McBryde, F. Webster (Felix Webster), 1908-1995 Search this
Film reels (color silent; 9,030 feet, 16mm)
Scope and Contents:
Papers, films and photographs of Felix Webster McBryde, cultural geographer, mostly related to his work in South and Central America. Also some papers of wife, Frances McBryde.
Supplementary materials: water colors, paper records.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or Anthropology Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
Biographical / Historical:
F. Webster McBryde was a geographer who earned his geography degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1940. In 1943 he founded the American Society for Professional Geographers (ASPG). Aside from his research of markets in villages in the Gautemalan Lake Atitlan area and his teaching geography at Ohio State University from 1937 to 1942, his career was primarily as a consultant.
During WWII he worked as a senior geographer in military intelligence in the War Department. After the war he became director of the Smithsonian Institution's Institute of Social Anthropology in Lima, Peru. After three years in that position he became chief geographer for the Latin American program of the United States Bureau of the Census that included his establishing the Ecuadorian Institute of Anthropology and Geography in Quito. He also took on consulting work in ecology and environmental issues that included being the chief of the physical and culural branch of the natural resources division of the Inter-American Geodetic Survey of the U.S. Army and field director of the Bioenvironmental Program of the Atlantic-Pacific Interoceanic Sea Level Canal Studies in Panama and Colombia for the Battelle Memorial Institute.
In 1970 he founded the McBryde Center for Human Ecology and continued working for the Battelle Memorial Institute as well as other clients. New consulting work included preparing ecological studies affecting the tourist industry in Jamaica and the environmental problems of the Cerro Colorado Copper Mine in Panama for the United Nations. He conducted personal research in the domestication of plants, particularly the origin of maize in several Latin American countries.
Because of his extensive knowledge of Central American he occasionally served as advisor to government officials from those countries. He also worked on and developed new world map projections that more accurately portrayed the curvature of the earth.
Received from John M. McBryde in 2008.
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Felix Webster McBryde films, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution