Nuttall, Zelia, 1858-1933

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Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall was born to an Irish father, Dr. Robert Kennedy Nuttall, and a Mexican-American mother, Magdalena Parrott Nuttall, in San Francisco on September 6, 1857. Raised in Europe, Nuttall acquired her education in France, Germany, Italy, and England, where she studied at Bedford College, London. In 1876 when Zelia was nineteen, the Nuttall family returned to San Francisco. Four years later, she married French anthropologist Alphonse Louis Pinart, whom she lived with in the West Indies, France, and Spain until 1882 when they returned to San Francisco and their only child Nadine was born. The Pinarts separated in 1884 and were divorced in 1888.

Nuttall first went to Mexico for five months in 1884 with her mother, younger brother, sister, and daughter. During this time she worked for the National Museum and collected terracotta heads from San Juan Teotihuacan. After living in Baltimore for a year, she moved to Dresden, Germany, were she resided until 1899. During this period she made trips to California, Europe, and Russia. With the support of Curator F.W. Putnam, Nuttall was an Honorary Assistant in Mexican Archaeology at the Peabody Museum from 1886 until her death in 1933. In 1888 her work "Standard or Head-Dress? An Historical Essay on a Relic of Ancient Mexico" was published as the first monograph in the first volume of the Peabody Museum Papers series. In 1902 Nuttall settled permanently in Mexico and twice visited the ruins of Yucatan. During the same year she purchased her home, Casa Alvarado, where she pursued her archaeological studies as well as her interests in Mexican gardens and botany.

Much of her work investigated early manuscripts. In 1890 in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence she re-discovered the Codex Maglibecchiano XIII.3 which she was able to publish in 1903 as "The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans" (University of California). Nuttall was responsible for tracing the Zapotecan manuscript from the monastery of San Marco in Florence to its owner of the time, Lord Zouche of Hayworth. This manuscript then became known as the Codex Nuttall and was published as such in 1902 by the Peabody Museum. She continued to uncover similar manuscripts in the archives of Mexico, New York, and England.

Nuttall was a pioneering figure in her recognition of archaic (pre-Aztec) culture in Mexico and became an authority on the "sun cult" in ancient Mesoamerica and Peru. Her work "A Penitential Rite of the Ancient Mexicans" was published as the seventh monograph in the first volume of the Peabody Museum Papers series in 1904. She was a prolific writer and published many monographs, often using her knowledge of contemporary texts to buttress her work on archaeological findings. Nuttall died at Casa Alvarado, Coyoacan, Mexico, on April 12, 1933, an esteemed member of countless academic societies, an honorary Professor of Anthropology at the National Museum of Mexico, and an award-winning scholar.

From the description of [Nuttall, Zelia, papers 1886-1912]. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 223352565

In 1896 the University of Pennsylvania Museum sponsored its first expedition to Russia. The Museum sent Zelia Nuttall (now remembered mainly for her work in the area of Mexican studies) as its representative on a trip planned by Dr. William Pepper, President of the Museum, and underwritten by Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst. The purposes of the expedition were to establish cordial relations and a system of exchanges and cooperation, and to obtain archaeological and ethnological specimens by gift or exchange. Nuttall traveled to Moscow, Kiev, Troitzkoi, Rostov, Nijni-Novgorod, and Riga. She also attended ceremonies for the coronation of Nicholas II and there acquired commemorative prints which she donated to the Museum and to Mrs. Hearst. Nuttall succeeded in obtaining for the University of Pennsylvania Museum a number of publications and artifacts, along with examples of native Russian costumes.

  • September 6, 1857: Born in San Francisco, California
  • 1865 - 1876 : Lived and educated in Europe
  • 1873 - 1874 : Attended Bedford College for Women, London
  • 1880: Married Alphonse Louis Pinant, French anthropologist and linguist
  • 1882: Daughter, Nadine, born in San Francisco
  • 1884: Separated from husband
  • 1886: Appointed "Honorary Assistant in Mexican Archaeology" to the Peabody Museum, Harvard, Harvard; held position for 47 years Published first paper Moved to Dresden, Germany
  • 1884 - 1885 : Expedition to Mexico; worked in Mexico National Museum
  • 1888: Official divorce from husband
  • 1896: Sent to Russia by the University Museum to gather books, exhibits, and information
  • 1898: Found Codex Nuttall (Zapotecan manuscript), now in British Museum
  • 1901: Became charter member of the advisory council for the new Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Berkeley
  • 1902: Published Codex Nuttall (Harvard) Settled in Coyoacan, Mexico
  • 1914: Published New Light on Drake
  • April 12, 1933: Died in Coyoacan, Mexico

From the guide to the Zelia Nuttall papers, Bulk, 1896-1897, 1893-1903, (University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives)

Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall was born to an Irish father, Dr. Robert Kennedy Nuttall, and a Mexican-American mother, Magdalena Parrott Nuttall, in San Francisco on September 6, 1857. Raised in Europe, Nuttall acquired her education in France, Germany, Italy, and England, where she studied at Bedford College, London. In 1876 when Zelia was nineteen, the Nuttall family returned to San Francisco. Four years later, she married French anthropologist Alphonse Louis Pinart, whom she lived with in the West Indies, France, and Spain until 1882 when they returned to San Francisco and their only child Nadine was born. The Pinarts separated in 1884 and were divorced in 1888.

Nuttall first went to Mexico for five months in 1884 with her mother, younger brother, sister, and daughter. During this time she worked for the National Museum and collected terracotta heads from San Juan Teotihuacan. After living in Baltimore for a year, she moved to Dresden, Germany, where she resided until 1899. During this period she made trips to California, Europe, and Russia. With the support of Curator F. W. Putnam, Nuttall was an Honorary Assistant in Mexican Archaeology at the Peabody Museum from 1886 until her death in 1933. In 1888 her work, "Standard or Head-Dress? An Historical Essay on a Relic of Ancient Mexico" was published as the first monograph in the first volume of the Peabody Museum Papers series. In 1902 Nuttall settled permanently in Mexico and twice visited the ruins of Yucatan. During the same year she purchased her home, Casa Alvarado, where she pursued her archaeological studies as well as her interests in Mexican gardens and botany.

Much of her work investigated early manuscripts. In 1890 in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence she re-discovered the Codex Magliabecchiano XIII.3 which she was able to publish in 1903 as "The Book of the Life of the Ancient Mexicans" (University of California). Nuttall was responsible for tracing the Zapotecan manuscript from the monastery of San Marco in Florence to its owner of the time, Lord Zouche of Hayworth. This manuscript then became known as the Codex Nuttall and was published as such in 1902 by the Peabody Museum. She continued to uncover similar manuscripts in the archives of Mexico, New York, and England.

Nuttall was a pioneering figure in her recognition of archaic (pre-Aztec) culture in Mexico and became an authority on the "sun cult" in ancient Mesoamerica and Peru. Her work "A Penitential Rite of the Ancient Mexicans" was published as the seventh monograph in the first volume of the Peabody Museum Papers series in 1 904. She was a prolific writer and published many monographs, often using her knowledge of contemporary texts to buttress her work on archaeological findings. Nuttall died at Casa Alvarado, Coyoacan, Mexico, on April 12, 1933, an esteemed member of countless academic societies, an honorary Professor of Anthropology at the National Museum of Mexico, and an award-winning scholar.

Sources: Tozzer, Alfred M. "Zelia Nuttall." American Anthropologist 35: 474-482. Winters, Christopher (ed.) 1991. International Dictionary of Anthropologists. pp. 513-514 Garland: New York.

From the guide to the Nuttall, Zelia, (1857-1933), Papers, 1886 - 1912, (Peabody Museum Archives)

Epithet: Mrs; historian and ethnographer

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000269.0x000321

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Putnam, Eben, l868-1933. Eben Putnam papers, 1752-1950 (bulk: 1890-1930) New England Historic Genealogical Society
referencedIn Boas-Rukeyser Collection, 1869-1940. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn George and Phoebe Apperson Hearst papers, 1849-1926 Bancroft Library
referencedIn Hearst, George, 1820-1891. George and Phoebe Apperson Hearst papers, 1849-1926. Bancroft Library
referencedIn Harding, George L. (George Laban), 1893-1976. Notes on Alphonse L. Pinart and Zelia Nuttall, ca. 1933. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Sabin, Florence Rena, 1871-1953. Papers, 1872-1985. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Charles W. Hackett Papers 2010-22., 1911-1985 (bulk 1911-1950) Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin
referencedIn Florence Rena Sabin Papers MS 136., 1872-1985 Sophia Smith Collection
creatorOf Zelia Nuttall papers, Bulk, 1896-1897, 1893-1903 University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
referencedIn John Alden Mason papers, 1904-1967 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Marian Storm Papers MS 156., 1857-1972 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn John Alden Mason papers, 1911-1967 American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn George G. Heye autograph collection, 1886-1928 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn George G. Heye autograph collection, 1886-1928 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Library. Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection. 1668-1983. American Philosophical Society
creatorOf DOCUMENTS RELATING TO SIR FRANCIS DRAKE'S VOYAGE of circumnavigation (Dec. 1577-Sept. 1580): transcripts made by or for Mrs Zelia Nuttall between 1908 (see Preface to op. cit. below) and (?) 1914 from the originals preserved in South American and Spa..., 1908-1914 British Library
referencedIn Boas-Rukeyser Collection, 1869-1940 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Nuttall, Zelia, 1858-1933. [Nuttall, Zelia, papers 1886-1912]. Harvard University, Tozzer Library
referencedIn Putnam, Frederic Ward, 1839-1915. Papers, 1807-1971 (bulk: 1855-1935) Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
creatorOf Nuttall, Zelia, 1858-1933,. Zelia Nuttall materials relating to Sir Francis Drake, circa 1914-1916. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Mildred and Louise Kennedy autograph collection, 1784-1923. Houghton Library
creatorOf Hooper, Sarah Emery, 1822-1914. Scrapbook of death notices, obituaries, and letters of condolence for Mary T. Hemenway, 1894-1898. Boston Athenaeum
referencedIn Storm, Marian, 1892?-1975. Marian Storm Papers, 1857-1972 Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIi, 1897 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Nuttall, Zelia, (1857-1933), Papers, 1886 - 1912 Peabody Museum Archives
referencedIn Wendell family papers, 1620-1921 Houghton Library
creatorOf Nuttall, Zelia, 1858-1933. Correspondence to Daniel Garrison Brinton, 1893-1898. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Williamson, M. B. (Martha Burton). M. B. Williamson papers, 1887-1927. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
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Place Name Admin Code Country
San Francisco CA US
Coyoacán 26 MX
Subject
Calendars
Manuscripts, Mexican (Pre--Columbian)
Terra-cotta sculpture
Aztec calendar
Mayas
Gardens
Manuscripts, Zapotec
Excavations (Archaeology)
Anthropology
Botany
Sun worship
Aztecs
Publishers and Publishing
Coronations collectibles
Occupation
Archeologist
College teachers
Compilers
Activity

Person

Birth 1858-09-06

Death 1933-04-12

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 83700800