role of Objects in National Identity
Series 2. Benin (Nigeria) consists of materials related to Kaplan's fieldwork in Benin, Nigeria including her tenure as a Fulbright professor at the University of Benin from 1983-1985 and subsequent books, articles, symposia, correspondence and travels to Benin. This includes letters from friends and business associates in Benin, including extensive correspondence with the Oba of Benin, and field notes that span more than 20 years and include interviews, research, and Kaplan's thoughts on her experiences.
Series 3. Mexico consists of materials related to Kaplan's field work in Mexico in the 1970s and subsequent research and writings. This includes original research in support of Kaplan's doctoral thesis,
A Mexican Folk Pottery Tradition: Cognition and Style in Material Culture in the Valley of Puebla
This collection is arranged in 3 series: Series 1. Museum studies, 1951-2012, bulk 1970-2012; Series 2. Benin (Nigeria), 1969-2012; Series 3. Mexico, 1957-2007, bulk 1969-1998.
Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan, anthropologist, is a professor emerita, and founding director (1978-99) of the Museum Studies Program, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University (NYU). She taught Anthropology as a Fulbright professor, (1983-85), University of Benin, Nigeria; and previously taught at Lehman College, CUNY (1970-1976), before arriving at New York University in 1976.
She publishes widely on Benin (Nigeria) and on Mexico, museum politics, art, photography, religion and gender. She holds degrees in anthropology from The Graduate Center, CUNY (Ph.D.), and Columbia University (M.A., archaeology). Dr. Kaplan was on the curatorial staff at the Brooklyn Museum, New York for six years in the Department of Primitive Art and New World Cultures. She was a research associate at the Museum of the American Indian, (1977-87), and was an associate at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU for more than 20 years. She co-edited the book series 'Museum Meanings' (Routledge) from 1997-2010 and has been a Board member of the journal 'Museums & Society' (University of Leicester Press) since 2004.
(Biography courtesy of Flora Kaplan's C.V. in Box 3 of this collection)
1930 August 28
Flora Kaplan born in New York City
B.A. degree, Hunter College: English writing major, Anthropology minor
Assistant, The Brooklyn Museum of the City of New York, Department of Primitive Art and New World Cultures
Acting Curator, The Brooklyn Museum of the City of New York, Department of Primitive Art and New World Cultures
M.A. degree, Columbia University, Anthropology
Graduate fellow, lecturer: Herbert H. Lehman College of the City University of New York (CUNY), Department of Anthropology
Ph.D., The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), Social Anthropology
Director and founder of the Museum Studies Program, professor of Anthropology, New York University
Research associate, Museum of the American Indian
Fulbright professor at the University of Benin, Nigeria
Professor emerita of Museum Studies, New York University
Processed and encoded by Katie Duvall, 2016.
Two one-half inch video tapes and two 3/4 inch Umatic video tapes were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archive (accession number 2016-008).
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Flora S. Kaplan in 2015.
Cognition and style: an analysis based on a Mexican pottery tradition.
- with Mary Anne Shea. 1981.
Images of power: art of the royal court of Benin : exhibition dates at New York University, the Grey Art Gallery, January 23-February 21, 1981. [New York, N.Y.]: The University.
- 1990. "Some uses of photographs in recovering cultural history at the royal court of Benin, Nigeria". Visual Anthropology. 3: 2-3.
A Mexican folk pottery tradition: cognition and style in material culture in the Valley of Puebla. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Museums and the making of "ourselves": the role of objects in national identity. London: Leicester University Press.
- 1995. "Some Thoughts on Doing Fieldwork at the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria and Other Things: A Fulbright Experience." In
The Fulbright Experience in Benin, Frank Salomone, Editor. Studies in Third World Societies Series. Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary Press. Pp. 17-32.
Queens, queen mothers, priestesses, and power: case studies in African gender. New York: New York Academy of Sciences.
Benin Art and Culture. London: Thames and Hudson, Ltd.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Use
Conditions Governing Access
The Flora S. Kaplan papers are currently closed to researchers due to donor imposed restrictions. Please contact the NAA for further information.
Conditions Governing Access
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Flora S. Kaplan papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Additional material from Flora S. Kaplan, primarily related to her field work in Mexico, can be located at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Archive Center:
Flora S. Kaplan collection, 1965-1989
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road