The Flora S. Kaplan collection includes manuscript materials, field notes, slides, negatives and photographs. The extensive slide collection was taken in several regions of Mexico from the mid-to-late 1960's through the early 1980's and documented local craft processes, particularly ceramics, their makers, their families and life styles.
Scope and Contents:
The Flora S. Kaplan collection consists primarily of photographic materials documenting the pottery and pottery techniques of Mexican potters, as well as their families and lifestyles. A small amount of manuscript materials, including field notebooks, accompanied the slides, prints, and negatives which were donated to the National Museum of the American Indian in 2008 and 2009. Although the bulk of the photographs were taken by Flora Kaplan herself, a limited number of images were shot by photographer Sidney Kaplan (no relation). The photographs were taken primarily in the following area: barrios of Puebla de los Angeles (capital of the state of Puebla) (Barrios de la Luz) and the surrounding towns in the Puebla Valley (Acatepec, Santa María Tonantzintla, Amozoc, Cholula, La Acocota, Tepeaca, Izucar de Matamoros, Tecali de Herrera, Acoman, Ocototlan). There are also photographs of potters in the Mexican states of Chiapas (Chamula, Chanal, Amatenango, San Cristobal de las Casas, Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapa de Corzo) ; Morelos, Michoacan (Janitzio, Alcoman, Capula, Tzintzuntzan, Morelia, Patzcuaro) ; Oaxaca (San Bartolome Coyotepec, Santa Maria Del Tule) ; Guerrero (Acapulco), Veracruz (Puerto de Veracruz, Minatitlán) ; Mexico (Teotihuacan) and the Distrito Federal (Mexico City).
This collection is arranged in two series; Series 1: Papers, 1952, 1958, 1970-1986 and Series 2: Photographs, 1971-1978, 1988. The Photographs series is then divided into 3 subseries based on material type. Subseries 2A: Slides, 1972-1978, 1988, Subseries 2B: Negatives, 1972-1973, 1977, and Subseries 2C: Silver Gelatin Prints, 1971-1977.
Biographical / Historical:
Flora Edouwaye S. Kaplan, anthropologist, is a professor emerita, and former founding director (1978-99) of the Museum Studies Program, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, New York University. She taught Anthropology as a Fulbright professor, (1983-85), University of Benin, Nigeria; and previously taught at Lehman College, CUNY (1970-1976), before arriving at New York University in 1976. She publishes widely on Benin (Nigeria) and on Mexico, museum politics, art, photography, religion and gender. She holds degrees in anthropology from The Graduate Center, CUNY (Ph.D.), and Columbia University (M.A., archaeology). Dr. Kaplan is a former curator of The Brooklyn Museum, New York. She was a research associate at the Museum of the American Indian, (1977-87), and is an associate at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU. She currently co-edits the books series 'Museum Meanings' (Routledge) and has been a Board member of the journal 'Museums & Society' (University of Leicester Press) since 2004.
Books transferred to the NMAI Library:
A Mexican Folk Pottery Tradition: Cognition and Style in Material Culture in the Valley of Puebla by Flora S. Kaplan
Una Tradition Alfarera by Flora S. Kaplan
The Changing Roles of Ceramics in Society: 26,000 B.P. to the Present Edited by W.D. Kingery
This collection was originally donated by Flora S. Kaplan in October of 2008. An additional archival donation was made in December of 2009.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: email@example.com).
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish or broadbast materials from the collection must be requested from National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center. Please submit a written request to firstname.lastname@example.org.