||Carl V. Hartman and the Costa Rica Collections
C.V. Hartman at the Chinchilla site during the initial phase of excavation
Carl Vilhelm Hartman was born August
19, 1862, in Örebro,
Sweden. During his life, Hartman's scientific career shifted from his
initial training in botany to anthropology, a new discipline that was
emerging in the latter 19th century.
Early in his career, Hartman studied botany and followed in the footsteps
of his father, a well-known Swedish botanist. During the 1880s, Hartman
worked in applied botany for the Swedish Academy of Agriculture and,
awarded a stipend by the Swedish Academy of Science, spent five years
visiting botanical gardens in Western Europe.
career took a major turn in 1890 when he was selected as expedition
botanist by Norwegian explorer and ethnographer Carl Lumholtz. With the support
the American Museum of Natural History, Lumholtz led a three-year expedition
to the Sierra Madre mountain range of northwest Mexico to study the
indigenous people of the region. One of Hartman's duties was to conduct studies
the uses of plants by the indigenous people. Hartman stayed with the
expedition until its completion, becoming its principal field supervisor
was absent. At the close of the expedition in 1893, Hartman accompanied
Lumholtz to the Columbian Exhibition in Chicago and spent six months developing
organizing exhibitions in its Anthropological Department.
Through Lumholtz's efforts, Hartman gained experience in anthropological
fieldwork and in the exhibition of anthropological materials. This period
provided his first intensive exposure to the discipline of anthropology,
including its subfields of ethnology, archaeology, and linguistics. By 1893,
Hartman's research interests were shifting more and more toward anthropology.
Upon his return to Sweden in 1893, Hartman took a post at the Stockholm
Botanical Garden, however his interest in anthropology continued. In
1894, he presented his anthropological paper, "The Indians of north-western Mexico," at
the 10th International Congress of Americanists in Stockholm.
From 1896-1898, Hartman led his own anthropological expedition to Central
America. Åke Sjögren, a Swedish mining engineer who had spent
a number of years in Costa Rica, arranged and financed this expedition.
This trip, nominally sponsored by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and
involved research in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Hartman
conducted anthropological studies that included archaeology, ethnology, linguistics,
and physical anthropology (anthropometry). At the close of the expedition,
Hartman spent six months visiting the major museums in the United States.
Having established his credentials as an anthropologist, Hartman obtained
his first curatorial appointment in a museum. Upon returning to Stockholm,
he became the assistant to Hjalmar Stolpe, Director of the Ethnographical
Section of the Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (Museum of Natural History). Hartman's
work in anthropology was greatly influenced by his mentor Stolpe, and he
would later incorporate Stolpe's methods in his own field work. Hartman wrote
his first major monograph about Costa Rica in 1901 entitled Archaeological
Researches in Costa Rica.
In 1902, Hartman attended the 13th International Congress of Americanists
in New York City. While in New York, he investigated employment opportunities
at a number of museums in the United States.
In late January 1903, Hartman initiated correspondence
with W.J. Holland, Director of Carnegie Museum, regarding employment.
Within a month, Hartman was offered the position of Curator of the
Section of Ethnology and Archaeology at the museum. On March 17,
reported to work, and was very quickly dispatched on a seven-month
expedition to Costa Rica later that month. Upon his return to Pittsburgh,
Hartman attended a great number of professional
meetings where he presented papers on his findings.
In 1905, Hjalmar Stolpe died, and Hartman returned to Sweden in 1908
to take the place of his mentor as Director of the Ethnographical Section
of the Naturhistoriska Rikmuseet. Hartman's responsibilities and duties
as a museum administrator restricted his research productivity, and
he failed to publish much information about his archaeological excavations
at various sites in Costa Rica. He held the position until 1923, when
his declining health necessitated a medical leave of absence, from
he entered retirement in 1928. He died in Stockholm on June 19, 1941.