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Frederick A. Peterson Photograph Collection

Identifier: PICT-000-518

Scope and Content

The collection contains photographs that document the anthropological and archaeological studies carried out in Mexico by pre-Columbianist Frederick Peterson. Peterson conducted much of his work under the auspices of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, including a study to document pre-Columbian artifacts in private collections.

There are also photographs of Kickapoo Indians, Mesoamerican Indians, and scenes of Mexico City and Mexican churches, as well as personal photographs related to Peterson, his family, and friends.

The 2020 addition contains the majority of the field sheets from the 1952 field season research grant Peterson obtained under the Wenner-Gren Foundation, which are organized by the film roll number given to them by Peterson. The material processed in 2020 also contains film transparencies from Peterson's lecture materials and personal travel, family life, and other archaeological work. More information on Peterson's Wenner-Gren research and other archaeological research is available in the Metropolitan Museum and Wenner-Gren archives and may also be available Museo Nacional Arqueologia archives.


  • 1930-1985

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Mr. Peterson's personal photographs located in folders 1-9 are under no institutional restriction. Copyright claimed by Metropolitan Museum in N.Y. on all other photographs.

Collection is open for research. Advance notice to the Pictorial Archivist is required to view the films to allow for reformatting.


Frederick A. Peterson, born in 1920, earned a M.A. in Anthropology and Latin American Studies from the University of the Americas (known as as Mexico City College until a name change in 1963) in 1949. Much of his professional career was spent in field excavations and expeditions in Mexico. In addition, he was an instructor at Mexico City College, a special lecturer at the University of Houston summer session in Mexico, field assistant in ethnography at the Milwaukee Public Museum, a staff archaeologist with the New World Archaeological Foundation, an Associate Professor (1964-1985) and Director of Latin American Studies at West Virginia Wesleyan College (1985-2006), where he worked for over forty years, and a visiting professor at the University of the Americas. He was a fellow in the American Anthropological Association, the Institute Interamerican, and a member of several additional societies. Ancient Mexico, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons in 1959 stands out as one of Peterson's most well-known publications. Along with serving in the Army during WWII, he published and co-authored six books and published over forty articles, and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree. He passed away in Buckhannon, West Virginia in 2009.


4007 items (32 boxes) : 3,000 photographic prints, 1,000 film transparencies, and 7 films

Language of Materials



The collection contains photographs and field sheets that document the anthropological and archaeological studies carried out in Mexico by pre-Columbianist Frederick Peterson as well as some lecture images and personal photographs of pre-Columbian sites and Indigenous communities.

Physical Location

B2 and B3. Shelved by Pictorial Number.

Separated Material

Photographs separated from the Frederick A. Peterson Papers.

Processing Information

Boxes 1-25 were processed in 1996 and boxes 26-32 were processed in 2020.
Finding Aid of the Frederick A. Peterson Photograph Collection, 1930-1980
Edited Full Draft
Pictorial Collections Staff
© 2007, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131