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Mary Slusser Collection

Extent:
28.57 Cubic feet
Culture:
Nepal -- Architecture  Search this
Nepal -- Art  Search this
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Place:
Bhaktapur (Nepal)
Nepal
Kathmandu Valley (Nepal)
Nepal -- Description and Travel
Tibet (China)
Vietnam
Canada
Himalaya Mountains
Date:
1933-2017
Scope and Contents:
Mary Slusser (1918-2017) was a prominent scholar of Nepalese art, architecture, and cultural history. This collection contains personal files, professional correspondence, research files, travel documents, and photographs. The research files relate to her study of specific subjects and contain mixed media. Photographic materials include prints, slides, negatives, contact sheets, and digital images on compact discs in both color and black and white. Most of the collections are related to her study of Nepal, though other countries are represented including Tibet, Laos, China, and Vietnam. Subjects include firsthand observations of objects and sites; notes on secondary sources; correspondence with fellow scholars; manuscript drafts; and records of her work on the gallery space, and guide to, the Patan Museum. The earliest materials date from 1951 during the beginning of her time living abroad alongside her husband, while both worked for the State Department. The materials continue through 2017, reflecting her dedicated scholarship and travel through the end of her life.
Arrangement:
The collection is organized into five series:

• Series 1: Biographical Materials

• Series 2: Correspondence

• Series 3: Research Files

• Series 4: Travel Files

• Series 5: Photographic Materials
Biographical / Historical:
Dr. Mary Slusser (1918-2017) was born as Mary Shepherd in Welland, Ontario to George Percy and Ethel Mary Shepherd. Her family moved to Michigan the following year and Slusser became a naturalized US citizen in 1934. Slusser followed her sister, Dorothy Shepherd (1916-1992), to the University of Michigan, where Mary graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1942. During her studies at Michigan, she met Robert Slusser, whom she would marry in 1944. Slusser moved to New York City in 1942, again following the path of her sister, Dorothy, who had enrolled in graduate school at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Slusser undertook some coursework at NYU as a part-time student. Slusser would eventually complete her graduate studies at Columbia University, earning a PhD in anthropology in 1950. She completed some of her coursework at Harvard University, while her husband studied at nearby Tufts University. Her dissertation was titled "Preliminary archeological studies of northern Central Chile."

Next, Slusser worked as a research analyst at the US State Department. Her husband also worked at the agency and spent much of his career completing foreign service appointments as an economist with USAID. Slusser accompanied her husband to his various overseas posts, beginning in 1954 in Vietnam. The Slussers would live and work abroad in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Guinea, Nepal, and Tunisia. Slusser continued to work for the State Department as a field anthropologist. Mary received funding from the Smithsonian to acquire a small collection of Nepalese artifacts. She immediately took to learning about the art and culture of the region. She found a dearth of English-language information on the area and did her own field work and engaged with local scholars to fill in the gaps. She remained in Nepal for five years, contracted by the Smithsonian to write a guide to Nepal. Her research would lead to Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of Kathmandu Valley, a two-volume set of text and images, predominantly her own photographs, which was published in 1982.

Robert Slusser retired in 1980, and he and Mary permanently settled in Washington, DC. Her scholarly work took her to museums, first at the Museum of African Art as a curatorial assistant from 1975 to 1978, and then a post-doctoral fellowship at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in 1989. After her fellowship, Slusser was asked to remain at the museum as a research associate, an unpaid position she held for the rest of her career. Slusser continued to publish works on Nepalese art, including the 2010 book, The Antiquity of Nepalese Wood Carving: a Reassessment, co-authored with Paul Jett, a conservator at the museum. Slusser used carbon dating tests to show that many Nepalese wood sculptures were much older than originally thought. Slusser also contributed to the establishment of the Patan Museum in Nepal, which opened in 1997. She served as the museum's cultural advisor and curator and wrote the museum guide and many of the exhibition materials.

Slusser continued to travel to Nepal and other parts of central Asia well into her eighties, often visiting remote sites on foot with the aid of local guides. Slusser stayed active at home, continuing her research work despite declining eyesight and hearing. She died in 2017 at age 98.
Related Materials:
Mary Shepherd Slusser papers, circa 1950 – circa 1995, National Museum of National History, National Anthropolgical Archives, NAA.1983.0407

Dorothy Shepard Photographs, National Museum of Asian Art Archives, FSA.A2015.12

Russell Hamilton Postcard and Photograph Collection, National Museum of Asian Art Archives, FSA.A2001.13

Russell Hamilton postcards, between 1900-1909, National Museum of African Art, Eliot Elisophon Photographic Archives, EEPA.2003-001
Restrictions:
Collection is open for research.
Rights:
Permission to reproduce and publish an item from the Archives is coordinated through the National Museum of Asian Art's Rights and Reproductions department. Please contact the Archives in order to initiate this process.
Topic:
Wood-carving  Search this
Art, Asian -- Research  Search this
Sculpture  Search this
Photography -- Archives  Search this
Citation:
Mary Slusser Collection, FSA.A2015.21. National Museum of Asian Art Archives. Gift of Mary Slusser.
Identifier:
FSA.A2015.21
See more items in:
Mary Slusser Collection
Archival Repository:
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/dc353b3a07b-752e-43ad-a50d-d8fb86c5b628
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-fsa-a2015-21

Oral history interview with Mary Lee Hu, 2009 March 18-19

Interviewee:
Hu, Mary Lee, 1943-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Subject:
Baldridge, Mark S.  Search this
Choo, Chunghi  Search this
Christensen, Hans  Search this
Dingeldein, Otto  Search this
Eikerman, Alma  Search this
Farafol, Daphne  Search this
Fenster, Fred  Search this
Fike, Phillip G.  Search this
Halper, Vicki  Search this
Ho, Ron  Search this
Kidman, Hero  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent)  Search this
Marshall, John  Search this
Matsukata, Miye  Search this
Matzdorf, Kurt  Search this
McMurray, James  Search this
Moty, Eleanor  Search this
Noffke, Gary  Search this
Pujol, Eleanor  Search this
Seppä, Heikki  Search this
Turner, Gary  Search this
Warashina, Patti  Search this
American Craft Council  Search this
Cleveland Institute of Art  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art  Search this
Lawrence Arts Center  Search this
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale  Search this
University of Washington  Search this
Type:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Afghanistan -- Description and travel
Australia -- description and travel
China -- description and travel
Indonesia -- description and travel
Iran -- description and travel
Nepal -- description and travel
Ohio -- Description and travel
Papua New Guinea -- Description and travel
Tibet (China) -- Description and travel
Turkey -- description and travel
Citation:
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Mary Lee Hu, 2009 March 18-19. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Topic:
Body adornment  Search this
Jewelry  Search this
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Theme:
Women  Search this
Record number:
(DSI-AAA_CollID)15659
(DSI-AAA_SIRISBib)282415
AAA_collcode_hu09
Theme:
Women
Data Source:
Archives of American Art
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:AAADCD_oh_282415
Online Media:

Oral history interview with Mary Lee Hu

Interviewee:
Hu, Mary Lee, 1943-  Search this
Interviewer:
Riedel, Mija, 1958-  Search this
Creator:
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Names:
American Craft Council  Search this
Cleveland Institute of Art -- Students  Search this
Cranbrook Academy of Art -- Students  Search this
Lawrence Arts Center  Search this
Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) -- Students  Search this
Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America  Search this
Society of North American Goldsmiths  Search this
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale -- Students  Search this
University of Washington -- Faculty  Search this
Baldridge, Mark S., 1946-  Search this
Choo, Chunghi  Search this
Christensen, Hans, 1924-1983  Search this
Dingeldein, Otto  Search this
Eikerman, Alma  Search this
Farafol, Daphne  Search this
Fenster, Fred, 1934-  Search this
Fike, Phillip G., 1927-1997  Search this
Halper, Vicki  Search this
Ho, Ron  Search this
Kidman, Hero  Search this
Kington, L. Brent (Louis Brent), 1934-2013  Search this
Marshall, John, 1936-  Search this
Matsukata, Miye, 1922-1981  Search this
Matzdorf, Kurt  Search this
McMurray, James  Search this
Moty, Eleanor  Search this
Noffke, Gary  Search this
Pujol, Eleanor  Search this
Seppä, Heikki  Search this
Turner, Gary  Search this
Warashina, Patti, 1940-  Search this
Extent:
8 Items (Sound recording: 8 wav files (5 hr., 42 min.), digital)
163 Pages (Transcript)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Pages
Sound recordings
Interviews
Place:
Afghanistan -- Description and Travel
Australia -- Description and Travel
China -- Description and Travel
Indonesia -- Description and Travel
Iran -- Description and Travel
Nepal -- Description and Travel
Ohio -- Description and Travel
Papua New Guinea -- Description and Travel
Tibet (China) -- Description and Travel
Turkey -- description and travel
Date:
2009 March 18-19
Scope and Contents:
An interview of Mary Lee Hu conducted 2009 March 18-19, by Mija Riedel, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at Hu's home and studio, in Seattle, Washington.
Hu speaks of growing up outside Cleveland, Ohio; her early interest in making objects; attending the Lawrence Art Center camp in Kansas at the age of 16 where she first experimented with metals; her like of working with tools in order to create something; taking metal smith classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art during high school; attending Miami University in Ohio for two years followed by two years an Cranbrook Academy of Art; working as a TA with L. Brent Kington at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale; her collaborative work in both textiles and metals while at Carbondale which lead to her first experimentation in weaving silver wire; creating a body of work for her Master's thesis in which all the pieces were woven wire; various works, their origins, when, where and why they were created, including her Neckpiece, Choker, Bracelet, Brooch and Ring series; her aesthetic interest in patterns, line and positive/negative space; a limited interest in and use of color in her work; the transition from silver to gold wire; a progressively larger interest in the history of jewelry and body adornment which eventually became a lecture at the University of Washington, where she taught for 26 years; numerous trips around the world to countries such as China, Tibet, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia; a strong interest in ethnic and native jewelry/body adornment practices; the various purposes which jewelry can serve in society; her involvement with the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the American Craft Council; her technique based teaching practices; the role that modern technology plays in teaching, learning, and making jewelry; the lack of support and funds for metals programs in universities around the country; her library, which includes aver 2,000 books about the history of jewelry and body adornment; her collection of jewelry from around the world; her want to create beautiful and functional jewelry; the public and private aspects to jewelry and it's role in museums; current projects and the importance to maintain interest of metals in younger generations. Hu also recalls Gary Turner, Hans Christensen, Otto Dingeldein, Heikki Seppä, Hero Kielman, Phil Fike, Patti Warashina, Gary Noffke, Elliott Pujol, Chonghi Choo, Daphne Farafo, Vicki Halper, Ron Ho, Miye Matsukata, Alma Eikermann, Mark Baldridge, Kurt Matzdorf, Eleanor Moty, Fred Fenster, John Marshall, James McMurray, and others.
Biographical / Historical:
Mary Lee Hu (1943- ) is a metalsmith in Seattle, Washington. Smith was educated at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Southern Illinois University. She teaches at the University of Washington.
General:
Originally recorded on 4 sound discs. Reformatted in 2010 as 8 digital wav files. Duration is 5 hr., 43 min.
Provenance:
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Occupation:
Metal-workers -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Educators -- Washington (State) -- Seattle  Search this
Topic:
Body adornment  Search this
Jewelry  Search this
Jewelry making -- Equipment and supplies  Search this
Jewelry making -- Study and teaching  Search this
Jewelry making -- Technique  Search this
Women artists  Search this
Women educators  Search this
Genre/Form:
Sound recordings
Interviews
Identifier:
AAA.hu09
Archival Repository:
Archives of American Art
GUID:
https://n2t.net/ark:/65665/mw9a23bb6bc-66a5-4900-9a0f-031b4e2ab83d
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-aaa-hu09
Online Media:

Journal of the West China Border Research Society

Author:
West China Border Research Society  Search this
Physical description:
v. : ill., maps ; 25 cm
Type:
Periodicals
Place:
China
Tibet (China)
Date:
1923
1945
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_842109

Dreamworld Tibet : western illusions / Martin Brauen ; in collaboration with Renate Koller and Markus Vock ; translated by Martin Willson

Author:
Brauen, Martin  Search this
Koller, Renate  Search this
Vock, Markus  Search this
Physical description:
xii, 284 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tibet (China)
Tibet Autonomous Region (China)
Date:
2004
Topic:
Foreign public opinion  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Civilization  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .B7313 2004
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_856821

Tibet : a distant horizon / Manshih Yonfan

Author:
Yonfan, Manshih  Search this
Davidson, Frena Gray  Search this
Physical description:
207 p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 33 cm
Type:
Books
Pictorial works
Place:
Tibet (China)
Date:
1981
C1981
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Views  Search this
Call number:
915.15 .Y6
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_861480

Tibet : an inner journey / Matthieu Ricard

Author:
Ricard, Matthieu  Search this
Subject:
Ricard, Matthieu Homes and haunts  Search this
Physical description:
230 p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 25 x 27 cm
Type:
Pictorial works
Place:
China
Tibet
Tibet (China)
Tibet Autonomous Region (China)
Date:
2006
Topic:
Buddhism  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Religion  Search this
Social life and customs  Search this
Social conditions  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .R48 2006
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_869641

Tibet / David Bonavia and Magnus Bartlett

Author:
Bonavia, David 1940-  Search this
Bartlett, Magnus  Search this
Physical description:
127 p. : col. ill., map ; 26 x 34 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tibet (China)
Date:
1988
C1988
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Views  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .B66
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_872153

Xizang / [bian ji Ren min mei shu chu ban she, Xianggang san lian shu dian, Xizang zi zhi ju wen xue yi shu jie lian he hui]

Title:
西藏/ [编辑人民美术出版社,香港三联书店,西藏自治区文学艺术界联合会]
Author:
Ren min mei shu chu ban she  Search this
Xizang Zizhiqu wen xue yi shu jie lian he hui  Search this
Physical description:
234 p. : col. ill. ; 33 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tibet (China)
Date:
1982
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Views  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .H627
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_874620

The general history of China : containing a geographical, historical, chronological, political and physical description of the empire of China, Chinese-Tartary, Corea, and Thibet : including an exact and particular account of their customs, manners, ceremonies, religion, arts and sciences / done from the French of P. Du Halde

Author:
Du Halde, J.-B (Jean-Baptiste) 1674-1743  Search this
Physical description:
4 v. : ill., maps (folded), ports. ; 19 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
China
Tibet (China)
Korea
Date:
1741
To 1900
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Civilization  Search this
Call number:
DS708 .D86 1741
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_876218

Lamas, princes, and brigands : Joseph Rock's photographs of the Tibet borderlands of China / Michael Aris ; with the assistance of Patrick Booz and contributions by S.B. Sutton and Jeffrey Wagner

Author:
Aris, Michael  Search this
Booz, Patrick  Search this
Sutton, S. B  Search this
Wagner, Jeffrey  Search this
Subject:
Rock, Joseph Francis Charles 1884-1962  Search this
Physical description:
141 p. : ill., maps ; 26 x 28 cm
Type:
Books
Exhibitions
Place:
Tibet (China)
Date:
1992
1901-1948
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Views  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .A85 1992
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_876791

Tibet : land of mystery / [text writer, Li Yaping ; principle photographers, Che Gang...et al. ; translator, Yang Xianyi]

Author:
Li, Yaping  Search this
Chʻe Kang  Search this
Physical description:
158 p. : chiefly col. ill., map ; 35 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tibet (China)
Date:
1990
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Views  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .L51
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_878380

Xikang you zhan / Zhang Daqian

Title:
西康游展 / 張大千
Paintings of Chang Dai-chien
Author:
Zhang, Daqian 1899-1983  Search this
Subject:
Zhang, Daqian 1899-1983  Search this
Physical description:
[50] p. : all ill. ; 35 cm
Type:
Exhibitions
Views
Place:
Sichuan Sheng (China)
Tibet (China)
Date:
1980
Min guo 69 [1980]
20th century
Topic:
Painting, Chinese  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
752.7 .C359
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_890987

Tian jie kui ying / Lin Jinghua = Glimpses into the heaven / Lin Jinghua

Title:
天界窥影 / 林晶華 = Glimpses into the heaven / Lin Jinghua
Glimpses into the heaven
Author:
Lin, Jinghua 1943-  Search this
Physical description:
116 p. : chiefly col. ill. ; 38 cm
Type:
Books
Views
Place:
China
Tibet
Tibet (China)
Date:
1997
Topic:
Photography, Artistic  Search this
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
DS785 .L57
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_892580

Tibet tour

Author:
Tibet (China) Lü you ju  Search this
Physical description:
23 p. : col. ill., maps ; 28 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Tibet Autonomous Region (China)
Date:
1991
[1991]
Topic:
Description and travel  Search this
Call number:
DS786 .T554 1991
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_717631

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