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Edmund Snow Carpenter papers

Creator:
Carpenter, Edmund, 1922-2011  Search this
Names:
De Menil, Adelaide  Search this
Flaherty, Robert Joseph, 1884-1951  Search this
Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957  Search this
McLuhan, Marshall, 1911-1980  Search this
Schuster, Carl, 1904-1969  Search this
Extent:
26.25 Linear feet
Culture:
Arctic peoples  Search this
Iglulik Eskimos  Search this
Inuit  Search this
Inuit--Canada  Search this
Inuit--Greenland  Search this
Iroquois Indians  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Canada
Greenland
New Guinea (Territory)
Papua New Guinea
Date:
circa 1938-2011
Summary:
Edmund Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) was an archaeologist and visual anthropologist who worked extensively with the indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic as well as Papua New Guinea. With his colleague and close collaborator Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), he laid the groundwork for modern media theory. Carpenter is also known for his work as an ethnographic filmmaker and as a collector of Paleo-Eskimo art. The Papers of Edmund Carpenter, circa 1938-2011, document the research interests and projects undertaken by Carpenter in the fields of cultural anthropology, ethnographic filmmaking, media theory, archaeology, and indigenous art.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Edmund Carpenter, 1940-2011, document the research interests and projects undertaken by Carpenter in the fields of cultural anthropology, ethnographic filmmaking, media theory, archaeology, and indigenous art. Specific research projects and interests documented are: his 1950s fieldwork among the Aivilik Inuit in the Canadian Arctic as well as his studies into Inuit concepts of space, time, and geography; his partnership and collaboration with media theorist Marshall McLuhan and his ethnographic studies of Papua New Guinean tribal communities; his early-career archaeological digs at Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) burial mounds in Sugar Run, Pennsylvania, as well as later archaeological interest in Arctic peoples, Siberia, and the Norwegian artifact dubbed the "Norse Penny"; his reflections on the disciplines of anthropology and media studies; his editing and completion of the work of art historian Carl Schuster at the Museum der Kulturen (Museum of Ethnology) in Basel, Switzerland; his editing of The Story of Comock the Eskimo, as told to Robert Flaherty; and his museum exhibitions compiled on the topics of surrealist and tribal art. The collection also documents Carpenter's correspondence with fellow scholars, ethnographers, filmmakers, and colleagues; his published writings; and elements of his personal life, such as obituaries and personal photographs.

Materials in this collection include artifact and burial records; correspondence; drawings and illustrations; essays; interviews and oral histories; inventories and catalogues; manuscripts and drafts, and fragments of drafts; maps; memoranda and meeting minutes; notes, notebooks, and data analysis; obituaries and memorials; photographic prints, slides, and negatives, including personal photographs and portraits; proposals and plans for museum exhibits; reports; resumes and bibliographies; reviews; and sound recordings on CD-Rs and audio cassettes. Additional materials include books and book chapters; journal copies and journal excerpts; magazine, newspaper, and article clippings and excerpts; museum and gallery catalogues, brochures, and guides; pamphlets; and reprints. A portion of the material collected here consist of consolidated research into specific topics, gathered from archival repositories, museums, correspondence, and published works. This material consists of research reprints and archival reference photocopies and photographic prints from various repositories.

Items worthy of special mention in this collection include: annotated draft chapters from Marshall McLuhan's seminal work on media theory, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (Series 2); a 1957 letter from e. e. cummings to Carpenter, written in verse (Series 3); an undated thank-you note addressed to "Sadie" from Helen Keller (Series 3); and a transcript of an interview of Carpenter by his former student, Harald Prins (Series 2).

Audiovisual material in this collection is currently undergoing processing.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into the following 7 series:

Series 1. Fieldwork and drafts, 1940-2011 (bulk 1940-1959)

Series 2. Research and project files, 1940-2011

Series 3. Correspondence, circa 1938-2011

Series 4. Publications and lectures, circa 1942-circa 2006

Series 5. Personal, 1942-2011

Series 6. Film and visual material (in-process)

Series 7. Writings by others, 1960-2009, undated
Biographical Note:
Edmund Snow Carpenter (1922-2011) was an archaeologist and visual anthropologist who worked extensively with the indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic and Papua New Guinea. With his colleague and close collaborator Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), he laid the groundwork for modern media theory. Carpenter is also known for his work as an ethnographic filmmaker and as a collector of Paleo-Eskimo art.

Born in 1922 in Rochester, New York, Edmund (nicknamed "Ted") Carpenter served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II before receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1950 under Frank Speck for work on Iroquoian prehistoric archaeology. Carpenter began teaching at the University of Toronto in 1948 while simultaneously working as a programmer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). In the 1950s, he undertook fieldwork in the Canadian Arctic among the Aivilik (an Inuit Igloolik subgroup). This fieldwork resulted in several publications in the field of cultural anthropology, including Time/Space Concepts of the Aivilik (1955), Anerca (1959), and Eskimo (1959, republished as Eskimo Realities in 1973).

Also in the 1950s, Carpenter began a working relationship with media theorist Marshall McLuhan. Together, they received a Ford Foundation grant (1953-1955) for an interdisciplinary media research project into the impact of mass communications and mass media on culture change. Carpenter and McLuhan's partnership resulted in the Seminar on Culture and Communication (1953-1959) and the journal series Explorations. In 1957, Carpenter was the founding chair in the interdisciplinary program "Anthropology and Art" at San Fernando Valley State College (now California State University, Northridge). There, he collaborated with Bess Lomax Hawes and other colleagues in the production of several ethnographic films, including Georgia Sea Island Singers about Gullah (or Geechee) songs and dances. During this period, Carpenter worked with McLuhan on the latter's seminal book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). The article published as "Fashion is Language" in Harper's Bazaar under McLuhan's name (1968) was actually written by Carpenter. It was later published in book form under Carpenter's name, with the title They Became What They Beheld (1970).

In 1969, Carpenter took a research professorship at the University of Papua and New Guinea sponsored by the government of Australia. Alongside photographer Adelaide De Menil (whom he would later marry), he applied many of the ideas about media literacy and culture change to indigenous communities of Papua New Guinea. These activities led to developments in the field of media ecology, as well as the publication of Carpenter's best-known work, Oh, What a Blow the Phantom Gave Me! (1976).

Carpenter taught intermittently at various universities throughout his career, including Fordham University, the University of California-Santa Cruz, Adelphi University, Harvard University's Center for Visual Anthropology, the New School for Social Research, and New York University. He spent eight years associated with the Museum of Ethnology in Basel, Switzerland (1973-1981), editing art historian Carl Schuster's research.

In addition to his teaching and research, Carpenter, with his wife Adelaide De Menil, collected tribal art, eventually amassing the largest private collection of Paleo-Eskimo art in the United States. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Carpenter curated various exhibitions on art and visual culture, including the Menil Collection's Witness to a Surrealist Vision and the Musée du Quai Branly's Upside Down (later reconstructed at the Menil Collection). In later years, Carpenter resumed his archaeological interest in Arctic peoples, researching and collaborating on the Zhokhov Island Mesolithic site in the Russian Arctic with Russian scientists from the Institute for the History of Material Culture and archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Carpenter died on July 1, 2011 at his home in New York.

Sources consulted:

"Edmund Snow Carpenter." https://edmundsnowcarpenter.com/about

Grimes, William. "Edmund Carpenter, Archaeologist and Anthropologist, Dies at 88." The New York Times. 2011 July 7. https://www.nytimes.com

Prins, Harald E. L. and John Bishop. "Edmund Carpenter: Explorations in Media and Anthropology." Visual Anthropology Review 17:2 (Fall-Winter 2001-2002): 110-140.

Chronology

1922 September 2 -- Born in Rochester, New York

circa 1940-1941 -- Archaeological field work, Sugar Run mounds, Pennsylvania

1942-1946 -- Served in the United States Marine Corps

1948-1957 -- Anthropology Department, University of Toronto

circa 1950 -- Began work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

1950 -- Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (Anthropology)

1950s -- Fieldwork among the Aivilik Inuit

1953-1959 -- Ran the Seminar on Culture and Communication with Marshall McLuhan

1957-1967 -- "Anthropology and Art" program at San Fernando Valley State College (California State University, Northridge)

1967-1968 -- Schwitzer Chair, Fordham University (with Marshall McLuhan)

1968-1969 -- Carnegie Chair in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Cruz

1969-1970 -- Research Professor, University of Papua and New Guinea

1973-1981 -- Associated with the Museum of Ethnology in Basel, Switzerland for Carl Schuster papers project

circa 1989-2005 -- Collaboration regarding Zhokov Island archaeological site

2011 July 1 -- Died in East Hampton, New York
Separated Materials:
Film and video recordings are retained by the Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA) as the Edmund Carpenter-Adelaide de Menil Collection (HSFA 2004-04). Once processing is complete, they will be described in the following finding aid in Series 6.
Provenance:
The Edmund Snow Carpenter papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives in 2017 by Adelaide de Menil on behalf of the Rock Foundation.
Restrictions:
The Edmund Snow Carpenter papers are open for research.

Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.

Digital media in the collection is restricted for preservation reasons.

Access to the Edmund Snow Carpenter papers requires an appointment.
Rights:
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Archaeology  Search this
Cartography  Search this
Ethnographic films  Search this
Indigenous art  Search this
Inuit art  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Museum exhibits  Search this
Paleo-Eskimos  Search this
Visual anthropology  Search this
Citation:
Edmund Snow Carpenter papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.2017-27
See more items in:
Edmund Snow Carpenter papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-2017-27

H.C. Westermann / exhibition curators, Lynne Warren and Michael Rooks ; with essays by Dennis Adrian, Michael Rooks, Robert Storr, and Lynne Warren

Author:
Westermann, H. C (Horace Clifford) 1922-  Search this
Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, Ill.)  Search this
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden  Search this
Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles, Calif.)  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Westermann, H. C (Horace Clifford) 1922-  Search this
Physical description:
212 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 31 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Date:
2001
Call number:
N40.1.W527 M87 2001
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_668259

Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.) [Folder]

Additional name:
Menil Foundation Collection  Search this
Menil Museum  Search this
Contents:
Folder(s) may include exhibition announcements, newspaper and/or magazine clippings, press releases, brochures, reviews, invitations, illustrations, resumes, artist's statements, exhibition catalogs.
Place:
Houston (Tex.)
Topic:
Art Organizations  Search this
Location:
Art & Artist files at the Smithsonian American Art Museum/ National Portrait Gallery Library
Data source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:SILAF_104116

The condition of being here : drawings by Jasper Johns / [essay by] David Breslin

Artist:
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Contributor:
Breslin, David  Search this
Host institution:
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Physical description:
111 pages : color illustrations ; 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Date:
2018
Topic:
Drawing, American  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1096481

Forrest Bess : seeing things invisible / Clare Elliott ; with a contribution by Robert Gober

Author:
Elliott, Clare Forrest Bess  Search this
Gober, Robert 1954- Man that got away  Search this
Bess, Forrest 1911-1977 Paintings Selections  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Bess, Forrest 1911-1977  Search this
Physical description:
111 pages : illustrations ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2013
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1024503

Mona Hatoum : terra infirma / Michelle White ; with contributions by Anna C. Chave, Adania Shibli, Rebecca Solnit

Title:
Terra infirma
Author:
Hatoum, Mona 1952- Works Selections  Search this
Curator:
White, Michelle 1979-  Search this
Writer of added commentary:
Chave, Anna  Search this
Shiblī, ʻAdanīyah  Search this
Solnit, Rebecca  Search this
Host institution:
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts  Search this
Subject:
Hatoum, Mona 1952-  Search this
Physical description:
191 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 32 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Exhibition catalogs
Date:
2017
21st century
Topic:
Sculpture, Abstract  Search this
Installations (Art)  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1090829

Art and activism : projects of John and Dominique de Menil / edited by Josef Helfenstein and Laureen Schipsi ; [essays by] Suzanne Deal Booth ... [et al.]

Author:
Helfenstein, Josef  Search this
Schipsi, Laureen  Search this
Booth, Suzanne Deal  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Menil, John de Art collections  Search this
Menil, Dominique de Art collections  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Physical description:
342 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 31 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Texas
Houston
Date:
2010
Topic:
Art--Collectors and collecting  Search this
Human rights workers  Search this
Call number:
N576.H68 A78 2010
N576.H68 A68 2010
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_931895

A talk with Jessica Morgan and Rebecca Rabinow

Author:
Morgan, Jessica 1968-  Search this
Rabinow, Rebecca A  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Menil, Dominique de  Search this
Menil, John de  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Dia Center for the Arts (New York, N.Y.)  Search this
Type:
Articles
Date:
2017
Call number:
N1 .A782
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_1085352

The horizontal line : (homage to Agnes Martin) : a poem / by Edward Hirsch

Author:
Hirsch, Edward  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Martin, Agnes 1912-2004  Search this
Physical description:
[8] p. ; 18 cm
Type:
Books
Poetry
Date:
2002
C2002
Call number:
PS3558.I64 H67 2002
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_813096

Sharon Kopriva : work 1986-1998 / Walter Hopps

Author:
Kopriva, Sharon  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Kopriva, Sharon  Search this
Physical description:
32 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 23 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2000
Call number:
N6537.K646 A4 2000
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_815185

Klee and America / edited by Josef Helfenstein and Elizabeth Hutton Turner ; with contributions by Jenny Anger ... [et al.]

Author:
Klee, Paul 1879-1940  Search this
Helfenstein, Josef  Search this
Turner, Elizabeth Hutton 1952-  Search this
Anger, Jenny 1965-  Search this
Neue Galerie New York  Search this
Phillips Collection  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Klee, Paul 1879-1940  Search this
Klee, Paul 1879-1940 Influence  Search this
Physical description:
315 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
United States
Date:
2006
C2006
20th century
Topic:
Art--Collectors and collecting--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_817941

A modern patronage : de Menil gifts to American and European museums / Marcia Brennan, Alfred Pacquement, Ann Temkin ; with an introduction by Josef Helfenstein

Author:
Brennan, Marcia  Search this
Pacquement, Alfred  Search this
Temkin, Ann  Search this
Helfenstein, Josef  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Menil, John de  Search this
Menil, Dominique de  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.) Influence  Search this
Physical description:
120 p. : ill. (chiefly col.) ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
Topic:
Art patronage  Search this
Art donors  Search this
Art--Collectors and collecting  Search this
Arts and society  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_822462

Robert Rauschenberg : cardboards and related pieces / [essay by] Yve-Alain Bois ; [catalogue, selected exhibitions, selected bibliography compiled by] Clare Elliott ; [introduction by] Josef Helfenstein

Title:
Cardboards and related pieces
Author:
Rauschenberg, Robert 1925-2008  Search this
Bois, Yve-Alain  Search this
Elliott, Clare  Search this
Helfenstein, Josef  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Rauschenberg, Robert 1925-2008  Search this
Rauschenberg, Robert 1925-2008 Criticism and interpretation  Search this
Physical description:
152 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 29 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2007
C2007
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_822463

The Menil collection : Houston, Texas

Author:
Van Dyke, Kristina  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Menil, John de Art collections  Search this
Menil, Dominique de Art collections  Search this
Klejman, John J  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Type:
Articles
Place:
Texas
Houston
Date:
2007
Topic:
Art, African  Search this
African art collections  Search this
Art, African--Private collections  Search this
Call number:
N1 .A258
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_831090

Chance encounters : the formation of the de Menil's African collection

Author:
Van Dyke, Kristina  Search this
Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project DSI  Search this
Subject:
Menil, Dominique de Art collections  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Texas
Houston
Date:
2006
Topic:
Art, African  Search this
Art, African--Private collections  Search this
Call number:
N5310.7 .W927
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_839101

Anna Gaskell : half life / Matthew Drutt

Title:
Half life
Author:
Gaskell, Anna  Search this
Drutt, Matthew  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Gaskell, Anna  Search this
Gaskell, Anna  Search this
Physical description:
96 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Interviews
Date:
2002
C2002
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Installations (Art)  Search this
Call number:
TR647 b .G37 2002
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_705685

James Rosenquist : a retrospective / organized by Walter Hopps and Sarah Bancroft

Author:
Rosenquist, James 1933-  Search this
Hopps, Walter  Search this
Bancroft, Sarah  Search this
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao  Search this
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston  Search this
Subject:
Rosenquist, James 1933-  Search this
Physical description:
xxv, 415 p. : ill. (chiefly col.); 26 x 30 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2003
C2003
Call number:
ND237.R723 A4 2003
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_717791

Jasper Johns : drawings : the Menil Collection / Mark Rosenthal

Author:
Rosenthal, Mark (Mark Lawrence)  Search this
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Johns, Jasper 1930-  Search this
Physical description:
80 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Date:
2003
C2003
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_748240

Espíritus del agua : arte de Alaska y la Columbia Británica : exposición organizada por la Fundación "La Caixa" con la colaboración de The Menil Collection / [autores de los textos, Paz Cabello Carro ... et al.]

Title:
Arte de Alaska y la Columbia Británica
Author:
Cabello Carro, Paz  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Fundació "La Caixa"  Search this
Physical description:
220 p. : ill. (some col.), maps ; 30 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Place:
Alaska
British Columbia
Date:
1999
C1999
Topic:
Indian art  Search this
Call number:
E78.N78 E87 1999
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_759864

Olafur Eliasson : photographs / Matthew Drutt

Author:
Ólafur Elíasson 1967-  Search this
Drutt, Matthew  Search this
Menil Collection (Houston, Tex.)  Search this
Subject:
Ólafur Elíasson 1967-  Search this
Ólafur Elíasson 1967-  Search this
Physical description:
104 p. : col. ill. ; 27 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Interviews
Date:
2004
C2004
Call number:
TR647 .O55 2004
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_766457

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