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Marianne Schmink Papers

Identifier: Ms. Coll. 154

Scope and Contents

The Marianne Schmink Papers date from 1970 to 2020. The materials include personal and project documents, correspondence, photographs, slides, negative films, magazines, newspapers and clippings, newsletters, postcards, maps, audiovisual and digital materials.

The collection is useful to researchers interested in Latin America, especially in the Amazon region, and topics related to the environment, natural resource management, gender studies, women in development, tropical conservation, and anthropology.

The papers consist mostly of documents related to four different programs and research carried out in the Amazon region. The following research programs are documented in the collection:

Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD):

The Program's mission is to bridge theory and practice to advance biodiversity conservation, sustainable resource use, and human well-being in the tropics and elsewhere. TCD is a research and training program of the Center for Latin American Studies. The program is also linked to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the College of Health and Human Performance, and the College of Design Construction and Planning through its affiliate departments and centers. Its main goals are to train graduate-level professionals, to bridge theory and practice and learn across disciplines, to promote cross-national, integrative, comparative problem-centered research, and to strengthen and expand learning and action networks.

Research Program in Acre, Brazil:

From 1986 to 2011, Dr. Marianne Schmink led a large research and training program focused on the northwestern Amazonian state of Acre, Brazil. The program began with a cooperative agreement with the Federal University of Acre (UFAC), based on an initial visit by Dr. Terry McCoy, Director of the Center for Latin American Studies, in 1986. Dr. Schmink visited Acre in 1986 with Dr. Kent Redford, and in 1987 and 1988, she returned, meeting rubber tapper leader Chico Mendes. Chico Mendes was assassinated in 1988, and University of Florida faculty and students planted a magnolia tree in his honor, with a commemorative plaque, on the south end of Grinter Hall. The Acre program was originally funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation in Brazil, which supported the training of a group of local researchers and extensionists in 1988 and 1989 in Farming Systems Research and Extension methods. In 1990, a group of local people trained in this course founded the non-profit PESACRE (Grupo de Pesquisa e Extensão Em Sistemas Agroflorestais do Acre). In 1990, the University of Florida received funding through the USAID-Brazil Environment Program until 2008 to support continued research and extension work by PESACRE.

Research in São Félix do Xingu (SFX), Brazil:

From 1976 to 2014, Dr. Marianne Schmink and Dr. Charles H. Wood carried out field research in the Amazonian region in and around São Félix do Xingu, Pará, Brazil. The results of the initial research were published in "Contested Frontiers in Amazonia" (Marianne Schmink and Charles H. Wood, Columbia University Press, 1992), which was later translated into Portuguese by University of Florida alumnus Dr. Noemi Porro and published in Brazil as "Conflitos Sociais e a Formação da Amazônia" (Editora da Universidade Federal do Pará, 2012). Dr. Schmink returned to São Félix do Xingu in 2012 to distribute copies of the book and give talks in the community. In 2014, she returned with fellow researchers Dr. Jeffrey Hoelle, Dr. Carlos Valerio Gomes, and Dr. Gregory M. Thayler to carry out a final field research project.

Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis Program (MERGE):

The MERGE program (Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis) was a collaborative network of organizations that, during the 1990s, pursued a strategy of mutual learning focused on gender, community participation, and natural resource management in Peru, Ecuador, and Brazil. Funded under the Gender and Natural Resource Management grants competition sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, MERGE was a unique partnership among diverse organizations across four different countries. The University of Florida joined with like-minded counterparts in the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty (FLACSO) in Quito, Ecuador, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) based in Washington, D.C. and the Conservation International program in Peru (CI-Peru), to present a set of linked proposals for funding, and in 1994, the MERGE program received funding from the MacArthur Foundation. Each of the participating organizations received its grant, an arrangement that provided an autonomous basis for collaboration and incentives for sharing resources. The initial MERGE partnership funded by the MacArthur Foundation included universities in the North and the South, international environmental organizations based in the United States, Latin America, and in-country Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) with whom they worked. The latter included, among others, the Fundación Antisana (FUNAN) in Ecuador and the Agrarian Federation of Madre de Dios (FADEMAD) in Peru. A parallel MERGE program developed in Brazil with support from USAID-Brazil's (United States Agency for International Development) Global Climate Change program in collaboration with PESACRE, a local Non-Governmental Organization in Acre, Brazil, Fundação Vitória Amazônica (Manaus, Brazil), and other local organizations in the Amazon region. The MERGE strategy and conceptual framework developed and adapted over several years and in diverse sites, used gender analysis as a point of departure to approach diversity in community-based conservation efforts. Together with wealth, social class, ethnicity, age, and property ownership, gender is analyzed as a key determinant in status and power structures. MERGE adopted a collaborative learning approach, developing participatory techniques for conservation projects in different conditions, incorporating a focus on gender, and working through partnerships to build institutional capacity for future learning and adaptation.

The collection is arranged by topic and alphabetically in five series:

Series 1: Project Files (1970-2020) - contains documents related to four different projects and programs carried out in Brazil: Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD), research in Acre and São Félix do Xingu in Brazil, and the Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis Program (MERGE). It includes reports, meeting agendas, proposals, course syllabuses, research papers, workshops, planning documents, photographs, slide sets, negative films, audiovisual and electronic materials, presentations, postcards, case studies, and maps.

It also contains documents related to the murder of Brazilian rubber tapper and environmentalist, Chico Mendes, and memorials about Vanessa Sequeira's death, a graduate student who was murdered in 2006, while she was carrying out field research in the Brazilian Amazon.

This series also includes two videos related to the research conducted in São Félix do Xingu in Brazil: Research in São Félix do Xingu (SFX), Brazil- São Félix do Xingu: história(s) de ocupação no coração da Amazônia. (Portuguese without subtitles) Research in São Félix do Xingu (SFX), Brazil- São Félix do Xingu: Stories of Occupation in the Heart of Amazonia. (English with subtitles)

The electronic files can only be accessed through the archivist. Please contact the archives for more information.

Series 2: Personal Papers (1977-2020) - contains awards, letters of support, job promotion materials, and achievements. It also includes photographs related to the commemoration celebration of Marianne Schmink retiring as Director during the Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Conference.

Series 3: Publications (1980-2004) - contains publications by Marianne Schmink and graduate student's research carried out in Brazil on topics related to gender studies, the environment, public policy, and agroforestry.

Series 4: Correspondence (1994-1996) - contains general correspondence related to workshops, seminars, training, research, and projects. This series also includes correspondence from Jonathan Dain, a University of Florida faculty member in the School of Forest Resources and Conservation and the Center for Latin American Studies.

Series 5: Magazines, Newsletters, and News clippings (1976-2005) - contains newsletters from University of Florida programs such as the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), Latin American Studies, Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD), and International Studies. The newspapers and clippings are mostly in Portuguese and they cover topics such as gold mining in Amazonia, the Amazon Research and Training Program (ARTP), and projects conducted at São Félix do Xingu, Tucumã, and Serra Pelada in Brazil. It also contains two magazines related to the life and death of Chico Mendes.


  • Creation: 1970 - 2020


Language of Materials

Includes materials written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


University Archives collections are available for research. Portions of the collections may be restricted due to the requirements of applicable state and federal laws, including but not limited to FERPA and HIPAA, and in accordance with best practices as defined by the Society of American Archivists.

Digital materials are still in process. To access them, please contact the archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Marianne Schmink was born in Huntington, West Virginia on June 26, 1949. In 1971, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Anthropology, and in 1979 earned a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in Austin in Anthropology.

Marianne Schmink's career at the University of Florida began in 1979 with a post-doctoral grant from the Tinker Foundation to work with Dr. Charles Wagley. While at the University of Florida she worked with Wagley and others, including Charles H. Wood, to successfully earn a grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the Amazon Research and Training Program (ARTP) in 1980. Schmink was supported by that grant as Executive Director of the ARTP, working part-time while continuing outside consulting work with the Population Council on a project on Women and Urban Services in Mexico, Jamaica, and Peru.

In 1984, Schmink began working as an Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies and Anthropology, and continued working at the University of Florida for forty years until her retirement in January 2019.


11.46 Linear Feet (9 Record Boxes. 1 Rolled Box. 46 Digital Folders)


The Marianne Schmink Papers date from 1970 to 2020. This collection includes personal and project documents, correspondence, photographs, magazines, newspapers and clippings, newsletters, maps, audiovisual and digital materials. Most of the documents relate to four different programs and research carried out in the Amazon region: Tropical Conservation and Development Program (TCD), research in Acre and São Félix do Xingu in Brazil, and the Managing Ecosystems and Resources with Gender Emphasis Program (MERGE).


The collection is arranged into five series by topic and alphabetically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Marianne Schmink donated the collection in 2019, 2020, and 2021.

A Guide to Marianne Schmink Papers
Finding aid created by Nelissa E. Caraballo-Ramos
December 2020 (Updated November 2022)
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America