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Department of Anthropology records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ua01302

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the Department of Anthropology’s course materials, correspondences, and findings obtained in the field spanning roughly the second half of the 20th century. The majority of the collection consists of course materials such as syllabi, handouts, and exams. Much of the fieldwork material consists of projects undertaken in Minnesota, though some encompass neighboring states. The latter portion of the collection contains charcoal illustrations relating to biological anthropology that were produced with assistance from the Works Progress Administration.


  • 1926-1999


Conditions Governing Access

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

The University of Minnesota’s Department of Anthropology, one of the oldest in the country, was founded by anthropologist, Albert Ernest Jenks, in 1918 (1). Jenks began teaching at the University of Minnesota in 1906 as an Assistant Professor of Sociology (2) under the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. On November 8, 1918, after the recommendation by the College of Science, Literature, and the Arts, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology was split in two and Jenks was appointed as Chairman of the Department of Anthropology (3).

On June 16, 1938, after 20 years of directing the department, Jenks retired from his position and continued as a Professor Emeritus (4). For the next twenty years, the Department of Anthropology remained small and it was not until the 1960s that its number in faculty expanded. At that time, the department also shifted their focus from the classroom to the community, by performing fieldwork regionally, nationally and internationally (1). Professors Lloyd A. Wilford and Elden Johnson were known for implementing this educational tactic.

In the 1980s, Ford Hall, where the Department of Anthropology was located, was in need of repair. And in June of 1988, the Ford Hall Remodeling Project was approved and construction began (5). By the 1990s, the Department of Anthropology was encouraging students to engage in archaeological excavation experience outside of the United States. In 1996 it was reported that about ninety percent of cultural anthropology Ph.D. students performed at least one to two years of field work in an international country (6).

Ultimately, it was through the work of professors E. Adamson Hoebel and Robert Spencer, that a four-field approach to anthropology was established during their tenure. This approach helps ensure that all students are trained in social and cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, linguistic anthropology and archaeology (1). This outlook and approach was vital for the department’s development and is still utilized to this day.


(1) "History," College of Liberal Arts

(2) Biennial Report of the Board of Regents, 1905 - 1906

(3) The President’s Report, 1918-1919

(4) Minutes: Board of Regents' Meetings and Committee Meetings: June 13, 1938

(5) Minutes: Board of Regents Meeting and Regents Committee Meetings: June 9-10, 1988

(6)CLA Today, Summer 1996


17.86 Cubic Feet (13 record boxes, 1 hollinger box and 1 oversized box)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence, course materials, and field reports from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Archaeology.


The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series 1: Course Material, 1966-1999
  • Series 2: Fieldwork, 1926-1998
    • Subseries 2.1: Surveys and Reports, 1926-1998
    • Subseries 2.2: Images and Maps, 1933-1983
  • Series 3: Administrative Material and Correspondence, 1934-1997
  • Series 4: Drawings, Undated

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was acquired in two accessions from the Department of Anthropology. The first accession was transfered to the University Archives on January 24, 1973. The second accession was transfered on May 20, 2015 with the help of Matt Edling and included 14 record boxes.

Processing Information

Processing completed with funds from the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society (2021-2022).

Department of Anthropology records
Zoltan Lohse
September - November 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area