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COLLECTION Identifier: 996-20

Samuel K. Lothrop papers


This collection contains papers documenting Samuel K. Lothrop's research and work in Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Colombia. Also included are correspondence and reports concerning the Institute of Andean Research as well as Lothrop's surveillance work for the U. S. Military Intelligence Department during World War I.


  • Creation: 1915 - 1962

Conditions Governing Access



4.2 linear feet (10 document boxes)

The materials in this accession are organized by geographic region, according to Lothrop's archaeological work. The following places are represented: Peru, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and Colombia. Also included are correspondence and reports concerning the Institute of Andean Research as well as Lothrop's surveillance work for the U. S. Military Intelligence Department during World War I. Researchers are also directed to search the "miscellaneous files" for materials related to Lothrop's work and professional correspondence.

Biographical Sketch

Samuel K. Lothrop was affiliated with the Peabody Museum from 1915-1960. After completing his Ph.D. in anthropology at Harvard University, he was appointed the Director of the Museum's Central American Expedition from 1916 to 1917. He was an Associate in Anthropology from 1919 to 1934. In 1935 he was promoted to Research Associate in Anthropology for Middle America, a post which he kept until 1940 when he was named Assistant Curator in Middle American Archaeology. Lothrop was designated Curator of the same department in 1943 and in 1947 became Curator for Andean Archaeology; a post which he held until 1960.

In addition to his work for the Peabody Museum, Lothrop conducted and participated in explorations for the Carnegie Institute, the Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundations), and the Institute for Andean Research. During his involvement with these various institutions, Lothrop traveled to much of Central and South America, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Tierra del Fuego. With the material gathered from his expeditions, Lothrop authored several books, including Tulim: an Archaeological Study of Eastern Yucatan, (1924); Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1926); Pottery Types and their Sequence in El Salvador (1927); Indians of Tierra del Fuego (1928); Indians of the Parama (1931 ); Atitlan: An Archaeological Study of the Borders of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (1933); Zacualpa: A Study of Quiche Artifacts (1936) Cocle: An Archaeological Study of Central Panama (Part I & Part II) (1937, 1941); Inca Treasure as Depicted by Spanish Historians (1938).

Lothrop also served in the U.S. Military Intelligence Department, working as an intelligence agent during World War I. Some of the papers pertaining to this work are contained in the archives, but may remain closed for a period of years to protect the privacy of individuals.


  1. Series I. Peru. Lothrop's research on Peru. Includes Lothrop's article Gold Artifacts of ChavinStyle, the third in a series of articles on Peruvian metal-work. Lothrop traveled to Peruin 1941-1944 for the Institute of Andean Research.
  2. Series II. Panama. Material pertaining to Lothrop's Cocle: An Archaeological Study of Central Panama, which Lothrop researched in Panama while on expedition for Harvard in 1930, 1931, 1933, 1940. The remaining material relates to sites other than Cocle, including Venado Beach.
  3. Series III. Guatemala and Mexico. Documents Lothrop's travels to Guatemala for Harvard in 1915-1917, for the Museum of the American Indian in 1924, 1926, and 1928, andfor the Carnegie Institute of Washington in 1932-1933. During his time in Guatemala, Lothropcollected material for his books, Zacualpa: A Study of Quiche Artifacts and Atitlan: An Archeological Study of the Borders of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. The remaining material encompasses research about the Mexican Cenote at Chichen Itza, whichLothrop appears to have been preparing for Alfred M. Tozzer, and on Mexico in general.
  4. Series IV. Chile and Tierra del Fuego. Materials related to Lothrop's trip for the Museum of the American Indian to Tierra del Fuego in 1924-1925. While there heresearched his book Indians of Tierra del Fuego, with the help of the Bridgesbrothers (Lucas and William) who lived on the island. Also includes various material on Chile,where Lothrop carried on excavations at Compania Baja, near La Serena in 1929 and also studiedthe Araucanians.
  5. Series V. Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Colombia. Material pertaining to Lothrop's work Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, published in 1926. Lothrop later led expeditions to Costa Rica for Harvard in 1948-1949. Puerto Rican material pertains to Lothrop's travels for Harvard in 1915. Remaining material onNicaragua and Colombia does not appear to have resulted from any trips Lothrop took to eitherof these two countries.
  6. Series VI Institute of Andean Research. Records pertaining to Lothrop's work with on behalf of the Institute of Andean Research (I.A.R.), anorganization of North and South American archaeologists and ethnologists whose goal was tofacilitate the exchange of research. Lothrop was a founding member and officer (in variouscapacities) for the Institute from its establishment in 1936 until c. 1962. He traveled for theInstitute to Peru in 1941-1944, during which time he worked on the Paracas Project with Dr.Julio Tello of the Museo de Arquelogico de San Marcos, Lima, Peru. After Tello's death in1948, Lothrop coordinated the completion of the Paracas report with Rebecca Carrion of Lima's Museo Antropologia y Arqueologia.
  7. Series VII. Military Intelligence Documents. Documents and correspondence related to Lothrop's service for the U.S. Military Intelligence Department during World War I. Lothrop conducted surveillance on Germans and pro-Germans in Central and South America. Also included,material regarding Franz Boas's condemnation of scientist spies.
  8. Series VIII. Miscellaneous People and Places. Biographical information about various people with whom Lothrop was associated andmaterial regarding various places with which Lothrop was interested, connected, or visited.
  9. Series IX. Miscellaneous Files Includes sketches, drawings, photographs,memos, reports, articles.

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


These papers were found in Peabody Museum offices and were accessioned in 1996.

Related Peabody Museum Collections

  1. Lothrop, Samuel K. and Joy Mahler Lothrop Papers, 1911-1992. 996-27
  2. Album of photographs from Lothrop Collection of lower South America(Argentina and Chile) #34-99
  3. Photographs of archaeologicalsites and artifacts from Peru #45-09
  4. Negatives by S.K.Lothrop of sites and sculptures in Honduras #47-23
  5. Photograph album from S.K. Lothrop's expedition to Pachacamac,1944-47 #49-22
  6. Photographic negatives ofPeru #49-22
  7. Photographs and some negatives of S.K. Lothropexpeditions ca. 1920-1940 PA-IN 20-08
  8. Photographic album of Peabody Museum expedition to HondurasPA-IN 20-19
  9. Photographic album with views of volcanoes in El SalvadorPA-IN 20-30
  10. Photographs of S. K. Lothrop's trip through Costa Rica, 1948-1950 PA-IN 20-31
  11. Photos from S. K. Lothrop's collection from Cocle and Varaguas,Panama 1929-1947 PA-IN 20-32
  12. Photograph albums of Guatemalan sites from S.K. Lothrop collection, 1926-1933 PA-IN 20-33
  13. Album of photographs anddrawings of artifacts from the Minor Keith collection PA-IN 20-36
  14. Photograph album (and negatives) from S.K. Lothrop's expedition to Panama PA-IN 20-38
  15. Photograph and postcard album of pre-Columbianartifacts from Mexico PA-IN 20-39
  16. Negatives (in rolls) byS.K. Lothrop of Chavina, Chavin,Nayca, Palmar, and Zap PA-IN 30-08
  17. Photographs by S. K. Lothrop of Tierra del Fuego PA-IN 30-11
  18. Six photograph albums of Peruvian sites from the S. K. Lothrop Collection PA-IN 30-13
  19. Photograph album with images from near Callejon deHuaylasPA-IN 30-15
  20. Photograph album withimages from Lothrop expedition to Chile PA-IN 30-16

General note

Collections records may contain language, reflecting past collecting practices and methods of analysis, that is no longer acceptable. The Peabody Museum is committed to addressing the problem of offensive and discriminatory language present in its database. Our museum staff are continually updating these records, adding to and improving content. We welcome your feedback and any questions or concerns you may want to share.

Processed by:

Janelle Asplund and Ghyaelaine Young-Wales ; edited by Sarah Demb, Archivist


Lothrop, Samuel K. Papers 1915-1962: A Finding Aid
Peabody Museum Archives
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Peabody Museum Archives Repository

Papers in the Peabody Museum Archives consist of primary source materials that document the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic research and fieldwork since its founding in 1866. More than 2,800 feet of archival paper collections contain documents, papers, manuscripts, correspondence, data, field notes, maps, plans, and other historical records that represent diverse peoples from around the world, and which were created or collected by the Museum, its individual affiliates, or related entities. The collections also document the history or provenience, as well as the creation of, many of the Museum’s archaeological and ethnographic collections.

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