Born in Tottenville, Staten Island, George Hubbard Pepper (1873-1924) became interested in archaeology and the "prehistory" of American Indians as a boy. When Pepper was 22 years old, he spent a winter working at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University. The next year, in 1896, Pepper became assistant curator of the Department of the Southwest in the American Museum of Natural History. From 1896 until 1900, Pepper conducted archaeological work, during the summer months, at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, as part of the AMNH's Hyde Exploring Expedition. Although Pepper's interests were always primarily archaeological, while he was working in the Southwest he visited several Pueblos. He also visited the Navajo and, becoming interested in Navajo weaving techniques, began collecting Navajo textiles to build his own study collection. He eventually gave his collection to the Museum of the American Indian—Heye Foundation.
While still employed by the American Museum of Natural History, Pepper participated in at least two archaeological expeditions sponsored by George G. Heye for the Heye Museum. Pepper excavated in Michoacan, Mexico in 1904 and, with Marshall H. Saville, in Manabi, Ecuador, in 1907. Pepper left the American Museum of Natural History in 1909 and joined the staff of the Department of American Archaeology at the University Museum in Philadelphia. The following year, in 1910, he began working full-time for George G. Heye and became part of the staff of the Museum of the American Indian—Heye Foundation when it was established in 1916. Pepper worked at the Museum of the American Indian—Heye Foundation until his death at the age of 51. He seems to have had an especially close relationship with George G. Heye. Pepper took part in numerous archaeological expeditions for the Museum of the American Indian—Heye Foundation, including the Hendricks-Hodge Expedition at the Zuni site of Hawikuh. Pepper was involved in several professional associations and was a founding member of the American Anthropological Association.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation Records, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.