1 Item (Photographs : ca 3100 prints and negatives)
1 Item (Maps and illustrations )
United States -- Archeology
Bc53, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico -- Archeology
Chaco Canyon (N.M.) -- Archeology
Colorado -- Archeology
Arizona -- Archeology
New Mexico -- Archeology
Agate Basin, Wyoming -- Archeology
Scope and Contents:
This collection of Rober's papers and photographs is almost excluvely concerned with his scientific fieldwork and resulting publications. It is not complete; for example, there is little in the photographs concerning his work at Agate Basin in Wyoming (though some related site forms are part of the records of the River Basin Surveys). Apparently, some of the series that form the records of the RBS began as Roberts's own files and were simply continued once his interest turned to the administration of the RBS. For instance, there is correspondence concerning Robert's work in New Mexico among the RBS correspondence series. The file of correspondence in manuscript 4851 is a miscellany with few letters from any one correspondent.
Biographical / Historical:
Frank H.H. Roberts, Jr. studied history and English at the University of Denver and after receiving his B.A.worked briefly as a journalist. Entering graduate school at Denver he was influenced by Etienne Bernadeau Renaud and, later, Jean Allard Jeacon. Although his studies toward a master's degree were in political science, he carried out archeological work among ruins in the Piedra-Pagosa region of the San Juan River valley in southwestern Colorado and became an instructor in archeology at the University of Denver. In 1923, he became an assistant curator at the Colorado State Museum.
Robert's formal training in archeology came through subsequent studies at Harvard University, where he received a Ph.D. in 1927. While a student, he worked during the summers of 1925 and 1926 for Neil Merton Judd on expeditions to Chaco Canyon. Judd offered him the opportunity to study pottery sequences, expanding upon work already carried out successfully for the Piedra region. From his work under Judd, Roberts produced his dissertation. The work also led to a permanent appointment as an archeologist with the Smithsonian's Bureau of American Ethnology in 1926.
For some time after this, Roberts continued to work primarily among ruins in the Southwest. In 1927, he conducted excavations at Shabik'esche Village in Chaco Canyon and carried on excavations at Kiathuthlunna on the Long H Ranch in eastern Arizona. In 1930, he excavated in the Village of the Great Kivas on the Zuni reservation and, in 1931-1933, worked along the Whitewater River in eastern Arizona and at a site near Allantown, Arizona. For the University of New Mexico Field School in 1940-1941, Roberts directed expeditions to the Bc-53 site in Chaco Canyon.
Throughout this work Roberts's primary interest was "the early structure and sequences of Southwestern culture." This led to Roberts's ultimate interest in the problem of early man in America. He was asked to inspect the discoveries at the original Fosom site in 1927, and over time became convinced of an error in contemporary thinking about the relatively recent arrival of humans in the New World. He was increasingly drawn to study the problem and particuarly after 1933, devoted most of his field work to it. Between 1934 and 1940, he worked at Lindenmeier, a Folsom campsite in northern Colorado. In 1941, he excavated the Mons site near the Peaks of Otter in Virginia, though failing to find expected remains of early man. In the same year, he worked at a Folsom site at San Jon, New Mexico, and, in 1942, another Folsom site in the Agate Basin in Wyoming. In 1943--again in connection with this interest in early man--he carried out a reconnaissance of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in Texas. In addition, Roberts inspected other sites in Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Saskatchewan.
Roberts also worked briefly with other interests. In 1932, he served as an advisor to the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C., in its excavation at Chichen Itza and Uxmal in the Yucatan. In 1933-1934, he conducted a Civil Works Administration expedition to excavate mounds in the Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee. In 1956-1960, he was on the advisory council for the National Park Service's Wetherill Mesa Project.
In the administration of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Roberts became the assistant chief under Matthew Williams Stirling in 1944. In 1946, he became, in addition, the director of the BAE's River Basin Surveys, a salvage archeological program concerned with areas where the federal government was planning dams and reservoirs. In 1947, he became the associate director of the BAE and, in 1958, its director. In addition to these duties and his scientific work, Roberts served as American representative to the League of Nations' International Conference of Archeologists at Cairo in 1937 and as representative on the International Commission for Sites and Monuments in 1939-1942. During World War II, he was involved with the Ethnogeographic Board, an organization that provided liaison between federal war agencies and the scientific community. For the board, Roberts prepared a survival manual and a volume on Egypt and the Suez Canal that was issued as one of the Smithsonian's War Background Studies. For several years later in his life, Roberts was also on the National Council for Historical Sites and Buildings. He also served the Smithsonian on committees concerned primarily with personnel.
Outside official duties, Roberts represented the American Anthropological Association on the National Research Council in 1935-1949. In 1936, he was president of the Anthropological Society of Washington and, in 1944, vice president of the AAA. In 1949, he became president of the Washington Academy of Sciences. A founding member of the Society for American Archaeology and a member of the committee that drafts its constitution and bylaws, Roberts served that organization as president in 1950. In 1952, he became a vice president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The photographic negatives are in special storage and require advance notice to view.
Group portraits of members of the Department of Anthropology and the Bureau of American Ethnology at the time of their merger in 1965. The photographs were made on the steps of the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum building.
The Bureau of American Ethnology was disbanded on July 29, 1964 and its members were merged into the Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum, to form the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology. This later became the Department of Anthropology in the National Museum of Natural History.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 136
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The National Anthropological Archives also holds the Bureau of American Ethnology records and the Department of Anthropology records.
Additional photographs of Department of Anthropology staff can be found in the National Anthropological Archives in Photo Lot 24, Photo Lot 39, Photo Lot 70, Photo Lot 76-127, Photo Lot 77-52, Photo Lot 77-80, Photo Lot 79-51, Photo Lot 80-17, Photo Lot 83-15, and the BAE historical negatives.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Photo lot 136, Portraits of staff of Department of Anthropology and Bureau of American Ethnology, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution