The bulk of the photographs document Mayan reliefs and hieroglyphics at ancient sites, including Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Yaxchilan. Additional photographs depict items in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico, including a necklace, the Stone of Tizoc, and a stone altar disk to Tlaltecuhtli. The collection includes photographs made by Alvarez y Medina, Kildare y Cia, and a photograph of a drawing by Frederic de Waldeck.
Cyrus Thomas (1825-1910) was an archeologist for the Bureau of American Ethnology best known for his work on American Indian burial mounds in the American Midwest. Born in Kingsport, Tennessee, Thomas was educated in law and served as Deputy County Clerk under his brother-in-law, the County Clerk of Jackson County, Illinois (1850-1853). In 1858, Thomas helped found the Illinois Natural History Society, through which he met John Wesley Powell. Thomas served for a brief period as an Evangelical Lutheran minister (1864-1866) before becoming an entomologist for the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (1869-1873), Illinois State Entomologist (1874-1876), and a member of the US Entomological Commission (1876-1882). In 1876, he also worked as a professor of natural history at Southern Illinois Normal College and founded the school's Museum of Natural History (now the University Museum). During this time, Thomas also became interested in Mesoamerican ethnology, publishing articles about Mesoamerican codices and writing systems. In 1881 Thomas joined the Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian and served as the Director of the Division of Mound Exploration, a position he maintained until his death in 1910.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 169
Location of Other Archival Materials:
This collection has been relocated from Photo Lot 123.
Additional Cyrus Thomas materials relating to Mesoamerica held in the National Anthropological Archives are in MS 103, MS 1328, MS 3705, MS 3956, MS 3530, MS 3941, MS 3260, MS 2337, and MS 3920-b.
Correspondence from Thomas is held in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 4821, the J. C. Pilling papers, and records of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Alabama - Arkansas; Canada, Florida - Illinois; also California and Canada, Indiana - New York, New York - North Dakota (and South Dakota), Ohio, Oregon - Tennessee (South Dakota, see North Dakota) Virginia - Wisconsin, "Miscellaneous and General" (more than one state discussed) General Correspondence, 1882-1892, A - Z Bibliography; Newsclippings; Thomas, Personal Miscellanea.
Includes reports, field notes, drawings, correspondence and other materials relating to mound explorations by Cyrus Thomas and collaborators, including F. S. Earle, J. W. Emmert, Gerard Fowke, Charles C. Jones, J. P. MacLean, J. D. Middleton, Warren K. Moorehead, P. W. Norris, Edward Palmer, H. L. Reynolds, J. P. Rogan. L. H. Thing.
Site reports and correspondence relating to specified localities are arranged by state. There are separate files of material relating to more than one state; correspondence of a general nature; and bibliographic references.
NAA MS 2400
Manuscript 2400, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Also letter of transmittal addressed to J.N.B. Hewitt. Typescript document. 1 page. July 17, 1901.
Discussion of ideas and reference sources re. comparison of the Mixtec and Zapotec languages. Thomas gives 2 1/2 pages of Mixtec and Zapotec word lists. This is not a complete work on the subject, simply notes for an eventual study.
Concerns the Shawnee as mound builders, and the identification of box stone graves with that tribe; mounds in Georgia, near Carthage; earthworks near Savannah on the Tennessee River; route of De Soto through Georgia; Shawnees not identified with Eries; charcoal pit constructed by De Soto(?).