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Robert Eliot Smith Papers, 1929-1983 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Bill Payne

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Collection Overview

Title: Robert Eliot Smith Papers, 1929-1983Add to your cart.

Primary Creator: Smith, Robert Eliot (1899-)

Extent: 16.67 Linear Feet

Subjects: Archaeologists--Correspondence, Archaeology--Central America--History--20th century--Sources, Archaeology--Mexico--History--20th century--Sources, Central America--Antiquities, Indian pottery--Central America, Indian pottery--Mexico, Mexico--Antiquities, Smith, Robert Eliot, 1899--Archives, Smith, Robert Eliot, 1899--Correspondence

Forms of Material: Personal Papers

Languages: English, Spanish;Castilian

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection includes Smith's notes and working drafts used for the preparation of his publications, a record of his professional activities as the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Guatemala City representative, photographs of Mesoamerican pottery, and correspondence between Smith and other Mesoamericanists of his time. The collection provides important biographical and collaborative information about Smith, as well as the history of Mesoamerican archaeology. The majority of documents in the collection are not dated, thus (ca.) is used for approximate date.

Series I:  Correspondence: Includes letters, filed alphabetically, to and from many Mesoamerican archaeologists of the first two-thirds of the twentieth century. Also includes circulated and informational correspondence about and between these archaeologists.

Series II: Notes and Drafts: Includes notes and drafts that Smith compiled for research and publication. The majority are written in pencil and some are not discernable as to the exact site or subject, and a number are very detailed or extensive in ceramic data and nomenclature. Folders are separated into four sections by site: Pyramid of the Sun: 1-54; Mayapan: 55-57; Uaxactun: 58-64; and miscellaneous notes and drafts: 65-94

Series III: Professional Activities: Includes material relating to Smith's work with the Carnegie Institute of Washington, Institute Nacional de Antropologia, conferences, and societies.

Series IV: Smith's Publications: Includes Smith's monographs and published articles.

Series V: Publications by Smith's Contemporaries: Alphabetical listing of published articles and monographs in the collection written by Smith's contemporaries. Also included are one folder of Spanish language monographs of various authors and subjects; six folders of miscellaneous scholarly published monographs covering a number of topics, and two folders of newspaper clippings and articles written about various archaeological subjects.

Series VI: Miscellany: Includes items that were not identifiable for other sections in the collection, such as Central American maps, and guide booklets to ruins.

Series VII: Photographs: Includes many photographs, some negatives and slides of Mesoamerican pottery, figurines, and sherds. Each folder is identified by site in alphabetical order, and many of the photographs have written descriptions on the back. One folder, labeled miscellaneous photos, contains a number of unidentified photographs.

Series VIII: Note and Bibliographic Cards: Includes approximately three hundred 3x5, 5x7, and 5x11 index cards describing ceramics. Some have extensive information on particular ceramic pieces. There are also four boxes of bibliographic information cards on a number of Mesoamerican ceramic publications.

Series IX: Oversize: Includes graphic display material, and a site settlement map of Litio de Coba, Quintana Roo.

Biographical Note

Robert Eliot Smith was born in Arcahan, France, on May 24, 1899. He received his primary and secondary education while living in Switzerland and Massauchusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1922 with a degree in history and romance languages.

Smith became involved in archaeology in 1929 when he accompanied his brother Ledyard, who was doing fieldwork at Uaxtactun, Guatemala. Smith returned to Harvard and began taking graduate courses in archaeology. He accepted a position with the Carnegie Institution of Washington and spent the next twenty years as the Carnegie's Guatemala City representative.

Smith was a member of the Carnegie Institution from 1932-1960, associate archaeologist for the Instituto Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia de Mexico from 1960-1962, and helped establish the National Museum of Antropologia in Guatemala City. Smith ended his career as a research associate of Middle American ceramics at Harvard University's Peabody Museum from 1965-1968, and as an honorary research associate of that institution until his death in 1983.

Subject/Index Terms

Archaeologists--Correspondence
Archaeology--Central America--History--20th century--Sources
Archaeology--Mexico--History--20th century--Sources
Central America--Antiquities
Indian pottery--Central America
Indian pottery--Mexico
Mexico--Antiquities
Smith, Robert Eliot, 1899--Archives
Smith, Robert Eliot, 1899--Correspondence

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections is such that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine.  Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Robert Eliot Smith Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Notes and Drafts],
[Series 3: Professional Activities],
[Series 4: Smith's Publications],
[Series 5: Contemporary Publications],
[Series 6: Miscellany],
[Series 7: Photographs],
[Series 8: Notes and Bibliographic Cards],
[Series 9: Oversized Materials],
[All]

Series 5: Contemporary PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Box 8Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Adams, Richard E. W.Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Andrews, E. WyllysAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Ball, Joseph W.Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Barcena, MarianoAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Bennyhoff, James A.Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Bernal, IgnacioAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Boggs, Stanley H.Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Borhegyi, Stephen F. deAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Bullard, William R. Jr.Add to your cart.
Folder 10: Coe, Michael D.Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Coe, William R.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Cowgill, George L.Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Dieseldorff, Erwin P.Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Dixon, Keith A.Add to your cart.
Folder 15: Emerson, R. A.Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Foncerrada de Molina, MartaAdd to your cart.
Folder 17: Gann, ThomasAdd to your cart.
Folder 18: Gifford, James C.Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Goggin, JohnAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Griffin, James B.Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Haberland, WolfgangAdd to your cart.
Folder 22: Harrison, Margaret W.Add to your cart.
Folder 23: Hatt, Robert T.Add to your cart.
Folder 24: Haviland, William A.Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Heizer, Robert F.Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Hellmuth, Nicholas M.Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Hopun, L.E.Add to your cart.
Folder 28: Kidder, A. V.Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Knorozov, Y. V.Add to your cart.
Folder 30: LaFarge, OliverAdd to your cart.
Folder 31: Longyear, John M. IIIAdd to your cart.
Folder 32: Marson, GregoryAdd to your cart.
Folder 33: Mayer-Oakes, William J.Add to your cart.
Folder 34: Merriam, John C.Add to your cart.
Folder 35: Millon, ReneAdd to your cart.
Folder 36: Moholy-Nagy, HattulaAdd to your cart.
Folder 37: Morley, Sylvanus G.Add to your cart.
Folder 38: Nicholson, H. B.Add to your cart.
Folder 39: Noguera, EduardoAdd to your cart.
Folder 40: Owen, Nancy KellyAdd to your cart.
Folder 41: Paddock, JohnAdd to your cart.
Folder 42: Parsons, Lee A.Add to your cart.
Folder 43: Pendergast, David M.Add to your cart.
Folder 44: Peterson, Fredrick A.Add to your cart.
Folder 45: Phillips, PhilipAdd to your cart.
Folder 46: Pollock, Harry E. D.Add to your cart.
Folder 47: Proskouriakoff, TatianaAdd to your cart.
Folder 48: Rands, Robert L.Add to your cart.
Folder 49: Reifler, Victoria E.Add to your cart.
Box 9Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Richardson, Francis B.Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Ricketson, Oliver G. Jr.Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Roys, LawrenceAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Roys, Ralph L.Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Ruz, Alberto LhuillierAdd to your cart.
Folder 6: Sabloff, Jeremy A.Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Satterthwaite, Linton Jr.Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Schmidt, PaulAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: Schultes, Richard EvansAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Sharer, Robert J.Add to your cart.
Folder 11: Shattuck, George C.Add to your cart.
Folder 12: Shepard, Anna O.Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Shook, Edwin M.Add to your cart.
Folder 14: Smith, A. LedyardAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Smithe, Frank B.Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Sokoloff, V. P.Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Sorenson, John L.Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Spinden, Herbert J.Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Steggerda, MorrisAdd to your cart.
Folder 20: Stromsvik, GustavoAdd to your cart.
Folder 21: Tejeda, Antonio F.Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Thompson, J. Eric S.Add to your cart.
Folder 23: United Fruit CompanyAdd to your cart.
Folder 24: Vaillant, George C.Add to your cart.
Folder 25: Vogt, Evon J.Add to your cart.
Folder 26: Warren, Bruce W.Add to your cart.
Folder 27: Wauchope, RobertAdd to your cart.
Folder 28: Willey, Gordon R.Add to your cart.
Folder 29: Spanish monographsAdd to your cart.
Folder 30: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Folder 31: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Box 10Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Folder 3: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Miscellaneous PublicationsAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: Looting of Maya Artifacts, 1973Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Newspaper ClippingsAdd to your cart.
Folder 7: Stock BookletAdd to your cart.
Folder 8: First Wisconsin Trust CompanyAdd to your cart.
Folder 9: The Harvard Faculty ClubAdd to your cart.
Folder 10: Godet Construction CompanyAdd to your cart.
Folder 11: Marblehead House TransactionsAdd to your cart.
Folder 12: American Association for Retired PersonsAdd to your cart.
Folder 13: Marblehead Arts Association member listAdd to your cart.
Folder 14: Marblehead Historical Society informationAdd to your cart.
Folder 15: Needham House Transactions, ca. 1951 - 54Add to your cart.
Folder 16: Massachusetts Commonwealth income tax, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Town of Marblehead taxes, ca. 1965 - 70Add to your cart.
Folder 18: Marblehead Savings Bank, 1970Add to your cart.
Folder 19: Rare books sold to University of California of San Diego, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 20: Alcoholics Anonymous, ca. 1975 - 80Add to your cart.
Folder 21: Christmas Card list, 1967 - 82Add to your cart.
Folder 22: Four Christmas cards sent to the Smith'sAdd to your cart.
Folder 23: San Diego Museum of ManAdd to your cart.
Item 1: The Illustrated London News: Worshippers of the Long-nosed God v. 181, 1932Add to your cart.
Item 2: Life Magazine: Ancient and Modern Maya, June 30, 1947Add to your cart.
Item 3: Frank Leslie's Magazine Illustrated Newspaper, June 26 - July 10, 1869Add to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Notes and Drafts],
[Series 3: Professional Activities],
[Series 4: Smith's Publications],
[Series 5: Contemporary Publications],
[Series 6: Miscellany],
[Series 7: Photographs],
[Series 8: Notes and Bibliographic Cards],
[Series 9: Oversized Materials],
[All]


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