The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Wisdom is in the head, and not in the beard...
A beard that measures 17 ½ ft. in length, if it does not contain wisdom, surely generates curiosity. Pictured above are J. Lawrence Angel (Curator of Physical Anthropology, 1962-1986,) T. Dale Stewart (Curator of Physical Anthropology, 1931-1997, Director of the National Museum of Natural History, 1962-1965), and Lucile St. Hoyme, who is “wearing” the beard of Hans Langseth. The beard, which was donated to the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in 1967 by Russell Langseth, continues to hold a world record for its extraordinary length and is available for viewing by appointment at the museum’s Department of Anthropology.
Naturally, the beard in this image immediately draws your attention. Thus, I had to learn more not only about it, but also about the playful looking woman with the cat glasses, Lucile St. Hoyme. Lucile St. Hoyme began her 40 year career at the Smithsonian in 1942 as a clerk and stenographer to Aleš Hrdlička, the first Curator of Physical Anthropology at the United States National Museum (now the National Museum of National History.) Ms. St. Hoyme, through her devoted work ethic and unquenchable appetite for knowledge, quickly became an asset to the Division of Physical Anthropology. She participated in her first Smithsonian archaeological dig in 1947-1948 near Valley City, ND as a student at George Washington University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology in 1950, and a Master’s of Science in Biology degree in 1953. Ms. St. Hoyme was promoted to Museum Aid in 1955, and again in 1956 to Museum Anthropological Aid. In 1957, Lucile received a National Science Foundation research grant for study at Oxford University, where, in 1963, she was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology degree. Lucille returned to Washington in 1960 and resumed her responsibilities in the Department of Anthropology, which included becoming the department’s first radiographer. She was promoted again in 1961 to Museum Specialist and in 1963, with her PH. D. in hand, was elevated to Associate Curator of Physical Anthropology. Although she formally retired from the Smithsonian in 1982, she received emeritus status and continued her relationship with the Department of Anthropology as a scientific contributor until her passing in 2001. Anthropology may have been her chosen profession; however, education was her passion. Dr. St. Hoyme taught anthropology courses at American University and George Washington University, and was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and Howard University from 1964–2001. She also collaborated with J. Lawrence Angel, aka “Sherlock Bones,” on several forensic investigative cases for the FBI. I have only scratched the surface of the extensive career of this remarkable scientist. Lucille St. Hoyme participated in several archaeological expeditions and studies, and there are numerous publications which bear her name. I hope this brief account of her life has sparked your curiosity, and encourage you to consider a more detailed biography of St. Hoyme by David R. Hunt, Richard T. Koritzer, and Mary Lucas Powell available here.