Albert C. Spaulding was trained at Montana State University (B.A. in economics, 1935), the University of Michigan (M.A. in ahthropology, 1937), and Columbia University (Ph.D., 1946). In 1946-1947, he taught at the University of Kansas and was an assistant curator at the university's Museum of Anthropology. From 1947-1961, he taught at the University of Michigan and was curator of that university's Museum of Anthropology. In 1959-1961, Spaulding was first program director for the History and Philosophy of Science Program of the National Science Foundation and the NAS program director for anthropology. In 1963-1966, he was professor and chairman of the anthropology department at the University of Oregon. In 1967-1971, he became dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of California at Santa Barbara and continued at that institution as professor of anthropology until 1983. Spaulding served the Society for Amercian Archeology as associate editor, secretary, vice president, and president. In 1964, he was vice president for Section H of American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Although Spaulding carried out several significant field projects, he is best rememberd for his theoretical and methodological concerns. In relating his first archeological field work, he declared: "My fundamental interest at the time (and now) was clarification of the basic concepts of archeology, which led me into explicit definitions of archaeological problems in terms of relationship between or among well-defined variables." Spaulding produced many articles and book reviews in which he dealt with such problems. Some of the best-known appeared in the pages of American Antiquity in 1953 and 1954 when be debated James A. Ford in general terms concerning teh most productive methods of archeology in general and the nature of archeological types and methods of defining them in particular. Because of his espousal of rigor in method, Spaulding is considered on of the main forerunners of the "new archeology" of the 1960s. For his work, he received the SAA distinguished Service Award in 1981.
List of series with list of correspondents
1. Correspondence, 1948-1982; 2. manuscript of Spaulding writings; 3. material concerning students; 4. site reports and field project data; 4. material regarding conferences and committees; 6. material related to work as National Science Foundation archeology program director; 7. student notebooks and dissertation; 8. material regarding the Arzberger site; 9. administrative material regarding the University of Michigan; 10. academic papers collected by Spaulding, teaching aids, and lecture notes; 11. Philip C. Phillips and Gordon R. Willey file; 12. James A. Ford file; 13. correspondence regarding publications; 14. miscellany; 15. photographs
Although it has been noted that there are significant and inexplicable lucunae in Spaulding's papers, they nevertheless touch on most phases of his professional life. There is, however, relatively little field material, the only two projects even partially documents being those on Agattu Island and at the Arzberger Site in South Dakota.
Albert Clanton Spaulding Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland