The S.K. Lothrop collection primarily contains negatives, photographic prints, and lantern slides made by Lothrop while employed by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. Lothrop traveled on behalf of the Museum to New Mexico, Argentina, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru. The four New Mexico negatives in this collection date from 1915, before Lothrop worked for the Museum, and depict scenes around Zuni. During his 1924 trip to El Salvador, Lothrop photographed volcanos, archaeological sites, antiquities, the landscape, villages, and native peoples engaged in pottery and rope making, food preparation, house building, and ceremonial activities. The 1925 views particularly concentrate on Argentina (but also Chile and Peru). The Argentina materials include views made in the Tierra del Fuego (also part of Chile), including depictions of the daily lives and ceremonial activities of natives peoples of Tierra del Fuego--Selk'nam (Ona) and Yámana (Yagán/Yahgan); the Patagonia landscape; and excavations undertaken by the Museum's La Plata Expedition. The 1928 Guatemala views include depictions of Mayan ruins of Zaculeu and of Tz'utuhil Maya (Tzutuhil/Zutigil), Quiché Maya (Quiche), and Kaqchikel Maya (Cakchiquel) people engaged in weaving, rope making, canoeing, and ceremonial actitivies. The collection also contains photographs made by Lothrop before he worked for the Museum, including 1915 views of effigy mounds in Wisconsin and views at Hopi, Acoma, and Santa Clara; 1917 views of Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, and El Salvador; and 1918 views of Guatemala, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Nicaragua.
Samuel Kirkland Lothrop was an archaeologist and photographer who extensively traveled and worked throughout Central America and South America. George Gustav Heye originally hired Lothrop to research native Guatemalan and El Salvadoran textiles and pottery. He subsequently excavated on behalf of the Museum of the American Indian in such places as the Tierra del Fuego. Here he photographed indigenous communities who would not survive the twentieth century as a distinct culture group. In 1923, he also photographed the activities of the Hendricks-Hodge Hawikku Expedition excavations. In addition to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, the Peabody Museum and the Carnegie Institute sponsored his research and archaeological work.
Historically, the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation managed all photographic and related manuscript collections separately. This collection description represents current management practices of organizing and contextualizing related archival materials.
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Copyright: National Museum of the American Indian
Indians of Central America -- Guatemala -- Photographs Search this
Indians of Central America -- El Salvador -- Photographs Search this
Fuegians -- Social life and customs -- Photographs Search this
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Argentina -- Photographs Search this
S. K. Lothrop collection of negatives, photographs and lantern slides, 1915-1928, National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Smithsonian Institution (negative, slide or catalog number).