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COLLECTION Identifier: 2004.24 (D)

Samuel K. Lothrop negatives


This collection includes negatives Samuel K. Lothrop took during Peabody Museum-sponsored expeditions to South and Central America, Antigua, and Puerto Rico. Many of the black and white negatives depict ancient ruins, artifacts, architecture, landscapes, and indigenous people engaged in daily and festive activities.


  • Creation: 1915 - 1949
  • Creation: 1900 - 1980

Conditions Governing Access

Most views are unrestricted except for culturally sensitive images. Permission to view culturally sensitive images may be obtained from the Peabody Museum's curatorial department.

Conditions Governing Use

As the negatives have been digitized and are on the Peabody Museum Collections Online website, researchers are encouraged to view the images online at .


953 negatives (photographs)

From 1917-1950, Samuel K. Lothrop worked on numerous Peabody Museum sponsored expeditions, mostly in South and Central America, Antigua, and Puerto Rico. The majority of these black and white nitrate negatives vary in size: 1.25" x 2.5"to 3"x 4". The negatives are organized by negative number with some items broken down by geographic region/expedition. This collection is part of the Peabody Museum's core negative collection, which is being digitized under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant 2007-2008. Images can be viewed at the Peabody Museum's Collections Online website at: Perform a search by Peabody ID# begins with 2004.24; refine results by Keyword contains Lothrop.

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Kirkland Lothrop was born in 1892. Upon his graduation from Harvard College, he joined A.V. Kidder's archaeological dig at Pecos (New Mexico), thus beginning a long and illustrious career at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. After earning a PhD in anthropology (Harvard), Lothrop was appointed Director of the Museum's Central American Expedition (1916-1917). From 1919-1934, he served as Associate in Anthropology and, in 1935, was promoted to Research Associate (Anthropology for Middle America), a title he held until 1940. That same year, he assumed the position of Assistant Curator (Middle America Archaeology) and became Curator of the Department in 1943. He assumed the position of Curator for Andean Archeology from 1947 until his retirement in 1960.

Lothrop was instrumental in founding the Institute of Andean Research and served as an active participant and President for many years. He also conducted expeditions sponsored by the Carnegie Institute of Washington (CIW) and the Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundation). During this time, he traveled extensively throughout Central and South America, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Upon his death in 1965, Lothrop's colleagues described him as a brilliant, unorthodox scholar with an innate talent for storytelling. He left behind a legacy of publications that discuss his archaeological and anthropological research and explorations including: The Discovery of Gold in the Graves of Chiriqui, Panama (1919); Tulum, An Archaeological Study of the East Coast of Yucatan (1924); The Architecture of the Ancient Mayas (1925); Pottery of Costa Rica and Nicaragua (1926); Stone Sculptures from the Finca Arevalo, Guatemala (1926); Pottery Types and Their Sequence in El Salvador (1927); The Indians of Tierra del Fuego (1928); Diet and Stature in Tierra del Fuego (1928); A Modern Survival of the Ancient Maya Calendar (1930); Golden Relics of an Ancient American People (1934); Zacualpa: A Study of Ancient Quiché Artifacts (1936); Inca Treasure as Depicted by Spanish Historians (1938); and Gold Artifacts of Chavín Style (1951).


  1. Asplund, Janelle and Ghyaelaine Young-Wales. "Samuel K. Lothrop and Joy Mahler Lothrop Archive: A Finding Aid."
  2. Easby, Jr., Dudley T. "Samuel Kirkland Lothrop, 1892-1965. ' American Antiquity 31, no. 2, pt. 1 (Oct. 1965): 256-61.

Physical Location

Peabody Museum Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition


These negatives are part of the core negative collection at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University and reflect research and field work undertaken by the Peabody Museum sponsored expeditions, Excavations in Honduras, Guatemala and Costa Rica, 1917-18; S. K. Lothrop. The Cocle Expedition, Panama, 1929-33; Douglas S. Byers, Henry B. Roberts, Samuel K. Lothrop, Frederick Johnson, and Loren B. Wedlock. Archaeology of southern Veraguas, Panama, 1940-47; S. K. Lothrop. Reconnaissance and excavation in Costa Rica, 1948-50; S. K. Lothrop.

Related Peabody Museum (Harvard) Collections

  1. Lothrop, Samuel Kirkland & Joy Mahler Lothrop Archive, accessions #996-20; #996-27
  2. Tozzer,Alfred Marston,1877-1954, Papers 1900-1980accession #997-5
  3. Other Photo Collectionscollected by or photographed by S.K. Lothrop:
  4. ___ PA-IN 20-19: Photographicalbum of Peabody Museum expedition to Honduras
  5. ___ PA-IN 20-30: Photographic album with views of volcanoes in ElSalvador
  6. ___ PA-IN 20-32: Photos from S.K. Lothrop's collectionfrom Cocle and Varaguas,Panama,1929-1947
  7. ___ PA-IN 20-33: Photograph albums of Guatemalan sites from S.K.Lothrop collection, 1926-1933
  8. ___PA-IN 20-36: Album of photographs and drawings of artifacts fromthe Minor Keith collection
  9. ___ PA-IN 20-38: Photograph album and negativesfrom S. K. Lothrop's expedition to Panama
  10. ___ PA-IN30-02: Photographs of archaeological sites and artifacts from Peru
  11. ___PA-IN 30-11: Photographs by S.K. Lothrop of Tierra del Fuego
  12. ___PA-IN 30-12: Photographs from lower South America
  13. ___PA-IN 30-13: Six photograph albums of Peruvian sites from the Lothrop Collection
  14. ___ PA-IN30-14: Photograph album from S.K. Lothrop's expedition to Pachacamac,1944-1947
  15. ___ PA-IN 30-15: Photograph albumwith images from near Callejon de Huaylas
  16. ___PA-IN30-16: Photograph album with images from Lothrop expedition to Chile
  17. ___ PA-IN30-28: Photographic negatives of Peru

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:

Staff of 2007-2008 NEH grant; finding aid created by Melissa Gonzales Simmons College intern; edited by Patricia Kervick, Associate Archivist, November 2007.

Lothrop, Samuel K., (1892-1965). Collection of Negatives, 1915-1949: 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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