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Abbie Boutelle Collection 1928.015
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Collection Details
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  • Scope and Content
  • Biography

  • Title:
    Identifier/Call Number: 1928.015
    Contributing Institution: San Diego Museum of Man
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.04 Linear feet (One album drawer and one oversize manuscript box)
    Date (inclusive): 1897-1922
    Abstract: This collection is made up of photographs of and by Mrs. Boutelle, and her friends and family. These black and white photographs are in albums that document the places and people that created the baskets and other artifacts that Mrs. Boutelle donated to the San Diego Museum of Man in 1928. The collection also includes correspondence from the Boutelle family to other collectors, previous attempts to catalogue the collection, original note books from the collector, various price tags from the original baskets, and other items related to Mrs. Boutelle and her basket collection.
    creator: Boutelle, Abbie, 1846-1928
    creator: Boutelle, Thomas

    Scope and Content

    This collection is made up of photographs of and by Mrs. Boutelle, and her friends and family, as well as albums filled with black and white images that document the places and people that created the baskets. Many of the pictures are 3.5” x 4.5” and are black and white images. The albums are kept in Abbie Boutelle’s original order. The collection is divided into several categories: Photographs, Correspondence, Artifacts/Notebooks, Old Cataloging Materials, and Miscellaneous. The collection also includes some high resolution scans of items in the original collection. These scans are intended to give a quick overview of the breadth of the collection and not to catalogue the collection as a whole. As a result the scans are not included on this finding aid.


    Abbie Boutelle was born around 1846 and married Thomas Boutelle March 5, 1868 in Clinton MA. The couple moved to San Diego in 1895. Mrs. Boutelle was a photographer and a collector of Native American-made baskets. Around the turn of the 19th century, Mrs. Boutelle and her husband, both prominent San Diegans, took several trips to the Native American reservations in and around San Diego County. On these outings the couple would often provide the Native Americans with “supplies and luxuries” that the government did not offer (Black, 1913). Mrs. Boutelle would obtain baskets for her collection on these outings either from trade or direct purchase. According to Ken Hedges, Emeritus Curator of California Collections at the San Diego Museum of Man, Mrs. Boutelle "kept a daily diary of a wagon trip made in 1902, and did important anthropological work without even knowing it" (UCSD, 1990). Mrs. Boutelle died in Clinton, Iowa on January 4, 1928. Abbie Boutelle bequeathed her Basket collection along with her notes and photo albums related to the basket collection to the San Diego Museum (now the San Diego Museum of Man).