William F. Foshag's papers, circa 1935-1949 : jade types.

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This folder is part of the papers of William F. Foshag (1894-1956). He was a geologist who specialized in the study of the geology and mineralogy of Mexico. In 1919 he became Assistant Curator at the United States National Museum's Division of Mineralogy and Petrology. From 1929 to 1941 he served as Curator of the Division of Physical and Chemical Geology (Systematic and Applied), and from 1929 to 1948 was also Curator of the Division of Mineralogy and Petrology. From 1948 to 1956, Foshag was Head Curator of the Department of Geology and Acting Curator of the Division of Mineralogy and Petrology. Between 1926 and 1941, Foshag made several collecting trips to Mexico under the auspices of the Smithsonian's Roebling Fund. While serving as a representative of the United States Geological Survey in its cooperative work with the Mexican government, Foshag was able to study the eruption of the Paricutin Volcano in 1943. He made subsequent visits to Paricutin in 1944 and 1945 to observe the volcano. In 1949, Foshag was commissioned by the Guatemalan government to survey ancient jade objects from Central America. The present folder includes handwritten descriptions by W. F. Foshag of different types of jade. Foshag mentions the Rossbach Collection (of the Chichicastenango Regional Museum in Guatemala) about the Type III jade. He also describes a Type IV jade (cf SIA 2011-0946), and Type VII. Included are annotated typewritten texts in English and Spanish with references about jade trade, value, and the Tribute Roll of Montezuma.

Date Range


Start Date


End Date


Access Information

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  • Mineralogy--Mexico
  • Jade art objects--Central America
  • Jade




  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes
  • Research notes

Accession #

SIA Acc. 91-144

Collection name

William F. Foshag papers, circa 1935-1949

Physical Description

1 folder

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives


Box 2, folder 15