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Anthropology: Latin America

Resources on Anthropology and Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean

Looking for primary sources? LAL Special Collections include Manuscript Collections, NewspapersRare Books & Ephemera, Maps and an Image ArchiveClick on these tabs  to discover different LAL Special Collections items of interest.

The tabs will allow you to explore just a few examples of the kinds of materials held in the LAL’s Special Collections relevant to research in Anthropology. To start searching for additional materials try the “Search for Primary Sources at LAL” tab.  

Rudolf Schuller Papers, 1914-1930

The Rudolf Schuller Papers contains over 1,000 pieces of personal correspondence, notes, manuscripts, photographs, negatives, newspaper clippings, and printed ephemera. The major portion of the material consists of field notes, vocabulary lists, and manuscripts from Schuller's studies of a variety of Mexican and Central American Indian languages and dialects, with particular emphasis on the culture and language of the Huasteca people. There are also materials relating to Schuller's study of the voyages of Columbus and other early explorations. Included in the printed section are newspaper clippings of articles by Schuller and other scholars relating to various ethnological topics.  Popular culture surrounding the Mexican Revolution is a secondary focus of the collection.

Merle Greene Robertson Collection, 1920s – 2010

The Merle Greene Robertson collection encompasses a diverse group of materials produced and/or collected by Merle Greene Robertson over the course of a 40-year career of studying and documenting the material art and culture of the ancient Maya. Included are personal papers and correspondence, professional publications, field diaries and research notes, grant proposals and final reports, research of special topics, materials relating to exhibits, conference participation, organization of the Palenque Round Table conferences, and her directorship of the Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute. The bulk of the collection contains most of her original rubbings of Maya monuments and visual materials that include photographs, slides, negatives, original paintings, and line drawings.  A skilled photographer, Merle Greene Robertson also documented extensively the archaeological sites she visited and studied.  Other materials include a photographic record of figurines from Palenque, audio-visual material, archaeological and tourist maps, and several important examples of Merle’s original watercolor artwork.

Martín Chambi Photograph Collection, 1920-1940

71 black and white photographs of the people of Peru: indigenous people, workers, and the upper class, at work and in social settings; most are from Cuzco. Prints are by Edward Ranney from Chambi's original glass negatives.

Manuscript Compendium of Herbal Medicine

Folder 63:  A 154 page compendium of herbal medicine, in manuscript, bound in contemporary vellum, titled "Medicamentos" on the front cover, and indexed.  The first blank page carries an inscription stating that the book was acquired in 1717 in the city of Santa Fé de Bogatá by Francisco de Herrera, who was a founding member of the Association of Shipowners of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. The text deals with a variety of topics including methods for diagnosing illness by taking a patient's pulse, a very popular procedure at the time, contained in a lengthy section entitled “Preliminary news on knowledge of pulses and the diseases that are manifest through its touch.”  Of greater interest is the compendium of herbal remedies in the last section of the manuscript describing a variety of New World and Spanish plants used to cure different diseases.  The manuscript was likely written by a medical doctor or by a priest with medical knowledge.  It surely was created by someone who visited and exchanged knowledge of herbal remedies with indigenous peoples in highland Colombia.

LAL Special Collections include Manuscript Collections, NewspapersRare Books & EphemeraMaps and an Image Archive.

Interested in searching?  Each collection link above contains holdings information and search tools.  Search for manuscripts and images in our Special Collections Holdings and rare books in our Library Catalog.  Questions?  Please write Christine Hernández (chernand@tulane.edu), Curator of Special Collections at LAL.


*Please note that LAL Collections are currently housed offsite.  Write to Lal@tulane.edu to setup an appointment.  

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Digitized Primary Sources

These are a few examples of primary sources that have been digitized:

Foundations, Societies and Institutes

Here are some foundations, institutes and societies of interest for anthropologists: