Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Additional Online Media

Catalog Data

Zorn, Elayne  Search this
American Anthropological Association  Search this
Brooklyn Museum of Art  Search this
University of Central Florida. Department of Sociology & Anthropology  Search this
Cahlander, Adele  Search this
Former owner:
California Academy of Sciences. Anthropology Department  Search this
Textile Museum (Washington, D.C.)  Search this
Cutipa Lima, Juan de Dios  Search this
1,474 Photographic prints
11526 Negatives (photographic)
10 Videocassettes
11 Linear feet
57 Sound recordings (57 cassette tapes.)
11412 Slides (photographs)
Quechua  Search this
Aymara  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Photographic prints
Negatives (photographic)
Sound recordings
Slides (photographs)
Field notes
Sacaca (Bolivia)
Potosí (Bolivia : Dept.) -- Description and travel.
Puno (Peru : Dept.)
Andes Region -- Economic integration.
Taquili (Peru) -- Economic conditions
Taquili (Peru) -- Social life and customs
The Elayne Zorn Collection measures 11 linear feet and contains thousands of photographic objects including negatives, slides and prints. The collection material spans the years of Zorn's professional and student activity in the fields of anthropology and Latin American studies from around 1975 until 2010. The material in this collection reflects Zorn's long association with the community in Taquile, Peru which led up to the publication of her book, Weaving a Future, in 2004. Zorn also spent a significant amount of time conducting field research in Andean communities in Bolivia examining the relationships between tourism and textiles. Zorn's additional professional activities included serving as a textile collector and expert advisor for museum collections and exhibitions as well as performing academic duties at the University of Central Florida.
Scope and Contents:
The Elayne Zorn Collection spans the years of Zorn's professional and student activity in the fields of anthropology and Latin American studies from 1975 until 2010. This includes material from Zorn's field research in the Andean Regions of Peru and Bolivia as well as her professional activities as a textile collector and expert advisor for museum collections and exhibitions. This collection is arranged into six series with additional subseries. Series 1, Field Research, includes field notebooks, correspondence, and general research from Taquile, Peru, Sakaka, Bolivia and La Paz, Bolivia. Series 2, Professional Activities, includes presentation and lecture notes, object catalogs for various museum collections and Zorn's academic work conducted at the University of Central Florida. Series 3, Publications and Writings, contains both articles written by Zorn, including her Master's thesis and dissertation, and articles published by colleagues. Series 4, Ephemera and Miscellaneous, contains a variety of materials including posters, postcards, datebooks and calendars as well as material gathered by Zorn's former husband, Juan Cutipa. Series 5, Photographs, includes negatives, slides, prints and digital media that document Zorn's work in the field. The bulk of the photographs capture the daily lives of weavers as well as important community holidays and festivals. Series 6, Audio-Visual Materials, includes a small amount of VHS tapes as well as audio-cassettes on which Zorn recorded traditional Andean music performed at festivals she attended in Peru and Bolivia.
Series 1: Field Research, 1975-2006 Subseries 1.1: Taquile, Peru, 1975-1994 [1977-1981] Subseries 1.2: Sakaka, Bolivia, 1985-1994 Subseries 1.3: La Paz, Bolivia, 2006 Subseries 1.4: Miscellaneous Field Notes, 1976-2006 Series 2: Professional Activities, 1978-2010 Subseries 2.1: Conferences and Presentations, 1977-2009 Subseries 2.2: Museum Work, 1976-2008 Subseries 2.3: General, 1976-2010 Series 3: Publications and Writings, 1979-2009 Subseries 3.1: Elayne Zorn, 1979-2009 Subseries 3.2: Other Authors, 1979-2005 Series 4: Ephemera and Miscellaneous, 1975-2009 Series 5: Photographs, 1970-2006 Subseries 5.1: Negatives, 1976-1997 Subseries 5.2: Slides, 1970-2002 Subseries 5.3: Prints, 1978-2000 Subseries 5.4: Digital Media, 2002-2006 Series 6: Audio-Visual Materials, 1983-1994 Subseries 6.1: Cassette Tapes, 1983-1991 Subseries 6.2: Videotapes, 1991-1994
Biographical / Historical:
Elayne Leslie Zorn was born on February 3, 1952 in New York City. She attended Hunter College High School and Barnard College. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Textile Arts from the California College of the Arts in 1975. She then began a long association with the community on the Island of Taquile, in the Puno region of Peru, conducting fieldwork on native weaving techniques. She also began a long-term affiliation with the Museo Nacional de Etnografia y Folklore in La Paz, Bolivia and collected textiles in the Macusani region of Peru for an exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences. She received her Master's degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas, Austin in 1983, with fieldwork concentrated on economic development and tourism in Taquile, Peru. During her time in Peru in the 1970's and 1980's, Zorn became an accomplished musician, playing the charango and Bolivian mandolin in performances in Andean towns as well as in New York City. Zorn resumed graduate studies in 1985 at Cornell University where she received her Master of Arts degree in anthropology in 1987 followed by her Ph.D. in 1997. At Cornell she worked under the supervision of Professor Billie Jean Isbell and conducted much of her dissertation fieldwork in Sakaka, Bolivia focusing on the global transformation of cloth and identity in highland Andean regions. Zorn worked as a visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Colgate University from 1997 to 1998 and then hired as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Central Florida from 1998 until 2010. While at the University of Central Florida, Zorn received both teaching-related and research-related awards as well as grants to continue her fieldwork in the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia. She also co-directed the PeruVine/PeruDigital Project, an interactive and immersive website to present field data from Peru's Institute of Ethnomusicology online. In 2004 Zorn published her book, Weaving a Future: Tourism, Cloth and Culture on an Andean Island (University of Iowa Press), an analysis of textile traditions as it relates to global change. In addition to her academic duties, throughout her career Zorn collaborated with various museums and cultural institutions as a consultant and collector. These included, but are not limited to, The Brooklyn Museum, The Textile Museum, Smithsonian Center for Folklife Programs, UNICEF and the Inter-American Foundation. She was also a member of various professional societies including the American Anthropological Association, the Bolivian Studies Association, the Society for Latin American, Carribean, and Latino Studies as well as the Textile Society of America. Zorn passed away June 15, 2010 and was survived by her mother, Sandra Gordon, and her son, Gavriel Cutipa-Zorn. Sources: (Accessed May 01, 2012) (Accessed May 1, 2012)
This collection was donated by Gavriel Cutipa-Zorn, Elayne Zorn's son in April of 2011.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email:
Due to their fragile nature, the Audio-Visual materials in this collection are closed to researchers until they have been digitized.
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to
Tourism -- Andes Region  Search this
Women weavers -- Social life and customs -- Photographs  Search this
Festivals -- Bolivia -- Potosí  Search this
Textile fabrics -- Andes Region  Search this
Slides (photographs)
Field notes
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Collection Title, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
See more items in:
Elayne Zorn Collection
Archival Repository:
National Museum of the American Indian