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Anne Chapman papers on the Tolupan (Jicaque)

Chapman, Anne, 1922-2010  Search this
Constans, J.  Search this
Quilici, J.C.  Search this
Martínez, Alfonso  Search this
4 Linear feet (7 document boxes, 2 card file boxes, and 1 oversize map folder)
1 Floppy disc
30 Sound recordings
Jicaque  Search this
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Floppy discs
Sound recordings
Field notes
bulk 1955-1960
This collection reflects anthropologist Anne Chapman's studies of the Tolupan (Jicaque) of Honduras. The collection also contains her dissertation and the first two issues of the journal Anthropos.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains the professional papers of Anne Chapman, primarily documenting her ethnographic work among the Tolupan (Jicaque) in Montaña de la Flor, Honduras. Included are field notes with detailed indices; detailed genealogies; sound recordings; transcripts of some of the recordings; a map; photographs; and annotated photocopies of the photographs. The collection also contains her dissertation on the Jicaque, Paya, Sumu, Miskito and Matagalpa; copies of the journal Anthropos, which she helped published; and a computer disk that has not yet been examined.
This collection is arranged into 7 series: 1) Genealogies; 2) Field Notes; 3) PhD Dissertation; 4) Anthropos Journal; 5) Sound Recordings; 6) Photographs; 7) Born Digital Records.
Biographical Note:
Anne MacKaye Chapman was born in 1922 in Los Angeles, California. She left for Mexico in 1940, enrolling at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH) in Mexico City. At the ENAH, Chapman studied with Paul Kirchhoff, Wigberto Jiménez Moreno, and Miguel Covarrubias. Inspired by the work of Covarrubias, Chapman and her colleagues published Anthropos, a journal combining art with articles on anthropology and politics. Only two editions were ever published, both in 1947, due to limited resources. Chapman conducted her first ethnographic fieldwork as a student among Mayan communities in Chiapas, Mexico --first, among the Tzeltales under Sol Tax, and later among the Tzoziles under Alfonso Villa Rojas. She eventually earned her Master's degree in Anthropology in 1951 from the ENAH; her Master's thesis, entitled La Guerra de los Aztecas contra los Tepanecas, used Clausewitz's theories on war to analyze the defeat of the Tepanecas by the Aztecs to gain their independence in the early 15th century.

Chapman returned to the U.S. in the 1950s, earning her PhD in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York City in 1958. Her dissertation was entitled An Historical Analysis of the Tropical Forest Tribes on the Southern Border of Mesoamerica. While at Columbia, she studied with Conrad Arensberg and worked as an assistant to Karl Polanyi from 1953-55. Another professor, William Duncan Strong, introduced her to the Tolupan (Jicaque) of Honduras. After being awarded funds by the Fulbright Foundation and the Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM), Chapman began her fieldwork in 1955 among the Tolupan in Montaña de la Flor, Honduras. She would return for a period of several months every year through 1960 for her research, but maintained her relationship with the community for the rest of her life. During her fieldwork, Chapman primarily worked with Alfonso Martinez. Through him, Chapman was able to make a study of Tolupan oral tradition and social organization, as well as to elaborate detailed genealogies of the community. Her research eventually resulted in a book, Les Enfants de la Mort: Univers Mythique des Indiens Tolupan (Jicaque), published in 1978; a revised English text was published in 1992 under the title Master of Animals: Oral tradition of the Tolupan Indians, Honduras. Alfonso Martinez died of measles in 1969.

Chapman also conducted ethnographic research among the Lenca of Honduras, starting in 1965-66, and continuing through the 1980s. Her work followed up on analysis by Kirchhoff on "cultural areas," particularly Mesoamerica. She sought to address a doubt raised by Kirchhoff about whether the Lenca should be considered a Mesoamerican group, ultimately resolving the question in the affirmative in an article entitled "Los Lencas de Honduras en el siglo XVI," published in 1978. In addition, in 1985-86 she published a two-volume study of Lenca rituals and tradition titled Los Hijos del Copal y la Candela.

In 1964, Chapman was invited to join the team of archaeologist Annette Laming-Emperaire on a project in Tierra del Fuego. Although not an archaeologist by training, Chapman accepted for the opportunity to meet Lola Kiepja, one of the last few living Selk'nam (Ona) of Tierra del Fuego. After finishing the archaeology project, Chapman met with Lola and recorded her speaking and singing in Selk'nam, as well as her memories of life as a Selk'nam. Although Lola passed away in 1966, Chapman was able to continue working with the remaining Selk'nam in Tierra del Fuego. In 1976, she co-produced a film about the Selk'nam along with Ana Montes, The Onas: Life and Death in Tierra del Fuego. In 1985, she expanded her fieldwork to include the remaining Yahgans in Tierra del Fuego, Chile.

In 1961, Chapman became a member of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, working under Claude Lévi-Strauss until 1969, and eventually retiring from the center in 1987. During her long career as an ethnographer, she was associated with various other research centers in Europe and the Americas, including: the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, France; the Research Institute for the Study of Man in New York City; the Instituto Hondureño de Antropología in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Towards the end of her life, Chapman resided primarily in Buenos Aires, working and writing there. Chapman passed away at age 88 on June 12, 2010 in a Paris hospital.

Sources Consulted

Chapman, Anne MacKaye. 2005. A Genealogy of my Professors and Informants. Accessed on January 13, 2014 at:

Chapman, Anne MacKaye. [Accession File]. National Anthropological Archive, Smithsonian Institution

Gonzalez Montes, Ana. 2010. La mujer que habló con los últimos onas. Pagina 12, June 17. Accessed on January 13, 2014 at

Nash, June. 2010. In Memoriam: Anne MacKaye Chapman. Anthropology News 51(7): 41.

1922 -- Born in Los Angeles, California

1947 -- Co-publishes Anthropos journal with other students in Mexico City

1951 -- Earns Master's degree from the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH) in Mexico City

1953-1955 -- Works as an assistant for Karl Polanyi at Columbia University

1955 -- Begins Tolupan (Jicaque) fieldwork in Montaña de la Flor, Honduras

1958 -- Earns PhD from Columbia University

1961 -- Member of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France Associate of the Musée de l'Homme in Paris, France

1964 -- Begins works with the Selk'nam (Ona) of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

1965 -- Begins fieldwork with the Lenca in Intibuca, Honduras

1967 -- Receives Doctorate from the University of Paris, Sorbonne

1968 -- Fellow, Research Institute for the Study of Man in New York City

1979 -- Associate, Instituto Hondureño de Antropología in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

1981 -- Receives Doctorate from the University of Paris, René-Déscartes

1985 -- Begins fieldwork among the remaining Yahgans of Tierra del Fuego, Chile

1986 -- Associate, Instituto Nacional de Antropología in Buenos Aires, Argentina

1987 -- Retires from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

2010 -- Passes away on June 12 at the age of 88
Related Materials:
Other materials relating to Anne Chapman at the National Anthropological Archives include three photographs of Lola Kiepja, a Selk'nam woman from Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, located within Photo Lot 97 Division of Ethnography photo collection. The National Museum of Natural History also has seven pre-Columbian objects in its collection donated by Chapman from Intibuca, Honduras (Accession 284737), including projectile points, a core, a blade/scraper, and a metate-maker. In addition, the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections has two phonograph records of Chapman's Selk'nam (Ona) chants of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina within its Folkways Records Collection, 1948-1986.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Anne Chapman in 1996 and 1997.
No restrictions on access.
Anne Chapman retained the publishing rights to her Tolupan materials. These rights were passed on to her executor after her death.
Social structure  Search this
Matagalpa Indians  Search this
Jicaque language  Search this
Miskito Indians  Search this
Ethnology -- Central America  Search this
Paya Indians  Search this
Oral tradition  Search this
Indians of Central America  Search this
Field notes
Sound recordings
Anne Chapman papers on the Tolupan (Jicaque), National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
See more items in:
Anne Chapman papers on the Tolupan (Jicaque)
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives

Tol (Jicaque) / Dennis Holt

Holt, Dennis  Search this
Physical description:
60 p. : map ; 20 cm
Jicaque language  Search this
Call number:
PM3893 .H65 1999
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries

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