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Maya | Mixtec
Language(s): French
Date: 1859-1882
Extent: 2.0 linear feet, 123 photographs
Description: A traveler, archaeologist, and photographer, Désiré Charnay (1828-1915) was one of the most important early expeditionary photographers. During his tours of Yucatan, Oaxaca, and Chiapas in 1858-1860 and 1880-1886, Charnay became one of the first to use photography in documenting the great Meso-American archaeological sites and to make ethnographic photographs of indigenous Mexicans. This collection of photographs is representative of the range of images he took of Meso-American archaeological sites during three tours of Mexico in 1858-1860 and 1880-1886. Although some of the images have suffered an unfortunate degree of fading, they convey the power and fascination that these sites held for Charnay and his contemporaries, and include some of the best early examples of the use of photography in the documentation of Mexican archaeology. The collection includes images of the sites at Tula, Teotihuacan, Iztaccihuatl, Chichen Itza, Comalcalco, and Palenque; of archaeological specimens held at the Museum of Mexico; of landscape and villages in Yucatan, Chiapas, and Oaxaca; and of a series of Lacandon, Mayan, Mixtec, and Yucatec "racial types." The collection was apparently assembled by the scientist Griffith Evans Abbot (1850-1927), who presented them to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. The 15 cartes de visite included in the collection, mostly portraits taken in Peru, Chile, and Madeira, bear an uncertain relationship to the Charnay images, and are probably present simply because they were also once owned by Abbot. All images have been digitized and are available through the APS Digital Library.
Collection: Abbot-Charnay Photograph Collection (Mss.913.72.Ab23)

Osage | Quapaw | Kaw | Otoe | Omaha | Comanche | Creek
Language(s): English
Date: 1834; 1837
Type:Text
Extent: 2 items
Description: Letters from Zina Pitcher and John Collins Warren discussing grave robbing of Indigenous ancestors' remains. Pitcher mentions difficulties in getting information about the deceased from Algonquians, who won't speak of the dead. Mentions Osages, Quapaws, Missouri, Kansas, Otos, Omahas; Chitimachas or Comanches; and the five tribes of the Creek nation. Warren lists American skulls in his collection: mostly eastern, except for Ancient Niagara and Chinook, not flattened, plus Ohio cavern and Ohio rock and Mound at Lexington; Algonquian from eastern Massachusetts. He talks of the Guanche cast from the Canaries and some unidentified skulls he has seen.
Collection: Samuel George Morton Papers (Mss.B.M843)

Mixtec
Language(s): English | Mixtec
Date: 1940
Contributor: Wilbur, Walter K.
Extent: 220 pages
Description: This typescript with hand-colored plates is an analysis of the material culture of one of the eight extant Mixtec codices, Codex Vindobonensis I. This codex is known by several names, including Codex Constantinopolitanus, Codex Byzantinus, and Codex Mexicanus I. The last name is more often used in the present day. The original is housed at the Austrian National Library at Vienna. Includes over three hundred vividly colored pictographs and phonetic signs of the Mixtec language. Repainted by the author, the watercolors exhibit pottery, ornaments, weapons, and ceremonial paraphernalia. Some of these images have been digitized and are available through the APS Digital Library.
Collection: Ancient Mexican material culture as revealed in Codex Vindobonensis Mexicanus, 1940 (Mss.913.72.Wi649)

Language(s): English
Date: 1822-1825
Type:Text
Genre: Microfilms | Notes | Maps
Extent: circa 250 pages
Description: A rough miscellany about antiquities in North and South America, as well as Europe and Asia, taken from published sources and personal observation. Contains a classification of antiquities, and descriptions of ancient monuments of Europe. Includes the author's "Ancient geography..." manuscript. Also includes maps and figures. Copy of original owned by the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. See also Rafinesque (1838).
Collection: Ancient monuments of North and South America, 1822-1825 (Mss.Film.32)

Aztec
Language(s): English
Date: 1827-1897
Extent: 5 items
Description: Correspondence, an essay, and one image relating to Aztec materials at the American Philosophical Society. In the correspondence, Barabino writes that a "Mexican idol" intended for the APS has a broken face; Culin orders copies of "The Tribute Roll of Montezuma" by Brinton, Phillips, and Morris (Transactions, 1892) for J. F. Loubat; and Morris corresponds with Henry Phillips about the reproduction of the Montezuma tribute roll and Morris' work on the aforementioned article [Brinton, Phillips, and Morris (1892)]. Cushing's essay is based on the pictographic image: he identifies the APS's still image #443 as a copy of a codex in the Vatican, and superior to that printed in King (1831) in draftsmanship. The image itself is a black and white printed document, similar to that in King (1831), vol. 1, fac. 3, but (according to Cushing) better drawn and probably from a Vatican codex, although King's version is attributed to the Boturini Codex. See Boturini (1746):11 for details on manuscript.
Collection: American Philosophical Society Archives (APS.Archives)

Aztec
Language(s): Spanish
Date: 1785-1806?
Contributor: Unknown
Extent: 18 pages
Description: One of various items related to the Dupaix expeditions of 1806 (totaling four loose notebooks with 23 ink and pencil sketches of Mexican ruins and hieroglyphics featuring fragmented text, in Spanish, with images of construction and decoration on stonework, pottery and buildings of various native ruins of the Yucatan). This item, "Varios modas de pintar. Y por geroglificos en el fresco y al temple," is a brief discussion of coloring techniques with some mention of figures used.
Collection: Notes on Mexican Antiquities (Mss.913.72.N84)

Chibcha
Language(s): English
Date: August 25, 1837
Contributor: Gibbon, J.H.
Type:Text
Extent: 1 page
Description: Letter to John Vaughan regarding gold idols found near falls of river on Bogota plains together with pottery remains; image sent to American Philosophical Society.
Collection: American Philosophical Society Archives (APS.Archives)

Choctaw | Creek | Yuchi | Cherokee | Chickasaw | Atakapa | Natchez | Chinook
Language(s): English
Date: 1829-1839
Type:Text
Extent: 21 items
Description: Letters mostly discussing grave robbing of Indigenous ancestors' remains and Morton's phrenological work. Topics include human and animal crania and skeletons that correspondents have and/or have sent to Morton; phrenological anaylsis of Indigenous ancestors' remains, attributing traits to various peoples based on skull formation; Native American burial sites and mortuary customs; excavation of Native mounds and descriptions of the objects and human remains found inside; discovery of mastadon skeletons; and speculation about Native American origins. Several letters relate to Ohio, Illinois, and the Upper Mississippi Valley. Peru and Mexico also mentioned.
Collection: Samuel George Morton Papers (Mss.B.M843)

Language(s): English
Date: 1931-1941
Contributor: Schoff, Harry L.
Genre:
Extent: 2 items
Description: Materials relating to archaeological sites in New York State. Includes Schoff's reports and photographs on Wheatland Mound, Kip Island site, and Eagle Bluff site, all in Seneca County, New York, and regarded as Point Peninsula aspect, an undated letter from Schoff to Edmund S. Carpenter, and an unattributed item titled "Vandalia Mound Materials," a report on a Hopewellian site in Cattaraugus County, New York, along with a site map and two photographs.
Collection: United States. Work Projects Administration (Pa.) Reports, 1918-1948 (Mss.913.748.Un3)

Language(s): English
Date: 1811-1884
Type:Text
Extent: 4 items
Description: 1) Moses Fiske's description of skeletal remains found in basket burial in Warren County, Tennessee, in 1810. 2) Charles Willson Peale's catalogue of museum contents: "Indian curiosities, dresses, ornaments. Implements of agriculture, war, etc. of various nations. In the upper Room." Artifacts and articles of dress of western Indians (Lewis and Clark); ornaments from Ohio mounds; unidentified belts, pouches, and arrowheads. 3) Benjamin Franklin Peale's description of his collection of Material culture; thinks pottery fragments sent to him by Sellers are those of Mound Builders. 4) George Escol Seller's letter describing his artifacts from mounds in Ohio, 60 specimens of tools and cloth. Argues that Franklin Peale collected specimens to show the unity of mankind, while Sellers collects to find the variety of tools. Discusses Mound Builders at some length.
Collection: Peale-Sellers Family Collection (Mss.B.P31)