Guide to the Edmund Snow Carpenter papers, circa 1938-2011

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.2017-27
Creators:
Carpenter, Edmund, 1922-2011
Dates:
circa 1938-2011
Languages:
Multiple languages
The material in this collection is primarily in
English
. Additional languages present include
French
and
German
, as well as various Arctic and Inuit languages.
Physical Description:
26.25 Linear feet
Repository:
Edmund Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) was an archaeologist and visual anthropologist who worked extensively with the indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic as well as Papua New Guinea. With his colleague and close collaborator Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), he laid the groundwork for modern media theory. Carpenter is also known for his work as an ethnographic filmmaker and as a collector of Paleo-Eskimo art. The Papers of Edmund Carpenter, circa 1938-2011, document the research interests and projects undertaken by Carpenter in the fields of cultural anthropology, ethnographic filmmaking, media theory, archaeology, and indigenous art.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The papers of Edmund Carpenter, 1940-2011, document the research interests and projects undertaken by Carpenter in the fields of cultural anthropology, ethnographic filmmaking, media theory, archaeology, and indigenous art. Specific research projects and interests documented are: his 1950s fieldwork among the Aivilik Inuit in the Canadian Arctic as well as his studies into Inuit concepts of space, time, and geography; his partnership and collaboration with media theorist Marshall McLuhan and his ethnographic studies of Papua New Guinean tribal communities; his early-career archaeological digs at Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) burial mounds in Sugar Run, Pennsylvania, as well as later archaeological interest in Arctic peoples, Siberia, and the Norwegian artifact dubbed the "Norse Penny"; his reflections on the disciplines of anthropology and media studies; his editing and completion of the work of art historian Carl Schuster at the Museum der Kulturen (Museum of Ethnology) in Basel, Switzerland; his editing of The Story of Comock the Eskimo, as told to Robert Flaherty; and his museum exhibitions compiled on the topics of surrealist and tribal art. The collection also documents Carpenter's correspondence with fellow scholars, ethnographers, filmmakers, and colleagues; his published writings; and elements of his personal life, such as obituaries and personal photographs.
Materials in this collection include artifact and burial records; correspondence; drawings and illustrations; essays; interviews and oral histories; inventories and catalogues; manuscripts and drafts, and fragments of drafts; maps; memoranda and meeting minutes; notes, notebooks, and data analysis; obituaries and memorials; photographic prints, slides, and negatives, including personal photographs and portraits; proposals and plans for museum exhibits; reports; resumes and bibliographies; reviews; and sound recordings on CD-Rs and audio cassettes. Additional materials include books and book chapters; journal copies and journal excerpts; magazine, newspaper, and article clippings and excerpts; museum and gallery catalogues, brochures, and guides; pamphlets; and reprints. A portion of the material collected here consist of consolidated research into specific topics, gathered from archival repositories, museums, correspondence, and published works. This material consists of research reprints and archival reference photocopies and photographic prints from various repositories.
Items worthy of special mention in this collection include: annotated draft chapters from Marshall McLuhan's seminal work on media theory, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Series 2); a 1957 letter from e. e. cummings to Carpenter, written in verse (Series 3); an undated thank-you note addressed to "Sadie" from Helen Keller (Series 3); and a transcript of an interview of Carpenter by his former student, Harald Prins (Series 2).
Audiovisual material in this collection is currently undergoing processing.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is organized into the following 7 series:
  • Series 1. Fieldwork and drafts, 1940-2011 (bulk 1940-1959)
  • Series 2. Research and project files, 1940-2011
  • Series 3. Correspondence, circa 1938-2011
  • Series 4. Publications and lectures, circa 1942-circa 2006
  • Series 5. Personal, 1942-2011
  • Series 6. Film and visual material (in-process)
  • Series 7. Writings by others, 1960-2009, undated

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Edmund Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) was an archaeologist and visual anthropologist who worked extensively with the indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic and Papua New Guinea. With his colleague and close collaborator Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), he laid the groundwork for modern media theory. Carpenter is also known for his work as an ethnographic filmmaker and as a collector of Paleo-Eskimo art.
Born in 1922 in Rochester, New York, Edmund (nicknamed "Ted") Carpenter served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 under Frank Speck for work on Iroquoian prehistoric archaeology. Carpenter began teaching at the University of Toronto in 1948 while simultaneously working as a programmer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In the 1950s, he undertook fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic among the Aivilik (an Inuit Igloolik subgroup). This fieldwork resulted in several publications in the field of cultural anthropology, including Time/Space Concepts of the Aivilik (1955), Anerca (1959), and Eskimo (1959, republished as Eskimo Realities in 1973).
Also in the 1950s, Carpenter began a working relationship with media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Together, they received a Ford Foundation grant (1953-1955) for an interdisciplinary media research project into the impact of mass communications and mass media on culture change. Carpenter and McLuhan's partnership resulted in the Seminar on Culture and Communication (1953-1959) and the journal series Explorations. In 1957, Carpenter was the founding chair in the interdisciplinary program "Anthropology and Art" at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge). There, he collaborated with Bess Lomax Hawes and other colleagues in the production of several ethnographic films, including Georgia Sea Island Singers about Gullah (or Geechee) songs and dances. During this period, Carpenter worked with McLuhan on the latter's seminal book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). The article published as "Fashion is Language" in Harper's Bazaar under McLuhan's name (1968) was actually written by Carpenter. It was later published in book form under Carpenter's name, with the title They Became What They Beheld (1970).
In 1969, Carpenter took a research professorship at the University of Papua and New Guinea sponsored by the government of Australia. Alongside photographer Adelaide De Menil (whom he would later marry), he applied many of the ideas about media literacy and culture change to indigenous communities of Papua New Guinea. These activities led to developments in the field of media ecology, as well as the publication of Carpenter's best-known work, Oh, What a Blow the Phantom Gave Me! (1976).
Carpenter taught intermittently at various universities throughout his career, including Fordham University, the University of California-Santa Cruz, Adelphi University, Harvard University's Center for Visual Anthropology, the New School for Social Research, and New York University. He spent eight years associated with the Museum of Ethnology in Basel, Switzerland (1973-1981), editing art historian Carl Schuster's research.
In addition to his teaching and research, Carpenter, with his wife Adelaide De Menil, collected tribal art, eventually amassing the largest private collection of Paleo-Eskimo art in the United States. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Carpenter curated various exhibitions on art and visual culture, including the Menil Collection's Witness to a Surrealist Vision and the Musée du Quai Branly's Upside Down (later reconstructed at the Menil Collection). In later years, Carpenter resumed his archaeological interest in Arctic peoples, researching and collaborating on the Zhokhov Island Mesolithic site in the Russian Arctic with Russian scientists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture and archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.
Carpenter died on July 1, 2011 at his home in New York.
Sources consulted:
"Edmund Snow Carpenter." https://edmundsnowcarpenter.com/about
Grimes, William. "Edmund Carpenter, Archaeologist and Anthropologist, Dies at 88." The New York Times. 2011 July 7. https://www.nytimes.com
Prins, Harald E. L. and John Bishop. "Edmund Carpenter: Explorations in Media and Anthropology." Visual Anthropology Review 17:2 (Fall-Winter 2001-2002): 110-140.
Chronology
1922 September 2
Born in Rochester, New York
circa 1940-1941
Archaeological field work, Sugar Run mounds, Pennsylvania
1942-1946
Served in the United States Marine Corps
1948-1957
Anthropology Department, University of Toronto
circa 1950
Began work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)
1950
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (Anthropology)
1950s
Fieldwork among the Aivilik Inuit
1953-1959
Ran the Seminar on Culture and Communication with Marshall McLuhan
1957-1967
"Anthropology and Art" program at San Fernando Valley State College (California State University, Northridge)
1967-1968
Schwitzer Chair, Fordham University (with Marshall McLuhan)
1968-1969
Carnegie Chair in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz
1969-1970
Research Professor, University of Papua and New Guinea
1973-1981
Associated with the Museum of Ethnology in Basel, Switzerland for Carl Schuster papers project
circa 1989-2005
Collaboration regarding Zhokov Island archaeological site
2011 July 1
Died in East Hampton, New York

Administration
Separated Materials
Film and video recordings are retained by the Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA) as the Edmund Carpenter-Adelaide de Menil Collection (HSFA 2004-04). Once processing is complete, they will be described in the following finding aid in Series 6.
Processing Information
Preliminary processing was completed at the New York City offices of the Association for Cultural Equity by Janine St. Germain, January-April 2013. Additional processing was completed by Lorraine Spiess and Sean Mooney at the Rock Foundation between 2014 and 2016.
The collection was transferred to the National Anthropological Archives in 2017 and processing was completed in 2018. The archivist at the NAA relied on the previous archivists' arrangement and description of the collection to determine the relationship between materials. Series and sub-series were re-named or moved, but the files and folders within these sections largely remained intact. Advice on arrangement and description was provided by Smithsonian Research Fellow Stephanie Caffarel.
Previous archivists had assigned box/folder numbers to two-thirds of the files in the collection in this form: "ESC.box#.folder#." The NAA's archivist separated some material for better arrangement and contextualization of the materials (such as relocating topically-unrelated correspondence to Series 4: Correspondence) and re-boxed all the material. These previous folder numbers were transferred to new folders and, where extant, are indicated in this finding aid in a note field.
The finding aid produced for the Rock Foundation is on file at the NAA and can be seen on request.
Processed and encoded by Katherine Madison, 2018 September.
Author
Katherine Madison
Sponsor
Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Rock Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Edmund Snow Carpenter papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives in 2017 by Adelaide de Menil on behalf of the Rock Foundation.

Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography
1953. "Witch-fear among the Aivilik Eskimos." American Journal of Psychiatry 110(3): 194-199.
1955. "Space Concepts of the Aivilik Eskimos." Explorations 5: 131-145/
1956. With Marshall McLuhan. "The New Languages." Chicago Review 10(1): 46-52.
1959. Anerca. Drawings by Enooesweetok. Toronto: J. M. Dent (distributed by New Directions, New York).
1959. Eskimo. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
1960. "Ohnainewk, Eskimo Hunter." In In The Company of Man: Twenty Portraits by Anthropologists, 417-426. Joseph B. Casagrande, ed. New York: Harper.
1960. With Marshall McLuhan, editors. Explorations in Communication: An Anthology. Boston: Beacon Press.
1968. Editor. The Story of Comock the Eskimo, as told to Robert Flaherty. New York: Simon and Schuster.
1970. They Became What They Beheld. New York: Ballantine Books.
1972. Oh, What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me! New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
1973. Eskimo Realities. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
1975. "The Tribal Terror of Self-Awareness." In Principles of Visual Anthropology, 451-461. Paul Hockings, ed. The Hague: Mouton.
1978. "Silent Music and Invisible Art." Natural History 87(5): 90-99.
1980. "If Wittgenstein had been an Eskimo." Natural History 89(2): 72-76.
1986-1988. With Carl Schuster. Materials for the Study of Social Symbolism in Ancient and Tribal Art: A Record of Tradition and Continuity: Based on the Researches and Writings of Carl Schuster. New York: Rock Foundation.
1996. With Carl Schuster. Patterns that Connect: Social Symbolism in Ancient and Tribal Art. New York: Abrams.
2001. "That Not-So-Silent Sea." In The Virtual Marshall McLuhan, 236-261. Donald Theall, ed. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.
2003. Editor. Comock: The True Story of an Eskimo Hunter who survived with his family for Ten Years on an otherwise Deserted Island, returning to the Mainland only by Great Ingenuity and Daring, as told to and by Robert Flaherty with photographs Flaherty took of Comock's Friends and Neighbors, and Drawings made by them. New York: Rock Foundation.
2003. Norse Penny. New York: Rock Foundation.
2005. Two Essays: Chief and Greed. North Andover, Mass.: Persimmon Press.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The Edmund Snow Carpenter papers are open for research.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Digital media in the collection is restricted for preservation reasons.
Access to the Edmund Snow Carpenter papers requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Preferred Citation
Edmund Snow Carpenter papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Archaeology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Arctic peoples Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Canada Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cartography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnographic films Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Greenland Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iglulik Eskimos Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indigenous art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inuit Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inuit--Canada Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inuit--Greenland Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Inuit art Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.) Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum exhibits Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Guinea (Territory) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Paleo-Eskimos Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Papua New Guinea Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Visual anthropology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Iroquois Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
McLuhan, Marshall, 1911-1980 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Schuster, Carl, 1904-1969 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Flaherty, Robert Joseph, 1884-1951 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
De Menil, Adelaide Personal 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/