By Lesley Parilla, Field Book Project
The #ManyHatsofHolmes Transcription Center campaign has been a wonderful opportunity to bring attention to and increase discovery of Holmes' diverse work. Wonder how we chose the materials for the Transcription Center? All of them were cataloged as part of the Smithsonian Field Book Project. The Project began with the purpose of identifying and describing field books across the Smithsonian Institution, including National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution Archives, and Smithsonian Libraries. Holmes' papers are an excellent example of how Institution initiatives like the Field Book Project and Transcription Center can virtually reconnect materials from the same creator or event that reside in different departments.
Holmes' Random Records of a Lifetime, 1846-1931 at Smithsonian Libraries
Holmes' autobiography is unique even among the many types of field books cataloged by the Project. The Field Book Project has a broad definition of "field book" for the purposes of selection and inclusion. We consider a field book to be material that describes the events leading up to and including the collection of specimens or observations during field research. The volumes were included for two major reasons. First, Holmes included numerous original materials in each volume -- field drawings, documents, correspondence, and photographs, just to name a few. Secondly, the Project catalogs material that contains portions of field notes, if the original field notes are known to be lost or destroyed, as noted in Holmes' own text.
Ten volumes were selected and cover his fieldwork as a geologist during the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories organized by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden, his growing interest and study of anthropology, personal travel to Europe, work at the Field Museum in Chicago, and his subsequent return to the Smithsonian Institution. Among these remembrances, there are original field drawings, photographs of survey participants, as well as personal details and humor that have made his work so popular with Transcription Center volunpeers. Below are a few examples.
|Page 123 from volume 2 of Random Records of a Lifetime, 1846-1931. American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, Smithsonian Libraries. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/209584#page/259/mode/1up|
|Page 94 from Volume 2 of Random Records of a Lifetime, 1846-1931. American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, Smithsonian Libraries. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/209584#page/201/mode/1up|
|From Volume 5, Random Records of a Lifetime, 1846-1931. American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, Smithsonian Libraries. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library at http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/214053#page/257/mode/1up|
Field notes of William Henry Holmes at Smithsonian Institution Archives
The field notes at Smithsonian Institution Archives are part of William Henry Holmes personal papers, 1870-1931. The field notes contain drawings, diagrams, and text that document his archaeological work in South America during 1884 - 1916. Several of the field notes relate to Holmes' travel to Mexico and Guatemala during a trip in 1895 for the Chicago Field Museum after he became the Museum's first curator of anthropology. Holmes and Allison Armour, a philanthropist, organized the expedition which took place not long after the Museum as established in 1893. Holmes went to historic sites in the Yucatan Peninsula including Chichen Itza to study the architecture. Below are a few examples of the drawings and studies Holmes created during the 1895 trip.
|Page 16 of "Cenotes at Chichen Itza, Mexico, 1895." Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU007084, Box Box 3. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/213332#page/22/mode/1up|
|Page 68 of "Palenque, Mexico, 1895." Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU007084, Box 3. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/214117#page/68/mode/1up|
|Page 54 from "Monte Alban (Oaxaca), Mexico, 1895." Smithsonian Institution Archives, RU007084, Box Box 3. Available at Biodiversity Heritage Library. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/213330#page/54/mode/1up|
To learn more about Holmes and his work, we encourage you to check out the posts on the blogs of Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library and Smithsonian Institution Archives, part of the #ManyHatsofHolmes campaign.
Biodiversity Heritage Library:
Smithsonian Institution Archives: