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Le Plongeon (Augustus and Alice Dixon) Photographs
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon Photographs of Chichén Itza, Uxmal and Yucatán
    Date (inclusive): 1873-1910
    Number: 2007.R.8
    Creator/Collector: Le Plongeon, Augustus
    Physical Description: 46 photographs
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Photographs by Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon document Maya architecture and sculpture at the archaeological sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal in the Yucatán peninsula. Images of Yucatán towns, flora, fauna and peoples are also included in the collection.
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    Language: Collection material is in English.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    Augustus Le Plongeon was a medical doctor, photographer, antiquarian, and amateur archaeologist of French origins. In the early 1860s, after spending time in Chile and northern California, Le Plongeon moved to Lima, Peru, where he practiced medicine and photography, and became interested in Peruvian archaeology. On a trip to London he met and married Alice Dixon, daughter of the architectural photographer Henry Dixon. The couple returned to North America where they devoted their lives' work to excavating, documenting, and interpreting the Maya ruins and culture of the Yucatán peninsula. They spent over a decade exploring Yucatán and Central America, excavating at Chichén Itzá and Uxmal.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon Photographs of Chichén Itza, Uxmal and Yucatán, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. 2007.R.8.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 2007.

    Processing History

    Processed by Beth Ann Guynn in 2007. Finding aid encoded by Beth Ann Guynn and Linda Kleiger in 2014.

    Related Archival Materials

    The Getty Research Library holds the following collections of Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon and Le Plongeon-related materials: Views of Maya Ruins in the Yucatán, Special Collections accn. no. 96.R.137; Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon papers, 1763-1937, bulk 1860-1910, Special Collections accn. no. 2004.M.18; and the Lawrence Gustave Desmond papers relating to Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon, 1856-2007, Special Collections accn. no. 2013.M.12.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection of photographs by Augustus and Alice Dixon Le Plongeon documents Maya architecture and sculpture at the archaeological sites of Chichén Itzá and Uxmal in the Yucatán peninsula. Images of the towns, flora, fauna and peoples of Yucatán are also included. One photograph shows Alice Le Plongeon in front of the Pyramid of Kinich Kak Moo at Izamal. A late portrait of Alice Le Plongeon is also present.
    Photographs taken during the Le Plongeons's visits to Chichén Itzá between 1873 and 1883 include general views of Chichén Itzá, and views and details of the Upper and Lower Temples of the Jaguars, Las Monjas, La Iglesia, Akab-Dzib, and the Platform of Venus. Also included are a photograph of Alice Le Plongeon and workers with the Chacmool statue shortly after it was excavated, and another view of the statue after it had been taken to Mexico City and installed in the National Museum.
    Photographs taken during the Le Plongeons's stay at Uxmal in 1876 include general views as well as views and details of the Adivino Pyramid and Chenes Temple, the Nunnery Quadrangle, and the Governor's Palace. The couple's activities at the site are represented by a photograph of the Le Plongeons in their living quarters in the Governor's Palace and by photographs taken by Alice of Augustus photographing the east facade of the Governor's Palace and making molds of its reliefs.
    During their years in Yucatán both the Le Plongeons took and developed photographs. Photographs known to have been made by Alice Le Plongeon or unidentified photographers are labeled as such, otherwise the photogrpahs can be attributed to Augustus and/or the couple. The photographs are on cardboard mounts and are either albumen or collodion prints, as noted. Dates recorded are for the date the original negatives were made. The collodion prints were made in the late 1880s and 1890s, whereas the albumen prints were made closer to the dates that the images were taken. Unless otherwise noted the mounts are annotated in the hand of Maude Blackwell, a close friend of the Le Plongeons. Annotations such as "Blackwell," "property of Maude Blackwell," or similar wording, and phrases such as "Photograph by Dr. Le Plongeon," "Le P.," or "Plongeon" are found on most mounts. Titles of the photographs are devised by the cataloger, except as noted.


    Arranged thematically by cataloger.

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Topics

    Mayas -- Mexico -- Yucatán (State) -- Antiquities
    Maya sculpture
    Maya mural painting and decoration
    Maya architecture
    Indian art -- Mexico
    Chac Mool

    Subjects - Places

    Mexico -- Description and travel
    Izmal Site (Mexico) -- Antiquities
    Yucatán Peninsula -- Description and travel
    Uxmal Site (Mexico) -- Antiquities
    Chichén Itzá Site (Mexico) -- Antiquities

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Albumen prints -- Mexico -- 19th century
    Collodion prints-Mexico–19th century
    Photographs, Original


    Le Plongeon, Alice D. (Alice Dixon)
    Le Plongeon, Augustus