National Anthropological Archives

Guide to the Charles Rau papers, 1839-1887

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.XXXX.0182
Creators:
Jones, Charles Colcock, 1831-1893
Möllhausen, Balduin, 1825-1905
Rau, Charles, 1826-1887
Berendt, C. Hermann (Carl Hermann), 1817-1878
Dates:
1839-1887
Languages:
English
; Most of the letters are in
German
script.
Physical Description:
1 Linear foot
Repository:
At the time of his death in 1887, the library, archaeological collections and private papers of Charles Rau became the property of the United States National Museum. The library, called the Rau Library of Archaeology, became the nucleus of the archaeological department library. The papers represented by this collection are numbers 1180, 1182- 84, 1186-1190 and 1230 of that library, together with some uncataloged personal correspondence, invitations and newspaper clippings, all of which were transferred to the National Anthropological Archives in March of 1976 by the Smithsonian Institution Libraries There were no restrictions on the use of this collection, which is contained in two boxes.
Included in his private papers are the manuscripts of some of his publications; early personal correspondence; copies of research papers; a few research notes and some newspaper clippings. Of the approximately 60 incoming letters, only eight were written after Rau's emigration to the United States from Germany in 1848. Of possible interest to the historian are the boyhood letters from his period of apprenticeship in the iron industry of Westphalia and those from the year 1848 which contain much material on the political upheavals of that year. Charles Rau's letters to Dr. Carl Hermann Berendt (1817-1878), a German political refugee and Central American anthropologist, are concerned mainly with personal matters but contain also comments on the American political scene and much small talk of the contemporary world of anthropology. Included is some rather frank professional criticism of the other scholars and of the Smithsonian Institution hierarchy. This correspondence is in German and for the most part in German script as are the earlier letters. Two letters from Heinrich Balduin Mollhausen, a German artist whose drawings of Indians appear in the National Anthropological Archives are filed with the incoming letters.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
Charles Rau (1826-1887), described by
The Dictionary of American Biography
as "the foremost American archeologist," was curator for archeology of the United States national Museum from 1881 until his death. Included in his private papers are the manuscripts of some of his publications; early personal correspondence; copies of research papers; a few research notes and some newspaper clippings.
Of the approximately 60 incoming letters, only eight were written after Rau's emigration to the United States from Germany in 1848. Of possible interest to the historian are the boyhood letters from his period of apprenticeship in the iron industry of Westphalia and those from the year 1848 which contain much material on the political upheavals of that year.
Charles Rau's letters to Dr. Carl Hermann Berendt (1817-1878), a German political refugee and Central American anthropologist, are concerned mainly with personal matters but contain also comments on the American political scene and much small talk of the contemporary world of anthropology. Included is some rather frank professional criticism of the other scholars and of the Smithsonian Institution hierarchy. This correspondence is in German and for the most part in German script as are the earlier letters.
Two letters from Heinrich Balduin Mollhausen, a German artist whose drawings of Indians appear in the National Anthropological Archives are filed with the incoming letters.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Arranged in 5 series: (1) Incoming letters, 1839-1856; (2) letters to Carl Hermann Berendt, 1869-1876; (3) writings, undated; (4) material collected by Rau, 1865-1887; (5) miscellany, undated

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Charles Rau was born in Belgium and was educated in Germany. He left his studies in 1839 and became an apprentice in the iron industry in Siegen and, later a mining superintendent in Remagen. In 1848, he immigrated to the United States, settling in the St. Louis area. There, while teaching languages in order to support himself, he collected archaeological specimens and began to investigate nearby archaeological sites. Beginning in 1859, he regularly published articles on archaeology and other anthropological concerns. In 1861, he moved to New York and, while still teaching, continued archaeological work that would make him one of America's leading authorities in that field. In 1863, he became a contributor to Smithsonian publications and, in 1875, was employed to prepare the anthropological exhibit of the Smithsonian and Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. In 1881, he was appointed curator in the Department of Archaeology of the United States National Museum, a position he held until he died in 1887.
1826
Born Carl Rau in Verviers, Liege, Belgium to German parents
1839
Left his studies and home in Heidelberg to enter into an apprenticeship in the iron industry in Siegen, Germany
1844
Became a mine administrator (superintendent) near Remagen
1848
In October, emigrated to the United States; first to New Orleans and then to work as a language teacher in Bellesville, Illinois
1856-1863
Moved to New York where he also taught languages
1863
Began to write for the Smithsonian Reports
1875
Was asked to prepare ethnological section of the SI Centennial Exhibition
1876
Living in Philadelphia
1881
Became curator of the Department of Archaeology of the United States National Museum
1882
Made an honorary Ph.D. by the University of Freiberg in Baden
1887
July 26, died in Philadelphia

Administration
Author
Carol Day
Custodial History
The Rau papers were transferred from the Smithsonian Libraries to the National Anthropological Archives in 1976.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Charles Rau papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Related Materials
The National Anthropological Archives holds MS 7065 Letter to Charles Rau, MS 7066 Letter to Charles Rau, and MS 7125 Catalogs of collections of American and European antiquities.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives holds Record Unit 7070, Charles Rau Papers.

More Information

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Germany -- Politics -- 1850s Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Archaeology Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Georgia Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
North America Geographic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746
naa@si.edu