Marian E. White papers
The papers of Marian White pertain primarily to her work on the prehistory and ethnohistory of the Iroquois and other Native American groups in New York State.
Numerous drafts of conference papers and articles, as well as published papers, document the growth and development of Marian White's thought. While earlier papers deal with physical artifacts and settlement patterns, later papers reflect a growing concern with public archaeology, the protection of archaeological sites and the concerns of present day Native Americans.
Marian White's notes from the University of Michigan, where she received her M.A. and Ph.D., are detailed and offer an unusually complete view of the state of graduate instruction in anthropology and archeology in the early 1950s.
The collection also includes a number of tape recordings. Most of these are cassettes, used by Marian White for the dictation of letters and reports, but two tapes record the recollections of Nellie Jack, a Native American woman, about Iroquois life on the Cornplanter Reservation.
The original folder titles have been maintained. Elsewhere in the finding aid, the term 'Indian' has been replaced with 'Native American.'
- White, Marian E. (Marian Emily) (Person)
Language of Materials
Terms of Access
6 Linear Feet (8 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 3 card boxes, 1 flat box)
UB Anthropology Professor Frederick Gearing said that "Anthropology was Marian White's vocation. More than that, it was her life. More than that, even, anthropology was her religion" (Reporter, 11/6/1975). Indeed, Marian White, a Professor of Anthropology in the School of Arts and Sciences, dedicated her career to western New York archaeology during her sixteen years of service at UB.
In 1942 White graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor's degree. Shortly after graduation she joined the Army Air Force, working from 1944 to 1945 as an IBM Tabulator Machine Operator.
Upon her return to civilian life, she held a position as a Science Guide at the Buffalo Museum of Science until 1952. White became the first woman to graduate from the University of Michigan with a doctorate in Anthropology in 1956.
After receiving her Ph.D., White worked for the next two years at the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences. Initially, White worked as a Research Associate in Archaeology at UB while simultaneously holding the position of Assistant Curator of Anthropology at the Buffalo Museum of Science. She also served as the Assistant Curator of Archaeology at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. In 1968, White was made full Professor in the Department of Anthropology, a position she held until her death on October 31, 1975.
White's archaeological fieldwork took her to Native American sites in New York, Illinois, and Canada. Her growing interest in highway salvage -- protecting important Native American archaeological sites from highway development -- led her to a variety of administrative honors and positions. In 1969, she established the Highway Salvage program at UB to protect lands from highway and industrial development. Her involvement in Native American issues did not end with her professional work; she often volunteered for the same Native American communities who had claims to the sites on which she worked. The Auburn Historical Society awarded White the Cornplanters Medal for her work with the Iroquois.
Marian White was an important part of efforts to preserve the local and regional history:
She served as the first President of the New York Archaeological Council from 1972 to 1974.
She served as the Director of the Niagara Frontier Archaeological Project.
She was appointed by Governor Rockefeller to the New York State Board on Historic Preservation.
During her lifetime, White envisioned an anthropological research museum that would house the artifacts of North American archaeology. In 1979, the Marian E. White Anthropology Museum was established in association with the Anthropology Library.
She also helped organize the University at Buffalo Archaeological Survey which trains qualified Cultural Resource Management (CRM) professionals and provides CRM services to Western New York. The Survey's mission praises White as a "a staunch proponent and pioneer of historic preservation and CRM archaeology. The Survey continues as a legacy to her recognition of the need for qualified local professionals with regional interests in public archaeology and archaeological site protection."
- Born, Hartland Corners, Niagara County, New York
- B.A., Cornell University
- Army Air Force, IBM Tabulator Machine Operator
- Science Guide, Buffalo Museum of Science
- M.A. in Anthropology, University of Michigan
- Research Associate and Junior Anthropologist, Rochester Museum and Science Center
- Ph.D. in Anthropology, University of Michigan
- Research Associate in Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo
- Assistant Professor, University of Buffalo
- Professor of Anthropology, State University of New York at Buffalo
- Established Highway Salvage program, State University of New York at Buffalo
- President, New York Archaeological Council
The collection consist of nine series:
- General Files
- University of Michigan related materials
- Manuscripts of Papers
- Published Articles and Papers
- Handbook of North American Indians
- Index Card Files
- Tape Recordings
Accruals and Additions
- American Anthropological Association
- Anthropology -- Fieldwork
- Anthropology -- Research -- United States
- Anthropology teachers -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Archaeology -- Fieldwork
- Canadian Archaeological Association
- Card files
- Color slides
- Eastern States Archaeological Federation (U.S.)
- Ethnohistory -- New York (State)
- Ethnology -- New York (State)
- Excavations (Archaeology) -- New York (State)
- Indians of North America -- New York (State) -- Antiquities
- Iroquois Indians -- Congresses
- Iroquois Indians -- History
- Jack, Nellie -- Interviews
- New York State Archaeological Association
- Northeastern Anthropological Association
- Ontario Archaeological Society for American Anthropology
- Society for American Archaeology
- Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology
- State University of New York at Buffalo. Department of Anthropology
- State University of New York at Buffalo. Department of Anthropology -- Faculty
- University of Buffalo. Department of Anthropology and Linguistics
- University of Buffalo. Department of Anthropology and Linguistics -- Faculty
- University of Michigan
- White, Marian E. (Marian Emily) -- Archives -- Correspondence -- Miscellanea
- Women anthropologists -- New York (State) -- Buffalo
- Finding Aid for the Marian E. White papers
- Finding aid prepared by University Archives staff.
- Description rules
- Language of description