These records document the governance and programmatic activities of the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation (MAI) from its inception in 1904 until its sublimation by the Smithsonian Institution in 1990. The types of materials present in this collection include personal and institutional correspondence, individual subject files, minutes and annual reports, financial ledgers, legal records, expedition field notes, research notes, catalog and object lists, publications, clippings, flyers, maps, photographs, negatives and audio-visual materials. These materials span a varied range of subjects relating to the activities of the museum which are more fully described on the series level.
The Thomas Warren Sears Photograph Collection documents examples of the design work of Thomas Warren Sears (1880-1966), a landscape architect and amateur photographer from Brookline, Massachusetts. Sears, who was based for most of his career in Philadelphia, designed a variety of different types of landscapes ranging from private residences, schools, and playgrounds to parks, cemeteries, and urban housing developments located primarily in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York. In addition to some of Sears' design work, images in the collection document Sears' domestic and foreign travels, design inspirations, and family. The collection includes over 4,800 black and white negatives and glass lantern slides dated circa 1899 to 1930. While most images show private and public gardens, there are a significant number of unidentified views and views photographed in Europe during two trips he took there in 1906 and 1908. Few images are captioned or dated. In addition, there are over 50 plans and drawings, most notably for Balmuckety in Pikesville, Maryland and Reynolda in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and 3 monographs by or about Sears.
The collection dates from 1900 to 1997 and mostly includes images taken in South Africa. The images document the peoples of South Africa, particularly the Loved, Ndebele, San, Sotho, Xhosa, and Zulu peoples. Locations photographed include Basutoland (now Lesotho), Bechuanaland (now Botswana), Johannesburg, Natal, Pretoria, Soweto, Swaziland, Transkei, Transvaal, the Umzimkulu Valley and Zululand. Manuscript and office files include clippings, correspondence, exhibition announcements, invitations and reviews, notes, essays, receipts, and other materials that document Larrabee's career, family history, and personal life.