The Donald J. Ortner Papers, dated 1963 to 2013, document his research and professional activities while working in the Division of Physical Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History. They primarily deal with his contributions to the field of paleopathology and his work with specimens from Bab edh-Dhra, Jordan and Chichester, England. The bulk of this collection consists of correspondence, files related to Ortner's publications, specimen observations and analysis, and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
The Donald J. Ortner Papers primarily document his projects, research, and correspondence working as a biological anthropologist in the Division of Physical Anthropology of the Department of Anthropology from 1963 until his death in 2012. The bulk of the projects represented relate to his work in paleopathology, such as the Near Eastern skeletal biology program in Jordan and the medieval skeletal disease project in England. The collection consists of notes, research materials, correspondence, data and data analysis, transcripts of specimen observations, maps, blueprints, artwork, negatives, slides, photographs, CD-Roms, floppy discs, and sound cassettes.
This collection is arranged in 8 series: Series 1. Correspondence, 1966-2012; Series 2. Subject files, 1965-2013, undated; Series 3. Near Eastern Skeletal Biology Program, 1977-2010, undated; Series 4. Medieval Skeletal Disease Project, 1988-2006, undated; Series 5. Other publications, projects, and research, 1963-2011, undated; Series 6. Professional activities, 1971-2007, undated; Series 7. Biographical and office files, 1963-2011, undated; Series 8. Artwork, 1978, undated
Donald J. Ortner was a biological anthropologist in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). By the time of his death, Ortner had served in many positions at the Museum, including Acting Director (1994-1996). His areas of expertise included human paleopathology, human health in medieval England, bioarcheology of the ancient Near East, and the history and evoluton of human infectious diseases. Ortner was a founding member of the Paleopathology Association.
Ortner was born in 1938 in Stoneham, Massachusetts and arrived at the NMNH in 1963, working primarily with J. Lawrence Angel who had recently started as Curator in the Division of Physical Anthropology. While working at the Museum, Ortner completed his Master's in Anthropology in 1967 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1970. His doctoral dissertation was on The Effects of Aging and Disease on the Micromorphology of Human Compact Bone.
Ortner worked with Walter G. J. Putschar, a pathologist based at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, on a series of short-courses (1971-1974) on paleopathology at the Smithsonian. During the summer of 1974, Putschar and Ortner traveled to Europe (London, Edinburgh, Zurich, Strasbourg, Vienna, Prague) studying and photographing examples of skeletal pathology in museums and other repositories. The result of this research was the book Identification of Pathological Conditions in Human Skeletal Remains published in 1981, with later editions in 1985 and 2003.
In 1977, Ortner joined the Expedition to the Dead Sea Plain directed by archaeologists Walter E. Rast and R. Thomas Schaub, focusing on the site of Bab edh-Dhra. Ortner studied the tombs and skeletons for data indicating cultural and biological changes, especially urbanization and connection to the development of other "Western civilizations." Ortner participated in two more field seasons in Bab edh-Dhra in 1979 and 1981. From his research at Bab-edh-Dhra, Ortner published many scholarly articles and recreated two tombs for the Hall of Western Civilization at NMNH.
In 1988, Ortner began his collaboration with the University of Bradford in Bradford, England, teaching short-courses on paleopathology. While a Visiting Professor at the University, he also participated in a project on human health and disease in Medieval England. The project focused on leprosy and syphilis in skeletons from St. James Hospital's leprosarium cemetery in Chichester, Wharram Perry, and Magistrates' Court in Kingston-upon-Hull. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University in 1995.
Donald J. Ortner died on April 29th, 2012 in Maryland.
Ubelaker, D. H. "Obituary: Donald J. Ortner (1938–2012)." American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 149 (2012): 155–156.
Arnoldi, Mary Jo and Ann Kaupp. "Donald J. Ortner, Sr. (1939-2012)." Anthropolog: Newsletter of the Department of Anthropology, Spring 2012: 1-3.
1938 -- Born on August 23 in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
1960 -- Received B.A. in Zoology from Columbia Union College in Takoma Park, Maryland.
1963 -- Began working at the Smithsonian Institution.
1967 -- Received M.A. in Anthropology from Syracuse University.
1969 -- Promoted to Assistant Curator.
1970 -- Received Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.
1971 -- Promoted to Associate Curator.
1971-1975 -- Taught part-time at the University of Maryland.
1974 -- Spent summer with Dr. Walter G. J. Putschar studying pathological specimens in Europe.
1976 -- Promoted to Curator in the Anthropology Department, National Museum of Natural History.
1977 -- First field season at Bab edh-Dhra cemetery site in Jordan.
1979 -- Second field season at Bab edh-Dhra cemetery site in Jordan.
1981 -- Third field season at Bab edh-Dhra cemetery site in Jordan.
1988 -- Began association with the University of Bradford in Bradford, England.
1988-1992 -- Chairman of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History.
1994-1996 -- Acting Director of the National Museum of Natural History.
1995 -- Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from the University of Bradford.
1999-2001 -- President of the Paleopathology Association.
2005 -- Received Eve Cockburn Award from the Paleopathology Association in recognition of his contributions in the field of paleopathology.
2012 -- Died on April 29 in Maryland.
The following photo lots depicting Donald J. Ortner can be found at the NAA:
Photo Lot 7D: Photograph of attendees after American Anthropological Association annual meeting, 1965
Photo Lot 7A: Portraits made at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, 1970
Photo Lot 77-45: Photograph of Smithsonian Institution physical anthropologists, circa 1977
Photo Lot 4822: Division of Physical Anthropology collection of photographs of physical anthropologists, undated
Sound recordings of Donald J. Ortner at the NAA:
John Lawrence Angel Papers, Sound Recordings, "How Humans Adapt: A Biocultural Odyssey," November 9, 1981
Other collections at the NAA in which Donald J. Ortner is a correspondent or creator of material:
Records of the Department of Anthropology, 1877-1980
Department of Anthropology Annual Reports, 1920-1983
John Lawrence Angel Papers, 1930s-1980s
Three films that document Ortner's work in Bab edh-Dhra are located in the Human Studies Film Archives (HSFA):
Film number 2000.9.1, The Bones of Bab edh-Dhra, ca. 1970s
Film number 2000.9.3, Bab edh-Dhra Film Project, 1970-1980
Film number 2014.3, City of the Dead, 1978
The Smithsonian Institution Archives holds the original City of the Dead in Accession 05-282, Office of Telecommunications, Productions.
These papers were transferred to the NAA from the Department of Anthropology in 2014.
The Donald J. Ortner Papers are open for research.
Access to the Donald J. Ortner Papers requires an appointment.
Requests to view forensic files are subject to review by the NAA. Forensic files can only be
viewed in the National Anthropological Archives reading room. No copies are permitted unless
permission is granted by the agency the report was written for.
Electronic records are unavailable for research. Please contact the reference archivist for
Use of audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Stewart, T. D. (Thomas Dale), 1901-1997, interviewee Search this
14 audiotapes (Reference tapes). 27 digital .mp3 files (Reference copies).
Shanidar Archeological Site (Iraq)
The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives'
record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program
staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted
by researchers or student on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.
Stewart was interviewed for the Oral History Collection because of his long and outstanding scholarly and administrative career at the Institution spanning more than half
Stewart was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on twelve occasions between January and May 1975. A follow-up interview was conducted in September of 1986. The interviews
cover Stewart's youth and education; career at the Smithsonian as an aide, Curator and administrator; reminiscences of colleagues; field trips to Alaska, Iraq and Egypt; research
on skeletal age and sex determination for anthropological and legal purposes and identification of bodies in mass disasters; exhibits planning; his hobby of painting portraits;
and his role as emergency physician for Smithsonian staff.
Thomas Dale Stewart (1901-1997), a physical anthropologist in the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), specialized in diagnostic characteristics of the human skeleton.
Born in 1901 in Delta, Pennsylvania, Stewart came to Washington, D.C., in 1924 to attend college. He received a B.A. from George Washington University in 1927 and an M.D.
from Johns Hopkins University in 1931. During his undergraduate years, he worked as a temporary aide to Ales Hrdlicka in the Division of Physical Anthropology of the United
States National Museum (USNM), and received a permanent appointment in 1927. Upon completion of medical school, he was advanced to Assistant Curator of Physical Anthropology
in 1931, to Associate Curator in 1939, and to Curator in 1942. During these years his research focused on anthropometric studies of Eskimos and American Indians, and on excavations
of Potomac Tidewater ossuaries. After Hrdlicka's retirement in 1942, Stewart became Editor of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology for five years. During World
War II, he was a visiting professor of anatomy at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Stewart worked with the U.S. Army Graves Registration Service
after the Korean War to establish criteria for identifying the age and race of skeletal remains of soldiers.
In 1961 Stewart was appointed Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology and in 1963 Director of the National Museum of Natural History. During his tenure as Director,
Stewart guided planning for the new wings to the Natural History Building (NHB), oversaw the merger of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) with the Department of Anthropology,
and encouraged formation of a Senate of Scientists. In 1964 he served concurrently as Acting Assistant Secretary for Science. He retired from administration in 1966, and was
appointed Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Anthropology. When he retired from federal service in 1971, he was appointed Anthropologist Emeritus.
Stewart achieved recognition as an authority on diagnostic skeletal characteristics for modern and prehistoric humans. During the years 1957-1962 he conducted analyses
at the Iraq Museum of the newly excavated Neanderthal skeletons from Shanidar Cave. In 1985-1986, he oversaw the reconstruction of the Wadi Kubbaniya skeleton from Egypt.
He performed extensive work in forensic anthropology for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In addition to his anthropological duties, he served as physician to Smithsonian
staff in medical emergencies.
Restricted. Recording of interview 13 may not be reproduced without permission. Contact SIHistory@si.edu for permission.
The Phillip Walker papers document his research and professional activities from 1969-2008 and primarily deal with his bioarchaeological research in California and his studies of primate feeding behavior and dentition. His involvement in issues surrounding the repatriation of Native American human remains, forensic work for public agencies dealing with human remains, and writings are also represented. The collection consists of research and project files, raw data and analysis, graphs and illustrations, photographs, and dental impressions.
Scope and Contents:
The Phillip Walker papers document his research and professional activities from 1969-2008 and undated and primarily deal with with his bioarchaeological research in California and his studies of primate feeding behavior and dentition. The collection consists of research and project files, raw data and analysis, graphs and illustrations, photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions.
Material documenting his involvement in issues surrounding the repatriation of human skeletal remains, forensic work for public agencies, and writings are also represented. There is limited material regarding the courses he taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara and his other research on pinniped butchering methods, an archaeological project in Mosfell, Iceland, and a project in the Aral Sea region.
This collection is arranged in 7 series: Series 1. California projects and research, 1969-2003, undated; Series 2. Primate research, 1970-1988, 1997, undated; Series 3. Forensic work, 1980-2003, undated; Series 4. Repatriation work, 1987-1999; Series 5. Writings and academic material, 1974-2008, undated; Series 6. Other research, 1976-circa 2008, undated; Series 7. Slides, 1969-1998, undated.
Phillip L. Walker was a leading physical anthropologist and bioarchaeologist and a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Born in 1947 in Elkhart, Indiana, Walker graduated from the University of Chicago in 1973 with a Ph.D. in Anthropology. His doctoral work focused on the feeding behavior of great apes and included field work at the Yerkes Regional Primate Center in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1975, he completed field work in Guatemala studying the behavior of free-ranging New World monkeys.
Walker began teaching at UCSB in 1974 and became fascinated with the "enormous archaeological heritage of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands region, and the native peoples who occupied it." He started a research program on the bioarchaeology of the region and collaborated with other scholars as well as the Chumash community in the region. He "struck up a positive dialog with the Chumash tribe, developed friendships, and pioneered the notion that the living descendant community is a crucial player in research and learning about the past."
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Walker was active in the development and implementation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). He was a founding member of the U.S. Department of the Interior's NAGPRA review committee and the Smithsonian Institution's Native American Repatriation Review Committee.
In the late 1990s Walker was instrumental in launching the Global History of Health Project which focused on the investigation of regional and continental patterns of health and lifestyle through the study of human remains. In addition, he was the co-director of an archaeological project excavating a Viking settlement in Mosfell, Iceland and volunteered his forensic services to public agencies in California and Nevada.
Over the course of his career Walker authored more than 200 scholarly articles and reports. He died in 2009 at his home in Goleta, CA.
Source consulted: Larsen, Clark Spencer and Patricia M. Lambert. 2009. "Obituary: Phillip Lee Walker, 22 July 1947- 6 February 2009." American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 141:1-2
1947 -- Born on July 22 in Elkhart, Indiana
Summer 1966 -- Archaeological fieldwork, Atlas, Illinois (Director, field laboratories in Human Osteology)
September 1969 -- Archaeological fieldwork, Northwestern Hudson Bay Tule Expedition, Northwest Territories, Canada
1970 -- B.A. Indiana University (Anthropology, minor in Zoology)
Summer 1970 -- Dental anthropological fieldwork, International Biological Program (Eskimo villages in Northern Alaska)
March 1971 -- Dental anthropological fieldwork, Gila River Indian Reservation (Pima), Arizona
1971 -- M.A. University of Chicago (Anthropology)
Summer 1971, Spring 1973 -- Primate Behavioral Research, Yerkes Regional Primate Center, Atlanta, Georgia
1973 -- Ph.D. University of Chicago (Anthropology)
1974 -- Lecturer, University of California, Davis
1974-2009 -- Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
Summer 1975 -- Field study of the behavior of free-ranging New World monkeys in Guatemala
Summer 1982 -- Archaeological fieldwork, San Miguel Island
1991-1992 -- Chairman, Society for American Archaeology Task Force on Repatriation
1992-1997 -- Member, Department of the Interior Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Review Committee
2003-2005 -- President, American Association of Physical Anthropologists
2003-2009 -- Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summer 2006 -- Archaeological excavations, San Miguel Island
2009 -- Died on February 6 in Goleta, CA
Seven rolls of 16mm film (100' each), 3 rolls of Super 8mm film (50' each), and one small roll of Super 8mm film of primate behavior were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archive (accession number 2014-013).
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Phillip Walker's wife, Cynthia Brock, in 2014.
The Phillip Walker papers are open for research.
Requests to view forensic files are subject to review by the NAA. Forensic files can only be viewed in the National Anthropological Archives reading room. No copies are permitted unless permission is granted by the agency the report was written for.
Access to the Phillip Walker papers requires an appointment.
Judge Andew Howard walking down courthouse steps. "7 AGFA SAFETY FILM" edge imprint. No Scurlock number. No ink on negative.
Collection is open for research.
Gloves must be worn when handling unprotected photographs and negatives. Special arrangements required to view negatives due to cold storage. Using negatives requires a three hour waiting period. Contact the Archives Center at 202-633-3270.
When the Museum purchased the collection from the Estate of Robert S. Scurlock, it obtained all rights, including copyright. The earliest photographs in the collection are in the public domain because their term of copyright has expired. The Archives Center will control copyright and the use of the collection for reproduction purposes, which will be handled in accordance with its standard reproduction policy guidelines. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Photographs -- Black-and-white negatives -- Acetate film
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution
The collection was acquired with assistance from the Eugene Meyer Foundation. Elihu and Susan Rose and the Save America's Treasures program, provided funds to stabilize, organize, store, and create digital surrogates of some of the negatives. Processing and encoding funded by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources.