Alfred Percival Maudslay

by sarahkburke

Quirigua stela and child. Alfred Percival Maudslay, Biologia Centrali-Americana, or, Contributions to the knowledge of the fauna and flora of Mexico and Central America: Archaeology (1889-1902).

Maudslay in a tower. Alfred Percival Maudslay, Biologia Centrali-Americana, or, Contributions to the knowledge of the fauna and flora of Mexico and Central America: Archaeology (1889-1902).

Browse a digital copy: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL:4142071

Maudslay (1850-1931), was a British diplomat and archaeologist who documented numerous sites in Mexico and Central America (the Maya region).  The Archaeology volumes were intended to be an appendix to his book on flora and fauna, but the appendix (4 volumes) became much larger than the biological text.

The volumes include lithographically reproduced drawings and watercolors by Annie Hunter (1860-1927), as well as some chromolithographs by Wilhelm Greve, who also worked on Reiss & Stübel.  The majority of the volumes’ illustrations are photographs.  Dry plate photography, invented in the 1870s, was superior to previous processes for archaeological and ethnographic documentation.  It was no longer necessary to develop plates immediately in the field (as with “wet-plate” processes).  Rather, plates could be processed later, at home.

The Dumbarton Oaks volumes include book stamps of  “F. B. Richardson, Charles River, Boston, Mass.,” as well as marks from the Newberry Library, Chicago.