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Ephraim G. Squier Papers

Identifier: MS Group 031

Scope and Content

Correspondence, manuscripts, and notes by or about E.G. Squier and his archaeology or ethnology work in the United States and Central America. Correspondence topics include a Nicaragua earthquake, the founding of the American, Anthropological Society, and salary issues. Topics represented by the manuscripts and notes include American antiquities, salaries for U.S. diplomats, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, and Aztec picture writing. Also included are engravings of the eastern terminus and western terminus of the proposed Inter-oceanic Canal, an engraving of Squier, news clippings on Squier and Nicaragua, and a woodcut portrait of Squier.


  • Creation: 1848-1874



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Archaeologist and ethnologist, Squier was born in Bethlehem, New York, June 17, 1821. He worked as a journalist in Connecticut and Ohio from 1843 to 1848, during which time he also investigated the ancient monuments of the Mississippi Valley. In conjunction with Edwin H. Davis, he prepared the narrative published as Volume I of the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge (1848). He also made an examination of the ancient remains of New York State in 1848 under the auspices of the New York Historical Society. That same year, he published a monograph on the ancient monuments of New Mexico and California.

He was appointed by President Zachery Taylor in 1849 to serve as Charge d'Affairs to all Central American states and to negotiate treaties with Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Honduras. In 1863 he was appointed U.S. commissioner to Peru, where he made an exhaustive study of Inca remains. In 1868 he was appointed Consul-General of Honduras at New York. In 1871, he was elected first president of the American Anthropological Society, an organization he helped found. In 1874, he was declared mentally insane and it was not until some years later that he was able to return to his research and writing in the field of Americanist studies.

Among his several works on Central American are Nicaragua: Its People, Scenery, and Monuments (1852); Notes on Central America (1857, revised 1870); Travels in Central America, Particularly in Nicaragua (1853); Waikna, or Adventures of the Mosquito Shore (1855); Peru, Incidents of Travel and Exploration in the Land of the Incas (1877); and Honduras, Descriptive, Historical, and Statistical (1870). He died in Brooklyn on April 17, 1888.


0.5 Linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, manuscripts, and notes regarding Central America by archaeologist/ethnologist E.G. Squier.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

A Guide to the Ephraim G. Squier Papers
Finding aid prepared by Dept. Staff
March 2005
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