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Isabel T. Kelly collection of photographs of Totonac people and archeological sites in Mexico

Kelly, Isabel T. (Isabel Truesdell), 1906-  Search this
Done, Otto  Search this
Guzman, Elena  Search this
Harris, Bertha  Search this
Mcdonald, John  Search this
Smisor, George T.  Search this
Kelly, Isabel T. (Isabel Truesdell), 1906-  Search this
Smithsonian Institution. Institute of Social Anthropology  Search this
75 Mounted prints (silver gelatin)
Piaroa  Search this
Negritos  Search this
Totonac  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Mounted prints
Tajín Site (Mexico)
Mexico -- Antiquities
Tajín (Mexico)
Papantla de Olarte (Mexico)
circa 1947-1948
Scope and Contents note:
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."
Biographical Note:
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.
The collection is open for research.

Access to the collection requires an appointment.
Contact the repository for terms of use.
Dance  Search this
Flying dance  Search this
Photo lot 80-32, Isabel T. Kelly collection of photographs of Totonac people and archeological sites in Mexico, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

The Seed from the East

Book: The Seed from the East, 1st ed.
Oxford Press  Search this
Physical Description:
paper (overall material)
cloth (cover material)
ink (overall material)
gold (cover decoration material)
overall: 1 in x 8 1/2 in x 5 7/8 in; 2.54 cm x 21.59 cm x 14.9225 cm
Object Name:
Place published:
United States: California, Los Angeles
Date published:
Credit Line:
Gift of Holt International Children's Services
ID Number:
Accession number:
Catalog number:
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Domestic Furnishings
Data Source:
National Museum of American History
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