MS 4821 Anthropological Society of Washington records

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.MS4821
Creators:
Anthropological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.)
Dates:
1879-1993
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
32 Boxes
Repository:
The record of the Anthropological Society of Washington concern its organization, membership, and management of its business affairs. Records of its early meetings include not only minutes but also summaries--and at times almost complete papers--of its talks and discussions. Often these are manuscripts written by the speakers. There are also small quantities of documents concerning many of the national and local developments in which the society was involved. In addition, documents of the 1950s and 1960s concern the society's special publications and special programs that often involved appearances by outstanding anthropologists from outside Washington.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
These papers reflect the activities of the Anthropological Society of Washington, D. C. (ASW) for the years 1879 through 1993. The collection includes the constitution and by-laws; minutes of meetings, including abstracts of papers read; correspondence; reports of the Curator; records of the Treasurer; records of the Secretary; data concerning ASW history abstracted from its records; publications of the ASW; publications relating to the history of the ASW and its affiliates; publications by and about early members of the ASW which have been placed in different National Anthropological Archives' (NAA) collections; Secretary's records (1950 - 1976); records of the Treasurer (1953 - 1975); records and photographs regarding the exhibit "Anthropology and the Nation's Capitol"; sound recordings (1971, 1974); records of the Secretary, (1920 - 1923; John P. Harrington); general and financial records (1977 - 1992); and, records of the President (1991 - 1993; William C. Sturtevant).
Portions of the collection were donated to the NAA at different times. Series One through Ten comprised the original donation which was made in 1968. The second deposit, Series Eleven through Sixteen, and the third deposit, Series Seventeen, were made at later dates. The entire collection is comprised of thirty-two boxes of material.
The records concern ASW organization, membership and management. Records of its early meetings include not only minutes but also summaries - and, at times, almost complete papers - of talks and discussions. Often the speakers wrote these manuscripts. There are also some documents concerning the national and local developments in which the ASW was involved. In addition, documents of the 1950s and 1960s concern special publications and special programs that often involved appearances by outstanding anthropologists from outside Washington. Persons whose correspondence and other materials are in the records include Lewis Allen, William H. Babcock, Frank Baker, Ralph L. Beals, John W. Bennett, Margaret C. Blaker, Daniel G. Brinton, Franz Boas, John G. Bourke, Robert J. Braidwood, Solon J. Buck, George F. Carter, Joseph B. Casagrande, John M. Cooper, Stewart Culin, Frank H. Cushing, Frances Densmore, George Devereux, George A. Dorsey, Cora Du Bois, George S. Duncan, Loren C. Eiseley, Clifford Evans, William N. Fenton, J. Walter Fewkes, Regina Flannery, Alice C. Fletcher, Robert H. Fletcher, Weston Flint, Daniel Folkmar, Theodore Gaus, Thomas F. Gladwin, Pliny E. Goddard, Joseph H. Greenberg, William C. Haag, Alfred I. Hallowell, Paul Haupt, J. N. B. Hewitt, Frederick Webb Hodge, Walter Hough, Ales Hrdlicka, Olive E. Hite, William Henry Jackson, Neil M. Judd, Clyde Kluckhohn, Eugene I. Knez, Margaret L. Lantis, Thomas J. Larson, Carl Lumholtz, Arthur MacDonald, Bela C. Maday, Otis T. Mason, R. H. Mathews, Washington Matthews, George C. Maynard, Ernst Mayr, Betty J. Meggars, John C. Merriam, Truman Michelson, Warren K. Moorehead, WJ McGee, Joseph D. McGuire, James Mooney, George P. Murdock, Marshall T. Newman, P. B. Pierce, Eric K. Reed, Saul H. Riesenberg, Frank H. H. Roberts, Jr., Adolph H. Schultz, Frank M. Setzler, Lauriston Sharp, Antonio Carlos Simoens da Silva, Albert C. Spaulding, Frederick Starr, Julian H. Steward, T. Dale Stewart, Willima Duncan Strong, William C. Sturtevant, John R. Swanton, Robert M. Tatum, Cyrus Thomas, William Wallace Tooker, George L. Trager, L. B. Tuckerman, Waldo R. Wedel, J. S. Weiner, Erminie Wheeler Voeglin, Leslie A. White, Arnold M. Withers, and Richard B. Woodbury.

Arrangement
Arrangement
  • SERIES 1. CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
  • SERIES 2. MINUTES (INCLUDING ABSTRACTS OF PAPERS READ)
  • SERIES 4. REPORTS OF THE CURATOR
  • SERIES 5. RECORDS OF THE TREASURER
  • SERIES 6. RECORDS OF THE SECRETARY
  • SERIES 7. DATA CONCERNING THE HISTORY OF THE ASW ABSTRACTED FROM ITS RECORDS
  • SERIES 8. PUBLICATIONS OF THE ASW
  • SERIES 9. PUBLICATIONS RELATING TO THE HISTORY OF THE ASW AND ITS AFFILIATES
  • SERIES 10. PUBLICATIONS BY AND ABOUT EARLY MEMBERS OF THE ANTHROPOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF WASHINGTON
  • SERIES 11. SECRETARY'S RECORDS, 1950 - 1976
  • SERIES 12. RECORDS OF THE TREASURER, 1953 - 1975
  • SERIES 13. RECORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS REGARDING THE EXHIBIT "ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE NATION'S CAPITOL"
  • SERIES 14. SOUND RECORDINGS, 1971 - 1974
  • SERIES 15. RECORDS OF THE SECRETARY, 1920 - 1923: J. P. HARRINGTON
  • SERIES 16. GENERAL AND FINANCIAL RECORDS, 1977 - 1992
  • SERIES 17. RECORDS OF THE PRESIDENT, 1991 - 1993:

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
The Anthropological Society of Washington (ASW) was founded in a series of meetings beginning February 10, 1879. It was formally organized on February 17, 1879. On December 13, 1887, it was incorporated in the District of Columbia. According to its original charter, its purpose was to encourage "the study of the natural history of man, especially with reference to America". Membership was open to all who were interested in anthropology. There was some discussion as to a name for the society; some favored the title "The Archaeological and Ethnological Society," but the name "The Anthropological Society of Washington" was finally adopted.
It was provided that all business of the Society should be conducted by a council, afterward called a board of managers. In this way the Society's meetings, except the annual meetings when officers were elected, could be devoted entirely to anthropologic work. The vice-presidents were the officers on whom mainly depended the work of the Society. They presided over their respective sections and represented them in the council, and papers pertaining to the subject of a particular section were referred to the council by the vice-president representing that section.
Founded in 1879, only ten years later, the ASW boasted a membership of over 200 individuals. From its beginning, the ASW has been essentially a local organization serving the needs of anthropologists in the capital city. Since government-sponsored anthropology centered in Washington - in the earlier days largely at the Smithsonian Institution, and, later, extending to other agencies and, in the 20th century, to local area universities - the talks and discussions have involved leading anthropologists involved in original work at the forefront of their disciplines. It followed that ASW's early membership, in spite of its essentially local nature, was nationally and internationally known. Furthermore, in the "American Anthropologist", the ASW established the first American journal of national scope concerned exclusively with anthropology, and the publication provided an outlet for anthropologists throughout the country.
During the early decades of the twentieth century, with the American Ethnological Society (AES) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and its Section H (Anthropology), the ASW played a role in the founding of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the organization to become the major national organization for English-speaking North American anthropologists. The influence of the Washingtonians was particularly evident in the fact that the AAA became a general membership organization rather than restricted to professionals. Arrangements were thus possible for ASW membership to bring automatic AAA affiliation, a fact allowing the ASW, with its large nonprofessional membership, to exert considerable influence over the national organization. Before AAA establishment, Section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science moved to make the "American Anthropologist" a truly national journal in 1898. The "Anthropologist" was placed under two owners, (WJ McGee, of Washington, and Franz Boas, of New York) and a board of managers drawn from anthropologists of Washington and other major cities. With the founding of the AAA in 1902, it took over the journal as the official organ of the AAA, ASW, and AES.
Yet another instance of ASW influence came during the 1940's, when many anthropologists were in federal service. It was these anthropologists who perceived AAA weakness: its large nonprofessional membership and its failure to bring many professionals onto its roster. They readily understood these as handicaps in influencing post-World War II federal policies affecting the social sciences. ASW initially provided the manpower, forum, and funds for a drive toward a more professional association. The ASW did this despite adjustments in its relations with the AAA that, of necessity, followed.
On the local scene, ASW was a founding organization of the Joint Commission of Scientific Societies, which eventually developed into the Washington Academy of Sciences. In 1899, it absorbed the members of the Washington-based Women's Anthropological Society of America. It also played a part in founding the Social Science Federation of Washington. In addition, the ASW became involved in movements of local interest that ranged from opposition to the anti-vivisectionism of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to an interest in the George Washington Memorial Fund and the improvement of the dwellings of the poor.

Administration
Processing Note
The initial inventory of the collection was prepared in September, 1968 by Margaret Blaker and was used extensively in the preparation of this Finding Aid. Reining's transmittal letter and Evans' committee report (1956, 1 page) are in the NAA Donor File , "Anthropological Society of Washington, Accession Folder".
Several later additions to the collection can be found in boxes 18 through 32. While most of these later items date from 1953 through 1993, some items date back to the 1920's.
Can't locate photos, 11/85. KTB
Processed by Anna Z. Thompson
Encoded by Jocelyn Baltz, July 2012
Existence and Location of Copies
Parts microfilmed are indicated on "microfilm record copy" of the inventory in Manuscript Guides file.
Author
Anna Z. Thompson
Provenance
The original collection (1879-1965; 17 boxes) was deposited in the SOA Archives (now the National Anthropological Archives {NAA}) September 19, 1968 by Clifford Evans, Smithsonian Office of Anthropology, in accordance with a letter to Evans from Conrad C. Reining, President, ASW, September 13, 1968. The records had been in the custody of Dr. Evans since 1956, when he served as chairman of a committee to review and arrange the records. In 1968, Evans recommended to the ASW that the records be placed in the NAA Archives. Other deposits since.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Use
Contact repository for terms of use.
Restrictions on Access
The Anthropological Society of Washington Records are open for research.
Preferred Citation
Anthropological Society of Washington Records, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746
naa@si.edu
http://www.anthropology.si.edu/naa/