These papers reflect the professional and personal life of Frederica de Laguna. The collection contains correspondence, field notes, writings, newspaper clippings, writings by others, subject files, sound recordings, photographs, and maps. A significant portion of the collection consists of de Laguna's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students, as well as her informants from the field. Her correspondence covers a wide range of subjects such as family, health, preparations for field work, her publications and projects, the Northwest Coast, her opinions on the state of anthropology, and politics. The field notes in the collection mainly represent de Laguna and her assistants' work in the Northern Tlingit region of Alaska from 1949 to 1954. In addition, the collection contains materials related to her work in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Ontario in 1947 and Catherine McClellan's field journal for her research in Aishihik, Yukon Territory in 1968. Most of the audio reels in the collection are field recordings made by de Laguna, McClellan, and Marie-Françoise Guédon of vocabulary and songs and speeches at potlatches and other ceremonies from 1952 to 1969. Tlingit and several Athabaskan languages including Atna, Tutochone, Upper Tanana, and Tanacross are represented in the recordings. Also in the collection are copies of John R. Swanton's Tlingit recordings and Hiroko Hara Sue's recordings among the Hare Indians. Additional materials related to de Laguna's research on the Northwest Coast include her notes on clans and tribes in Series VI: Subject Files and her notes on Tlingit vocabulary and Yakutat names specimens in Series X: Card Files. Drafts and notes for Voyage to Greenland, Travels Among the Dena, and The Tlingit Indians can be found in the collection as well as her drawings for her dissertation and materials related to her work for the Handbook of North American Indians and other publications. There is little material related to Under Mount Saint Elias except for correspondence, photocopies and negatives of plates, and grant applications for the monograph. Of special interest among de Laguna's writings is a photocopy of her historical fiction novel, The Thousand March. Other materials of special interest are copies of her talks, including her AAA presidential address, and the dissertation of Regna Darnell, a former student of de Laguna's. In addition, materials on the history of anthropology are in the collection, most of which can found with her teaching materials. Although the bulk of the collection documents de Laguna's professional years, the collection also contains newspaper articles and letters regarding her exceptional performance as a student at Bryn Mawr College and her undergraduate and graduate report cards. Only a few photographs of de Laguna can be found in the collection along with photographs of her 1929 and 1979 trips to Greenland.
Scope and Contents:
These papers reflect the professional and personal life of Frederica de Laguna. The collection contains correspondence, field notes, writings, newspaper clippings, writings by others, subject files, sound recordings, photographs, and maps.
A significant portion of the collection consists of de Laguna's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students, as well as her informants from the field. Her correspondence covers a wide range of subjects such as family, health, preparations for field work, her publications and projects, the Northwest Coast, her opinions on the state of anthropology, and politics. Among her notable correspondents are Kaj Birket-Smith, J. Desmond Clark, Henry Collins, George Foster, Viola Garfield, Marie-Françoise Guédon, Diamond Jenness, Michael Krauss, Therkel Mathiassen, Catharine McClellan, and Wallace Olson. She also corresponded with several eminent anthropologists including Franz Boas, William Fitzhugh, J. Louis Giddings, Emil Haury, June Helm, Melville Herskovitz, Alfred Kroeber, Helge Larsen, Alan Lomax, Margaret Mead, Froelich Rainey, Leslie Spier, Ruth Underhill, James VanStone, Annette Weiner, and Leslie White.
The field notes in the collection mainly represent de Laguna and her assistants' work in the Northern Tlingit region of Alaska from 1949 to 1954. In addition, the collection contains materials related to her work in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Ontario in 1947 and Catharine McClellan's field journal for her research in Aishihik, Yukon Territory in 1968. Most of the audio reels in the collection are field recordings made by de Laguna, McClellan, and Marie-Françoise Guédon of vocabulary and songs and speeches at potlatches and other ceremonies from 1952 to 1969. Tlingit and several Athapaskan languages including Atna, Tutochone, Upper Tanana, and Tanacross are represented in the recordings. Also in the collection are copies of John R. Swanton's Tlingit recordings and Hiroko Hara's recordings among the Hare Indians. Additional materials related to de Laguna's research on the Northwest Coast include her notes on clans and tribes in Series VI: Subject Files and her notes on Tlingit vocabulary and Yakutat names specimens in Series 10: Card Files.
Drafts and notes for Voyage to Greenland, Travels Among the Dena, and The Tlingit Indians can be found in the collection as well as her drawings for her dissertation and materials related to her work for the Handbook of North American Indians and other publications. There is little material related to Under Mount Saint Elias except for correspondence, photocopies and negatives of plates, and grant applications for the monograph. Of special interest among de Laguna's writings is a photocopy of her historical fiction novel, The Thousand March.
Other materials of special interest are copies of her talks, including her AAA presidential address, and the dissertation of Regna Darnell, a former student of de Laguna's. In addition, materials on the history of anthropology are in the collection, most of which can found with her teaching materials. The collection also contains copies of photographs from the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899. Although the bulk of the collection documents de Laguna's professional years, the collection also contains newspaper articles and letters regarding her exceptional performance as a student at Bryn Mawr College and her undergraduate and graduate report cards. Only a few photographs of de Laguna can be found in the collection along with photographs of her 1929 and 1979 trips to Greenland.
Frederica Annis Lopez de Leo de Laguna was a pioneering archaeologist and ethnographer of northwestern North America. Known as Freddy by her friends, she was one of the last students of Franz Boas. She served as first vice-president of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) from 1949 to 1950 and as president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) from 1966-1967. She also founded the anthropology department at Bryn Mawr College where she taught from 1938 to 1972. In 1975, she and Margaret Mead, a former classmate, were the first women to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Born on October 3, 1906 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, de Laguna was the daughter of Theodore Lopez de Leo de Laguna and Grace Mead Andrus, both philosophy professors at Bryn Mawr College. Often sick as a child, de Laguna was home-schooled by her parents until she was 9. She excelled as a student at Bryn Mawr College, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in politics and economics in 1927. She was awarded the college's prestigious European fellowship, which upon the suggestion of her parents, she deferred for a year to study anthropology at Columbia University under Boas. Her parents had recently attended a lecture given by Boas and felt that anthropology would unite her interests in the social sciences and her love for the outdoors.
After a year studying at Columbia with Boas, Gladys Reichard, and Ruth Benedict, de Laguna was still uncertain whether anthropology was the field for her. Nevertheless, she followed Boas's advice to spend her year abroad studying the connection between Eskimo and Paleolithic art, which would later became the topic of her dissertation. In the summer of 1928, she gained fieldwork experience under George Grant MacCurdy visiting prehistoric sites in England, France, and Spain. In Paris, she attended lectures on prehistoric art by Abbe Breuil and received guidance from Paul Rivet and Marcelin Boule. Engaged to an Englishman she had met at Columbia University, de Laguna decided to also enroll at the London School of Economics in case she needed to earn her degree there. She took a seminar with Bronislaw Malinowski, an experience she found unpleasant and disappointing.
It was de Laguna's visit to the National Museum in Copenhagen to examine the archaeological collections from Central Eskimo that became the turning point in her life. During her visit, she met Therkel Mathiassen who invited her to be his assistant on what would be the first scientific archaeological excavation in Greenland. She sailed off with him in June 1929, intending to return early in August. Instead, she decided to stay until October to finish the excavation with Mathiassen, now convinced that her future lay in anthropology. When she returned from Greenland she broke off her engagement with her fiancé, deciding that she would not able to both fully pursue a career in anthropology and be the sort of wife she felt he deserved. Her experiences in Greenland became the subject of her 1977 memoir, Voyage to Greenland: A Personal Initiation into Anthropology.
The following year, Kaj Birket-Smith, whom de Laguna had also met in Copenhagen, agreed to let her accompany him as his research assistant on his summer expedition to Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. When Birket-Smith fell ill and was unable to go, de Laguna was determined to continue on with the trip. She convinced the University of Pennsylvania Museum to fund her trip to Alaska to survey potential excavation sites and took as her assistant her 20 year old brother, Wallace, who became a geologist. A close family, de Laguna's brother and mother would later accompany her on other research trips.
In 1931, the University of Pennsylvania Museum hired de Laguna to catalogue Eskimo collections. They again financed her work in Cook Inlet that year as well as the following year. In 1933, she earned her PhD from Columbia and led an archaeological and ethnological expedition of the Prince William Sound with Birket-Smith. They coauthored "The Eyak Indians of the Copper River Delta, Alaska," published in 1938. In 1935, de Laguna led an archaeological and geological reconnaissance of middle and lower Yukon Valley, traveling down the Tanana River. Several decades later, the 1935 trip contributed to two of her books: Travels Among the Dena, published in 1994, and Tales From the Dena, published in 1997.
In 1935 and 1936, de Laguna worked briefly as an Associate Soil Conservationist, surveying economic and social conditions on the Pima Indian Reservation in Arizona. She later returned to Arizona during the summers to conduct research and in 1941, led a summer archaeological field school under the sponsorship of Bryn Mawr College and the Museum of Northern Arizona.
By this time, de Laguna had already published several academic articles and was also the author of three fiction books. Published in 1930, The Thousand March: Adventures of an American Boy with the Garibaldi was her historical fiction book for juveniles. She also wrote two detective novels: The Arrow Points to Murder (1937) and Fog on the Mountain (1938). The Arrow Points to Murder is set in a museum based on her experiences at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the American Museum of National History. Fog on the Mountain is set in Cook Inlet and draws upon de Laguna's experiences in Alaska. Both detective novels helped to finance her research.
De Laguna began her long career at Bryn Mawr College in 1938 when she was hired as a lecturer in the sociology department to teach the first ever anthropology course at the college. By 1950, she was chairman of the joint department of Sociology and Anthropology, and in 1967, the chairman of the newly independent Anthropology Department. She was also a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania (1947-1949; 1972-1976) and at the University of California, Berkeley (1959-1960; 1972-1973.)
During World War II, de Laguna took a leave of absence from Bryn Mawr College to serve in the naval reserve from 1942 to 1945. As a member of WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), she taught naval history and codes and ciphers to women midshipmen at Smith College. She took great pride in her naval service and in her later years joined the local chapter of WAVES National, an organization for former and current members of WAVES.
In 1950, de Laguna returned to Alaska to work in the Northern Tlingit region. Her ethnological and archaeological study of the Tlingit Indians brought her back several more times throughout the 1950s and led to the publication of Under Mount Saint Elias in 1972. Her comprehensive three-volume monograph is still considered the authoritative work on the Yakutat Tlingit. In 1954, de Laguna turned her focus to the Atna Indians of Copper River, returning to the area in 1958, 1960, and 1968.
De Laguna retired from Bryn Mawr College in 1972 under the college's mandatory retirement policy. Although she suffered from many ailments in her later years including macular degeneration, she remained professionally active. Five decades after her first visit to Greenland, de Laguna returned to Upernavik in 1979 to conduct ethnographic investigations. In 1985, she finished editing George Thornton Emmons' unpublished manuscript The Tlingit Indians. A project she had begun in 1955, the book was finally published in 1991. In 1986, she served as a volunteer consultant archaeologist and ethnologist for the U. S. Forest Service in Alaska. In 1994, she took part in "More than Words . . ." Laura Bliss Spann's documentary on the last Eyak speaker, Maggie Smith Jones. By 2001, de Laguna was legally blind. Nevertheless, she continued working on several projects and established the Frederica de Laguna Northern Books Press to reprint out-of-print literature and publish new scholarly works on Arctic cultures.
Over her lifetime, de Laguna received several honors including her election into the National Academy Sciences in 1976, the Distinguished Service Award from AAA in 1986, and the Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. De Laguna's work, however, was respected by not only her colleagues but also by the people she studied. In 1996, the people of Yakutat honored de Laguna with a potlatch. Her return to Yakutat was filmed by Laura Bliss Spann in her documentary Reunion at Mt St. Elias: The Return of Frederica de Laguna to Yakutat.
At the age of 98, Frederica de Laguna passed away on October 6, 2004.
Darnell, Regna. "Frederica de Laguna (1906-2004)." American Anthropologist 107.3 (2005): 554-556.
de Laguna, Frederica. Voyage to Greenland: A Personal Initiation into Anthropology. New York: W.W. Norton Co, 1977.
McClellan, Catharine. "Frederica de Laguna and the Pleasures of Anthropology." American Ethnologist 16.4 (1989): 766-785.
Olson, Wallace M. "Obituary: Frederica de Laguna (1906-2004)." Arctic 58.1 (2005): 89-90.
Although this collection contains a great deal of correspondence associated with her service as president of AAA, most of her presidential records can be found in American Anthropological Association Records 1917-1972. Also at the National Anthropological Archives are her transcripts of songs sung by Yakutat Tlingit recorded in 1952 and 1954 located in MS 7056 and her notes and drawings of Dorset culture materials in the National Museum of Canada located in MS 7265. The Human Studies Film Archive has a video oral history of de Laguna conducted by Norman Markel (SC-89.10.4).
Related collections can also be found in other repositories. The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania holds materials related to work that de Laguna carried out for the museum from the 1930s to the 1960s. Materials relating to her fieldwork in Angoon and Yakutat can be found in the Rasmuson Library of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the papers of Francis A. Riddell, a field assistant to de Laguna in the early 1950s. Original photographs taken in the field in Alaska were deposited in the Alaska State Library, Juneau. Both the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress and the American Philosophical Library have copies of her field recordings and notes. The American Museum of Natural History has materials related to her work editing George T. Emmons' manuscript. De Laguna's papers can also be found at the Bryn Mawr College Archives.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Frederica de Laguna.
Some of the original field notes are restricted due to Frederica de Laguna's request to protect the privacy of those accused of witchcraft. The originals are restricted until 2030. Photocopies may be made with the names of the accused redacted.
1 Cubic foot (7 films, Reels AC1233-OF0001 and AC1233-OF0002 are composite reels created by the Archives Center, National Museum of American History, the former comprising "Children Summer, Fall, and Winter, 1956-1957" and "Challinor Family Home Movie, 1957" and the latter comprising "Guilford, 57-58" and "Challinor Family Home Movie, 1959", 16mm)
16mm motion picture film
White Mountain National Forest (N.H. and Me.)
Mount Snow Ski Resort
Noroton Heights (Darien, Conn.)
Sierra Nevada (Calif. and Nev.)
Yosemite National Park (Calif.)
Half Dome (Calif.)
Yosemite Valley (Calif.)
David Challinor served the Smithsonian Institution in an official capacity for 30 years, eventually becoming the assistant secretary to Sidney Dillon Ripley. Joan R. Challinor became an historian and advocate of library sciences and education. In 1956, however, they were busy with their young family. David only returned to university for graduate school in 1957, in his late 30s. They both went on to have successful careers and active family lives. This collection includes 7 home movie films that document thte Challinor family.
Scope and Contents:
The collection comprises seven silent 16mm color home movies depicting David and Joan Challinor, their four children, and other family or friends. Subject matter includes the family's home in Connecticut as well as family vacations throughout the northeastern United States and Bermuda, Switzerland, and Iceland.
Collection organized into one series.
Series 1, Motion Picture Film, 1956-1965
Biographical / Historical:
David Challinor and Joan Ridder Challinor were married in 1952 and lived in Houston, Texas where David worked as a cotton broker, farmer, and then a mortgage banker. They had four children: Julia, Mary, Sarah, and David, and six grandchildren. In the late 1950s, they settled in Connecticut, where David pursued graduate studies in forest ecology at Yale University and during which time the couple made home movies.
From 1960-1964, David Challinor served as the deputy director of Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History under Sidney Dillon Ripley, and in 1965 became the acting director after Ripley became the Smithsonian's secretary. When in 1966 Challinor received his doctorate from Yale University, Ripley recruited him to serve as the Special Assistant for Tropical Biology of the Smithsonian's Office of the Secretary. From 1967-1971 he served as the deputy director and, subsequently, the director of the Office of International Activites. He then served as Assistant Secretary for Science and Research for sixteen years before becoming the Science Advisor to the Secretary prior to his retirement in 1996 when he was named Scientist Emeritus for the National Zoological Park. He died in 2008, leaving a professional legacy of conservationism.
During Challinor's tenure as Assistant Secretary for Science and Research at the Smithsonian, Joan R. Challinor pursued graduate studies in history at American University, receiving her doctorate in 1982. Her work involved serving on numerous committees and organizations, many of which were library and education related, including the Schlesinger Library Advisory Committee and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. Through the 1980s and 1990s, she lectured at American University, was a research associate at the National Museum of American History, wrote numerous essays, edited two books, and even produced a documentary film about Thomas Paine. She was also the director of Knight Ridder, Inc., a print media company, from 1989 until 2001. She continues to live and work in the Washington, D.C. area.
Materials at Other Organizations
The Schlesinger Library of the Radcliff Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University holds the "Papers of Joan R. Challinor, 1848, 1975-2008", which includes her correspondence, meeting and conference materials, articles, speeches, reports, photographs, and audiotapes (Accession #MC 678; T-446).
The Smithsonian Institution Archives holds numerous archival collections, including photographs, papers, files, records, and oral histories related to David Challinor.
The collection was donated by Joan Challinor in 2011.
Collection is open for research on site by appointment. Reference copies do not exist. Use of these materials requires special arrangement with Archives Center staff.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Privacy rights of filmed individuals may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
0 Photographic prints (black and white, 3 1/2 x 5 inches)
0 Photographic prints (black and white, 8 x 10 inches)
0 contact sheets (black and white)
35mm slides (photographs) (color, 2 x 2 inches)
0 Negatives (35mm negatives, color)
0 Negatives (black & white, 4 x 5 inches)
0 Negatives (120mm negatives, black and white, 2 x 2 inches)
0 film transparency (color, 4 x 5 inches)
0 Transparencies (120mm transparencies, color, 2 x 2 inches)
The Maida Babson Adams American Garden Collection documents the work of Molly Adams, a free-lance garden photographer who photographed hundreds of private and public gardens, many of them in the mid-Atlantic region, from the late 1950s through the mid-1990s. It includes slides, photographic prints, negatives and transparencies. A significant number of images document the work of landscape designers Nelva M. Weber, Alice Recknagel Ireys, and Friede Stege. Roughly 50 gardens do not have an identified location. Some images have captions and other information written on them.
Scope and Contents:
The Maida Babson Adams American Gardens Collection includes a total of 7,606 images documenting close to 400 gardens photographed by Molly Adams from the 1950s to the 1990s. Although most images document gardens in New Jersey, the collection also includes gardens in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. While the vast majority of gardens in the collection are private, there are also some public gardens and venues like the Frelinghuysen Arboretum in New Jersey, the International Flower Show in New York City, and the White House in Washington, D.C. A number of gardens were photographed during organized garden or horticultural tours or annual meetings of the Garden Club of America.
A significant number of images document the work of landscape designers Alice Ireys, Nelva Weber, and Friede Stege. Approximately 85 gardens in the collection are unidentified as to their location and/or client.
Relatively few images are captioned or dated; Adams often labeled a film envelope or back of a photograph or contact sheet with just a client surname and the designer (if it was Ireys, Weber, or Stege). In some cases, additional information about a garden's location or owner's full name was gleaned from the finding aids for the Alice Recknagel Ireys Papers or the Nelva Weber Papers. Some images were accompanied by clippings from newspapers or magazines that featured one or more related images by Adams; most of these clippings date from the 1950s and 1960s. There is also a file of general clippings of Adams' work; many of these do not identify the garden that is shown.
Most of the images are black and white, though there are a number taken in color. Adams' contact sheets and photo envelopes were sometimes marked with cropping marks or photo developing notes respectively.
Biographical / Historical:
Molly (Maida Babson) Adams (1918 - 2003) had a 40+ year career as a nationally recognized free-lance garden and wildlife photographer and conservationist. Her images were published under the name "Molly Adams." Adams was born in Orange, New Jersey and lived over fifty years in Mendham Township, New Jersey. As a teenager she became interested in photography; she later attended the New York Institute of Photography and became a member of the New York Camera Club.
Her photographs were featured in numerous newspapers and magazines including the "New York Times," "New York Herald Tribune," "House Beautiful," "Horticulture," "Home Garden," and "Audubon." During the Kennedy administration, she photographed the White House Rose Garden; these photographs were later published in "Flower Grower."
Adams provided hundreds of photographs for "How to Plan and Plant Your Own Property" (1967) by landscape architect Alice Recknagel Ireys and "How to Plan Your Own Home Landscape" (1976) by landscape designer Nelva M. Weber. Her images were also published in books including "The Reader's Digest Practical Guide to Home Landscaping," and "The Complete Illustrated Book of Garden Magic." Adams also occasionally wrote garden-themed articles. A longtime member in the Somerset Hills (NJ) Garden Club, which is part of the Garden Club of America, Adams once served as the latter's official photographer.
In the 1960's Adams' photographs drew attention to conservation issues related to the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern New Jersey. These widely publicized photographs rallied public support against the proposed destruction of the Great Swamp for the construction of an airport. Adams was also active as a member of the Mendham Township Environmental Commission and the North Jersey Conservation Foundation. In the 1980's she was awarded the Buckley Medal of Merit for Horticultural Achievement by the Garden Club of America for her photographs used in the postcard campaign "Save Our Vanishing Wild Flowers."
Related Archival Materials Note:
The Alice Recknagel Ireys Papers in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, include photographs by Molly Adams.
The Nelva Weber Papers in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell University Library in Ithaca, New York, likely include photographs by Molly Adams.
The North Jersey History & Genealogy Center at The Morristown & Morris Township Library in New Jersey has a collection of images by Molly Adams showcasing nature scenes and birds.
Adams' family donated her collection of garden images to the Smithsonian's Archives of American Gardens after her death in 2003.
Access to original images by appointment only. Researcher must submit request for appointment in writing. Certain items may be restricted and not available to researchers. Please direct reference inquiries to the Archives of American Gardens: email@example.com.
Archives of American Gardens encourages the use of its archival materials for non-commercial, educational and personal use under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law. Use or copyright restrictions may exist. It is incumbent upon the researcher to ascertain copyright status and assume responsibility for usage. All requests for duplication and use must be submitted in writing and approved by Archives of American Gardens.