Guide to the Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh papers, 1876-2004 (bulk 1921-1975)

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.2016-24
Creators:
Stirling, Matthew Williams, 1896-1975
Stirling, Marion
Dates:
1876-2004, undated
bulk 1921-1975
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
37.94 Linear feet
84 boxes, 3 map folders
Repository:
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.

Scope and Contents
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.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged in 7 series: 1) Field work, 1921-1998 (bulk 1921-1975), undated; 2) Other travels, 1946-1972; 3) Administrative files, 1924-1980, undated; 4) Writings and lectures, 1925-1990, undated; 5) Personal and family materials, 1880-1996, undated; 6) Anthropological journals, 1876-1959; 7) Marion Stirling Pugh, 1924-2004 (bulk 1948-2002), undated.

Biographical note
Biographical note
MATTHEW WILLIAMS STIRLING:
Matthew Williams Stirling, archaeologist and Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology (1928-1957), was born on August 28, 1896 in Salinas, California. After serving as an Ensign in the Navy from 1917-1919, he graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1920 from the University of California, Berkeley studying under T.T. Waterman, Alfred L. Kroeber, and E.W. Gifford. From 1920-1921 he worked as a teaching fellow at the university, where he taught William Duncan Strong. Stirling's first tenure at the Smithsonian (then the U.S. National Museum (USNM)) was from 1921-1924, first as a museum aide, then as an Assistant Curator of Ethnology. While in the position he took night classes at George Washington University and received his M.A. in 1922. He received an honorary Sc.D. from Tampa University in 1943. In 1924, Stirling resigned his position at the museum and embarked on a journey to South American with his friend Perry Patton. From 1925-1927 he embarked on the Smithsonian sponsored American-Dutch Expedition to Papua New Guinea to explore the previously unknown interior region of Dutch New Guinea. Stirling was appointed Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution in 1928 and married Marion Illig in 1933. They worked together for the next 40 years studying Olmec culture and the connection to greater Mesoamerica and South America. They had two children (Matthew W. Stirling Jr. in 1938 and Ariana Stirling in 1942). Stirling retired as Director of the B.A.E. on December 31, 1957. He died January 23, 1975 in Washington, D.C.
Sources consulted:
Collins, Henry B. "Matthew Williams Stirling, 1896-1975."
American Anthropologist
, New Series, 78, no. 4 (1976): 886-88.
Coe, Michael D. "Matthew Williams Stirling, 1896-1975."
American Antiquity
41, no. 1 (1976): 67-73.
MARION STIRLING PUGH:
Marion Stirling Pugh (nee Illig) was born in Middletown, New York on May 12, 1911. She graduated from Rider College in 1930 and came to Washington D.C. in 1931 where she took a job as a secretary to the Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Matthew Stirling. She attended night school at George Washington University from 1931-1933 where she studied anthropology, geology, and Russian. Marion and Matthew were married on December 11, 1933 and promptly embarked on a honeymoon expedition to Florida where Matthew was in charge of Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects. They worked together for the next 40 years studying Olmec culture and the connection to greater Mesoamerica and South America. They had two children (Matthew W. Stirling Jr. in 1938 and Ariana Stirling in 1942).
Marion was an active member of the Society of Women Geographers and was elected to the executive board in 1954. She served as president of the society from 1960-1963 and 1969-1972. She had a long-time association with the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. and in the 1970s established what would become the Latin American Research Fund to secure Latin American ethnographic textiles for the museum.
After Matthew's death in 1975, Marion married General John Ramsey Pugh in 1977. Pugh died in 1994. Marion continued to travel the world, including making a trip to Antarctica in her 80s, until her death on April 24, 2001 in Tucson, Arizona.
Sources consulted:
"Marion Stirling Pugh, 89."
The Washington Post
. May 11, 2001. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/05/11/marion-stirling-pugh-89/01329ba8-f32b-4d66-83fb-9f3c311aaefb/?utm_term=.ab20f25e060b (accessed May 16, 2019).
Conroy, Sarah Booth. "Archaeologist Marion Pugh, Digging Up Memories."
The Washington Post
. July 8, 1996. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1996/07/08/archaeologist-marion-pugh-digging-up-memories/09f465e7-5900-455e-bcd5-b81828a502d5/?utm_term=.703ff0e84313 (accessed May 16, 2019).
Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh Chronology
1896 August 28
Matthew Williams Stirling born in Salinas, California to Ariana and John Williams Stirling
1911 May 12
Marion Illig born in Middletown, New York
1914-1920
Matthew Stirling attended the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his B.A. in Anthropology in 1920. He studied under A.L. Kroeber, T.T. Waterman, and E.W. Gifford.
1917-1919
Matthew Stirling served as an ensign in the U.S. Navy during World War I
1920
Matthew Stirling's travels to Europe with his parents
1920-1921
Matthew Stirling worked as teaching fellow at the University of California, Berkeley and taught William Duncan Strong
1921-1924
Matthew Stirling worked at the United States National Museum (USNM), first as a Museum Aide and then as an Assistant Curator of Ethnology
1922
Matthew Stirling received Master of Arts degree from George Washington University, studying under Truman Michelson
Matthew Stirling went on a trip to the cave country of France and Spain with friend Perry J. Patton
1923 Winter
Matthew Stirling sent by J. Walter Fewkes to excavate at Weedon (or Weeden) Island, Florida
1924 Spring
Matthew Stirling resigned from his Smithsonian USNM post
1924 Summer
Matthew Stirling conducted excavations in Mobridge, South Dakota
1924 July
Matthew Stirling went on a trip to South America with friend, Perry J. Patton
1924 Winter
Matthew Stirling continued excavations in Weedon Island, FL
1924-1925
Matthew Stirling sold real estate on Weedon Island, Florida to fund the expedition to Papua New Guinea in the winters of 1924 and 1925
1925-1927
Matthew Stirling organized and led the American-Dutch Expedition (or Smithsonian Institution-Dutch Colonial Government expedition) to Papua New Guinea
1928
Matthew Stirling named Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) at the Smithsonian Institution
1929 March-April
Matthew Stirling surveyed mounds in Tampa Bay and Calusa areas of Florida
1930s
Matthew Stirling conducted various archaeological excavations in Georgia and Florida under the Works Progress Administration (WPA)
1930
Marion Illig received a Bachelor of Science degree from Rider College
From February through April, Mathew Stirling conducted more work on Tampa Bay mounds in Florida
In July, Matthew Stirling went to Marfa, Texas to examine pictographs in caves and also went to Deeth, Nevada
1931 September-1932 March
Matthew Stirling a member of the Latin American Expedition to South and Central America. He studied the Tule/Kuna Indians in Panama and the Jivaro in Ecuador
1931-1933
Marion Illig moved to Washington D.C. to attend George Washington University and worked at the BAE as a secretary for Matthew Stirling
1933 December 11
Matthew and Marion Stirling married
1933 December-1934 May 5
Matthew Stirling supervised Federal Civil Works Administration (or Federal Emergency Relief Administration) projects in Florida, also called Florida Federal Relief (Bradenton, Perico Island, Canaveral Island, and Belle Glade) and BAE excavations in Macon, Georgia
1934 October
Conducted archaeological work in King, Queen, and Halifax counties in Virginia and Granville City, North Carolina
1935
Matthew Stirling acted as the president of the Anthropological Society of Washington
Expedition to Guatemala, Honduras, and Yucatan Peninsula to study the Maya and the Quché (or Quiche) Indians from January to February 15, 1935
1935-1936
Matthew Stirling acted as the vice president of the American Anthropological Association
1936
Matthew Stirling and WPA workers conducted archaeological surveys in southern Florida in July 1936
Matthew and Marion Stirling visited an excavation in Macon, Georgia in Fall 1936
Matthew Stirling supervised archaeological projects in Hillsborough and Dade Counties in Florida
1938 January-March
Matthew and Marion Stirling take first field trip to Mexico, visiting Tres Zapotes
1938 December 24-1939 April 15
First Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico with C.W. Weiant. Excavated Tres Zapotes and discovered lower portion of Stela C
1939
Matthew Stirling received his first Franklyn L. Burr Award from the National Geographic Society
1939 December 26-1940 April 20
Second Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico with Dr. Philip Drucker. Excavated Cerro de las Mesas and La Venta
1940 December 29-1941 April 30
Third Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico with Dr. Philip Drucker. Excavated Cerro de las Mesas and Izapa
1941
Matthew and Marion Stirling received the Franklyn L. Burr Award from the National Geographic Society (shared with Richard Hewitt Stewart)
1942 April
Matthew Stirling visited Dr. Philip Drucker at La Venta
1942 April-June
Fourth Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico. Visited Tuxtla Gutierrez, Zoque, Tzotzil and Chamula Indians, and Palenque
1943
Fifth Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico with Dr. Waldo R. Wedel. Excavated La Venta
Matthew Stirling awarded honorary Doctor of Science from Tampa University
1944 January 28-May
Sixth Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico. Visited Michoacán, Jalisco, Uruapan, Tlaquepaque, and Tarascan Indians from Lake Pátzcuaro and conducted archaeological surveys in Southern Veracruz, Tabasco, and Campeche
1945 January 22-May 31
Seventh Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico. Excavated La Venta, San Lorenzo, Piedra Parada, and Tapachula
1946 January 26-April
Eighth Smithsonian Institution/National Geographic Society Expedition to Mexico with Dr. Philip Drucker. Excavated San Lorenzo
1947
Matthew Stirling becomes Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology (title changed from "Chief")
1947 December-1948
First Smithsonian Institution/ National Geographic Society Expeditions to Panama including Cocle, Balboa, Chitre, Parita (Sixto Pinilla Place), Monagrillo, and El Hatillo
1949
Second Smithsonian Institution/ National Geographic Society Expedition to Panama
1951
Third Smithsonian Institution/ National Geographic Society Expedition to Panama
1953
Fourth Smithsonian Institution/ National Geographic Society Expedition to Panama
1954
Marion Stirling elected to the executive board of the Society of Women Geographers
1955
"Pan Am" (or Inter-American Highway) Road Trip
1956-1957
Smithsonian Institution/ National Geographic Society Expedition to Ecuador. Excavated in the ManabÍ Province
1957 December 31
Matthew Stirling retired as Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology
1958
Matthew Stirling received his third Franklyn L. Burr Award from the National Geographic Society
1960-1963
Marion Stirling acted as president for the Society of Women Geographers for the first time
1960-1975
Matthew Stirling's membership in the National Geographic Society Committee on Research and Exploration
1961
Trip to Mexico
Marion Stirling's trip to Peru
Matthew Stirling collaborated with Dr. L.S.B. Leakey through the NGS Committee on Research and Exploration
1963
Trip to Nicaragua
1964
Expedition to Costa Rica
Trip to Asia
1967
International Tuna Match, Bahamas
1968
Trip to New Guinea
Attended the Cultural Olympics in Mexico City
1969
Trip to Turkey, Bali, Etc.
1969-1972
Marion Stirling acted as president for the Society of Women Geographers for the second time
1972
Trip to Peru, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands
Farmer finds upper portion of Stela C, confirming Matthew Stirling's original date as 31 B.C.
1972-1973
Trip to Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
1974
Marion Stirling established the Mexican Research Fund (now the Latin American Research fund) for the Textile Museum
1975 January 23
Matthew Williams Stirling died in Washington D.C.
1977
Marion Stirling married Major General John Ramsey Pugh
1985
Marion Stirling Pugh received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Peruvian Embassy
1994
Death of Major General John Ramsey Pugh
Marion Stirling Pugh's trip to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco
1995
Marion Stirling Pugh's trip to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands
1996
Marion Stirling Pugh's trip to China, and separately to Belize and Honduras
2001 April 24
Marion Stirling Pugh died in Tucson, Arizona

Administration
Processing Information
The materials in the 2016 accession were inventoried by Molly Kamph in 2016 and the included timeline was written by Kamph at that time. Katie Duvall rehoused and arranged all the materials into their current order and completed the finding aid in 2019. Original organizational schemas and filing titles were maintained wherever possible. Katie Duvall also intellectually integrated the material from the Matthew W. Stirling papers (processed by Paula Fleming in 1992) into this inventory. That material appears as boxes 55-80 in this finding aid. Please contact the reference archivist at the NAA for further information about the previous finding aid.
Processed and encoded by Katie Duvall, May 2019.
Separated Materials
Film materials were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archive (HSFA).
Author
Katie Duvall
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The bulk of these papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives in 2016 by Matthew and Marion Stirling's grandchildren, Jessica Gronberg and Jeremy Withers.

Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography
This is a selected bibliography prioritizing materials Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh worked on together. A comprehensive bibliography can be found here: Coe, Michael D. "Matthew Williams Stirling, 1896-1975."
American Antiquity
41, no. 1 (1976): 67-73.
Stirling, Matthew W. "Exploration of the paleolithic regions of France and Spain." Explorations and Field-Work of the Smithsonian Institution in 1922 (1923): 87-88.
Stirling, Matthew W. "A visit to pygmyland."
Reader's Digest
6 (1928): 589-590.
Stirling, Matthew W. "Head Hunters of the Amazon."
The Scientific Monthly
36, no. 3 (1933): 264-66.
Stirling, Matthew W. "Jivaro Shamanism."
Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society
72, no. 3 (1933): 137-45.
Stirling, Matthew and Marion Stirling. "Finding jewels of jade in a Mexican swamp."
National Geographic Magazine
82 (1942): 635-661.
Stirling, Matthew W. "Stone monuments of Southern Mexico." Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 138 (1943).
Stirling, Matthew and Marion I. Stirling. "Tarqui, an early site in Manabi Province, Ecuador." Bureau of American Ethnology, Anthropological Paper 63, Bulletin 196 (1963): 1-28.
Stirling, Matthew and Marion I. Stirling. "Archaeological notes on Almirante Bay, Bocas del Toro, Panama." Bureau of American Ethnology, Anthropological Paper 72, Bulletin 191 (1964): 255-284.
Stirling, Matthew and Marion I. Stirling. "The archeology of Taboga, Uraba and Taboguila Islands, Panama." Bureau of American Ethnology, Anthropological Paper 73, Bulletin 191 (1964): 285-348.
Stirling, Matthew and Marion I. Stirling. "El Limon, an early tomb site in Cocle Province, Panama." Bureau of American Ethnology, Anthropological Paper 71, Bulletin 191 (1964): 247-254.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh papers are open for research.
The scrapbooks listed in Series 1.7 are restricted due to preservation concerns. Please contact the reference archivist for more information.
Access to the Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
Matthew Williams Stirling and Marion Stirling Pugh papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Olmec Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Excavations (Archaeology) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Papua New Guinea Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Women archaeologists Occupation Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Mexico Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ecuador Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Costa Rica Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Panama Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Field notes Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Geographic Society (U.S.) Corporate Name 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/