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COLLECTION Identifier: 996-27

Lothrop, Samuel Kirkland and Joy Mahler Lothrop Papers, 1911-1992

These papers contain material related to Samuel Lothrop's fieldwork in Central and South America as well as to work done by his wife, Joy Mahler Lothrop, on indigenous textiles of Central and South America. Accession (996-27) is the second accession of Lothrop materials to the Peabody Museum Archives. The first accession (996-20) was found in the museum. Accession 996-27 was donated to the museum from the Lothrop Estate in 1996


  • 1911-1992

Conditions Governing Access



8 linear feet

These papers contain material related to Samuel Lothrop's fieldwork in Central and South America as well as to work done by his wife, Joy Mahler Lothrop, on indigenous textiles of Central and South America. Of special note are the materials relating to Lothrop's work in Venado Beach, Honduras, which are entirely unpublished. The papers are arranged in the following series:

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Kirkland Lothrop (1892-1965) devoted his career to the archaeology of Central and South America. His field work and exploration included work done under Alfred V. Kidder for the Andover Museum in Pecos, New Mexico 1915; for Harvard University in Costa Rica 1948-49, in Honduras 1915-17, and in Panama 1933, 1940, and 1951; for the Carnegie Institute of Washington, D. C., in the Yucatan 1923 and Guatemala 1932-33; for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation, in Argentina and Peru 1924-25; and for the Institute of Andean Research in Peru 1941-44.

His appointments at the Peabody Museum included Associate in Anthropology 1919 and 1934 and Research Associate in Anthropology for M. Dale 1935-39. His curatorial career began in 1940 as Assistant Curator of Middle American Archaeology, becoming head curator of that collection in 1944. Samuel Lothrop was Curator of the Peabody Museum's Andean Archaeology collection from 1947 -1960.

Samuel Lothrop received his B.A. from Harvard in 1915 and Ph.D. in 1921. He married Rachel Warren in 1914, Eleanor Bachman in 1929, and Joy Mahler in 1958, all of whom worked with him on his archaeological research to varying degrees.

Very little information is available about Joy Mahler Lothrop. Also an archaeologist, she primarily studied indigenous textiles. Her activities included work for the Peabody Museum (1950s) and for the American Museum of Natural History. In the late fifties she collaborated on several publications with Samuel Lothrop, whom she married in 1958. Her independent work was published before, during and after her marriage. She died in 1996.


  1. Series I Field Notes (SKL)
  2. Series II Manuscripts (SKL)
  3. Series III Correspondence (SKL)
  4. Series IV Research Notes (SKL)
  5. Series V Research Materials (SKL)
  6. Series VI Personal Materials (SKL)
  7. Series VII Photographs and Illustrations (SKL)
  8. Series VIII Manuscripts (JML)
  9. Series IX Research Notes (JML)
  10. Series X Correspondence (JML)
  11. Series XI Miscellaneous Materials (JML)
  12. Series XII Photographs (JML)
Series Descriptions--Samuel K. Lothrop
  1. I. Field Notes 1917-1949

    This series includes notebooks, journals, and loose notes relating to Samuel Lothrop's field work in Central and South America. The fieldwork was conducted in Argentina (1924-25), Costa Rica (1948-1949), Guatemala and El Salvador (1926),Guatemala (1928, 1932),Honduras (1917, 1947), Mexico (1922), Panama (1930-31, 1940, 1950-51), and Peru (1940-44, 1946-47).

  2. II. Manuscripts 1923-1966

    This series contains manuscripts, illustrations and proofs for several of Samuel Lothrop's publications and articles, including "Archaeology of Lower Central America" (1966), Archaeology of the Diquís Delta, Costa Rica (1963), "Early Migrations to Central and South America" (1961), and Zacualpa: A Study of Ancient Quiche (1936). There are illustrations, but no manuscripts, for Atitlan: an archaeological study of ancient remains on the borders of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala (1933), Metals from the Cenote of Sacrifice, Chichén Itzá, Yucatán (1952); Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1926); and Tulum: an archaeological study of the east coast of Yucatán (1924). Also included are drafts of apparently unpublished works on the Rio San Juan in Nicaragua, "Minor Antiquities of Porto Rico" (with Rachel Warren Lothrop), and on Venado Beach , Panama. The manuscript of a monograph on the archaeology of Venado Beach was Samuel Lothrop's current project at the time of his death, and, although Joy Mahler Lothrop continued work on it, the volume was never completed.

  3. III. Correspondence 1948-1961

    Most of this material is correspondence with friends and colleagues pertaining to archaeology in Panama, particularly Venado Beach. Also included in this series is material on nominations to the Anthropology Section of the National Academy of Sciences for 1960. Additional correspondence is with related material in the other series; see the correspondents index on p.13.

  4. IV. Research Notes 1927-1964

    These include notes taken at archaeology lectures in Europe, but primarily consist of materials compiled in the course of research for Samuel Lothrop's publications

  5. V. Research Materials 1941-1947

    These reports to the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church about missionary work in Guatemala were collected by Eleanor Bachman Lothrop in 1947.

  6. VI. Personal Materials 1913-1952

    Materials include a journal from a 1913 trip to Utah while an undergraduate, two undated address books, and various items from a trip to Europe for the International Congress of Americanists meeting in Cambridge, England in 1952. The items from this trip include calling cards, address lists, maps, a pamphlet about Ely Cathedral, and the program from the meeting.

  7. VII. Photographs and Illustrations 1915-1956

    This series consists primarily of photographs and illustrations of artifacts from Central and South America. The series also contains two scrapbooks, one containing photographs of Chilean Indians and the other from Samuel Lothrop's field work in Pecos, New Mexico under Alfred V. Kidder. A few photographs are of places Lothrop visited, including areas around Venado Beach. See also the list of field photographs separated to Photo Archives (p.17).

Series Descriptions--Joy Mahler Lothrop
  1. VIII. Manuscripts 1957-1992

    This series includes drafts and manuscripts on the textiles of Peru, Argentina, and Mexico and the Maya Lowlands. The material on Peru includes a manuscript for "An analysis of late period textiles and associated items from Pachacamac" (n.d.). Also related to Peru are the dye analyses done by William J. Young which were included as appendices to Samuel Lothrop and Joy Mahler [Lothrop's] A Chancay-Style Grave at Zapallan, Peru and Late Nazca Burials in Chaviña, Peru (both 1957). The Argentina material consists of a draft of the introduction to a paper on Chaco textiles, with related notes.

    Most of Joy Mahler Lothrop's writing was concerned with the textiles recovered from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chichén Itzá, Yucatán. This includes a paper prepared for the April 1982 meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The chapter "Garments and Textiles of the Maya Lowlands," written for the Handbook of Middle American Indians (1966), is based primarily on the Cenote evidence. Her largest project was the report on the Cenote textiles which appeared as a chapter in Artifacts from the Cenote of Sacrifice, Chichen Itza, Yucatan (1992). In conjunction with this project, Joy Mahler Lothrop also retained draft copies of the first two chapters from the book, "The Sacred Well of the Itzaes" by Edward H. Thompson and "Dredging the Cenote" by Clemency C. Coggins. These manuscripts are also included in this series.

  2. IX. Research Notes 1930-1981, n. d.

    Joy Mahler Lothrop compiled these notes while studying various aspects of textiles, both generally and in connection to her writings. Included in this series are Elsie McDougall's notes and correspondence with Alfred Tozzer and Junius Bird (1934-52), as well as Joy Mahler Lothrop's notes on the McDougall-Tozzer correspondence. In addition to her studies of Mexican and Peruvian textiles, as evidenced by her manuscripts, Joy Mahler Lothrop became interested in textiles from the Eastern Woodland Indians of the United States because of their similarity to the twined fabrics found in Peru.

  3. X. Correspondence 1952-1981

    This includes letters to and from Joy Mahler Lothrop concerning her work, particularly with the textiles from Chichén Itzá, Yucatán. Also included are a letter concerning an obituary for Samuel Lothrop and one asking for information about a figurine of a weaver that the Lothrops owned at one time. See correspondent index to search for names (p.13).

  4. XI. Miscellaneous Materials 1953-1961, n.d.

    These include an announcement of the founding of the Association for Latin American Studies in 1959, a postcard from an unidentified correspondent, a photograph of an unidentified town, and a page from an article on Chichén Itzá.

  5. XII. Photographs 1952-1953, n.d.

    These include photographs of textiles from Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, and from Chaviña and Zapallan, Peru. Other photographs show the Maya textile exhibit from the Chicago Natural History Museum. See also the list of field photographs separated to Photo Archives (p.17).

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


These papers are a gift of Lothrop Estate


Related Peabody Museum Collections

  1. Lothrop, Samuel K. Papers, 1915-1962 #99620
  2. Album of photographs from Lothrop Collection of lower South America (Argentina and Chile) #34-99
  3. Photographs of archaeological sites 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 of Peru #49-22
  7. Photographs and some negatives of S.K. Lothrop expeditions 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 and drawings 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-Columbian artifacts from Mexico PA-IN 20-39
  16. Negatives (in rolls) by S.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 de HuaylasPA-IN 30-15
  20. Photograph album with images from Lothrop expedition to Chile PA-IN 30-16

Processing Information

Processed by: Melissa Gottwald; amended by Sarah Demb , Archivist

June 1999
Link to catalog

Correspondents Index

Correspondents are listed alphabetically, followed by box and folder numbers
Anderson, L. K. [Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions]
Barnum, William [Carnegie Institute
Bird, Junius
1.12, 4.15, 5.15, 7.16, 7.26
Bliss, Robert Woods
1.9, 3.17, 5.20
Bond, Sally [Peabody Museum]
Bradford, Ned [Little, Brown, & Co.] (copy)
Brown, J. May
Butler, Lawton [U.S. Army, Canal Zone] (copy)
Coggins, Clemency [Peabody Museum]
Cole, Lois Dwight [G.P. Putnam's Sons]
1.5, 5.15
Cole, Lois Dwight [William Morrow & Co.]
Coughlin, Elizabeth [Peabody Museum] (copy)
Curtis, Karl
3.17, 4.8, 4.9, 5.3, 5.11
Dade, Philip L.
3.7, 4.14
Danielson, Richard
de Vries, Hessel (copy)
Deevey, Edward S. [Yale University]
Delgado, Hilda S. [Indiana State University]
Denny, Charles S. [US Dept. of the Interior]
Doyle, Gerald A.
Eckholm, Gordon F. (copy 7.7) [American Museum of Natural History]
7.7, 7.30
Emmerich, Andre
Evans, Clifford [Smithsonian Institution]
Fate, L.R. {US Dept. of Agriculture]
Grefe, Grace
Guernsey, Isabel [Peabody Museum]
Haberland, Wolfgang [Hamburgisches Museum Fur Volkerkunde und Borgeschichte]
Harte, Neville A.
4.8, 6.22
Haury, Emil
Johnson, Frederick (copy) [Peabody Foundation for Archaeology]
Ladd, John
Lothrop, Joy Mahler
7.6, 7.8, 7.17, 7.26, 7.30
Lothrop, Samuel
1.9, 4.14, 4.15
Marmer, Harry A. [US Coast and Geodetic Survey]
McDougall, Elsie
7.30, 7.33, 7.35, 7.36
McElroy, Keith
Mitchell, Russell
4.8, 5.11
Raup, Hugh M. [Harvard Forest] (copy)
Rosenthal, Mrs. Mitchell [Jane] [The Brooklyn Museum]
Roys, Ralph L.
Schultes, Richard E. [Instituto Ciencias Naturales, Colombia]
Scott, Donald [Peabody Museum]
Stewart, T. Dale [Smithsonian Institution]
Stumer, Louis M. (copy)
Swerdlow, Victoria [Peabody Museum]
Thompson, Edward H. (copy)
Tozzer, Alfred
Vignati, Milciades Alejo [Museo de La Plata]
Vinton, Kenneth W.
4.8, 4.15, 5.10
Wauchope, Robert [Tulane University]
Weinberg, Gladys D. [Archaeological Institute of America]
Willey, Gordon [Peabody Museum]
4.8, 7.7
Williams, Stephen
Woodring, W. P. [US Dept of the Interior]
Lothrop, Samuel Kirkland and Joy Mahler Lothrop Papers, 1911-1992 : A Finding Aid
Peabody Museum Archives

Repository Details

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

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