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John Wesley Powell Library of Anthropology
Map of the Indian Localities in 1833 From George Catlin's The manners and customs of the North American Indians, 1841
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About the Library

The Anthropology Library, officially known as the John Wesley Powell Library of Anthropology, is located within the Anthropology Department of the National Museum of Natural History. Its collection reflects the important role that the Smithsonian Institution played in the development of anthropology as a formal discipline in the United States. The Anthropology Library was established in 1965 with the merger of two principal Smithsonian collections--the library of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE;1879-1965) and the divisional collections of the Department of Anthropology. The former supported "anthropological researches" among the indigenous people of the Americas and was considered one of the best such resources in the world.
Today's library is named after John Wesley Powell, the BAE founder and first director who is also well known for his early exploration of the Colorado River region. The latter collections grew out of the work of other museum staff not only in the Americas but also many places abroad, including Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Oceania.

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