Thomas Dale Stewart was physical anthropologist at the Smithsonian specializing in anthropometry, early man, and forensic anthropology. He worked in the Department of Anthropology for over seventy years until his death in 1997. He worked under his mentor Ales Hrdlicka until 1943, became the head curator of anthropology in 1960, director of the National Museum of Natural History in 1962, and retired in 1971. Stewart's research interests included physical and forensic anthropology and archaeology, mostly in North and South America. He also worked with the F.B.I. frequently to aid in homicide investigations, and worked extensively with the U.S. Army to identify skeletal remains from the Korean War in Operation Glory.
In areal specialization, Stewart was essentially an Americanist. In North America, he worked in Alaska with Henry B. Collins in 1927, and in subsequent years he excavated several ossuaries and other sites in the Washington, D.C., vicinity. These included a site on Potomac Creek in Virginia, Piscataway sites in Maryland, and the Townsend site in Delaware. He also carried out laboratory studies and prepared reports on skeletal remains uncovered by Smithsonian colleagues. In the 1940s and 1950s, Stewart conducted field work at archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru.
The Thomas Dale Stewart Papers document his research and professional activities from 1931 to 1991 and primarily deal with his anthropological and archaeological research in North and South America. There is also significant material related to ancient human skeletal remains found in Egypt and the Middle East, Stewart's work identifying skeletal remains for the U.S. Army (Operation Glory), and the history of physical and forensic anthropology. Material documenting Stewart's work with Ales Hrdlicka and other colleagues are also represented in this collection. The collection consists of correspondence, writings and research files, project data, skeletal data punch cards, photographic and illustration materials, and administrative and financial papers.
Thomas Dale Stewart papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution