The Priscilla Reining papers, 1916-2007, primarily document the professional life of Reining, a social anthropologist and Africanist who worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 1974 to 1989. Her area of specialty was sub-Saharan Africa, specializing in desertification, land tenure, land use, kinship, population, fertility, and HIV/AIDS. During the 1970s, she pioneered the use of satellite imagery in conjunction with ethnographic data. She is also known for her ground-breaking research in the late 1980s that showed that uncircumcised men were more susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS than circumcised men.
The collection contains correspondence, field research, research files, writings, day planners, teaching files, student files,
photographs, maps, sound recordings, and electronic records. Reining's research files, particularly on the Red Lake Ojibwa, the Haya, HIV/AIDS, and satellite imagery, form a significant portion of the collection.
Scope and Contents:
These papers primarily document the professional life of Priscilla Reining. The collection contains correspondence, field research, research files, writings, day planners, teaching files, student files, photographs, maps, sound recordings, and electronic records.
Reining's research files, particularly on the Red Lake Ojibwa, the Haya, HIV/AIDS, and satellite imagery, form a significant portion of the collection. Her consultancy work is also well-represented, as well as her involvement in a large number of professional organizations. The collection also contains a great deal of material relating to her work on different programs and projects at AAAS, including the Committee on Arid Lands, Ethnography of Reproduction Project, and Cultural Factors in Population Programs. Also present in the collection are materials from her time as Urgent Anthropology Program Coordinator at the Smithsonian Institution, her files as an instructor and professor, and her files as a student at University of Chicago. Materials from her personal life can also be found in the collection, such as correspondence and childhood mementos.
The Priscilla Reining papers are organized in 13 series: 1. Correspondence, 1944-2007; 2. Research, 1955-1970; 3. AAAS, 1971-1990; 4. Professional Activities, 5. 1957-2007; Daily Planners and Notebooks, 1960-2002; 6. Writings, 1952-1996; 7. Smithsonian Institution, 1964-1971; 8. University, 1958-1994; 9. Student, 1937-1975; 10. Biographical and Personal Files, 1934-2004; 11. Maps, 1916-1989, undated; 12. Photographs, circa 1950-1987, undated; 13. Electronic records.
Biographical / Historical:
Priscilla Copeland Reining was a social anthropologist and Africanist who worked for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) from 1974 to 1989. Her area of specialty was sub-Saharan Africa, specializing in desertification, land tenure, land use, kinship, population, fertility, and HIV/AIDS. During the 1970s, she pioneered the use of satellite imagery in conjunction with ethnographic data. She is also known for her ground-breaking research in the late 1980s that showed that uncircumcised men were more susceptible to contracting HIV/AIDS than circumcised men.
Reining was born on March 11, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois. She studied anthropology at University of Chicago, where she earned both her A.B. (1945) and Ph.D. (1967) in anthropology. During her graduate studies, she studied peer group relations among the Ojibwa of the Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota (1947, 1950-51). Her husband, Conrad Reining, accompanied her to the field, an experience that inspired him to also become an anthropologist.
In 1951-53 and 1954-55, Reining conducted fieldwork among the Haya of Bukoba District, Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania) as a Fellow of the East African Institute of Social Research. While research for her dissertation focused on the agrarian system of the Haya, Reining also conducted fertility surveys for the East African Medical Survey, studying the relationship between STDs and fertility in Buhaya and Buganda. During the 1980s, Reining became interested in AIDS when she observed that the Haya were dying from the disease at a much higher rate than neighboring groups. When she learned of a possible link between circumcision and the spread of HIV, she drew a map of circumcision practice among the ethnic groups of Africa and found that uncircumcised men were 86% more likely to contract HIV than circumcised men. These results were published in "The Relationship Between Male Circumcision and HIV Infection in African Populations" (1989), which she coauthored with John Bongaarts, Peter Way, and Francis Conant.
Beginning in the 1970s, Reining began exploring the use of satellite imagery in ethnographic research. In 1973, she used Landsat data to identify individual Mali villages, the first use of satellite data in anthropology (Morán 1990). That same year, as a consultant for USAID, she also used ERTS-1 imagery to estimate carrying capacity in Niger and Upper Volta (now known as Burkino Faso). She continued to apply satellite data in her research throughout her career, including in 1993, when she returned to Tanzania to study the environmental consequence of population growth and HIV/AIDS among the Haya.
In 1974, Reining joined the Office of International Science of AAAS as a research associate. She stayed on to become Project Director for the Cultural Factors in Population Programs and to direct a number of projects under the Committee on Arid Lands. She also served as Project Director of the Ethnography of Reproduction project, for which she conducted fieldwork in Kenya in 1976. In 1990, she left AAAS for an appointment as Courtesy Professor of African Studies at University of Florida.
Prior to working for AAAS, Reining worked at the Smithsonian Institution (1966, 1968-70), during which she was the coordinator for the Urgent Anthropology Program in the now defunct Center for the Study of Man. She also taught at University of Minnesota (1956-59), American University (1959-60), and Howard University (1960-64). In addition, she worked as a consultant for various organizations, including Department of Justice, Peace Corps, International Bank for Reconstruction & Development (IBRD), Food and Agriculture Organization, and Carrying Capacity Network.
Reining was also actively involved in various organizations. She served as Secretary of the AAAS Section H (Anthropology) and was a founding member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Task Force on AIDS. She was also a fellow of the African Studies Association, AAA, AAAS, East African Academy, Society for Applied Anthropology, and Washington Academy of Science. In 1990, she was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from AAA.
Reining died of lung cancer at the age of 84 on July 19, 2007.
PR Vita. Series 10. Biographical and Personal Files. Priscilla Reining Papers. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Morán, Emilio F. 2000. The Ecosystem Approach in Anthropology: From Concept to Practice. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan. Page 359
Schudel, Matt. 2007. Anthropologist Broke Ground on AIDS, Satellite Mapping. Washington Post, July 29. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/28/AR2007072801190.html (accessed December 8, 2011).
1923 -- Born March 11 in Chicago, Illinois
1944 -- Marries Conrad C. Reining
1945 -- Earns A.B. from University of Chicago
1947, 1950-51 -- Conducts field research on the Ojibwa of Red Lake Indian Reservation in Minnesota.
1949 -- Earns A.M. from University of Chicago
1951-1953, 1954-1955 -- Field research on Haya of Tanzania
1967 -- Earns Ph.D. from University of Chicago
1972 -- Returns to Tanzania for IBRD consultancy work
1974 -- Begins working at AAAS as a research associate in the Office of International Science
1975 -- Project Director, AAAS
1976 -- Field research on Kikuyu of Kenya for Ethnography of Reproduction
1986-89 -- Program Director, AAAS
1990 -- Courtesy Professor of African Studies at University of Florida Receives Distinguished Service Award from AAA
1993 -- Field research in Tanzania studying environmental consequences of population growth and HIV/AIDS among the Haya
2007 -- Dies of lung cancer at the age of 84 on July 19
Additional materials at the NAA relating to Priscilla Reining can be found in the papers of Gordon Gibson and John Murra, as well as in the records of the Center for the Study of Man and the records of the Department of Anthropology. Photo Lot 97 contains two Haya photos taken by Reining that are not duplicated in this collection. The papers of her husband, Conrad Reining, are also at the NAA.
The archives of the American Association for the Advancement of Science also holds Reining's papers relating to her work for the organization.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Priscilla Reining's sons, Robert Reining and Conrad Reining, in 2009.
The Priscilla Reining papers are open for research.
Some materials from the East African Medical Survey and Ethnography of Reproduction project contain personal medical history and are thus restricted. Grant applications sent to Reining to review are also restricted as well as her students' grades, and recommendation letters Reining wrote for her students. Electronic records are also restricted.
A small portion of the materials relating to Reining's Haya research, Ethnography of Reproduction project, and IBRD ujamaa research suffered severe mold damage. These materials have been cleaned and may be accessed. The legibility of some of the documents, however, is limited due to water and mold stains. Mold odor is also still present.
The papers of Francis P. Conant document his anthropological work and, to a lesser extent, his previous career as a journalist and photographer. Francis Paine Conant was a cultural anthropologist who pioneered the use of satellite data in anthropology. He conducted fieldwork in Nigeria and Kenya, and his research interests spanned cultural ecology, AIDS, malaria, and sex and gender studies. He was also Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Hunter College, where he taught from 1962 to 1995.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of Francis P. Conant document his anthropological work and, to a lesser extent, his previous career as a journalist and photographer. The bulk of the collection consists of his field work in Africa, specifically his doctoral research among the Barawa in Nigeria during the 1950s; his work among the Pokot in Kenya for Walter Goldschimdt's Culture and Ecology in East Africa Project during the 1960s; and his later research among the Pokot during the 1970s incorporating remote sensing tools. These materials include his dissertation, field notes, kinship charts, maps, correspondence, photographs, and sound recordings. The collection also contains photographs, correspondence, and writings relating to the Bernheim-Conant expedition through Africa. Among the photos are Polaroids of Mohammad Naguib, first president of Egypt. Also present in the collection are his published and unpublished academic writings, his writings and correspondence as a news correspondent in Finland, and files from courses that he taught. In addition, the collection contains some of Conant's digital files, which have not yet been examined. Overall there is little correspondence in the collection, aside from some letters scattered throughout the collection relating to his research and writings (both as an academic and a journalist).
Collection is organized into 9 series: 1) Nigeria, 1956-1960, undated; 2) Kenya, 1961-1974, undated; 3) Remote Sensing, 1967, 1971, 1976-1984, 1991-1992, 2002; 4) Bernheim-Conant Expedition, 1953-1956; 5) Writings, 1960-1966, 1974-1995, 2000-2006, undated; 6) University Files, 1956-1957, 1961, 1970, 1972, 1982-1995, undated; 7) Biographical Files and Letters, circa 1940, CIRCA 1946-1947, 1951, 1955, 1979, 1989-1991, 1996-2000, 2007-2011, undated; 8) Sound Recordings, 1956-1965, 1971, 1977-1978, undated; 9) Digital Files
Biographical / Historical:
Francis Paine Conant was a cultural anthropologist who pioneered the use of satellite data in anthropology. He conducted fieldwork in Nigeria and Kenya, and his research interests spanned cultural ecology, AIDS, malaria, and sex and gender studies. He was also Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Hunter College, where he taught from 1962 to 1995.
Conant was born on February 27, 1926 in New York City. After graduating from Phillips Exeter Academy, he deferred college to enlist in the U.S. Army in 1944. He served as a field artillery observer for the 294th Field Artillery Battalion and helped liberate two concentration camps during World War II. After he was honorably discharged in 1946, he attended Cornell University, where he obtained his B.A. in 1950. While at Cornell, a Finnish student invited Conant to Finland to help relocate families, farms, and livestock further from the Russian border, a protective measure against another Russian invasion. Conant accepted his invitation and took time off from his academic studies to spend several months in Finland in 1947, as well as a summer in 1949.
After graduating from Cornell, Conant attended University of Iowa's graduate writing program for a short time. Dissatisfied with the program, he worked briefly for the Carnegie Endowment, during which time he occasionally served as a personal driver for Alger Hiss. In 1951, he returned to Finland to pursue a career in journalism. He worked for United Press International until 1953.
From December 5, 1953 to May 26, 1954, Conant traveled throughout Africa as part of the Bernheim-Conant Expedition for the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). The expedition was led by Claude Bernheim, the father of his first wife, Miriam. They traveled 16,000 miles through Northern Central and Eastern Africa, collecting film footage and material culture for the museum. Conant served as the writer and photographer for the expedition, publishing illustrated articles in the New York Times and Natural History Magazine.
He later returned to Africa as a doctoral student at Columbia University, where he earned his PhD in Anthropology in 1960. After studying the Hausa language at the International African Institute in London, he traveled to Nigeria as a Fellow of the Ford Foundation to carry out his fieldwork in Dass Independent District, Bauchi Province. Working among the Barawa that live in the mountains of Dass, he focused on their religion and its impact on the technology, social and political organization, and structure of their society. His dissertation was titled "Dodo of Dass: A Study of a Pagan Religion of Northern Nigeria." During his fieldwork, he also collected data on rock gongs, which were first identified and written about by Bernard Fagg in 1955.
In 1961 to 1962, Conant was a research associate for Walter Goldschmidt's Culture and Ecology in East Africa Project. The purpose of the project was to conduct a controlled comparison of four different East African societies and the farmers and pastoralists within each tribe. Conant was assigned to conduct ethnographic research among the Pokot in West Pokot District in Kenya. This research would form the basis of his remote sensing work in the same area more than a decade later.
Conant was first introduced to remote sensing data in 1974 when his colleague Priscilla Reining showed him Landsat imagery of one his former fieldwork sites. He was inspired by the potential applications of satellite data to study cultural and ecological relationships. In 1975, he and Reining organized a workshop on "Satellite Potentials for Anthropological Studies of Subsistence Activities and Population Change." He incorporated remote sensing tools in his 1977 to 1980 study of the changing cultivation patterns and management of livestock in West Pokot District. His research combined traditional fieldwork (which included data he had collected in the 1960s), LANDSAT data, and geospatial data collected from the ground.
Later in his career, Conant's research interests expanded to include the spread of diseases, specifically AIDS and malaria. He, along with Priscilla Reining, John Bongaarts, and Peter Way found that uncircumcised men were 86% more likely to contract HIV than circumcised men. Their findings were published in their paper "The Relationship Between Male Circumcision and HIV Infection in African Populations" (1989). His research on malaria focused on the spread of the disease during African prehistory.
Conant taught briefly at Columbia University and was an Assistant Professor at University of Massachusetts, at Amherst in 1960-1961. Most of his academic career was spent at Hunter College, where he served as Chair of the Anthropology Department several times. He also founded and headed the college's Research Institute in Aruba.
Conant was a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University's Pitts Rivers Museum in 1968-1969. He was also a fellow of the American Anthropological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International African Institute, the New York Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Anthropological Institute. In addition, he was actively involved with the Human Ecology: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
Conant died at the age of 84 on January 29, 2011.
Bates, Daniel G. 2011. Francis P. Conant: A Tribute to a Friend of Human Ecology. Human Ecology 39(2): 115.
Bates, Daniel and Oliver Conant. Francis P. Conant. Anthropology News. 52(5): 25.
Conant, Veronika. Email message to Lorain Wang, October 22, 2013.
[Curriculum Vitae], Series 7. Biographical Files and Letters, Francis Conant Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Francis P. Conant. http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/anthropology/faculty-staff/in-remembrance/francis-p.-conant [accessed August 23, 2013].
1926 -- Born February 27 in New York City, New York
1944-1946 -- Enlists in Army and serves in World War II as a flash ranger in 294th Field Artillery Battalion
1950 -- Earns B.A. from Cornell University in English and Russian, minor in Engineering
1953-1954 -- AMNH Bernheim-Conant Expedition to northern Africa
1957 -- Conducts language studies at the International African Institute
1957-1959 -- Conducts fieldwork in northern Nigeria
1960 -- Earns PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University
1960-1961 -- Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
1961-1962 -- Research Associate for Culture and Ecology in East Africa Project directed by Walter Goldschimdt
1962 -- Joins faculty at Hunter College
1968-1969 -- Fulbright Senior Research Fellow, Oxford University, Pitt-Rivers Museum
1977-1980 -- Sets up remote sensing monitoring area in West Pokot district in Kenya. Studies changing cultivation patterns and management of livestock
1995 -- Retires from Hunter College; Emeritus Professor
2011 -- Dies on January 29 at the age of 84
For additional materials at the National Anthropological Archives relating to Francis Conant, see the papers of Priscilla Reining and John Lawrence Angel.
His film collection is at the Human Studies Film Archives.
Artifacts and film collected during the Bernheim-Conant Expedition, his doctoral research in Nigeria, and his fieldwork in Kenya during the 1960s and 70s are at the American Museum of Natural History. He also deposited collections at the Pitts River Museum at the University of Oxford.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Francis Conant's widow Veronika Conant in 2012.
The Francis P. Conant Papers are open for research. Access to the Francis P. Conant Papers requires an appointment.
Francis P. Conant Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The papers of Francis P. Conant were processed with the assistance of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Historical Archives Program grant awarded to Veronika Conant. Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.
Sally K. Ride Papers, Acc. 2014-0025, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
This collection contains materials from Mahr's work on the following projects: EOS Landsat, Orbiter, LST Hubble, Navaho, Skylab, Apollo, and the Shuttle Robot Retrieval Arm. In addition, there are also promotional materials from Rockwell International's Space Division pertaining to various spacecraft.
Biographical / Historical:
Burnley Mahr's career as an aerospace designer began at the University of Minnesota, where he studied engineering in the 1950s. Following employment with Boeing, North American Aviation, and North American Rockwell, he worked for Rockwell International's Space & Information Systems in Downey, California. Throughout the span of his career, Mahr worked on the following projects: Navaho, Gemini, Apollo, Orbiter, LST Hubble, the Shuttle, satellite systems, and the Space Station (Skylab). His most important contribution was the design of the Shuttle Robot Retrieval Arm for the deployment and plucking of satellites in outer space.
Douglas Mahr, gift, 1996, 1996-0031, unknown
No restrictions on access
This collection consists of approximately 0.69 cubic feet of material relating to General Electric's involvement in the U.S. Space Program gathered by General Electric employee Paul A. Lathrop. Materials include newsletters from the company's Missile and Space Vehicle Department as well as other General Electric newsletters; technical reports and publications (including some by Lathrop); news clippings; photographs; and newsletters from the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers. There are 51 photographs in the collection which are a mix of color and black and white. The vast majority of the prints are 8 by 10 inches, although some are slightly smaller. Paul A. Lathrop appears in some of the photographs, and Wernher von Braun appears in one. There are also three photos from an event held at the Smithsonian in 1959 (along with the invitation for the event) which includes images of Smithsonian Institution Secretary Leonard Carmichael. The collection also contains twelve reels of 16mm film. Topics covered in this collection include photographic equipment; Landsat 1 (Erts-A, Erts-1); Nimbus B (18 May 68); Atlas ICBM (SM-65, HGM-16); Thor IRBM (SM-75, PGM-17); Data Sphere (Capsule); and the RVX-2 Reentry Vehicle.
Biographical / Historical:
Paul A. Lathrop was Manager, Electronic Equipment Engineering in the Missile and Space Vehicle Department at General Electric Co.
Bryan Lathrop, Gift, 2016
No restrictions on access.
Overall (Instrument structure): 1 ft. 6 in. tall x 2 ft. wide x 3 ft. long (45.72 x 60.96 x 91.44cm). Approximate (Instrument aperture): 11 in. tall x 1 ft. 2 1/2 in. long (27.94 x 36.83cm). Weight: 131.5 kg (290 lbs)