Museum history

2019
Far & Near: Selections from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology
Pamela Gerardi. 1/21/2019. Far & Near: Selections from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Pp. 112. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

3rd place, 2019 NEMA Awards (Books)

Since its founding in 1886, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University has been collecting, caring for, exhibiting, and researching objects produced by human cultures around the world. This handsomely illustrated, highly portable volume presents a selection of more than 90 objects in honor of the museum’s 150th anniversary in 2016–2017. Dating from Paleolithic times to the present and originating from the Arctic Circle to South Pacific, these selections represent but a fraction of the 1.4 million pieces in the museum’s collections. They range in character from the sacred to the profane, the utilitarian to the highly decorative, the deeply symbolic to the outrageously whimsical.

Chosen by the museum’s curators and staff, the works presented in Far & Near provide a tantalizing glimpse into the wonders of the collections of the Peabody Museum and reflect the skilled artistry of human hands and the endless creativity of the human mind.

2013
Anthropology at Harvard: A Biographical History, 1790–1940
David L. Browman Stephen and Williams. 7/15/2013. Anthropology at Harvard: A Biographical History, 1790–1940, Pp. 602. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

"A monumental achievement"—American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Anthropology at Harvard recounts the rich and complex history of anthropology at America’s oldest university, beginning with the earliest precursors of the discipline within the study of natural history. The story unfolds through fascinating vignettes about the many individuals—famous and obscure alike—who helped shape the discipline at Harvard College and the Peabody Museum. Lively anecdotes provide in-depth portraits of dozens of key individuals, including Louis and Alexander Agassiz, Frederic Ward Putnam, Mary Hemenway, Alice Cunningham Fletcher, Sylvanus Morley, A. V. Kidder, and Antonio Apache. The text also throws new light on longstanding puzzles and debates, such as Franz Boas’s censure by the American Anthropological Association and the involvement of Harvard archaeologists in espionage work for the U.S. government during World War I.

The authors take a “cohort” perspective, looking beyond the big names to the larger network of colleagues that formed the dynamic backdrop to the development of ideas. The significant contributions of amateurs and private funders to the early growth of the field are highlighted, as is the active participation of women and of students and scholars of diverse ethnic backgrounds. A monumental achievement, Anthropology at Harvard makes an important contribution to the history of Americanist anthropology.

"Overall, Anthropology at Harvard provides a comprehensive view of the East Coast development of the discipline and handles a prodigious amount of data remarkably well."—Donald McVicker, Isis >> read the full review

 

"Anthropology at Harvard will serve as an important, though limited, work of reference for historians of archaeology and anthropology."—Vincent Crapanzano, "Natives," The Times Literary Supplement >> read the full review

2004
Dear Jeffie
12/1/2004. Dear Jeffie, Pp. 96. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Jeffries Wyman (1814–74), a pioneer anthropologist of nineteenth-century America and one of its great comparative anatomists, was the Hersey Professor of Anatomy at Harvard University and, later, a trustee of the Peabody Museum and professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology.

Wyman wrote the 59 letters in this volume to his only son Jeffie. Dating from 1866, when Jeffie was two, until Wyman’s death in 1874, when Jeffie was ten, the letters reveal a great scientist trying to instill in his son the concepts of acute observation and wonder. Wyman’s charming, quizzical drawings embellish the text, which will be appreciated by children and adults alike.