Photographs made by Isabel T. Kelly in Tajin, Papantla, and elsewhere in Mexico. There are images of dances and dancers (including Volador "Flying" dance, Guagua, and Negrito dances), Totonac people, a Totonac wedding, and pyramids and relief sculpture at El Tajin Site. The photographs are enlarged prints, mounted and signed, that were made for an exhibit. In part, the images relate to work of the Institute of Social Anthropology and include photographs made by Isabel T. Kelly, George T. Smisor, Done Otto, Elena Guzman, Bertha B. Harris, and John McDonald; in some cases, multiple photographers documented the same event. Also included is a watercolor drawing "Palo de Voladores" and a school workbook "Silabario Metódico de San Miguel."
Isabel Truesdell Kelly (1906-1983) was an archeologist and social anthropologist who specialized in Mexican cultures and prehistory. Born in Santa Cruz, California, she developed a long-standing scholarly interest in anthropology while an undergraduate student at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB). She earned her BA (1926), MA (1927), and PhD (1932) in anthropology at UCB. From 1932-1934, Kelly conducted fieldwork with the Southern Paiute as a National Research Fellow in the Biological Sciences. She then went to Mexico as a research associate under the direction of Carl Sauer and Alfred Kroeber; while there, she directed archeological investigations in Culiacan, Sinaloa. In 1936, she returned to UCB as Carl Sauer's teaching assistant and then conducted research with the Gila Pueblo Archeological Foundation in 1937. With minimal funding from UCB's Anthropology Department, Kelly returned to Mexico for archeological reconnaisance in 1939. She gained Mexican residency in 1940, finally settling in Tepepan. In 1946, Kelly became Ethnologist-in-Charge of the Smithsonian's Institute of Social Anthropology (ISA) Mexico City office; she taught and conducted research among the Totonac Indians in Veracruz and conducted health care research in El Salvador and Mexico. From 1952-1960, Kelly worked with the Institute of Inter-American Affairs (forerunner to the Agency for International Development), studying in Mexico, Bolivia, and Pakistan. In 1960, she returned to research in Mexico with the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation, and National Geographic Society.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 80-32
Location of Other Archival Materials:
Totonac artifacts collected by Kelly held in the Department of Anthropology collections in accession 365366.
The National Anthropological Archives holds Institute of Social Anthropology photographs (Photo Lot 4623) and the ISA records.