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Allen P. McCartney Papers

Identifier: MC 1506

Scope and Content Note

The collection comprises personal, academic and professional/research records. The personal records consist mostly of biographical data such as curriculum vitae and files pertaining to his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. The academic records that pertain primarily to the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences in general and to the Department of Anthropology include faculty meeting materials, general and subject correspondence, departmental annual reports, records concerning the Doctoral Program in Environmental Dynamics (ENDY), and the Robert L. Stigler Lectureship in Archaeology materials. Furthermore, there are also records that pertain to the classes taught by McCartney, such as classroom lecture notes, syllabi, tests, magazine articles, typescripts, and other classroom items created and collected by him. The professional/research records include annual report materials, correspondence, reprints of McCartney’s articles and typescripts of unpublished reports. Also included are items pertaining to his activities in numerous professional organization; records associated with contracts, grants, and projects; day calendars; and photographs.


  • Creation: 1962-2003


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Information

Please call (479) 575-8444 or email at least two weeks in advance of your arrival to ensure availability of the materials.

Biographical Note

Allen P. McCartney was professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (chairman of the anthropology department 1978-1984), editor and associate editor of Arctic Anthropology> and Alaska Journal of Anthropology respectively, and author and co-author of numerous professional articles and books. Allen had a long and distinguished career in anthropology, focusing his teaching, research, and professional service on the anthropology of northern regions. He was a recognized specialist on Arctic archaeology.

Allen Papin McCartney was born in Fayetteville, Washington County, Arkansas, on August 8, 1940. He received his B.A. degree in sociology and anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 1962. McCartney continued his studies in anthropology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he specialized in northern archaeology. He earned his M.A. in 1967 and subsequently completed his doctoral dissertation on the Thule Eskimos at the University of Wisconsin in 1971.

McCartney joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas as an assistant professor of anthropology in 1970 and remained in Arkansas for his entire professional career. He chaired the Department of Anthropology from 1978 to 1984. From 1989 to 1995, he was the first director of the Ph.D. program in Environmental Dynamics, an interdisciplinary specialty emphasizing the study of complex human and environmental interactions and change. McCartney was also one of the principal organizers of the Robert L. Stigler Jr. Lectureship in Archeology, a program designed to bring leaders in the field of anthropology to the University of Arkansas. Mr. And Mrs. Robert L. Stigler of Pine Bluff, Arkansas established the series to memorialize the career of their son, who was affiliated with Columbia University as a lecturer in anthropology.

From 1981-1889 and 1996-2000, McCartney edited the journal Arctic Anthropology. Additionally, he served on the Board of Governors of the Arctic Institute of North America from 1977-1979 and as associate editor of the Alaska Journal of Anthropology in 2001.

McCartney made vital and lasting contributions to Arctic anthropology during his 40-year career and has been credited as being the field’s leader. Beginning in 1962, he worked in Alaska where he first joined an archaeological field crew in the Aleutian Islands and later studied cultures of Hudson Bay’s northeastern coast. From 1975-1976, he served as the principal investigator and project director for the Thule Archaeology Conservation Project in coastal areas of the Northwest territories. The project, jointly sponsored by the Archaeological Survey of Canada and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, had sought to study the alteration of Thule sites caused by recent whale bone collecting for the art carving market. In 1978, he conducted studies of bowhead whale bones at Thule period archaeological sites on Somerset Island in the central Canadian Arctic.

McCartney’s accomplishments include some seventy-six conference papers, sixty-seven publications, and numerous unpublished research reports. He authored and edited several books, the last of which was Indigenous Ways to the Present: Native Whaling in the Western Arctic, an edited volume published in 2004 by Canadian Circumpolar Institute (CCI) Press.

He was also the recipient of numerous major research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Geographic Society. In 2002, the National Science Foundation sponsored a workshop in honor of his groundbreaking contributions that helped shape the direction of archaeological research in the Arctic. He received the Alaska Anthropological Association's 2003 Professional Achievement Award in recognition of an unrivaled legacy of scholarship on the Arctic.

Professor Allen McCartney retired in 2003 as one of the world’s top experts on Arctic Anthropology. He died in 2004.


15.6 Linear Feet (13 boxes)

Arrangement of the Papers

Materials are arranged topically and then chronologically

Processing Information

Vera Ekechukwu 2013


Allen P. McCartney Papers
Vera Ekechukwu
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Department Repository

University of Arkansas Libraries
365 N. McIlroy Avenue
Fayetteville AR 72701 United States
(479) 575-8444