Solomon H. Katz Alaska papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives [Contact Us]3260 South Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19104-6324
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Solomon H. Katz was born in 1937 in Beverly, Massachusetts. He received his BA in 1963 from Northwestern University, and his MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1966 and 1967 respectively, in the field of biological anthropology. Significant early research experience included a traineeship from 1963-1967 at the Philadelphia Center for Research in Child Growth (U. Penn) under the direction of W.M. Krogman (since the W.M. Krogman Center for Research in Child Growth and Development). Other research and teaching experience in the late 1960’s included a research assistantship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1964-1968, and relationships with Columbia University Faculty Seminars, Hahnemann Medical College, and the Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute. In 1968 Dr. Katz was appointed Assistant Professor of Physical Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests at that time included biocultural evolution, human ecology and demographics, human growth and aging, medical and dental anthropology and epidemiology.
Dr. Katz became interested in the Arctic as a result of his work with anthropologist Dr. Anthony F. C. Wallace, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania specializing in Native American cultures. Katz made his first trip to Barrow in 1969, and over a period of several years studied the demographic, genealogical, nutritional, health and social aspects of the native population as it was beginning to confront the challenges of rapid socio-economic change. Most of the data collected during this period of 1969-1972 reflects the cultural and social landscape of Barrow and related communities just prior to the Lands Claims Settlements and intense exploitation of North Slope oil.
Katz relied primarily on data supplied by State of Alaska Housing Surveys and other sources of demographic and health data, either by governmental agencies or organizations such as the Norton Sound Health Corporation, which later conducted research using models developed by Katz. Some of the demographic results were published, but it is unclear how much related analysis has been done. Katz’ main contribution seems to have been the application of new computer data models to the social and health survey data. The best overview of the nature and intent of Katz’ research can be found in his application to the National Science Foundation submitted in 1971, included in this collection. This proposal also contains biographical information concerning most of Katz’ colleagues in this project, notably Edward F. Foulks, who co-authored several articles with Katz. A previous guide to these papers (1982) stated that no direct applications of the study were made in Barrow. It also stated that Katz was later consultant for an Alcohol Consumption Survey conducted by Sam Klauser of the University of Pennsylvania, which used some Katz survey data.
Since the Alaska project Dr. Katz has served as Assistant Curator of Physical Anthropology at the University Museum, Director of the W.M. Krogman Center for Research in Child Growth and Development, and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. During this period he became increasingly concerned with the cultural and historical aspects of food and nutrition. In 1995 he co-edited, with Patrick McGovern and Stuart Fleming, The Origins and Ancient History of Wine (Gordon and Breach), and in 2003 he was editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Food (Scribner’s). For the past 30 years, Dr. Katz has also been active in the field of science and religion, serving as president of the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science from 1981 to 1984, and as the editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. He has been president of the Metaxus Institute Board of Directors and serves on the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Katz is currently director of the Krogman Center for Childhood Growth and Development [verify] and is Professor Emeritus [verify] of the University of Pennsylvania. Further information concerning his background and related interests can be found in the Biography Collection of the Penn Museum Archives.
Note on Terminology: The Katz Alaska papers use the terms "Eskimo" and "native Alaskan" throughout. As the term "Eskimo" is today considered pejorative, or at least etymologically inappropriate, these peoples are now generally referred to as belonging to one of three related ethnic groupings: Inupiat, Yupik, and Inuit. The Inupiat reside mainly along the North Slope and south toward Norton Sound. The Yupik reside along the south coast of Norton Sound. The Barrow community currently (2014) uses the term Inupiat (e.g. Inupiat Heritage Center in Barrow). Inuit is sometimes used as a general term for the three groupings, but is more properly a separate ethnic term. The Inuit are generally restricted to Canada and Greenland, with a few residing along the northeast North Slope in Alaska. The term "Eskimo" is used throughout this guide in order to avoid confusion. At the time most of the surveys were taken, perhaps 15-20% of residents and subjects were actually of European or mixed extraction.
The textual records of the Solomon H. Katz Alaska papers consist of 3.1 linear feet of documents, including correspondence, fundraising proposals, reports, publications and survey data collected mostly between 1969 and 1973, although some prior surveys date to 1940. The majority of the records were created on-site in Alaska by Dr. Katz and his assistants or in Philadelphia by Dr. Katz in his position as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and in his other positions in various health-related institutions. Some publications by Alaska government agencies used in the research have been retained. A significant portion of the collection relates to the Norton Sound Health Corporation, for which Katz served as a consultant. Some of the records, especially after 1971, relate attempts by students and colleagues of Katz to extend and apply the survey methods used to other communities. About two linear feet of this collection consist of various collections of survey data. Most computer print-outs, coding sheets, and key-punch card media have not been retained as being unreadable or irretrievable. It is unclear how much of the survey data collected here was subsequently published or used in later research.
The Solomon H. Katz Alaska papers were donated to the University Museum Archives by Dr. Katz. They originally consisted of 4.2 linear feet (10 archival boxes) of correspondence, project records and survey data, as well as six Hollinger boxes of mostly survey data and computer print-outs, as well as a large file of computer key-punch cards. These records all related to various Alaska projects between 1969 and 1973 in which Katz either participated, or which he used in his research, including survey data dating back to 1940. In 1982 the collection of 4.2 linear feet of archival boxes was partially processed and a brief finding aid produced. In 2014 the entire collection was reviewed and reprocessed. The computer media in the form of coding sheets, print-outs and key-punch cards were not retained as being unreadable or irretrievable.
- University of Pennsylvania: Penn Museum Archives
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by James R. DeWalt
- Finding Aid Date
- Use Restrictions
Although many items from the archives are in the public domain, copyright may be retained by the authors of items in these papers, or by their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. The user is fully responsible for compliance with relevant copyright law. Files related to the Barrow Housing Survey and Census (1969), as well as the school census records (1971) were marked as restricted in the previous (1982) finding aid.
The correspondence series includes communications with Dr. Katz of a general nature and concerning topics that do not fall within the subject files that follow, or that concern several topics within the collection. Correspondence relating to grant applications, for example, is included within that series. The Barrow museum correspondence deals with attempts to establish a museum in Barrow between 1971 and 1973. It is uncertain whether or not anything came of this. The present Inupiat Heritage Center was founded in 1999. All correspondence in this series and throughout the collection is arranged chronologically.
Grant applications were submitted to the National Science Foundation in 1970 and again in 1971. The first proposed a three-year human ecological study of the Barrow community investigating “the relations among rapid cultural change and population growth, nutritional change, pollution and disease, and behavioral disorders.” This proposal was rejected. The second proposal suggested a five-year study of the same type. It seems that the NSF lacked funds to support this study, and offered to reconsider the proposal in another year. From a reading of the correspondence, some funding from other sources was located to support parts of the proposed study, but it seems evident that the five-year study as proposed was never completed. Correspondence in this series may refer to other aspects of fundraising as well as various aspects of the study as proposed.
This series contains reports and publications, sometimes early drafts of later published material, by Katz and several of his colleagues. It is uncertain in several cases whether or not some of these were eventually published, perhaps in altered form. Authors are sometimes not identified.
The conference series contains correspondence and program details of several conferences, most notably the Man in the Arctic Conference held by the National Science Foundation in 1971. There is a detailed report of conference topics and proceedings. Included are follow-up relations with the Institute of Social, Economic and Government Research, which seems to have continued to advance the measures suggested at the Man in the Arctic Conference.
This series includes published reports, mostly by governmental organizations, examining various aspects of the Barrow community. These publications date from years just prior to Katz’ visit, and were all used to some extent in his research, which involved a reexamination of data previously collected using novel applications and methods, most notably computer data analysis. The Community Housing Survey, taken in December 1969 and published in 1970, and the Genealogical Record of Barrow Eskimo Families, updated by Katz, are at the core of much of the data and analysis included in this collection. Data sheets, worksheets and some correspondence from this survey are included in the Survey data series. Katz describes some of these publications and their impact on his research in his NSF grant application.
The Norton Sound Health Corporation is a private, non-profit and tribally owned health care organization operating in the Norton Sound-Nome region of western Alaska. It was incorporated in 1970 and remains active today (2014). It is not associated with the Barrow community or other North Slope communities. Dr. Katz worked with the Corporation and its executive director, William M. Dann and his associate James Hahn in several capacities, notably as a consultant in 1972. Files relating to several aspects of the NSHC program are included. Some of the survey data from the Norton Sound region included in this collection used methods and models established by Katz.
The bulk of the Solomon H. Katz Alaska papers consists of about two linear feet, five archival boxes, of survey data. Of these three contain data sheets, worksheets, and some correspondence related to the Barrow Housing Survey of 1969-1970. These are arranged first by surname, along with Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Village Census sheets dating back to 1940, and then by geographical survey areas. Worksheets and compiled data, as well as computer coding keys are included. The correspondence consists of a rather detailed day-to-day account of the survey procedure by Earl Finkler, Senior Planner at the Alaska State Housing Authority. There are some notes and comments regarding similar surveys attempted in subsequent years.
Other survey data were collected from 1971-1973 and deal generally with various health aspects of Barrow residents, along with some additional surveys to supplement housing and genealogical surveys. The birth data and mother and children surveys were clearly used in at least one published report: “Adaptive Childbearing in a North Slope Eskimo Community’” George S. Masnick and Solomon H.Katz, Human Biology, Vol. 48, No 1 (February 1976). It is evident that the health data, including surveys and blood test analysis, were intended to fulfill the objectives of the Barrow studies as outlined in the NSF grant proposals, but it is unclear to what extent this was accomplished. Survey data filed after the mothers and children survey all concern communities outside of Barrow, collected at least in part by students and colleagues of Katz, and using his survey and analytical methods. As stated, most of the computer storage media in the form of print-outs, coding forms and key-punch cards have not been retained.
Large format maps and aerial photographs are stored in map case M-58. Most of these documents deal with Barrow housing and community planning.