Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: 977-61

Carl E. Guthe papers


The records pertain to Guthe's work on the Maya lunar count and also include one card file dating from 1932, of addresses of individuals interested in American archaeology and ethnology.


  • 1916-1934 (inclusive)

Conditions Governing Access

Restrictions on access: See Archivist. The papers are very fragile with charred edges. They were recovered by Carl E. Guthe after a fire which nearly destroyed his son, Karl F. Guthe's house in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


.8 linear feet (2 boxes)

The collection consists of one box of records pertaining to Guthe's work on the Maya lunar count and one card file, dating from 1932, of addresses of individuals interested in American archaeology and ethnology

Biographical Sketch

Carle E. Guthe, anthropologist was born in Kearney, Nebraska in 1893. He received his B. S. degree from the University of Michigan in 1914, and his M.A. and PhD. in anthropology from Harvard University in 1915 and 1917 respectively. During his time at Harvard, he worked with Alfred V. Kidder to excavate at Pecos, New Mexico. From 1920-1922 Guthe was a research associate with the Carnegie Insitution of Washington, excavating in British Honduras and Guatemala. It was during this time that Middle America became a strong research focus.

In 1922 Guthe was hired as the first anthropologist at the University of Michigan and became Director of the Museum of Anthropology in 1928. He also led the Philippine Expedition (supported by Horace H. Rackham). At Michigan, Guthe was instrumental in developing museum education for both undergraduates and graduate students. In 1928 Guthe became the first chair of the Department of Anthropology and in 1943 was appointed full professor.

In 1944 Guthe left Michigan to accept the position Director of the New York State Museum, a post he held until 1953. Here he also expanded eduational activities and in 1947, the Museum Education Office was established. While at the New York State Museum, Guthe was instrumental in restructuring the administration of research resulting in the creation of the New York State Science service in 1945.

In 1953, Guthe left the New York State Museum to become a research associate for the American Associations of Museums in Washington, D.C. In this position, Guthe gathered data on the programs and administration of 500-600 museums. Unfortunately, most of this data was lost in a fire at his son's home in 1959.

Carl E. Guthe is remembered for his work to professionalize American archaeology. In 1927, Guthe chaired the Committee on State Archaeological Surveys of the National Research Council (NRC), working to systematize state archaeological site surveys. He also orgainized regional conferences to review archaeological issues. Guthe was instrumental in creating the Society for American Archaeology and the journal American Antiquity.


  1. "Carl E. Guthe". University of Michigan, Museum of Anthropology.
  2. "History of theNew York State Museum". New York State Museum.

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


These papers are a gift of Alfred K. Guthe, Carl E. Guthe's son October 10, 1977

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.

Guthe, Carl E. , 1893-1974, Papers (1916-1934, inclusive) : 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.

11 Divinity Ave.
Harvard University
Cambridge MA 02128 USA