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70 Linear feet (Approximately 70 linear feet of textual materials and over 30,000 photographic items.)
The papers of John Lawrence Angel present a complete portrait of the professional life of one of the most important and influential physical anthropologists in the United States. Angel was best known for his work with cultures in the eastern Mediterranean and for his work in forensic anthropology; but his contributions were widespread. His influence was felt in studies of human microevolution, the relationship between environment and disease, human evolution, and paleopathology. His research was said to be ten years ahead of its time.
The papers include correspondence with many of the leading anthropologists of the time; honors and awards bestowed on Angel; materials on Angel's educational career, both as an undergraduate and as a teacher; extensive photographs; a virtually complete collection of his writings; materials concerning his research and his work in forensic anthropology; and his activities in professional organizations. The bulk of the papers reflect Angel's life-long interest in examining the relationship between culture and biology in human groups through time. There are a few records on Angel's administrative involvement in the Department of Anthropology of the United States National Museum/National Museum of Natural History.
Scope and Contents:
Angel began his undergraduate studies at Harvard University in the classics, following in the footsteps of his American mother (who trained as a classicist and was the daughter of a Yale University professor of Greek) and his British father, who was a sculptor. While still an undergraduate, Angel came under the influence of Clyde Kluckhohn, Carleton S. Coon, and Earnest A. Hooton, and his interest turned to anthropology. The combination of anatomy and classicist training developed into a life-long interest and work in the social biology of the peoples of Greece and the Near East.
In addition to his work in Greece and the Near East, the papers include Angel's studies of American populations of colonial peoples and slaves; his forensic anthropology analyses of skeletal remains for law enforcement groups and the United States military; his studies of obesity and other diseases and the possible genetic link behind them; Angel's analysis of the skeletal remains of James Smithson; his involvement in early reburial issues concerning American Indians, particularly the return of the remains of Captain Jack and other Modocs; and Angel's concern and involvement in civil liberty matters and in community affairs.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
(1) Miscellaneous personal papers, 1933-1986; (2) correspondence, 1936-1986; (3) research in the eastern Mediterranean, 1936-1986; (4) anthropology of chronic disease, 1943-1965; (5) Harvard University-Johns Hopkins University Hospital anthropology study, 1959-1964; (6) five generation study, 1962-1985; (7) skull thickness project, 1968-1976; (8) biological and cultureal microdifferential among rural populations of Yugoslavia, 1981-1986; (9) First African Baptist Church, Philadelphia, 1983-1987; (10) other research projects (bone density change, Catoctin Furnace site, Virginia colonial sites), 1945-1986; (11) education, 1940-1986; (12) legal matters, 1962-1986; (13) reference materials, 1930-1986; (14) writing of J. Lawrence Angel, 1932-1988; (15) Smithsonian Department of Anthropology, Division of Physical Anthropology, 1961-1968; (16) professional organizations and meetings, 1942-1987; (17) writings by other authors, 1950-1985; (18) grants, 1951-1962; (19) miscellany, 1937-1985; (20) photographs, 1936-1986
J. Lawrence Angel was educated in the classics in his native England and at The Choate School in Connecticut. He studied anthropology at Harvard University (A.B., 1936; Ph.D., 1942). He was an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1941-1942 and at the University of Minnesota in 1942-1943. In 1943-1962, he was on the staff of the Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy at the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, starting as an assistant and rsising to a professor. In 1962, he became the curator for physical anthropology in the Smithsonian Institution's Department of Anthropology and continued in that position until he died. Angel was also a research associate with the University Museum of the University of of Pennsylvania, 1946-1962; civil consultant in surgical anatomy of the United States Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, 1957-1962; visiting professor of anatomy, Howard University, 1962-1986; and professorial lecturer at the George Washington University, 1962-1986. He was also a lecturer in forensic pathology at the department of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, and visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley in 1962.
Angel summarized his research interests as (1) human social biology, involving the "interrrelations of health, disease, body build, longevity, genetic mixture and variability with each other, with climate and ecology, and with level of culture, nutrition and achievement as seen in history, in evolution, or clinically"; (2) palaeodemography as related to the rise and decline of disease (falciparum malaria)"; and (3) "relation of structure to function and to genetic determinants as seen in form of joints and in density, mineral historology and muscularity of bones, or in process of 'arthritic' change in relation to aging."
The single most enduring interest in Angel's career was the pre- and proto-history of the population of Greece and nearby areas of the eastern Mediterranean. Beginning in 1937, Angel made repeated trips to the region, only highlights of which are provided here. In 1938, he studied skeletal material from Troy which W.T. Semple, of the University of Cincinnati had deposited in the Archaeological Museum at Istanbul. In 1938, he studied skeletal material mostly excavated in the area of Corinth. He worked at the Cyprus Museum in 1949, studying skulls from Vasa and skeletal material from Bamboula. During that year, he also studied living people at a Cypriote village. In 1952, he worked with Carleton S. Coon on skeletal material from Hotu Cave. In 1954, he studied materials from the Agora excavations and from Eleusis. During the same year, he also visited the British Museum and many sites in Greece studying Myceanean skeletons excavated by George E. Mylonas, John Papadimitrious, and A.J.B. Wace. In 1954, he again studied skeletal material excavated at Bamboula and, in 1957, skeletons from Eleusis. In 1965, he studied human bones from twenty-two sites in Greece and Turkey that dated from the paleolithic to moderntimes, including material from a Bryan Mawr College excavation at Elmali, an excavation at Karatas-Semeyuk in Lycia, and collections in the Archaeological Museum of Ankara and in the museum at Verroia in Macedonia. In 1969, he worked on material from Kephala, and in 1972, skeletons from Asine in Greece. In 1984, he studied upper paleolithic skeletons from Wadi Kubbaniya.
Angel also carried out work on American populations--prehistoric, historic, and contemporary. In 1944, he worked on skeletal remains from excavations at Tranquillity, California, that were deposited in the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. In the same year, he was one of several researchers involved in an endocrinological, anthropological, and psychological study ofobesity initiatec by the Jefferson School of Medicine.
The first hase of the study lasted until 1948 and was followed by restudy of the subjects in 1954-1957. Around 1959-1961, with Carl Seltzer, he was involved in a study of the relation between constitution and health of students at Harvard University and Johns Hopkins Unviersity, Angel primarily taking care of the work in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he studied skeletal material from Matin's Hundred and other sites of colonia Virginia which resulted, in part, in comparisons with the modern American population. In the 1980s, with Jennifer O. Kelly, he worked on skeletons of African American slaves from Catoctin Furnace, Maryland, and on remains of free African American from the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia.
Angle was highly regarded for his keen seight and other senses which he used with great effect in examining human remains. Consequently, he was frequently sought as a consultant and regularly carried out forensic work for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement authorities. In addition, military authorities, archeologists involved in both the study of history and prehistory, and museum people sent him specimens for examination. At the Smithsonian, he not only used and improved the excellent skeletal collection, he had the opportunity to exmaine the bones of Smithsonian benefactor James Smithson and was involved ine arly studies connected with the return of American Indian skeltal materials to appropriate receipents.
Active with several professional organizations, Angel was president of the Philadelphia Anthropological Society in 1956-1958 and associate editor of the American Anthropologist. In 1952-1956, he was the secretary-treasurer of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and, in 1959-1960, vice president of that organization. In 1952-1956, he was an association editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. He was president of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology in 1980-1985. For his active professional life, he received the Pomerance Medal of the Archaeological Institute of American in 1983 and the distinguished service medal of the American Anthropological Association in 1986.
1915 -- Born March 21 in London, England to John Angel and Elizabeth Day Seymour.
1928 -- Emigrated to the United States from England.
1934 -- Summer field school, University of New Mexico.
1935 -- Summer field work, Museum of Northern Arizona.
1936 -- A.B., Anthropology, Harvard College; summer field work at the Sante Fe Laboratory of Anthropology (Macon, Georgia expedition).
1937 -- Became a naturalized American citizen, 15 June; married Margaret (Peggy) Seymour Richardson, 1 July.
1937-1939 -- Field work in Greece: worked in Greece from early November 1937 until the end of January 1939 when illness forced his return in April; in the winter of 1937-1938, Angel worked in the American excavations in the Agora at Athens, in the American excavations at Old Corinth, and in the Greek National Museum in Athens; in the spring of 1938, Angel worked in the Greek Anthropological Museum in the Athens University Medical School in Goudi, and at the Agora excavations; from May to June, Angel measured villagers and excavated over 100 burials from the Riverside cemetery under David M. Robinson at the American excavations at Olynthus, Macedonia; Angel then worked in Athens and Corinth for a short time; from July to August Angel worked on skeletons from Troy (which W.T. Semple of the University of Cincinnati had deposited) and Babokoy, Anatolia, as well as on skulls from Nippur and Sidon in the Archeological Museum at Istanbul, Turkey; from mid-August to early September Angel studied skeletal material from southwestern Cephallenia in the museum at Argostoli; Angel then measured skulls in the museum at Thebes and at Schematari (Tanagra) in Boeotia; from October to November Angel studied skulls from Corinth; Angel then returned to Athens to study skeletons from the German excavations at the Kerameikos and the material in the Athens Anthropological Museum and National Museum; in 1939 Angel measured people at the Agora excavations north of the Acropolis and studied skulls excavated by T.L. Shear in Athens and Corinth. During these years, Angel made one day trips to many places, including Nauplia, Tolon, Mycenae, Nemea, Aigosthina, Parnos, Aigina, Marathon, Therikos, and Sounion; support was from traveling fellowships from the departments of Anthropology and Classics of Harvard University, half of a Sheldon fellowship, the Albert and Anna Howard fellowship (Harvard), the Guggenheim Foundation, the Viking Fund, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Jefferson Medical College, and the American Philosophical Society.
1939-1941 -- Assistant in Anthropology, Harvard University.
1940 -- Elected to membership in the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
1941-1942 -- Instructor in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.
1942 -- Doctor of Philosophy Degree, Anthropology, Harvard University.
1942-1943 -- Instructor in Anthropology, University of Minnesota.
1943-1950 -- Associate, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
1944 -- Studied skeletal remains from excavations at Tranquillity, California, at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania and in the [Hearst] Museum of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley.
1944-1948 -- Research for the anthropological study of chronic disease at the Jefferson Medical College.
1946-1948 -- President, Philadelphia Anthropological Society; Associate Editor, American Anthropologist.
1946-1962 -- Research Associate, University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania-Philadelphia.
1947 -- Organized the Viking Fund summer seminar on growth and evolution.
1949 -- Field work in the Near East: In the spring, studied skulls from Kampi near Vasa in Central Cyprus at the Department of Antiquities museum in Nicosia on a visit to Cyprus and Greece; studied skeletons and living Cypriote villagers at the University of Pennsylvania's Museum headquarters in Episkopi, and skeletal material from Bamboula at the Cyprus Museum; support was from Harvard University, the Guggenheim Foundation (Guggenheim Fellowship), Wenner-Gren Foundation, Viking Fund, American School of Classical Studies, and Jefferson Medical School.
1949-1950 -- President, Philadelphia Society of the Archeological Institute of America.
1950-1951 -- Assistant Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. 1950-1952
1950-1952 -- Executive Committee member, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
1951 -- Troy: The Human Remains. Supplemental monograph to Troy excavations conducted by the University of Cincinnati 1932-1938.
1951-1954 -- Associate editor, American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
1951-1962 -- Associate Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.
1952 -- Worked with Carleton Coon on skeletal material from Hotu Cave, Iran.
1952-1956 -- Secretary-treasurer, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
1953-1966 -- Trustee for the Council for Old World Archaeology.
1954 -- Field work in the Near East: visited the British Museum (Natural History); studied skeletal material from Eleusis (Greece), at the Anthropological Museum of the Medical School of the University of Athens, and at the Agora Excavations Headquarters; studied Myceanean skeletons (excavated by George E. Mylonas, John Papadimitriou, and A.J.B. Wace), Corinthian skeletons, Bronze Age Lernaean skeletons, and Bronze Age Pylian skeletons; again studied skeletal material excavated at Bamboula; supported by grants from the Harvard graduate school, the American Philosophical Society [Grant No. 1714], and the National Institutes of Health Grant No. A-224, the Jefferson Medical College, the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and the Agora excavations; helped by Anastasios Pantazopoulous and Nikos Thiraios.
1954-1957 -- Restudy of subjects for the anthropological study of chronic disease originally performed at the Jefferson Medical College from 1944-1948.
1956-1958 -- Council member of the American Society of Human Genetics.
1957 -- Field work in the Near East: visited the Laboratory of Anthropology in the Department of Anatomy at Oxford University; again studied skeletons from Eleusis in Greece; studied skeletons from Lerna, from the French excavations at Argos, from Pylos, from Corinthian sites near the Diolkos at the Isthmus and at Klenia, and from the Athenian Agora; supported by Grant No. 2150 from the American Philosophical Society and the National Institutes of Health; sponsored by Jefferson Medical College and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania; helped by Argyris Marinis and Panayotis Yannoulatos.
1957-1962 -- Civilian consultant in surgical anatomy to the United States Naval Hospital, Philadelphia.
1959-1960 -- Vice-President, American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
1960-1962 -- Member of the advisory panel on Anthropology and the History and Philosophy of Science for the National Science Foundation; consultant for the Harvard University-Johns Hopkins Hospital project on constitution and disease.
1960-1963 -- Associate editor, American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
1962 -- Professor, Daniel Baugh Institute of Anatomy of the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia; Chairman of Schools Committee of West Mt. Airy Neighbors; organized the thirty-first annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists.
1962-1986 -- Curator, Division of Physical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology, United States National Museum (later the National Museum of Natural History), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
1962-1965 -- Advisory panel for evaluating NSF Graduate Fellowships, National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council.
1962-1986 -- Professorial Lecturer in Anthropology at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
1963-1986 -- Lecturer in forensic pathology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.
1965 -- Field work in the Near East: studied human bones from 22 sites in Greece and Turkey, including Petralona in eastern Macedonia (Palaeanthropic skull), the Peneios River open sites (Theocharis and Miloicic), Tsouka cave on Mt. Pelion in Thessaly, Nea Nikomedeia near the Haliakmon River in Macedonia, Kephala on the coast of the Aegean island of Kea (Caskey), Hagios Stephanos in Laconia (Taylour), Kocumbeli near Ankara (Turkey), the Bryn Mawr College excavation at Elmali (working with Machteld Mellink), Karatas-Semeyuk in Lycia, Catal Huyuk (in the Korya Plain in Turkey) in the Archaeological Museum of Ankara, Argos, Agora Excavation, Attica, Mycanae, Corinth, Sparta, Alepotrypa (Foxes' Hole) in Mani, and in the museum at Verroia in Macedonia; supported through the SI Hrdlička Fund, the American Philosophical Society, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
1965-1970 -- Visiting Professor of Anatomy, Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
1966 -- Summer Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley; Early skeletons from Tranquillity, California.
1967 -- Field work in the Near East: Turkey, studied skeletal remains from Catal Huyuk at the University of Ankara, and skeletons from Antalya, Elmali, and Karatas; Greece, studied skeletal remains from Franchthi cave, Athens, Kea, Nauplion, Corinth, and Asine; supported by the Hrdlička Fund. Organized a symposium on paleodemography, diseases and human evolution at the 66th meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C.
1969 -- Field work in the Near East: studied material from Kephala, Karatas, and Franchthi cave; supported by the Hrdlička Fund and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
1970 -- Visiting Professor, Harvard University (Spring). Organized the 39th meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in Washington, D.C.
1971 -- The People of Lerna: Analysis of a Prehistoric Aegean Population.
1972 -- Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons from Asine and Agora in Greece; supported by the Hrdlička Fund. 1974
1974 -- Organized a symposium in honor of Albert Damon, a medical anthropologist, at the 43rd meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in Amherst, Massachusetts.
1974-1975 -- President, Anthropological Society of Washington.
1975 -- Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons at Asine and Agora in Greece and at Elmali, helped by David C. Fredenburg, and supported by the Hrdlička Fund; joined the American Academy of Forensic Sciences as a Provisional Member; published Human skeletons from Eleusis, in The south cemetery of Eleusis; worked on the organizing committees for meetings in Washington, D.C. for the Archaeological Institute of America.
1976 -- Studied skeletons at Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, with the help of David Fredenburg (3 trips); organized a symposium in honor of T. Dale Stewart at the 45th meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists held in St. Louis, Missouri.
1977 -- Field work in the Near East: worked in Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Ankara, Elmali, and Athens; field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
1978 -- Field work in the Near East: studied skeletons from Byzantium and Turkey; skeletons were in Ankara and from Kalinkaya in the Hittite Territory of Central Anatolia; Byzantium specimens came from Kalenderhane Camii in Istanbul; field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
1979 -- Published symposium in Angel's honor by the American Association of Physical Anthropologists; three days of field work at the British Museum (Natural History) during which he studied Egyptian and Greek skulls.
1979 -- Studied skeletons of African American slaves from Catoctin Furnace, Maryland.
1980 -- Field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
1980-1985 -- President, American Board of Forensic Anthropology. 1982
1982 -- Field visit to Colonial Williamsburg.
1983 -- Awarded the Pomerance Medal for Scientific Contributions to Archaelogy by the Archaeological Institute of America.
1984 -- Studied upper paleolithic skeletons from Wade Kubbaniya; award from the Physical Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
1986 -- Died November 3; award from the Physical Anthropology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences; was chosen to receive the Distinguished Service Award of the American Anthropological Association at their annual meeting in December.
1987 -- Memorial session in Angel's honor held at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association.
Additional materials in the National Anthropological Archives relating to Angel are in the papers of Marcus Solomon Goldstein, Raoul Weston LaBarre, and Waldo Rudolph and Mildred Mott Wedel; the records of the American Anthropological Association, the Central States Anthropological Society, the River Basin Surveys, and the Department of Anthropology of the United States National Museum/National Museum of Natural History; Photographic Lots 7D (photograph taken at the meeting of the American Anthropological Association at Denver in 1965) and 77-45 (group portrait of Smithsonian physical anthropologists); and MS 4822 (photographs of anthropologists in the Division of Physical Anthropology, Department of Anthropology of the United States National Museum/National Museum of Natural History). There are also materials on Angel in the non-archival reference file maintained by the NAA. The names used for ethnic groups were selected to maintain consistency among the archival holdings and are used without regard to modern preferences.
Angel contracted hepatitis following coronary by-pass surgery in 1982 and died of the effects four years later. His papers were obtained by the National Anthropological Archives shortly thereafter. Some papers were obtained as the result of a bequest by Angel's wife, Margaret. The papers date from 1930 to 1987.
The John Lawrence Angel papers are open for research. Access to some materials is restricted to maintain privacy or confidentiality.
Access to the John Lawrence Angel papers requires an appointment.
Brown, R. P., Ubelaker, Douglas H., and Schanfield, M. S. 2006. "Evaluation of Purkait's Triangle Method for Determing Sexual Dimorphism." Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, XII 285–286. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0604335103.
Frohwein, Amanda K., Mercer, Jennifer W., Dudley-Cash, Arliss, Bowen, Robin, Huffman Neal, Samantha, Lachowicz, Marrah E., Henson, Tanisha, Lehr, Rachael L., Sutter, Anthony M., Hernandez, Casandra L., Oakes-Smith, Jenna, Smith, Melissa E., Henderson, Carol, Lewis, Jane A., Lipton, Barry E., Watts, Vickie, Geberth, Vernon J., Baker, Andrew M., Gilliland, Rhesa G., Liptai, Laura L., Nawrocki, Heidi, Gerns, John E., Desiderio, Vincent J., Ubelaker, Douglas H., Hill, Whitney et al. 2009. "Young Forensic Scientists Forum - AAFS at a Glance: Experience the Forensic Sciences." Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 15 19–20.
Ubelaker, Douglas H. 2022. "The Changing Role of Forensic Anthropology in Investigations of Mass Fatality Incidents." from A Responsive Academy: Meeting and Surpassing the Challenges of a Modern Forensic Science World. 110. Colorado Springs, Colorado: American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 28
Baccino, Eric. 1995. "Forensic Anthropology Workshops in Brest, France." from Proceedings: American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, February 13-18, 1995 in Proceedings: American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Annual Meeting, Seattle, Washington, February 13-18, 1995. 173–174. American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
Martell, Daniel A., Barsley, Robert E., Bohan, Thomas L., Donoghue, Edmund R., Geradts, Zeno J., Gerns, John E., Henderson, Carol, Logan, Barry K., Rosner, Richard, Sang, John L., Singer, Ronald L., Ubelaker, Douglas H., Murray, Elizabeth A. and Ropero-Miller, Jeri D. 2015. Past Presidents Future Science: Hot Leads in Contemporary Forensic Research. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, XXI: 1-4.
Thessen, Anne E., Poelen, Jorrit H., Collins, Matthew and Hammock, Jen. 2018. 20 GB in 10 minutes: a case for linking major biodiversity databases using an open socio-technical infrastructure and a pragmatic, cross-institutional collaboration. PeerJ Computer Science, 4(e164) doi:10.7717/peerj-cs.164
Garrido-Varas, Claudia, Ubelaker, Douglas H. and Intriago-Leiva, Marisol. 2013. The Use of Radiocarbon Analysis in a Chilean Human Rights Commingled Case. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, XIX: 425-426.