Alexander Marshack papers
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Extent1 collection (4.6 linear feet)
Marshack published over 200 articles and numerous books during his career, most notably The Roots of Civilization: The Cognitive Beginnings of Man's First Art, Symbol, and Notation (1972), which had a lasting impact on both the archaeological profession and the public. His later work focused on the evolution of human thought and the neuropsychological content of early symbol systems. Although some critics disputed his structuralist theories and lack of formal training, his scientific approach to looking at artifacts and his portrayal of early humans as intellectually complex were notable contributions to our understanding of Paleolithic peoples. Marshack died on December 20, 2004, at the age of 86.
- "Alexander Marshack." Times Online 22 Jan 2005 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article504865.ece
- Bayot, Jennifer. "Alexander Marshack, 86 is Dead; Studied Stone Age Innovations." New York Times 28 Dec 2004.
- Van Gelder, Leslie, and KevinSharpe. "Alexander Marshack, 1918-2004." 27 April 2005.
- Series I. Correspondence: Alexander Marshack's original correspondence to and fromfriends, colleagues and the general public; includes discussions of research questions, academiccontroversies, lectures, and routine business. There is also considerable "fan mail" regarding hisarticles and television appearances.
- Series II: Notebooks, including initialdrafts of book chapters.
- Series III: Research notes: a record of Marshack'sthoughts and ideas for articles and books he authored about a variety of topics, including earlycalendar systems, the Americas, Mesolithic art, language, symbols, and mythology.
- Series IV: Publications and drafts: Marshack's existing drafts and proofs detail earlierversions of articles that appeared in popular magazines (i.e., Science and National Geographic ) and at academic conferences. Marshack also madeseveral drafts of his 1972 book The Roots of Civilization.
- Series V: Oversized items: Transparent overlays of cave paintings and calendar systems usedfor Marshack's research on early notation systems. Other notes include Marshack's lectureaudiotapes and manuscripts and a copy of The Roots of Civilization.
- Series VI: Offprints with notes: A sampling includes Marshack's recorded notes withinoffprints on numerous topics related to his research, including astronomy, mythology,communication, Native American picture writing, Australian rock art, Olmec civilization, andanthropology.
- Series VII: Computer data disks: Marshack retained electronicdata of his letters and research notes stored on various computer disk formats.
- Note: Series V and Series VII are not included in the itemlisting of this inventory.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
These papers are a gift of Elaine F. Marshack
- Alexander Marshack papers, 1957-2004: A Finding Aid.
- Peabody Museum Archives
- EAD ID
Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository
The Peabody Museum Archives contains primary source materials that reflect the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. Archival collections contain photographs, documents, papers, and records of enduring value that were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or other related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of many of the Museum’s artifact collections. To learn more about research visits at the Peabody Museum, please see https://www.peabody.harvard.edu/research-visits.
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