Scope and Contents
The Paul Reiter Collection contains material related to all aspects of Reiter’s
career with the University of New Mexico field schools and the Museum of
New Mexico. A large part of the collection consists of the Reiter Notebooks, a
set of bound volumes containing research material accumulated by Paul Reiter.
These Notebooks include excavation reports, field reports, student papers, field
notes, lecture notes, correspondence, artifact lists, field data forms,
autographed notes, graphs, photographs, drawings, oversize maps, and an
oversize blueprint created by students of the UNM Chaco Canyon field schools
between 1929 and 1938. The Notebooks also contain material related to
Reiter’s position as curator at the Museum of New Mexico, including records
of loans, collections inventories, artifact lists and descriptions, catalog codes,
and correspondence regarding acquisitions, as well as Paul Reiter’s personal
notes, research material, M.A. thesis, and notes related to the UNM Jemez field
The collection also contains Paul Reiter’s personal collection of photographs,
which includes negatives, prints, photocards, and interpositives of UNM field
school excavations at Chaco Canyon between 1929 and 1941; aerial
photographs of Chaco Canyon; and an album containing copies of historic
photographs, newspaper and magazine clippings, and a hand-drawn map. The
collection also includes a bound journal from Reiter’s time at the Museum of
New Mexico containing handwritten research notes, personal notes, object
lists, addresses, drawings, and charts. The collection also includes publications
on archaeology and ethnology collected by Reiter during his time as a
professor at UNM.
1870-1942 (Bulk 1929-1938)
Biographical / Historical
Paul Reiter was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 11, 1909, the son of a Presbyterian minister.
Reiter’s career in Chaco Canyon began in 1925, when he became a part-time driver for Edgar L. Hewett,
director of the Museum of New Mexico and School of American Research and head of the Anthropology
Department at the University of New Mexico. Reiter was a student of Hewett’s first archaeological field
schools at Chaco Canyon from 1929 to 1932; he then stayed on as a faculty member, serving as the
assistant director of the 1933 field school. During this time, Reiter received his B.A. in Anthropology in
1931 and his M.A. in Anthropology in 1933, both from the University of New Mexico. During his time
with the Chaco Canyon field schools, Reiter developed a life-long interest in the site of Chetro Ketl.
Reiter conducted excavations at Chetro Ketl as a field school student and wrote his 1933 M.A. thesis on
the history of the site and its excavation.
From 1931 to 1938, Reiter served as Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of New Mexico in Santa Fe.
As curator, Reiter significantly improved the museum’s record-keeping system and developed better
methods for cataloging and tracking artifacts from Chaco and sites throughout New Mexico and the
Southwest. During Hewett’s time as director of the Museum of New Mexico, the School of American
Research, and UNM’s Department of Anthropology, the administration and staffs of all three institutions
were largely intertwined. In 1938, the staffs were officially separated and Reiter left the museum to work
full-time for UNM. From 1938 to 1943, Reiter was an instructor in the UNM Department of
Anthropology. Reiter continued to be involved with the UNM field school throughout the 1930s and
1940s. He taught summer field schools at Chaco Canyon and Jemez, supervised the excavations of several
BC sites in Chaco from 1940 to 1942, and served as director of the 1947 field school.
Reiter’s later career was marked by numerous academic and professional accomplishments. From 1940 to
1941, Reiter studied in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley. In
1943, he became a Thaw Fellow at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and served as a Research
Associate at the Chemical Warfare Service Development Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. In 1946, Reiter received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He then became an Associate
Professor of Anthropology at UNM. In 1953, Reiter received a Ford Foundation Fellowship in Human
Biology from the Universities of Michigan and Chicago.
Throughout his life, Paul Reiter held a variety of professional and personal interests. In addition to his
work as an anthropologist, Reiter served as a building foreman for the WPA. Reiter also had an
enthusiastic interest in photography and took and collected many photographs during his time with the
UNM field schools and the Museum of New Mexico.
In 1933, Reiter married Winifred Stamm (1909-1990), a fellow anthropologist who also attended the early
summer field schools at Chaco Canyon. Paul and Winifred Reiter had two children, Gordon and Ann
Reiter. Paul Reiter died on January 10, 1953 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
7.4 Linear Feet (11 document boxes; 1 OS box 16x20"; 1 binder box 12x11"; 1 flat
box 12x15"; 1 flat box 14.5x11.5"; 3 photo boxes 5x8") : 111 negatives; 546 prints; 304 photocards; 12 interpositives; 6 oversize
Language of Materials