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Library and Archive

The Library and Library Annex at the Boundary End Archaeology Research Center holds some 12,000 volumes dealing with American archaeology and related fields, with special emphasis on Mesoamerica (particularly the Maya) and Southeastern North America. The collection also contains basic works on the archaeology of Africa, Asia, and Europe.

At this writing, slightly less than half of the library holdings, around 6,000 volumes, are made up of George Stuart's personal working library, assembled over the past 50 years of purposeful pursuit with a very limited budget. These include mostly works on the archaeology, anthropology, and history of Mesoamerica and Eastern North America. The Stuart portion of the library is particularly strong in key works dealing with the history of Maya research, the 19th century histories of Yucatán, and reports on site excavation and hieroglyphic decipherment. In addition, many early works on the archaeology of the Southeastern United States are present, with an emphasis on site reports pertaining to the Woodland and Mississippian cultures. Extensive photographic files cover the Maya area and the Southeastern United States.

Other works came to the library from a variety of sources. In 1960, the Carnegie Institution of Washington gave Stuart many of its remaining duplicates. In the late 1960s, Col. William Friedman, the famed World War II cryptographer, gave a nearly complete set of the limited editions of the works of William E. Gates, founder of the old Maya Society and a friend of Friedman's. And so it continued.

In 1978, George Stuart purchased an interesting and important set of Edward King, Viscount Kingsborough's Antiquities of Mexico. That copy of the nine great folio volumes, untrimmed, and in the deep red morocco and thick marbled boards that mark the earliest presentation copies, proved unique, for Volumes 1 and 2 bear the date 1829, one year earlier than all other known examples. In 1980, Stuart sold the Kingsborough volumes to the National Geographic Society for little more than cost, but remained custodian of the volumes. Upon Stuart's retirement in 1998, the Society transferred the set as a "permanent loan" to the Center. The Kingsborough books were donated, along with other important volumes in the Stuart Collection, to the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina.

Other important Library holdings include a 1787 copy of Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia, the first work to report archaeological excavation in the Americas; Henry Rowe Schoolcraft's great six-volume work on the Indians of North America (1854-57); the 20 volumes of Clarence B. Moore's pioneering archaeological expeditions in the Southeast; and extensive files of site maps and photographs. 

No group of books in the Library is more important than that assembled by anthropologist Matthew W. Stirling (1896-1975), who served as Director of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, from 1929 to 1957. This body of an estimated 5,000 volumes, including a remarkable collection of scholarly pamphlets and reprints from the mid-1800s on, was donated to the Library in 2000 by the late Marion Stirling Pugh, widow of Matthew, who had carefully maintained the collection.

The Stirling gift consists not only of thousands of individual volumes, but also of virtually all the major institutional sets, journals, and periodicals dealing with the archaeology and anthropology of many areas of the Western Hemisphere. High points include complete runs of the prominent journals and series' such as the American Anthropologist (1881- ); American Antiquity (1935 - ); Bulletins 1-200 and Annual Reports 1-48 of the Bureau of American Ethnology; complete sets of the Indian Notes, Notes and Monographs, Contributions, and Leaflets produced by the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation; the complete run of the Papers and Memoirs of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University; and all of the Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History.

In 2001, David Humiston Kelley of the University of Calgary presented the library with his collection of reprints and pamphlets originally gathered by archaeologist Marshall Saville (1867-1935). That gift joined other Saville material already held by Stuart. 

In addition to books in the Stuart portion of the library, there are small holdings of manuscript material of the 18th to 20th centuries These include miscellaneous documents of the 18th and 19th centuries related to Yucatán and original correspondence from the files of Marshall Saville—letters related to the formation of the Maya Society and the Museum of the American Indian. Extensive files of 35mm transparencies and prints cover the last half-century of archaeology, mainly in the Maya area. 

In 1979, Jerome O. Kilmartin of the United States Geological Survey bequeathed to Stuart his small but extraordinary collection of books, letters, diaries, and photographs related to archaeological sites in the Maya Area, particularly Chichén Itzá, Yucatán, Mexico, which Kilmartin mapped in the early 1920s. In addition to Kilmartin's Yucatán diaries of 1923 and 1924, the collection includes original correspondence between Kilmartin and Sylvanus G. Morley setting up the Carnegie Institution of Washington's work in Yucatán. 

In 2001, other noteworthy gifts came to the Center for Maya Research. Ian Graham of the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions project, Harvard University, presented the library with manuscripts related to the Dupaix expedition of 1805 in Mexico, along with correspondence and other manuscript material of the early nineteenth century pertaining to the Latour-Allard collection of Mexican antiquities. In addition to these treasures were several annotated sketches of artifacts by Jean Frederic Waldeck. Later Graham presented the Library with the 1834 manuscript of Waldeck's Description de Yucatan, two drawings by Frederick Catherwood, and a lengthy letter written to Lord Kingsborough in 1836 describing the ruins of Palenque.

Also in 2001, Lawrence G. Desmond of Palo Alto, California, generously donated his collection of the photographic images, mainly of Chichén Itzá and other archaeological sites of the northern part of the Yucatán Peninsula, made by Augustus Le Plongeon (1826-1908). This body of material consists of some 4,000 separate items—archival copies of negatives and prints, along with a detailed catalog of the collection compiled by Desmond over the past two decades.

The Library Annex contains a fully equipped workshop as well as a 40 x 24-foot conference room capable of comfortably holding up to 24 people. The room accommodates presentations based on slides or digital imagery, and also contains facilities for drafting and mailing.

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