||Carl V. Hartman and the Costa Rica Collections
Letters: May 27, 1907
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Read this letter in Spanish
OF ETHNOLOGY AND ARCHÆOLOGY)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, U. S. A.
C. V. Hartman, Curator.
May 27, 1907.
Mr. C. C. Mellor,
Chairman of the Museum Committee,
Carnegie Institute, City.
 I hereby take the liberty of addressing you, asking you to kindly lay
before the Committee, of which you are the Chairman, the following respectful
request for a regulation and increase of my salary as Curator of the Section
of Ethnology and Archeology. The reasons which I consider might entitle
me to the consideration of a raise of salary now, when entering the beginning
of the fourth year of my service, I will here state, asking your indulgence
for the rather lengthy recital of details involved.
 In March 1903 I was appointed by your Committee as Curator of the
Section. After a few days hasty preparation I left, via New Orleans, for
Costa Rica, in order to realize an old plan of mine, which had met the hearty
approval of the Director, to carry out certain archeological investigations
and procure for the Carnegie Museum some valuable collections, known and
investigated by me during my previous expedition to that country under the
auspices of the Swedish Ethnographical Museum.
 According to the written
instructions given me, I had first of all to proceed to San José,
the capital, in order to purchase the famous Velasco collection of antiquities,
since some time deposited by the owner
in a Philadelphia museum. For said collection I was authorized to apy
[sic] a sum not exceeding $3000. Verbally I was told, that I, if necessary,
pay $500 more, but in such a case I ought first to notify the Director.
 Regarding the expenses during my adjournment in Costa Rica, the Director
informed me on the day before my departure that the custom observed at the
Institution in all such cases was that the men while in the field paid all
their living expenses, except some smaller amounts of an extraordinary nature,
which after their return could be refunded. Although I was surprised and
disappointed over this severe condition, which, as I told the Director at
the time, was contrary to the rules of other similar institutions, I realized
that the principal object of mine was now to carry on the investigation
and complete my archeological work in Costa Rica, wherefore, I submitting
to the rules of the Institution left for the South.
 In San Jose, after some
legal difficulties regarding the purchase of the Velasco collection had
been removed, I could, after a month [’]s
stay, report to the Director, that I had not only been able to secure
the entire collection for a sum of $2200, but that I had also induced
to turn over to the Carnegie Museum another collection hardly less valuable,
consisting of 2181 specimens, principally ancient ceramics, the only
one of its kind from the Pacific Coast, beside my own former, yet undescribed
collection, from that region, in Stockholm. This second collection as
I obtained without any additional outlay whatsoever of money.
 I could also inform the Director, that I had discovered not far from
the Capital an extensive burial-ground containing an entirely new class
of pottery, representing a highland culture heretofore never described.
At that place I obtained during my own excavation more than 1000 specimens
of pottery and stone implements. On receipt of this information, the Director
in a letter dated Pittsburgh, May 1st, wrote me as follows:
"I was greatly pleased to
receive your cablegram, and to have the cablegram confirm your letter
of April 8th [sic, 18th], which is before
me, and which I had the pleasure of reading to several of the Trustees
who are connected with the Committee in charge of the museum. They, as
as I am are [sic] very much gratified with the success which has attended
 From that time on I carried
on excavations with a number of men, both on the hoghland [sic] as well
as on the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts. I secured
what must be considered very valuable authentic material from various
burial-grounds and sites of which none ever before had been entered by
My old friendly relations to the Director of the Natural [History] Museum
of Costa Rica, Professor H. Pittier de Fabréga, made it possible
for me to obtain the enviable privilege to make a thorough study of the
undescribed archeological treasures of that institution, and even to
secure a collection of hundreds of photographs, a selection I made of the
interesting specimens of said museum.
 Another service which I, during this stay in Costa Rica, was enabled
to render for the Carnegie Museum, was the locating of an extensive fossil
forest near the Pacific Ocean. From this forest I obtained several cases
of specimens. Absolutely nothing has as yet been published regarding the
fossil Flora of Central America. During my first expedition to Central America
I searched in vain for more than three years for any vestige of fossil plants.
This discovery of mine has of two of the foremost living authorities on
paleo-botany been characterized as of high importance, and a third specialist
in this branch at another American institution has offered, in case I would
divulge the secret of the locality, immediately to send down an expedition
in order to carry on investigations on the spot.
 Shortly before leaving Costa Rica, in the month of October, I was merely
by an accident enabled to buy for the Carnegie Museum the finest and most
comprehensive private collection of antiquities of the highland regions
ever made. This collection had during some thirty years been in the possession
of one of the wealthiest land owners of the country. After his death the
heirs, now being financially embarrassed, offered the collection at an exceptionally
low figure, a twentieth part of the price before asked. The funds then at
my disposition were already exhausted, and it was only through loan from
Scandinavian and German friends, and by using part of my salary, that I
was enabled to make use of the bargain before anyone else, and could buy
the entire collection for the nominal sum of $450. The collection is now
catalogued and numbers 3212 specimens. In this collection are precious and
unique specimens, a considerable number of which can be valued from $20.00
to $100 apiece. Thirty-four cases were required for shipping the collection.
Altogether I secured during my seven months sojourn in Costa Rica for the
Carnegie Museum ninety-six cases with collections. These collections, now
properly numbered, catalogued and described count 12,250 specimens, of which
more than 2000 were secured during my own excavations. The rough estimates,
which I previously gave the Director and which were published in the annual
reports have proved
 My success in the excavations during this short period, I attribute
in the first hand to my own local experience in the field; second, to the
valuable friendships previously made both among the foreigners, Scandinavians,
Americans and Germans as well as among the natives in various places. Through
their generous help and disinterested assistance I was enabled to obtain
permission from the owners of the land to excavate in various localities;
and owing to the hospitality and courtesy of various of these gentlemen,
my expenses were considerably lowered.
 As a rule in Costa Rica
excessive charges are made for permission to excavate even in the forest
lands. I could quote several examples. I
might here mention, that the Costa Rican Government at the time of the
Chicago [World’s Columbian] Exposition, wishing to carry out some
collecting at a famous Indian burial-ground on the highlands, was obliged
to pay the
owner $2500 for the permission. The result of these latter excavations,
according to the publications of the Museo Nacional were some 500 pieces
of crude stone implements and pottery. On the extensive territories owned
by the River Platt Co., an English concern, which controls about a sixth
part of the Republic, and as well as on those of the United Fruit Co.,
which owns almost the entire Atlantic Coast of the Republic, all excavations
strictly prohibited. But owing to my previous introductions by one of
my countrymen, formerly connected with and interested in these companies,
now again obtained permission to excavate on their lands; and on my visit
this time to one of the United Fruit Companies [sic] haciendas I was
presented by the owner, Mr. Minor C. Keith with a number of large stone
several unique, highly decorated vases. Through the same introduction
I too obtained a considerable rebate from the Costa Rican Railroad Co.,
shipping the collections.
 About the intrinsic or
commercial value of the Costa Rica collections of the Carnegie Museum,
I beg the [Chairman’s] permission to add a
 For a fair and just valuation of said collections in comparison with
the prices paid by other institutions will undoubtedly form the best basis.
In all the American museums there has heretofore only been exhibited two
or three rather insignificant collections from Costa Rica, none the result
of any scientific expedition.
 In Europe there are three
large collections, the one in the Stockholm Museum secured by me through
excavations carried on for a long period, and
two others. Of the latter one belongs to the Imperial Museum of Vienna,
and was by the Director, Mr. Hegar, purchased in the year 1896 from the
Austrian Consul in San Jose. This collection, which I, myself, had the
opportunity of studying in the latter city, contained little more than
mostly pottery all from the highlands. The price paid was 10,000 Kronen
($2500). The third Costa Rica [n] collection in Europe is the one of
the Museum in Bremen. This one was formed through many years collecting
then German Consul in San José, and by some wealthy merchants purchased
for 10,000 Marks ($2500) and presented to the institution of their native
city. This information is published in "Abh. v. naturw. Vereine zu
Bremen, VIII, 1863 [sic], p. 233."
 According to the prices thus paid by these well known scientific
institutions, the monetary value of the entire collections procured by me
for the Carnegie Museum, being by far the most extensive in any institutions,
would certainly be considered very high, even with due allowance for a large
number of fragmentary and minor specimens, which also occur in all other
Costa Rican collections. Beside it must be remembered, that the Carnegie
Museum collection includes the largest assembled amount in existence of
carved and polished objects of the precious mineral jade.
 Regarding this matter I
refer to the following quotations of eminent American and European authorities
reproduced in the annual report of the
Director for the year 1905 [Holland’s introductory sentence is followed
by the quotations from Cushing and Uhle, each of which is preceded by
an introductory clause written by Holland]:
It was in reference to one of the latter collections, the Velasco collection,
that that eminent authority on American Archaeology and Ethnology, the late
Professor Frank Hamilton Cushing made the following statement:
“This collection is of
superlative importance to science. In the first place it is intrinsically
valuable, consisting as it does of jade,
jadeite, fine terra-cotta, shell, and gold. In the second place there
is no single collection of aboriginal American art works in stone, in
in America, or, so far as I am informed, abroad, that can compare with
this one as to the number of examples it contains of superbly carved,
and finished specimens, that are at the same time of the highest artistic
beauty even from our standpoint. So true is this that I venture to say
that no lapidary would undertake to duplicate the stone series alone for
than four times the price, that is charged for this entire treasury of
ancient American gems. But, above all, the collection is unique among
of its kind thus far gathered in scientific importance of a very definite
sort. It abounds in types illustrating not only the origin of many forms
of weapon, symbol, and decoration, but also of the part myth and religious
concept play in the modification conventionally, of all these things.
. . . Were I a man of large means, or of even only moderate means, I would
unhesitatingly buy the collection, if only for the sake of having it
study and publish, illustrated, to the world."
Another well known authority in the field of South American archaeology,
Professor Max Uhle wrote lately about this same collection:
"As the basis for a representative
collection of Central American antiquities I consider the Velasco collection
of extraordinary importance.
It comes from a province of Central America most important from a historical
point of view. It seems to me, with my knowledge of the richest European
and other Museums, to be unique in its wonderful implements of stone
and according to my modest experience, as far as objects of jade and nephrite
are concerned, unequaled by any collection in the world. We shall have
inquire more closely into the relations once existing between the tribes
of Central and South America in the near future and it would be difficult
to find another collection as appropriate as this on which to base the
investigation of the connecting links. "
 Daniel G. Brinton, professor of American archeology at the University
of Pennsylvania gave the following as his opinion [:]
"No other collection equalling
this one has been made from Costa Rica. It is well located and very typical
of the culture of the natives from whose
territory it comes. The abundance in it of jade or nephrite objects is
remarkable, and renders it unique and valuable for this alone. Probably
no equally fine
line of specimens from those tribes will again be offered. Both from
the ethnographic and the artistic point of view, it has exceptional merit.
price asked is quite moderate and no one could duplicate such a collection
for such a sum."
 I am convinced that if a proper valuation should be made by the men,
who today are the best authorities on Spanish American archeology, their
estimate of the C. R. collections, secured by me for the Carnegie Museum,
would reach a sum not less than twenty to twenty-five thousand dollars.
Of the sum of $5,000 appropriated by the Museum Committee for my purchases
and fieldwork in Costa Rica only about $4,700 were actually used in the
 Other collectors, but with less practical training, have tried the
Costa Rican field but with little success. During the preparations for the
World's Fair [Columbian Exposition] in Chicago a collector was dispatched
by Professor Putnam and provided with means for securing archeological material
from Costa Rica. He spent several months in the country but was only able
to pick up a few specimens here and there, altogether two or three small
boxes. Last year I was approached by Mr. George Heye of New York, who yearly
spends more money than any public museum on this continent for purchases
and excavations in order to obtain archeological material. He asked me as
a favor, that I would give information and advice to one of his special
collectors, who formerly had worked in Porto [sic] Rico. He wanted to send
him down to Costa Rica for some months and was willing to place very liberal
funds to his disposition. I gave this gentleman all the information I possibly
could about localities, methods of work [,] and provided him with letters
of introduction to my best friends in Costa Rica. I was much interested
in his success, as Mr. Heye generously offered to place all the collections
he could secure to my disposition for publication. However, his sojourn
in Costa Rica was practically a failure. I was shown the results, which
consisted of possibly some 50 small specimens of pottery picked up in the
houses of the natives.
 For a comparison when judging of the value of similar collections,
I will here mention the price lately paid for a collection of South American
pottery by the curator of anthropology at the Field Museum, Dr. [George]
Dorsey. At the St. Louis Exhibition [Louisiana Purchase Exposition] he gave
$16,000 for a collection consisting of 4500 pieces of archeological specimens
from Argentine [sic], obtained by a native collector.
 The most telling proof of the really high value of the material I
secured is the fact, that the greatest portion of the duplicates at least
8,000 specimens can easily be disposed of for exchanges. I have already
from the American Museum of Natural History, and from the Yale University
Museum obtained fine collections of material from Chiriqui in Columbia [sic],
from Mexico, from the West Indian Islands, from Guatemala and Peru, and
I have offers from the museums in Washington, Philadelphia [,] Cambridge
[,] and San Francisco to obtain additional archeological material from many
other parts of Spanish America. In this way, without any extra expense,
a very considerable space in the exhibition halls will be filled with first
class material. At present we have a selection of little more than two thousand
specimens of Costa Rican ware on exhibit. Most of the rest is available
for the purpose mentioned. A number of the unique stone sculptures of Costa
Rica are now reproduced by Mr. Mills, and for this material we will also
be able to obtain casts from various sources.
 All the other collections in my section, with few exceptions, are
on the other hand already previously represented in other American museums,
and the duplicates from these collections are of comparatively little value
for exchange purposes.
 Of much higher importance than the gain made through the addition
of these collections must be considered the scientific results of the work
in the field embodied in the observations, plans and photos obtained and
of which a portion is now issuing from the press.
 That my former work in Costa Rica has won the approval of the foremost
authorities in American Archeology is known to the Committee through documents
I submitted four years ago containing [the] opinions of Professor Eduard
Seler of Berlin, Dr. Franz Boas of Columbia University, Dr. W J McGee [who
did not use periods after his initials] and Professor A. B. Meyer of Dresden.
 Since that time various
reviews and comments upon my publication "Archaeological
Researches in Costa Rica" have appeared in the scientific press. A
few are here reproduced.
 At the 13th International Congress of Americanists assembled in New
York a resolution was proposed by Professor F. W. Putnam, in his capacity
as one of the presidents of the Congress, seconded by Professor Franz Boas
and unanimously adopted by the Congress. From that resolution the following
is an extract:
"Resolved, that the members of the 13th International Congress of
Americanists, assembled in New York, hereby express their hearty appreciation
of the results attained by the Archaeological Expedition to Costa Rica under
the direction of Mr. C. V. Hartman . . . . .and they congratulate Mr. Sjögren
upon the magnificent manner in which the Report has been published." [The
work is further characterised, later on, as:] "the most painstaking
and elaborate Report of the exploration of ancient graves in Central America
which has ever been undertaken," [to which is added the further remark:] "the
beautiful volume will always serve as a model for this class of archaeological
work." [For clarity, we bracketed two phrases inserted by Hartman in
the Mellor letter, which were not contained in the text of the original
 In the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain
and Ireland," an extensive review of the work is given by the Secretary
of the American Anthropological Association, Dr. George Grant MacCurdy.
From this a couple of paragraphs are here reproduced:
"Museum collections and special publications derive their value from
the character of the field-work on which they are based. Nowhere, not even
in the studio, does skill, training, the touch of the master, count for
more. Measured by such a standard, Mr. Hartman's publication cannot fail
to be classed as one of exceptional value. It is with such material as he
has furnished that we may some day hope to raise American archaeology to
the dignity of a real science . . . . . . . Ever since the time of Thomsen
and of Worsaae, the world has been accustomed to look to Scandinavia for
light and leading in the realm of prehistoric archaeology. To Mr. Hartman
belongs the credit of transplanting to American soil the seeds which have
borne such excellent harvests in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. May he have
abundant opportunity to do field-work of the same high grade for the Carnegie
Museum as that which he did, through the munificence of Mr. Sjogren, for
the Swedish Museum. [”]
 At the International Congress
of Arts and Science at St. Louis [held at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition]
the scientist, who was invited as
the official speaker on Archeology, Professor Eduard Seler in his address
on "The Problems of Archeology" (Vol.V. p. 535) made the following
reference to my previous work:
"The region comprising Mexico
and Central America is that in which American archeology is best able
to rise above the standpoint of merely
antiquarian investigation and to attempt higher tasks. . . . . . .
A limited region, including the
old settlements on the slopes of the volcano of Irazu and certain groups
of hills which extend down into the Atlantic
lowlands, has lately been investigated in a really exemplary manner by
C. V. Hartman, whose results have been published in a sumptuous work,
by the Swedish Academy with the Duke of Loubat [’]s prize. Outside
of this, to be sure, we still (in Central America) lack excavations undertaken
in a scientific manner and authenticated by documents. [”]
 When in 1902 the Scandinavian
Loubat prize was awarded to me (with 17 votes of 19) I had as competitors
the then President of the Swedish Anthropological
Society, Dr. F. Dahlgran and the author of the 'Origin of Art,' Professor
Yrjö Hirn of the University of Helsingfors. The prize is distributed
every fifth year. This year however the Academy decided that no prize could
be awarded to the three applicants, Dr. Carl Lumholtz of Krisitania, Dr.
Stenneby of the Copenhagen National Museum and Baron E. Nordenskiöld,
assistant Director of the Ethnographical Museum in Stockholm.
 The above statistics regarding the visible results of my work as
a collector and the quotations regarding the quality of scientific work
previously accomplished furnish some guarantee, that I even in the future
might be able to do the Carnegie Museum valuable services particularly in
Mexico and Central America, the regions which according to the wise plans
of the Director were from the very beginning selected as the special field
for the prehistoric researches of the Carnegie Museum.
 The same field will probably soon be entered by the Carnegie Institution
of Washington, if the appeal now made to the same by all the anthropological
societies of America for the creation of an anthropological department is
favorably acted upon. This application, which I recently had the honor to
sign, calls for an annual appropriation of $40,000 to be used exclusively
for prehistoric anthropological researches in Spanish America and in this
the urgent importance of more work in Central America the cause-way for
the races of the [sic] both continents is dwelt upon.
 If properly continued and extended the work already inaugurated on
a small scale by the Carnegie Museum will surely become a valuable link
in the chain of investigations projected to be carried out by the sister
institution of Washington and will in the future aid in solving the problems
of the first appearance and development of the American race.
 During my previous seven years explorations in Mexico and Central
America, I have obtained the most definite information about the best localities
both for ethnological and archeological work. From some of my personal friends,
Swedish Americans, who control an extensive tract of land, covering many
square miles near the Guatemalan frontier, I have recently got [an] invitation
to explore extensive ruins and burial-grounds for the Carnegie Museum, being
assured of all possible assistance. They have even offered me free passage.
 Shortly before I left Europe, I devoted some time to become instructed
by specialists in two new, advanced technical methods for certain lines
of anthropological research, methods which have proved highly time and labor
saving and through which far more accurate results can be attained than
at present is possible. None of these methods has as yet been put in practice
in America. I should be glad to make use of the same as soon as possible
in my work for the Carnegie Museum, being absolutely convinced that these
methods once introduced in the Western Hemisphere will supersede the older
and become adopted by all other workers in the same field.
 Opportunities for the development of the Section under my care on
the lines contemplated are consequently bright enough.
 I wish, however, to emphasize the fact, that I hope the Museum Committee
will now since Mr. Carnegie has provided the institution with an endowment
larger than that of most of the leading museums of the world encourage my
efforts by an increase of my salary, paying me in the same way as other
American institutions do. The average salary of curators at other institutions
is $3000 and several curators receive $3500, and have at the same time liberty
to devote perhaps the greatest part of their time to other duties as teachers,
in this way almost doubling the salary mentioned. At the Field Museum the
assistant curators in the anthropological department are each paid $2500
per year. The assistant Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum in New
York has since years ago been paid at least $2200, but is free to use about
half of his time for the preparation of lectures and for teaching at other
institutions from which he also draws salary.
 I was distinctly told by
the Director, at the time the agreement was made, that I would have to
work under the same rules and regulations
and with the same salary as the other curators of the museum. I was also
told, "that when after a couple of years the Institution had been opened
and endowed, I could gather my assistants around me just as Mr. Hatcher
did, that a fine anthropological library would be provided my Section
and that in every way encouragement should be given."
 I realize of course that the delays of opening the Institute have
made it difficult as yet to realize all these prospects. I have still here
in Pittsburg [h] to work under the very great drawback of practically being
without any library for study, identification of specimens and references,
etc. Books have been bought from some hundred dollars, but even a sum of
$10,000 would not go very far to lay the foundation for an anthropological
library. At least one assistant with any scientific training is another
of the very essential needs of the section.
 However, the comparatively small matter of satisfying the requests
for an increase of the curators' salaries, I presume can already now be
settled so much the easier as the museum counts only two curators on the
 I have a special reason to consider, that I might be remembered now
and that is the fact, that although I was informed that the results of my
work were gratifying I still had to pay my living expenses while in the
field. As said before this is contrary to the rules of all other large institutions
in America. At all the other museums as in New York, Washington, Chicago,
San Francisco and Philadelphia, the men while on expeditions for months
or years have their expenses paid on a liberal basis.
 In the printed regulations
of one of the great Washington institutions I find stated "that all
employees while in the field for studies or collecting have their living
expenses paid, and this includes the expenses
at hotels, the price of $5.00 per day not to be exceeded. All such comforts
and minor items as laundry, bath, sleeping cars, tips for porters and
waiters, streetcar fares, etc., are also provided for. "
 From a scientist, who certainly has practical experience in field-work
of every description just in Central America, a man who has lived and traveled
there for about twenty years, the former Director of the Museum of San Jose,
Professor H. Pittier, now since some four years ago engaged by the Government
of the United States for botanical collecting and investigations in all
parts of Mexico, Central and South America, I recently had a letter with
the statement that he in Central America considers as moderate his own average
living expenses of about $150 per month.
 In Frank Carpenter's reliable work on South America the average expense
of a white man is given as $10, per day and I am informed, that the scientific
collectors of the Commercial Museum in Philadelphia, were allowed $15 per
day for living expenses in Spanish America. In fact I know myself that $7
to $12 per day is considered the average expense of the commercial travellers
in Central America.
 The fact that I was able to save anything at all out of my salary
while in Costa Rica depended exclusively on the great hospitality of my
old friends down there and upon my adoption of the very primitive way of
living of the natives, conditions often such that those of any Hungarian
or Italian laborer's [sic] camp in the United States, in comparison must
be considered luxurious.
 What I saved was after
my return to Pittsburgh very soon swallowed up by the outlays for several
new suits, instead of those I had spoiled
entirely during the rough life in the wilderness, and by doctor's bills
on account of my anemic condition, caused by several months [’] work
in malarial regions during the rainy season, and last but not least by
a considerably increased life insurance, also caused by impaired health.
 I remember well, that I after my return was allowed a certain moderate
sum, but this one was smaller than the sum of $135, which I had paid out
of my own pocket for the three copies of my book which I presented to Mssrs
Keith, Pittier and Ferraz as an appreciation of their services on behalf
of my expedition.
 During the present year no large funds are needed for my section.
No rent is longer to be paid for storage etc. No new collections can very
well be purchased as all available space in the exhibition cases is already
occupied and the two store rooms are nearly filled with boxes with various
material. The services of the sculptor, Mr. Mills can from the end of this
month again be transferred to the paleontological or transportation departments,
as he now has finished the restoring of all the Egyptian and Columbian [sic]
ware upon which he has been engaged lately and as there seems to be no place
available for more Indian groups.
 I will finally state, that I little more than a year ago was approached
by another institution and assured better financial conditions than my present,
but as I at that time still had absolute faith in an early realization of
the hopes here held out, and naturally was reluctant to interrupt the work,
which I had started and was much devoted to, I then declined the offer.
 I would appreciate as a
special favor if the matter could be definitely settled at this month
[ ’]s meeting.
 Repeating my sincere regrets over the many details with which I have
intruded upon your most valuable time and respectfully asking for your kind
and generous support in the matter, I hope that this my first appeal to
the Museum Committee will be favorably considered.
Yours very obedient,
C. V. Hartman [signature]