Alfred Kidder was born in 1840, the son of Joseph Kidder (1791-1867) and Nancy Jenkins Homer (1799-1879) of Boston, Mass. From 1865 until the 1890s, he lived in Marquette, Mich., where he was a mining engineer for the Jackson Iron Company, the Volunteer Mining Company, and the Pittsburgh and Lake Angeline Iron Company. Kidder was the first man to introduce modern mining methods in the area, promoting the use of electric hoisting machinery and power drills. In 1871, he married Kate Dalliba (1852-1921), and they had three sons: Homer Huntington Kidder (1874-1950); Howard White Kidder (1877-1899); and Alfred Vincent Kidder (1885-1963), who became a prominent archaeologist. After their last son was born, the Kidder family moved to Boston, Mass. and later lived in Andover, Mass.; they also kept a residence in Santa Barbara, Calif. Alfred Kidder died in 1923.
Alfred "Ted" Vincent Kidder was born in 1885, the son of Alfred Kidder (1840-1923) and Kate Dalliba Kidder of Marquette, Mich. After the Kidder family moved to New England, Alfred Vincent Kidder was educated primarily in Cambridge and Boston, Mass., and in 1904, he entered Harvard University as a pre-med student. However, in 1907, Kidder spent a summer performing archaeological fieldwork in Colorado and New Mexico and decided to focus on archaeology as a profession. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1908 and in 1914 became one of the first Americans to receive a Ph.D. in archaeology, also from Harvard. Kidder continued his fieldwork in the Southwest as curator of North American Archaeology at the Peabody Museum of Harvard University until 1915, when he was appointed director of excavations at the Pecos ruins in New Mexico, under the auspices of Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. His work at Pecos is considered to have laid the foundations for modern archaeological fieldwork methods.
From 1917-1919, Alfred Vincent Kidder also volunteered as a first lieutenant (later captain) with the 91st Division of the U.S. Army during World War I. Kidder was stationed initially at Camp Lewis (now Fort Lewis) on American Lake in Washington state and later fought with his division in France and Belgium. After his Army service, Kidder returned to his archaeological work and wrote An Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology (1924), now considered a classic text on stratigraphic archaeological excavation. It also contained the first chronology of the Native American cultures of the American Southwest.
In 1929, Alfred Vincent Kidder became head of the Division of Historical Research at the Carnegie Institute and expanded his archaeological interests to Mesoamerica. That same year, he and aviator Charles Lindbergh also conducted an aerial survey of ruins in Guatemala, British Honduras, and the Yucatan. Through the Carnegie Institute, Kidder directed excavations at Chicen Itza and Uaxactun on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and at Kaminaljuya in Guatemala until his retirement in 1950. He became known for his multi-disciplinary approach to archaeology, using fields such as social anthropology, ethnology, environmental studies, and geology to analyze artifacts and establish Mayan cultural history. Though he was often criticized by others in his profession for reaching generalized and limited conclusions about the civilizations he studied, Kidder was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1934, and the American Anthropological Association named an award in his honor in the early 1950s.
In 1910, Alfred Vincent Kidder married Madeleine Appleton (b. 1891), daughter of Randolph Morgan Appleton (b. 1862) and Helen Kortright Mixter Appleton (b. 1864), at "Waldingfield," the Appleton family homestead in Ipswich, Mass. They had five children: Alfred Kidder II (1911-1984); Randolph Appleton Kidder (b. 1914); Barbara Kidder (later Aldana) (b. 1916); Faith Kidder (later Fuller) (b. 1920); and James Kidder (b. 1923). The Kidder family lived at Andover, Mass. until 1929 and later kept residences at Beverly Farms, Mass. and Montecito, Calif.
This collection contains 173 photographs in 2 boxes and 1 oversize box. These photographs were collected by members of the Kidder family of Marquette, Mich. and Massachusetts and span the years 1864-ca. 1955.
The majority of the photographs in this collection are formal portraits and informal snapshots of members of the Kidder family. Most of these portraits depict the family of Alfred Vincent Kidder and Madeleine Appleton Kidder, including a number of photographs of Alfred Vincent Kidder’s parents, Alfred and Kate Dalliba Kidder, in Marquette, Mich. and at their later homes in Massachusetts and California. There are also a number of photographs of portrait paintings and other artwork of various members of the Appleton, Curtis, Hall, and Mixter families.
The collection also contains views of places of importance to the Kidder and Appleton families, including various family homes. Other photographs depict Alfred Vincent Kidder’s service with the U.S. Army during World War I and his archaeological fieldwork in the American Southwest, Guatemala, Mexico, and Honduras from 1912-1950. The latter include photographs from Kidder’s flight with Charles Lindbergh in 1929 to conduct aerial surveys of Central American ruins.
This collection contains cartes de visite and cabinet cards, among other paper-based photograph, as well as one film negative. Photographers include Le Jeune of Paris, France and Allen & Rowell of Boston, Mass. However, the majority of the photographs are snapshot photographs taken by unknown photographers.
There are also two volumes of postcards that were collected by Madeleine Appleton Kidder during her travels to Europe, Africa, and The American West from 1904-1908. These pages of these volumes are annotated by her and by friends and family. PLEASE NOTE that the Madeleine Appleton Kidder postcard albums are stored apart from the collection by format. See the Detailed Description of the Collection for more information.
The Kidder family photographs were removed from the Kidder family papers, a gift from Mrs. Faith Fuller to the Massachusetts Historical Society in August 1982.
The collection is organized into the following series:
Kidder family photographs, Photo. Coll. 181, Massachusetts Historical Society Photo Archives.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in ABIGAIL, the online catalog of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Researchers desiring materials about related persons, organizations, or subjects should search the catalog using these headings.
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