Manuscripts on Cultural Anthropology, 1931-1992

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Manuscripts on Cultural Anthropology is a digital collection of 204 titles encompassing a significant body of field-based research and other primary materials documenting over 100 Mesoamerican languages and their change over time. The collection of unpublished and some published works contains vocabulary lists, dictionaries, grammars, corpora of texts and elicited sentences, concordances, and guides to holdings of other research collections, as well as supporting ethnographic and cultural materials, including field notes. The digital collection is a subset of the larger collection of microfilms entitled Microfilm Collection of Manuscripts on Cultural Anthropology (MCMCA), a microfilm series in anthropology that was started by Norman McQuown, Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Chicago. For its time, the microfilm collection was a pioneer effort to preserve and disseminate a body of valuable scholarly material that is normally unpublished.

The digitization of the text-based Mesoamerican languages portion of the collection, McQuown’s main area of interest, was funded by the National Science Foundation in 2010 as part of a joint project with the University of Chicago Library, the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS), and Humanities Computing. The National Endowment for the Humanities has supported the digitization of the Mesoamerican linguistic resources (the audio recordings) related to this collection, as part of their Endangered Languages Program. Online bibliographic records for each title note when an accompanying audio recording exists.

A Guide to the Microfilm Collection of Manuscripts on Cultural Anthropology was produced over the years as the text-based titles were microfilmed. It is divided into two parts. Part 1 contains the listing (citation or place holder) for all 411 items in the collection, assembled between the early 1930s and mid-1990s. Entries in the Guide include additional information about the work, written by Norman McQuown, not found in the bibliographic record in the Library’s online catalog. Part 2 is a set of eight indexes and a brief list of abbreviations.

Additional related materials can also be found in the Special Collections Research Center in the Norman McQuown Papers (McQuown, Norman A. Papers, 1850-2004) which contain original copies of some of the digitized documents, and possibly different versions of the texts, and supplementary material such as notes and correspondence. Search the finding aid for ‘MCMCA’ to find these related materials. The McQuown Papers also incorporate the papers of Manuel Andrade, who is also well represented in the digital collection. The finding aid for the Chiapas Project Records also includes materials found in in the digital collection (Part I, Series III) (University of Chicago, Department of Anthropology, Chiapas Project, Records, 1942-circa 1990s).

Information about the digitized audio recordings is provided via the University of Chicago Digital Media Archives (DMA).

Use/Rights Statement

The works in this collection were contributed with the intent of preserving and making this body of valuable scholarly material widely available. The University of Chicago Library has made digital copies available and encourages the use of these historical resources for educational and scholarly purposes. Use of these digital images requires that the Library receive credit as holder of the physical property represented by the digital images. 

Regarding publication projects, materials are subject to U.S. copyright law. It is the user’s sole responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permission to reproduce or publish from any holders of rights for the original materials.

The University of Chicago Library appreciates hearing from anyone who may have additional information about any of the works in this digital collection.

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Access Information

View Guide to the Microfilm Collection
View Online Collection (for unaffiliated users)