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Theodore H. Lewis papers, 1860-1888

Summary Information
Title: Theodore H. Lewis papers
Dates: 1860-1888
Creator: Lewis, Theodore Hayes, b. 1856
Extent: 4 boxes Extent: (2.0 linear feet)
Language: English
Collection Number: 487
Collection contains notebooks and scrapbooks belonging to Theodore H. Lewis during his career as an archaeologist in Minnesota.

Repository: University of Minnesota Libraries. University Archives

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

The collection was deposited in University Archives on January 12, 1994.

Access Restrictions:

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote from the Theodore H. Lewis papers should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives head.

Processing Information:

Collection has not been processed.

Preferred Citation:

Theodore H. Lewis papers, University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Theodore H. Lewis (b. 1856)

Theodore Hayes Lewis was the first archaeologist to systematically survey and record archaeological sites in Minnesota. He was born in 1856 and disappeared in Colorado in 1909. He was educated in Ohio and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota in 1878 where he worked as a surveyor investigating antiquities from 1878-1880. He began work on the Northwestern Archaeological Survey during the years 1880-1883 and became associated with Alfred J. Hill in 1881, who paid most of his research expenses and contracted with Lewis to complete a survey of Native American burial mounds in Minnesota and other nearby states.

Between 1883 and 1895 Lewis surveyed more than 12,000 mounds in Minnesota, Canada and surrounding states. From 1884 to 1907, he published over 50 scholarly articles about his research in Minnesota, which have formed the basis of knowledge about petroglyphs, incised boulders, burial mounds and cave art in the state. Many of these formations and archaeological sites have disappeared or been destroyed over time.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection contains 41 notebooks belonging to Theodore H. Lewis during his tenure as an archaeologist in Minnesota. The notebooks include his time in Ohio, before coming to Minnesota in 1878, his work in St. Paul and on the Northwestern Archaeological Survey. The collection also contains 8 scrapbooks.

Related Material

Northwestern Archaeological Survey notebooks, Minnesota Historical Society.

Subject Terms
Index Terms
  • This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Lewis, Theodore Hayes, b. 1856 -- Archives
  • Northwestern Archaeological Survey (U.S.)
  • Archaeological surveying -- Minnesota.