Scope and Contents
The Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh papers, 1876-2004 (bulk 1921-1975), document the professional and personal lives of Matthew Stirling, Smithsonian archaeologist, and Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1928-1957), and his wife and constant collaborator, Marion Stirling Pugh. The bulk of the material is professional in nature and includes material from Matthew's early career in the 1920s, the careers of Matthew and Marion together from when they married in 1933 to Matthew's death in 1975, and Marion's life and work from 1975 until her death in 2001. The majority of the documentation relates to the investigation of the Olmec culture in Mexico by the Stirlings, including the discoveries of eight colossal Olmec heads. In addition, the collection documents their work in Panama, Ecuador, and Costa Rica, looking for connections between Mesoamerica and South America. Materials include field notes, journals, correspondence, photographs, writings, clippings, ephemera, articles, and scrapbooks.
Series 1. Field work, 1921-1998 (bulk 1921-1975) and undated, documents the archaeological expeditions undertaken by Matthew and Marion Stirling over a span of 40 years. This includes expeditions Matthew undertook prior to his marriage and collaboration with Marion to Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, and Florida, and extensive documentation of expeditions they embarked on together to Mexico, Panama, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.
Series 2. Other travels, 1946-1972 is comprised of materials documenting trips the Stirlings took that, for the most part, did not include field work. This includes trips for both business and personal travel, however it was common for the two to overlap.
Series 3. Administrative files, 1924-1980 and undated is partly comprised of materials the Stirlings compiled and organized into an alphabetical filing structure and also of materials that are administrative in nature and did not directly relate to other categories outlined in this finding aid.
Series 4 Writings and lectures, 1925-1990 and undated, consists of articles, papers, drafts, and notes primarily written by Matthew Stirling, with some materials co-written by Marion, and documentation relating to presentations the Stirlings gave regarding their field work and other professional matters. Also included is material relating to films that were made about the Stirling's work.
Series 5. Personal and family materials, 1880-1996 and undated, consists of documents, photographs, and ephemera that are personal in nature. This includes items relating to Matthew Stirling's young life and family history, photographs, correspondence, and clippings relating to his extended family, and photographs of and correspondence from Matt and Marion's children.
Series 6. Anthropological journals, 1876-1959, consists of collections of anthropological journals collected and categorized for reference and research purposes.
Series 7. Marion Stirling Pugh, 1924-2004 (bulk 1948-2002) and undated, consists of materials relating to endeavors Marion undertook without Matthew, primarily relating to her participation in the Society of Women Geographers from 1948-2000 and her life after Matthew died in 1975 until her death in 2001.