George Hubbard Pepper specialized in the study of cultures of the American Southwest and Ecuador. Tribes which he studied are Acoma, Aztec, Blackfeet, Cochiti, Hopi, Isleta, Jemez, Laguna, Nambe, Navajo, Picuris, Pojuaque, Puye, San Carlos Apache, San Felipe, San Ildefonso, San Juan, Sandia, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, Taos, Tarascan, Tesuque, Ute, Zia, and Zuni. Photographs in the collection are of an excavation in Tottenville, New York, 1895; Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Cañon, New Mexico: Hyde Expedition, 1896-1900; and expeditions to the occupied Pueblos of the Southwest, 1904; Mexico, 1904, 1906; Guatemala; and Ecuador, 1907. There are also photos which complement a study Pepper did of the technique of Navajo weaving, and miscellaneous scenic and personal photos.
George Hubbard Pepper was born on February 2, 1873 in Tottenville, Staten Island, New York. As a young boy he exhibited a strong interest in archaeology and after his graduating from high school followed encouragement from Prof. Fredric W. Putnam to study at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University, where Pepper stayed from 1895-96. In 1896 he was appointed assistant curator of the Department of the Southwest in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. From 1896 to 1900, Pepper was a member of the Hyde Exploring Expedition, which conducted excavations at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. In 1904, he conducted an ethnological survey of the occupied pueblos of the Southwest and at the same time continued his study of the weaving techniques of the Navajo. Pepper also participated in excavations in the yacatas of the Tierra Caliente of Michoacan in Mexico sponsored by George Gustav Heye, and in 1907 he went with Marshall Saville on an expedition to the Province of Manabi in Ecuador, also for Heye. In 1909 Pepper was appointed assistant curator in the Department of American Archaeology at the University Museum of Philadelphia, but after only a year there he joined the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation in New York City, where he stayed until his death. In 1914 he excavated a Munsee cemetery of the historic period near Montague, New Jersey and in the following year he went on the exploration of the Nacoochee mound in the old Cherokee region in Georgia. In 1918 he joined the Hawikku explorations of the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition in New Mexico. Pepper died on May 13, 1924, in New York City. George H. Pepper was a co-founder of the American Anthropological Association, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Ethnological Society of New York, a member of the American Folklore Society, and a corresponding member of the Academia Nacional de Historia of Ecuador. A complete bibliography of his works can be found in Indian Notes, v. 1, no. 3, July 1924, pp. 108-110. The George Hubbard Pepper Papers are in the Latin American Library, Tulane University Library, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
According to Frederick Dockstader, director of MAI from 1960 to 1975, in a letter dated March 26, 1968, the collection was given to MAI by Pepper. However, the 1965 Annual Report (p. 26) states that the Photographic Department acquired through the donation of Mrs. Jeannette Cameron approximately 500 new negatives pertaining to field work done by her father from 1900-1910; and the 1966 Annual Report (p. 9) states that many papers of Dr. George H. Pepper were acquired through the courtesy of his daughter, Mrs. Jeanette Cameron.
Conditions Governing Access note
Access restricted. Researchers should contact the staff of the NMAI Archives for an appointment to access the collection.
National Museum of the American Indian
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