Robert Fleming Heizer was an anthropologist best known for his archeological work in California and Nevada and ethnographic work in California. A University of California PhD (1941), he was on the staff at Berkeley from 1946 to 1976, when he assumed an emeritus status. For many years he headed the Archeological Survey in California. In 1955, Heizer extended his work into Mexican archeology with an expedition to La Venta that was led by him, Philip Drucker, of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Robert J. Squiers. The expedition was sponsored by the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian, and the University of California. Its purpose was to follow up with large-scale excavations the preliminary work of Matthew Williams Stirling of 1941 and Stirling and Waldo Rudolph Wedel of 1943.
Controversies concerning the chronology of the site led to Heizer's return to La Venta between 1967 and 1969. His interest in Middle American archeology continued in the meantime and afterward until his death.
Draft inventory Available on loan from the National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. 20560 Generally control to folder level; some item control.
The papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by the terms of Dr. Heizer's will and placed in the archives in 1979. An addition to the collection was donated by Thomas R. Hester in 1980.
(1) Correspondence, 1954-1973; (2) notebooks, 1955-1968; (3) subject file, ca. 1954-1970; (4) writings, 1956-1974; (5) printed and processed material, ca. 1950s-1970s; (6) miscellany, 1955-1978; (7) maps and other cartographic material, 1955-1968; (8) drawings, n.d.; (9) photograph albums with negatives, n.d.; (10) photographs arranged by site, 1955-1969; (11) photographs of expeditions, 1955, 1967-1969; (12) miscellaneous photographs, n.d.; (13) slides, 1943-1971; (14) illustrations for Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 170, ca. 1957
Virtually the entire collection of Heizer papers in the National Anthropological Archives concerns the work at La Venta. There are, however, a few materials that concern his other work, particularly in Middle America. Included are documents of an administrative nature concerning such matters as arrangements for expeditions, management of the work, and preparation of resulting publications. There are also materials that grew directly out of the field work and studies of museum specimens. In addition, there are materials that concern controversies that grew out of chronological problems relating to Olmec culture.
Heizer also collected notes, notebooks, photographs, cartographic material, and manuscripts from some of his colleagues and assistants on the La Venta expeditions. Included among these are materials of C. William Clewlow, Eduardo Contreras, Philip Drucker, and P. F. Healy. There are also manuscripts of writings and reprints of publications from some of these and from Heizer's students. The photographic collections, considerable amounts of which are unidentified, include field negatives and prints of La Venta, many other Olmec sites, and other archeological sites in Mexico and Middle America. There are also photographs collected from other archeologists, including Matthew W. Stirling.
The bulk of Heizer's papers relating to other aspects of his work has been deposited at the Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley. Correspondents include Ignacio Bernal, Geoffrey Bushnell, Leonard Carmichael, Michael Douglas Coe, William R. Coe, Carmen Cook de Leonard, Philip Drucker, Clifford Evans, George Kubler, Melvin M. Payne, Froelich G. Rainey, Robert J. Squier, Matthew Williams Stirling, Robert Stuckenrath, Howel Williams, and Robert Wuchopi.
Robert Fleming Heizer Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland