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Lawrence G. Desmond Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) Photographs, 1982-2013

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Desmond (Lawrence) Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MARP) Photographs

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection comprises Lawrence Desmond's photographic documentation of symposia organized by the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP) held between 1982 and 1999 at the University of Colorado-Boulder; the Museo Templo Mayor, Mexico City; and Princeton University. Included in the collection are approximately 1,700 black-and-white and color slides, approximately 179 gelatin silver prints of various sizes, and a panoramic print of the 1989 symposium participants at the Templo Mayor Museum in Mexico City, also reproduced as a symposium poster. Desmond's unpublished catalog of his MMARP photographs, "Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project, 1982-1994: Catalog of Black-and-White and Color Negatives and Transparencies," 2013, accompanies the collection. Also included are two signed copies of Davíd Carrasco and Jane Marie Swanberg, Waiting for the Dawn: Mircea Eliade in Perspective, 1985, illustrated with a number of Desmond's early MMARP photographs.

Davíd Carrasco, a historian of religions, and archaeologist Eduardo Matos Moctezuma, the founders of MMARP along with archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni, met in 1976 via a letter of introduction from the archaeologist Pedro Armillas. At the time Carrasco was conducting field research in Mexico, while at the University of Chicago, and Matos was Director of Pre-Hispanic Monuments. Finding they had common interests they began to discuss the need to bring Mesoamerican materials into dynamic exchange with the academic discipline of the history of religions, and especially the history of religion and culture in the Americas. In its early years their project was known as the Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MARP). In 1984 Raphael Moses, a water rights attorney and member of the University of Colorado's board of regents, became interested in the project and agreed to help fund it; the project was subsequently renamed the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project (MMARP). The MMARP's intellectual mission is to organize and transmit new knowledge about the history of religion and society in Mesoamerica. Its educational program is modeled on the interdisciplinary work of the Templo Mayor Project in Mexico City guided by Eduardo Matos Moctezuma. MMARP is currently housed in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University.

In 1982, Carrasco invited Matos Moctezuma to give a talk on the excavation of the Templo Mayor in Mexico City at the University of Colorado-Boulder. This is the first of the MMARP events documented in the collection. Later that year Mircea Eliade, the noted Romanian historian of religion from the University of Chicago whose ideas had influenced Carrasco and Matos Moctezuma, led a week-long multi-disciplinary symposium at Boulder. Lawrence Desmond, then a graduate student in anthropology and archaeology at Boulder, who was already making photographs for the MMARP Templo Mayor Archaeological Site Photo Archive, photographed these early events, thereby becoming the unofficial photographer for MMARP. He continued to document its activities until 1999.

Carrasco, Matos Moctezuma, Eliade, and his wife Christinel Cotescue Eliade, are prominently featured in the photographs. Other symposia participants pictured in the collection include Anthony Aveni, Elizabeth Boone, José Cuellar, Barbara Fash, Doris Heyden, Jaime Litvak King, Cecelia Klein, Leonardo López Luján, Charles K. Long, Phyllis Messenger, Raphael Moses, Henry B. Nicholson, and Desmond himself. Most of the photographs were taken during the symposia and at symposia receptions and meals. Symposia speakers and participants are represented in individual images and in both posed and candid group portraits.

The photographic materials are black-and-white (negatives or gelatin silver prints), unless otherwise noted. The negatives and their corresponding contact prints are numbered 4-01 to 4-47 and were originally arranged sequentially in a single binder, the order of which has been retained.


Arranged chronologically by date of symposium.

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