Gordon Davis Gibson papers
This collection is comprised of the professional papers of Gordon D. Gibson. The collection contains his correspondence, field notes, research files, museum records, writings, photographs, sound recordings, and maps.The bulk of the collection consists of Gibson's southwestern Africa research. This includes his field notes, film scripts, photographs, sound recordings, and grant proposals he wrote in support of his fieldwork in Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. In addition, the collection contains his research notes, maps, drafts, publications, and papers presented at conferences. While most of his research focused on the Herero and Himba, the collection also contains his research on the Ovambo and Okavango and other southwestern African groups. In the collection is a great deal of photocopies and microfilms of literature on southwestern African ethnic groups, many of which are in Portuguese and German and which he had translated for his files. He was also interested in African material culture, especially Central African headgear. His research on African caps is well-represented in the collection, and includes photos of caps at various museums, source materials, research notes, and textile samples of knots and loop work. Gibson's files as the curator of African ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History also make up a significant portion of the collection. Among these records are his files for the museum's Hall of African Cultures and other African exhibits; his files on the museum's African collections, early donors and collectors of the collections; his personnel files; documents relating to his committee work; department and museum memos; meeting minutes; and his records as head of the Old World Division and acting chair of the department. The collection also documents the efforts to establish the Smithsonian's National Anthropological Film Center, now the Human Studies Film Archives, as well as his work on the planning committee to establish the Museum of Man at the Smithsonian. Memos and minutes relating to the Smithsonian's Center for the Study of Man are also present in the collection. In addition to Gibson's field photos, the collection also contains African photos taken by others. Among these are Herbert Friedmann's photos of Kenya; Hausmann's Libya photos; photos by Ralph Kepler Lewis during the Morden Africa Expedition in Kenya; and photos by Lawrence Marshall, Volkmar Wentzel, Alfred Martin Duggan Cronin, and Father Carlos Estermann. There are also photos of the exhibit cases from the Hall of African Cultures; photos of Smithsonian and non-Smithsonian African artifacts; and copies of photographs he obtained from different archives, including the National Anthropological Archives. Other materials in the collection include his files as film reviews editor for the American Anthropologist during the 1960s and 70s and his activities in different organizations.
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