Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7084
Holmes, William Henry, 1846-1933
William Henry Holmes Papers, 1870-1931
William Henry Holmes (1846-1933) was an anthropologist, archeologist, artist, and geologist. Born near Cadiz, Ohio, Holmes graduated in 1870 from McNeely Normal School in Hopedale. After teaching for a brief period, Holmes left Ohio for Washington, D.C., where he studied art under Theodore Kauffman. In Washington, Holmes became acquainted with the Smithsonian and soon began sketching natural history specimens for staff members of the National Museum.
In 1872, Holmes was appointed artist-topographer to the United States survey of the territories under Ferdinand V. Hayden, and in 1874 was appointed assistant geologist. Holmes' survey in New Mexico and Arizona eventually led to his career in archeology and his interest in the cliff-dwellings of the southwest.
Holmes joined the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1880 and remained with the survey until 1889 when he transferred to the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). Between 1882 and 1889, Holmes was also honorary curator of aboriginal ceramics, United States National Museum (USNM).
Holmes left the BAE to serve as head curator of anthropology at the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago, 1894-1897, and subsequently held positions as head curator of the Department of Anthropology, USNM, 1897-1902, and chief of the BAE, 1902-1909. Holmes served as curator of the National Gallery of Art from 1907 to 1920, and as head curator of the Department of Anthropology from 1910 to 1920. When the National Gallery of Art (now known as the National Collection of Fine Arts) became a separate bureau of the Smithsonian, Holmes severed his ties with the USNM and served as director of the National Gallery from 1920 until his retirement in 1932.
These papers include Holmes' personal and professional correspondence, including correspondence between other scientists, which was collected by Holmes in connection with his research. The correspondence mainly documents Holmes' research in American ethnology and archeology but also includes material dealing with international scientific meetings and professional conflicts. Also included are photographs; tracings and sketches; field notes; notes; biographical information; catalogues; published materials; book reviews; a list of Holmes' published works; and memorabilia. A microfilm copy of Holmes' "Random Records of a Lifetime," Volumes 1-16, is also available. Other material pertaining to Holmes may be found in the National Anthropological Archives and the National Collection of Fine Arts Archives. Correspondents in this collection include Cyrus Adler, Alexander Agassiz; American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Hector Alliot; Juan B. Anbrosetti; Allison V. Armour; Louis H. Ayme; William H. Babcock; Spencer F. Baird; Frank C. Baker; Marcus Baker; Charles C. Baldwin; Henry Balfour; Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier; Edwin Atlee Barber; Robert Barclay; W. C. Barnard; Adolph Bastian; Ward Batchelor; Albert Smith Bickmore; Hiram Bingham; Eugene Boban; Charles Pershing Bowditch; David Boyle; Adela C. Breton; Daniel Garrison Brinton; Charles E. Brown; P. A. Calhoun; J. McKeen Cattel; Thomas Chrowder Chamberlain; George B. Chittenden; Mrs. Calvin Coolidge (Ref.); Elliot Coues; John Merle Coulter; W. S. Cox; James Edward Cree; C. (?) Cresson; Rudolph Cronau; Steuart Culin; Frank Hamilton Cushing; Charles C. Darwin; Watson Davies; William Morris Davies; John William Dawson; Frederick Samuel Dellenbaugh; A. E. Douglass; William B. Douglass; Alexander Wilson Drake; Sylvia H. Farabee; C. Walter Fewkes; Field Colombian Museum (Ref.); Field Museum of National History (Ref.); Alice Cunningham Fletcher; Robert Fletcher; A. D. Foote; Gerard Fowke; Andrew S. Fuller; Grove Karl Gilbert; George Brown Goode; Adolphus Washington Greeley; Stanberry Hagar; Horatio Emmons Hale; Lorenzo J. Hatch; Frederick Vandeveer Hayden; Edgar L. Hewett; George G. Heye; F. F. Hilden; Robert T. Hill; Romyn Hitchcock; Frederick Webb Hodge; William Jacob Holland; William Henry Holmes; William Temple Hornaday; Walter Hough; Illinois State Laboratory of Natural History; International Congress of Americanists; William Henry Jackson (Ref.); Morris Ketchum Jesup; Charles Colcock Jones, Jr.; T. A. Joyce; George Kennan; Alfred L. Kroeber; Henry B. Kummel; Samuel P. Langley; Nicolas Leon; Augustus Le Plongeon; Francis Leupp; Frederic B. Loomis; Edward Lovett; Carl Lumholz; Charles Fletcher Lummis; Theobert Maler; Otis Tufton Mason; Alfred P. Maudlay; H. R. McCalmont; Joseph Deakins McGuire; W. J. Merlin (?); Henry Chapman Mercer; Clinton Hart Merriam; John Campbell Merriam; George P. Merrill; Victor Mindeleff; Clarence Bloomfield Moore; Warren King Moorehead; M. Moreno; Edward Sylvester Morse; Charles Edward Munroe; Nadaillac; N. C. Nelson; Simon Newcomb; R. L. Packard; William N. Page; Pan American Union (Ref.); Francis H. Parsons; Robert Singleton Peabody (Ref.); Edmond N. Pease; Phillip Academy Department of Archeology; W. Hallett Phillips; F. Plancarte; John Wesley Powell; W. H. Pratt; Frederick Ward Putnam; Frederick Leslie Ransome; Richard Rathbun; Charles Rau; William Woodville Rockhill; Kermit Roosevelt (Ref.); Theodore Roosevelt (Ref.); Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (Ref.); Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt (Ref.); Leo S. Rowe; H. N. Rust; F. W. Sardeson; Marshall Howard Saville; Elias Howard Sellards; George B. Shields; Allen Shoenfield; Stephen Chapman Simms; Frederic James Volney Skiff; Harlan I. Smith; Rene Ravenel Snowden; Javier Vial Solac; Southwest Museum (Los Angeles) (Ref.); Robert Edwards Carter Stearns (Ref.); Matilda Cox Stevenson; James Terry; Cyrus Thomas; Gates P. Thurston; Frederick William True; Ross Turner; Charles Richard Van Hise; Charles D. Walcott; David White; Charles C. Willoughby; John Wilson; Thomas Wilson; John H. Winser; S. G. Worth; T. J. Worthington; George Frederick Wright; Henry Crecy Yarrow; Albert S. Yatsches; Yellowstone National Park (Ref.); George Frederick Zimmer.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Holmes, William Henry, 1846-1933
- Kauffman, Theodore
- Hayden, F. V. (Ferdinand Vandeveer), 1829-1887
- United States National Museum
- Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (U.S.)
- Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology
- Field Columbian Museum
- United States National Museum. Dept. of Anthropology
- National Collection of Fine Arts (U.S.)
- National Museum of American Art (U.S.)
- Geological Survey (U.S.)
- Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology
- National Gallery of Art (U.S.)
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7084, William Henry Holmes Papers