Finding Aid to the M. R. (Mark Raymond) Harrington Papers MS.214

Holly Rose Larson
Library and Archives at the Autry
2012 August 17
210 South Victory Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Contributing Institution: Library and Archives at the Autry
Title: M. R. (Mark Raymond) Harrington Papers
Creator: Southwest Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Creator: Amsden, Charles Avery
Creator: Rush, Art
Creator: Hodge, Frederick Webb
Creator: Harrington, M. R. (Mark Raymond)
Creator: Scrugham, James G. (James Graves)
Creator: Perkins, Fay
Creator: Walsh, Marie T.
Creator: Thurston, Emory W.
Creator: Wheeler, S. M.
Identifier/Call Number: MS.214
Physical Description: 4.6 Linear Feet (9 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Date (inclusive): 1919-1971
Date (bulk): 1919-1963
Abstract: Mark Raymond Harrington (1882 July 6 - 1971 June 30), noted anthropologist and archaeologist, was curator of archaeology at the Southwest Museum from 1928 to 1964 and discovered ancient Pueblo structures near Overton, Nevada and Little Lake, California. Harrington is regarded as a pioneer in the field of Native American anthropology and archaeology. This collection includes both personal and professional papers of M. R. Harrington, mostly from 1919-1963, as well as memorial papers from 1971. Papers in this collection include correspondence, manuscripts, reports, site listings, and site survey forms from Harrington's archaeological pursuits, expeditions, and Harrington's involvement with Works Progress Administration projects with the National Park Service and Federal Art Projects from 1935-1938.
Language of Material: English .
  • Biographical Materials and Personal Papers, 1919-1971
  • Professional Papers, 1924-1958
  • California Archaeological Expedition Field Notes, Documents, and Reports,1924-1958
  • Nevada Archaeological Expedition Field Notes, Documents, and Reports, 1924-1958


Donation from M. R. Harrington, 1938 December and circa 1946. Marie T. Walsh manuscript donated, 1951 October.

Preferred Citation

M. R. (Mark Raymond) Harrington Papers, 1919-1971, Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles; MS.214; [folder number] [folder title][date].

Scope and Contents

This collection includes both personal and professional papers of M. R. Harrington, mostly from 1919-1963. Personal papers range from 1941-1963 and include correspondence, ephemera, and biographical newspaper clippings, as well as a memorial newspaper clipping and Masterkey memorial article from 1971. Professional papers are dated 1919-1961 and include a bibliography of Harrington's published writings, book reviews, correspondence regarding museum business and scholarly pursuits in archaeology, manuscripts for fiction articles, manuscripts for articles from 1934-1959 dealing with archaeology and Harrington's work with George Heye, manuscripts by Harrington's wife Marie T. Walsh, and newspaper clippings of Harrington's areas of professional interests. This collection also includes edited drafts, illustrations, layout notes, and mock-ups for the 1930 publication Southwest Museum Papers, no. 4: Archaeological Expeditions in Southern Nevada.
Files on Harrington's involvement with National Park Service projects include correspondence, notes, lists, a bibliography, and reports regarding the Federal Art Project at the Southwest Museum from 1936-1937 as well as National Park Service-funded expeditions from 1935-1938.
This collection also includes papers from some of Harrington's archaeological expeditions, including Lower Moapa Valley, Nevada, 1929; Boulder Dam, Nevada 1933; Gypsum Cave, Nevada, 1933-1934; the National Park Service expedition to the "Lost City" and Mesa House of Overton, Nevada, 1935-1936; Borax Lake, 1945; Tule Springs and Little Lake, Nevada, from 1947-1956; and Irvine Ranch, California, 1952-1953. The documents in these expedition files may include drawings of objects from the sites, field notes, financial records, hand-drawn maps, measurements, newspaper clippings, notes, permits, photographs, reports, site listings, and site survey forms by Harrington and by other participants on the expeditions.

Related Archival Material

Federal Art Project at the Southwest Museum Records, 1936-1939, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum of the American Westr, Los Angeles; MS.252.
Mark Raymond Harrington manuscript collection in the archives of the National Museum of the American Indian, Cultural Resource Center, Suitland, Maryland
Mark Raymond Harrington Photograph Collection, 1899-1947. National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, MRC-541, Cultural Resources Center, 4220 Silver Hill Road, Suitland, Maryland 20746
M. R. Harrington, Report of work in Nevada, 1924, Reference file, 1828-1962, Records of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation Records, NMAI.AC.001; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Southwest Museum Institutional Archives, 1901-2008, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles; MS.3.

Processing History

Initial processing and inventory completed by Braun Library staff. Biographical note created by Maritxu de Alaiza, 2012 April 5. Processing and finding aid completed by Holly Rose Larson, NHPRC Processing Archivist, 2012 August 17, made possible through grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commissions (NHPRC).

Biographical Note

Mark Raymond Harrington (born 1882 July 6, died 1971 June 30), noted anthropologist and archaeologist, was curator of archaeology at the Southwest Museum from 1928 to 1964 and discoverer of ancient Pueblo structures near Overton, Nevada and Little Lake, California. Harrington is regarded as a pioneer in the field of Native American anthropology and archaeology.
Harrington was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan to Dr. Mark Waldron Harrington (an astronomer and meteorologist who later became President of the University of Washington and also served as the first civilian chief of the United States Weather Bureau beginning in 1891) and Rose Martha Smith Harrington, an avid ethnologist, writer, and translator of French works by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others.
Mark Raymond Harrington, commonly referred to as M.R. by his peers, discovered his interest in all things Native American at a young age. His first education about Native American people came to him through songs his grandmother sang to him, and later, when his family moved to Washington State, from members of the family of the Dwamish chief Seathl, for whom the city of Seattle is named. Another move, this time to Mt. Vernon, New York, prompted young Harrington to begin searching for old Native American campsites. His perseverance led him to several discoveries which he submitted to Dr. Frederick W. Putnam for authentication. Dr. Putnam was one of the widely-known anthropologists of the United States at the time and served as Curator of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History. This relationship led to employment at the Museum for Harrington while he was still in high school, and he worked there under the direction of Dr. Putnam.
After four years, Harrington went on to the University of Michigan as a scholarship student, but eventually transferred to Columbia University, where he studied under influential figures such as Adolph Bandelier and Franz Boas and earned a Master's Degree in Anthropology in 1908. After completing his degree, Harrington worked as a field collector for Covert's Indian Store in New York City. His work soon caught the attention of Dr. George Gustav Heye, whose extensive collection of Native American artifacts became the core of the National Museum of the American Indian. In 1908, Heye offered Harrington a staff position at the Museum of the American Indian and his career in anthropology truly took hold.
From 1911-1915 Harrington was assistant curator at the University of Pennsylvania Museum. From 1916-1917 he conducted archeological surveys in Cuba and Arkansas, after which he spent a short time in the U.S. Army during the First World War. After his return in 1919, he started a series of archeological surveys in Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Texas. Harrington continued his work for Heye as an archaeologist, ethnologist, field collector, and curator, primarily along the Eastern Seaboard, in the South, Midwest, West, Cuba and Ecuador, from 1908 to 1928.
Harrington was active in almost every region of the United States, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean and visited 43 distinct tribes in a twenty-year period. Harrington had the distinct and unique opportunity to live among these various tribes, studying their customs and history, and developing friendships with them thereby earning several nicknames such as Jiskogo (The Robin) from the Oneidas who adopted him into the Turtle Clan; Hosaiatuggeteh (He Who Carries a Snake) from the Senecas; Wahope (War Bundle) as the Osage knew him, from his interest in medicine objects; and Tonashi (The Badger) for his work in archaeology, by the Zuni.
In 1928 Harrington moved to Southern California and began work at the Southwest Museum of the American Indian where he was employed as a Director of Research. By 1930 he was appointed curator, a position he held for 34 years until his retirement in 1964 as curator emeritus. While at the Southwest Museum, Harrington continued his field work, which was not confined to studying the cultures of present-day Native Americans, but encompassed prehistory as well. In Nevada, he excavated Lovelock Cave in 1929, Gypsum Cave in 1930, and recovered the Lost City site in 1930-1932, where Harrington and his crew excavated 46 pit-houses and surface dwellings as well as numerous cists and granaries; and worked the great section of dry caves in Arkansas in 1925. All of these are landmarks of early archaeological investigation (Simpson, 1965). During this period, Harrington also researched Early Man with the explorations of desert sites at Pinto Basin, Little Lake, Tule Spring, Borax Lake and the Calico Mountain areas in California, from which remains were recovered dating to as early as 8,000-10,000 B.C. Harrington also worked with the Works Progress Administration on several projects during his tenure at the Southwest Museum, including archaeological expeditions between 1935 and 1938, and direction of the operations of the Federal Art Project at the Southwest Museum from 1936 to 1937.
Harrington's contributions to the fields of archaeology and ethnology were not limited to field work. He was also a prolific writer whose bibliography includes over 325 titles. His unpublished field notes were presented by Harrington to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation. A full listing of his published works is available in Marie Toma Harrington's biography, On the Trail of Forgotten People: A Personal Account of the Life and Career of Mark Raymond Harrington.
In 1904, Harrington married Alma Cocks, who died in 1914. Two years later he married Anna Alexander Johns. From this union came a son, M. R. Harrington's only child, Dr. Johns Heye Harrington, whose middle name honored Harrington's great friend Dr. Heye and whose first name was J. H. Harrington's mother's maiden name.
Following the death of his wife Anna in on 1927 August 13, M.R. returned to Nevada for field exploration; and in the next year married Edna Parker Carpenter, also known as Endeka or Nandaka. Endeka was the sister of Dr. Arthur C. Parker, the Seneca scholar who was Director of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences. Endeka died in 1948, and the next year Harrington married Marie Toma Walsh, with whom he lived in an adobe home of his own construction in Mission Hills, California, until his death in 1971. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1956 by Occidental College.
Since 1979 the Society for California Archaeology has awarded the The Mark Raymond Harrington Award in recognition of the contributions of individuals to site preservation and public archaeology.
Dockstader, F. J. (1972). "Mark Raymond Harrington," Indian Notes, 8(1), 26-27.
Hopkins A. D. & Evans, K. J. (1999). The first 100: Portraits of the men and women who shaped Las Vegas. Las Vegas, NV: Huntington Press.
Gulbranson, K., & San Fernando Valley Historical Society. (1970). Mark R. Harrington. Mission Hills, California: Library Committee, San Fernando Valley Historical Society.
Harrington, M. (1985). On the trail of forgotten people: A personal account of the life and career of Mark Raymond Harrington. Reno, Nevada: Great Basin Press.
Simpson, R. D. E. (1965). "Mark Raymond Harrington: Father of Nevada archeology," Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 8(3-4). 5-23.
Smithsonian Institution. (2011). Mark Raymond Harrington photograph collection, 1899-1947. National Museum of the American Indian Archives Center, MRC-54. Retrieved from

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Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry Museum of the American West. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Research Services and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry Museum of the American West as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

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Subjects and Indexing Terms

Archaeological expeditions -- Nevada
Little Lake (Calif.)
Archaeological expeditions -- California
Gypsum Cave (Nev.)
Lincoln County (Nev.)
Clark County (Nev.)
Hoover Dam (Ariz. and Nev.)
Overton (Nev.)
Irvine Ranch (Calif.)
Valley of Fire (Nev.)
National Speleological Society
Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts, Inc.
American Indian Chicago Conference (1961 : University of Chicago)
Zuni Indians
San Fernando, Rey de España (Mission : San Fernando, Calif.)
Moapa Valley (Nev.)
Santa Ynez (Calif.)
Borax Lake (Calif.)
Santa Inés Mission (Solvang, Calif.)
Tule Springs (Nev.)
Kiliwa Indians
United States. National Park Service
Financial records


Biographical Materials and Personal Papers 1919-1971

Scope and Contents

Series includes biographical clippings documenting Harrington's archaeological files, marriage announcement, obituary, and personal correspondence. This series also includes ephemera material and newspaper articles collected by Harrington.

Professional Papers 1924-1958

Scope and Contents

This series includes correspondence, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, and other documents related to Harrington's professional activities in archaeology, ethnography, mission history, and preservation. Many items refer specifically to M.R. Harrington's Nevada expeditions and findings. Also included is a restoration plan and correspondence related to the San Fernando Mission and a manuscript written by Marie T. Walsh.

California Archaeological Expedition Field Notes, Documents, and Reports 1924-1958


Nevada Archaeological Expedition Field Notes, Documents, and Reports 1924-1958