David R. Wilcox “Frank Hamilton Cushing as a Professional Archaeologist in the 1880s and Anthropology at the 1893 World’s Fair”



•Beginning in 1983, Curtis M. Hinsley, Jr., and David R. Wilcox set out to edit and publish a seven-volume documentary history of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Project sponsored by Mary Hemenway of Boston and led by Frank Hamilton Cushing, 1886-1889.

•Wilcox’s excavations at an archaeological site in Tempe, AZ, for the ASU Department of Anthropology’s “Spring Dig” in 1979 that, we learned, Cushing had called “La Ciudad de los Hornos,” first led him into this project.

•Two volumes and a whole issue of the Journal of the Southwest have been published. A new book, Coming of Age in Chicago:  The 1893 World’s Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology has also now been published by the University of Nebraska Press; it includes long extracts from Cushing’s diary from his time at the Fair.

•This talk reviews the current status of the documentary history project, explaining its significance to the history of American archaeology and anthropology, and discussing some of the findings so far achieved and others yet to be published.

Our Latest Book

•At the 1999 Society for American Archaeology annual meeting in Chicago we organized a symposium on Anthropology at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

•It took a long time, but now we have published a book entitled Coming of Age in Chicago:  The 1893 World’s Fair and the Coalescence of American Anthropology, 2016, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln.

•The book features seven original essays and an introduction and twelve documents from the time, including long extracts from Cushing’s diary of his time at the Fair, and a “Visual Interlude” of images from the Fair, including racy cartoons.

•We examine the trajectory of American anthropology before, during and after the Fair, to 1925, arguing that a consensus had formed by the time of the Fair about the proper domain of inquiry for American anthropology, now called the “four field” approach, including folk-lore.

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