January 18, 2018

Special Collections Expands with New Anthropology and Linguistics Papers

The papers of UChicago anthropologist and linguist Norman McQuown have been released to the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), according to a UChicago Library news release.

McQuown, who died in 2005, studied German at the University of Illinois, where he earned his A.B. and A.M. in 1935 and 1936 respectively. He began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1946 and chaired the linguistics and anthropology departments at points during his tenure.

He published articles on a plethora of languages, including Yucatec Maya and Esperanto. He also “was the author of a number of fundamental descriptive studies, the compiler of numerous reference tools, and the designer of several innovative language-teaching courses,” according to a University obituary.

The McQuown collection is divided into 13 “series,” ranging from personal documents and teaching materials to “a small number of miscellaneous artifacts that were found with Norman McQuown’s papers,” according to the SCRC’s guide to the collection. (One highlight: a “Time magazine ‘Father of the Year’ mirror.”)

The papers include McQuown’s course syllabi, lecture drafts, audiovisual recordings, and notes on work by his colleagues, among other material. The collection also incorporates the papers that McQuown inherited from anthropologist Manuel Andrade that McQuown helped make more accessible to researchers.

Also included are previously unreleased records from the Chiapas Project, a set of research projects that “aimed to investigate the language, culture, environment, and history of local Maya communities,” as per the Library’s news release. Some of the materials in the collection will remain restricted for decades in accordance with various University policies on document release.