Skip to main content

Paul Reiter Collection

Identifier: Coll 0032

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 school. 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 maps;

Language of Materials



Organized into 4 series: Series 1: Reiter Notebooks; Series 2: Professional Papers and Correspondence; Series 3: Photographs; Series 4: Personal Papers


Winifred Stamm Reiter
Finding Aid: Paul Reiter Collection
Coll 0032
Shukla, Rita; Wehling, Alice; Ranney, Amelia Chaco Culture National Historical Park, National Park Service,
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the NPS Chaco Culture National Historical Park Repository

Chaco Culture NHP & Aztec Ruins NM Museum & Archives Program
Hibben Center Rm 307 - MSC01 1050
450 University Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87106 USA