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1863, English, Map, Unpublished
Biography of William E. Gates
Gates, William, 1863-1940
Biography of William E. Gates
Gates, William, 1863-1940
L. Tom Perry Special Collections
117 boxes (49 feet)
Letters, Notes, Photographs, Maps, Charts, diagrams, etc. Drafts (Documents)
Author, linguist, archaeologist, collector, publisher, museum director, and president of the Maya Society. ; Transcripts, printers proofs, grammars, vocabularies, dictionaries, glyph studies, botanical studies, commentaries, articles, editions of codices, personal correspondence, 44 original manuscripts, imprints, maps, charts, drawings, photographs, notes, memoranda, Maya Society materials, genealogies of Maya families, Mayan glyphs on moveable type, and an unpublished biography of Gates by Gareth W. Lowe. Many of the items are photocopies. The materials relate to the languages history and archaeology of the Indian peoples of Centeral America. The collection emphasizes the Mayan and Aztec civilizations. 1863Born at Atlanta, Georgia, on Dec. 8, son of William H. Gates and Katherine Appley, and grandson of General Horatio Gates of Revolutionary War fame. Educated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, schools.1886Graduated from Johns Hopkins University with an A.B. Degree. Later abandoned the study of law at the University of Virginia.1887-1905Operated a successful printing business at Cleveland, Ohio. The turning point for his interest in the Mayan civilization came in 1898 after purchasing and pondering over the Codex Troano. Reported to have had a speaking knowledge of thirteen languages.1900Retired from printing business and moved to San Diego, California, where he joined the Aryan Theosophical Colony of Madam Katharine Tingley at Point Loma. Here he became professor in the School of Antiquity for the society but continued his studies and publishing of May glyphs, commentaries, and articles. Concentrated on collecting by purchase, copying, or by photography all available Mayan manuscripts and materials in the U.S. and Central America. This was aided by a personal journey through Mexico on horseback, 1917-1918. Became one of the founders of the San Diego Museum. Sometime after the close of World War I, he moved back to the eastern part of the United States. Published Codex Perez in 1910.1912Realized that the problem of hieroglyphic writing must be founded only on a thorough science of comparative Mayance linguistics.1920Organized the Maya Society at Philadelphia and became the first president. Appointed counselor for the Archaeology Commission of the Maryland Academy of Science.1921Appointed honorary research associate of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. Joined Sylvanus G. Morley and Carl Guthe for an exploratory trip of several months to Guatemala. Here he uncovered a monument "bearing a date of 120 B.C.," which he asserted was evidence that the Maya civilization was one of extreme antiquity. Presented a book and manuscript collection on Chinese art to the San Diego Museum.1922Named director-general of Archaeology for the Republic of Guatemala and director of its museum--a position he held for two years. Made another trip to Guatemala and returned with a Quiche Indian to his newly purchased farm near Charlottesville, Virginia. Here, with the aid of an instrument, the "Kymograph" or wavewriter, and with the help of the Quiche Indian, he studied the Quiche dialect.1924Tulane University purchased from Gates his superb collection of manuscripts, documents, and printed literature related to Mexico and Central America, sometimes referred to as the "northern half of the Gates collection." Appointed director of the American Indian Defense Association, Inc.1924-1926Organized and served as director of the Department of Middle American Research at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana.1925Made another exploratory trip to Central America.1926-1930Returned to his old home at Charlottesville, Virginia, to continue his research studies.1930The first May Society book, publication No. 1, An Outline Dictionary of May Glyphs with a Concordance and Analysis of Their Relationships, was published. It sold for $35. The work was refuted by Herman Beyer, a Mayan scholar at Tulane University. The Maya Society Quarterly was established but never went beyond Volume 1.1932Colored facsimile of the Dresden Codex was published and sold for $60.1933Issued a complete photographic copy of the Madrid Codex ($75 per copy).1934Visited the West Coast and journeyed to Mexico; took active part in helping to support needed changes in the land and education policies of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.1936Robert Garrett purchased the latest collection of Middle American original manuscripts and typed copies from William E. Gates and presented them to Princeton University.1938Returned to Washington, D.C., to occupy offices in the Library of Congress. The first of three editions of A Grammar of Maya, by Gates, climaxed many year of work.1939A Latin and English translation of the De la Cruz Badiano Aztec Herbal was published by Gates in two volumes.1940Died April 24 at Baltimore, Maryland.PrefaceThere has long been a need for a biography of William E. Gates and a summary statement of the contributions he made to knowledge through his lifelong study of the Indian peoples of Mesoamerica, the Maya in particular. Although Mr. Gates is recognized generally as the foremost collector of Mayance language source materials, and although his published works are included in the bibliographies of many publications concerning the Maya, little biographical information about him has been published. Except for a resume of Gates and the Maya Society in the Cyclopedia of American Biography for 1935, printed references to his life and work are confined to a few brief tributes or reviews in various professional publications and to a few pages in several publications of his own Maya Society. These accounts reveal relatively little of the full story of Gates' life and work. This paper is an attempt to supply the outline of that story, and with it to explain the history of the William E. Gates Middle American Papers in the library archives at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.As a graduate student in the Department of Archaeology during 1953-55, I fortunately had access to the large correspondence of Gates with his friends and associates which is included in the collection of his papers and books. Mr. Gates once stated in a letter to a friend that it was impossible for him to write down his thoughts in a diary as other notable men did and that his thoughts and experiences as contained in his correspondence must stand as the record of his activities. it was, therefore, his practice to retain in his files a carbon copy of each letter he wrote, preferably together with the letters from the correspondents, although in many cases the latter are lacking, and the record is consequently one-sided in those instances. Gates' thousands of letters are all typed, usually single-space, and frequently are of many pages, as he was greatly concerned that his purpose, wishes, viewpoints, and rights be perfectly understood by all with whom he corresponded.Due to limited time, I read only slightly more than half of Gates' letters. Because his correspondence was uncatalogued in any way at that time, it is possible that I overlooked some circumstance which was of importance in his life, though I believe that my selection is representative of all periods and major events. This paper can in no sense be considered a final and complete biography of William Gates, since time and means at my disposal did not permit the undertaking of such a task. Also, I consulted no personal acquaintances or relatives of the late Mr. Gates, many of whom could doubtless have added many interesting episodes to this account and perhaps correct possible mistakes contained herein. I feel, too, that had I possessed a greater knowledge of Maya glyph studies and linguistic problems I would have been able to appraise more critically the significance of Gates' position in these disciplines.The kind willingness of J. Eric S. Thompson, in 1971, to add his thoughtful observations as a final chapter to this brief biography will compensate for some of the above-noted shortcomings. Dr. Thompson's helpful editorial comments will also provide a view from a different and more recent threshold; my own insular remarks were prepared in 1954, and I have made very little attempt to enlarge or update them.I do wish to call attention to a delightfully pertinent anecdote and a very useful summary of Gates' career and the vicissitudes of his collection recently written by Ross Parmenter (1970: 183-189). To supplement this brief but colorful word portrait, Parmenter very graciously offered me additional information of related interest which I most regretfully am unable to include in this biography.Wherever convenient I have included quotations from the carbon copies of Gates' letters, sometimes at length, that he might speak for himself. As these quotations are sometimes critical of other respected persons in his profession, they must be read as Gates' own words; they may not be construed as reflecting my personal convictions. I felt that Mr. Gates' expressions of sentiment were necessary to give the fullest possible understanding of the man's attributes.Grateful acknowledgement is expressed for the constant assistance of Dr. John L. Sorenson, then instructor in archaeology, who initially began a preliminary arrangement and cataloging of the Gates collection. He made available to me the source materials needed and offered numerous suggestions for the improvement of the content of this paper. I wish also to express appreciation to the Department of Archaeology for facilitating the preparation of what was originally to have been a short "term paper" requested by Professor Ross T. Christensen for a graduate class, "History and Theory of Archaeology." My special thanks go to Susanna Ekholm-Miller for her many editorial corrections and to Hollis Scott, university archivist, for his dedication and encouragement in making possible this publication.Gareth W. LoweBYU-New World Archaeological Foundation; Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico; January, 1972William E. GatesI. Introduction - The Years 1863-1899Of all the archaeological cultures of the New World, only that of the Maya extends to us the possibility of sharing a lengthy past through inscriptions left in a lasting medium. The Maya glyphs, carved in stone or plaster or written upon fig-bark paper, stand as a challenge to the scientific investigators who are laboring to understand the early high civilizations of Mesoamerica. What were the inspirations and aspirations, the underlying sources of influence, which impelled the Maya long ago to build great citadels of lime and stone in the tropical forests of Mexico and Guatemala? For what reason were these ancient ceremonial centers abandoned by their builders and then only dimly remembered by their scattered descendants when the Spaniards conquered the land? These were some of the challenging questions to which William Gates hoped to find answers hidden in the forgotten meaning of the Maya hieroglyphs.Lured by a belief that therein might lie the key to a lost religious power which enabled the rise of one of the world's great civilizations, this ardent linguist and avid collector gathered together the most complete collection in existence of source materials on Middle American Indian customs and history. Through a knowledge of the linguistic patterns of the several branches of the Maya family, Gates hoped to forge his key to the past. Failing, however, to break through the barrier of the glyphic mysteries, he nevertheless made outstanding contributions to our understanding of the Maya languages and culture. His gathering in of perishable documents made available to scholars an untold wealth of information which continues to contribute to learning in Americanist fields. Many are the scholars who have paused in their research to pay grateful tribute to William E. Gates, Mayologist extraordinary.Family Background and EducationWilliam E. Gates was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on December 8, 1863, the son of William E. Gates of New York and the former Katherine Eppley of Maryland. He was a descendant of Sir Thomas Gates, second governor of Jamestown, and of General Horatio Gates of Revolutionary fame. Mr. Gates received his education in Philadelphia schools and obtained an A.B. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1886. He was interested in languages at John Hopkins, but went on to study law at the University of Virginia. Obliged to abandon this study due to poor eyesight, Gates moved to Cleveland, Ohio, and entered the printing business. T. A. Willard, a very old friend of Gates, told Ralph Roys that Gates ran the business on a shoestring, and Roys thought an inheritance allowed Gates to give up the business and move to Point Loma only twenty years later (J. E. S. Thompson, personal communication).Two long clippings from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of 1894, one concerning "money sharks" and the other headed "American Intervention in Cuba," are found among his correspondence and show Gates' interest in economics and in Caribbean politics--interests which were to remain with him all the rest of his life.Developing Interest in Maya StudiesGates seems to have had from the early days of his business career a dissatisfaction with a materialistic world and with Christianity as he saw it lived. Always attracted to what he felt were the ultimate truths as expressed in the mystic religions of the ancients, Gates studied the language of Egypt and the Orient in search of the spiritual satisfaction he desired. Writing of this period many years later to a friend of like belief, he wrote:All my life I have poked into language work as the key to that which lies behind our messed up history of "religion" . . . until in 1898 I bought a copy of the Codex Troano (Tro-Cortesianus or Madrid) and my fate was sealed, and my "job" in this incarnation sealed upon me (Gates 1938a).Gates saw in these unfathomed, stylized drawings of the Maya a beckoning siren that would give satisfaction to the yearnings of his soul, while working on them would gain himself recognition as a scholar. In a letter to Dr. George Byron Gordon of the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Archaeology in 1911 he summed up this experience thus:When after a number of other linguistic fields, from my Hopkins days on, from saxon and Gothic to Sanskrit, Egyptian and Chinese, gone into and dipped into in varying degrees (and all still of some present help) I at last reached this Maya problem, I realized I had what I wanted; and I have made a consistent business of it (Gates 1911b). Thus did Gates set out upon a road traveled by few men before the turn of the century.Status of Maya Research in 1899It is generally recognized that before 1899 only some fifteen men had published works relative to the Maya hieroglyphic writing contained on the three surviving Maya codices and upon the ruined monuments in the jungles of Mexico and Central America. (J. Eric S. Thompson has given an excellent summary of the contributions of these men in his monumental Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: Introduction [1950, 28-34], to which the reader is referred for bibliography and details of this early period, and of Maya hieroglyph research up to 1950.) The most important contributions of these men prior to 1900 are contained in some thirty-odd articles and books published in French, German, and English.Lord Kingsborough reproduced the Dresden Codex in Volume Three of his nine-volume Antiquities of Mexico, published between 1831 and 1848; and the popular two volumes of Stephens and Catherwood, which came out in 1841, contained many illustrations of the glyph-covered stelae of Copan and Palenque. But Maya hieroglyphic writing was really brought to the attention of the modern world by the abbe Brasseur de Bourbourg, who published Landa's Historia de las Cosas de Yucatan in 1864, the year after he rediscovered that manuscript. Landa's account, originally written about 1566, contained descriptions of the Maya calendar, which provided the basis for a beginning in a reconstruction of the Maya system of writing. The abbe also published the Codex Troana in 1869 and other writings and translations before and after this time. We can thank Brasseur de Bourbourg for being a foremost pioneer who made possible the work of later scholars (Thompson 1950, 28-29).The Yucatecan, Juan Pio Perez, provided Maya language material of great importance in the middle of the nineteenth century, and Leon de Rosny, A. Pousse, and Cyrus Thomas were able to make beginnings in the decipherment of calendrical glyphs. In 1880, Ernest Forstemann of Dresden commenced his Maya studies at the age of fifty-eight with an accurate edition of the Dresden Codex; he followed this up with numerous contributions in which the whole framework of the Maya calendar (Thompson 1950, 29-30).J. Thompson Goodman, of Virginia City and Mark Twain fame, published his "The Archaic Maya Inscriptions" in 1897 as an appendix to Maudslay's great work, Biologia Centrali Americana, and this study remains as an important reference work. Alfred P. Maudslay recovered plaster casts, photographs, and drawings from the glyphs of all the then-known major Maya sites and made them available after 1899 to workers interested in them. Others who contributed to hieroglyphic research toward the end of the last century were Count Hyacinthe Charency, Eduard Seler, Waldeck, and Daniel G. Brinton (Thompson 1950, 30-32).American contemporaries of Gates at the inception of his hieroglyphic studies in 1900 were Charles P. Bowditch, Cyrus Thomas, and J. T. Goodman. Several German scholars were also engaged in the recording or in the study of the glyphs, notably Toebert Maler, Paul Schellhas, and Forstemann. Gates' own activities in the field of Maya research were to win him the praise of all as a collector of documentary materials but never gain for him acclaim for contributions to glyph interpretation.II. The Early Years of Collecting and Study - 1900-1920Beginnings in OhioWilliam E. Gates applied himself with characteristic vigor to the pursuit of his chosen linguistic study while still operating his printing business in Cleveland. In 1900 he published ninety-four copies of The Maya and Tzental Calendars (comprising the complete series of days, with their positions in the month, for each one of the fifty-two years of the cycle, according to each system). The issuance of a small number of copies was a practice he was to follow with all of his publications. He considered the format of the books as important as the content, designing them for a small group of series investigators. In fact, his original intention was to present his issues as gifts to favored persons, rather than to sell them. I have found no comments as to how this publication was received, other than with gratitude. It consisted simply of a series of calendrical charts.At this time Mr. Gates conceived the idea of making for himself a font of Maya type to facilitate his study as well as the reproduction of the codices. In justifying this procedure years later, he said:I like to do things with my hands. . . . I have studied the glyphs by drawing the forms and having type made. . . . (this gave me a grasp of the construction of the glyphs I could get in no other way . . . (Gates 1916).Not until 1937, having added to the number of characters from time to time, did Gates have the font completed to his satisfaction. His arbitrary rendering of the glyphs into type form was later to provide a prime basis for adverse criticism of all his glyph studies by his fellow researches. Time seems to have proven that his printing background was more of a detriment than a blessing (to his Maya studies).By 1901 Gates had already gathered together so much reference material that he was offering to help the Bureau of American Ethnology complete its files of the Anales del Museo Nacional de Mexico. During this period Gates formed his first acquaintance with F. M. Hodge of the BAE and in a letter to him advanced a few of his thoughts on the glyphs: "[They are] not phonetic. . . . My method is to compare language structure with glyph structure" (Gates 1902).Also at this time, Gates became a fast friend of T. A. Willard, at that time with the Willard Battery Company and later to become a noted amateur Maya archaeologist associated with the Southwest Museum of Los Angeles. Hodge and Willard remained among the closest of Gates' friends throughout his life.Retirement and Removal to Point LomaIn 1905 Gates retired from his business and sought spiritual and academic asylum among the Theosophists, whose philosophy embraced the teachings of the Orient and whose creed specified the tolerance of every man's belief. Finding solace in the teachings of Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, the modern "restorer" of Theosophy, Gates joined the Aryan auspices of Madame Katherine Tingley, one of Blavatsky's successors. In this environment he was free of materialistic conflicts and pursued his Maya research as he wished. Indeed, one inducement to move there was talk of a Point Loma archaeological expedition to Central America. Writing of this phase of his life to G. B. Gordon, he said:. . . I am not making my living through it, but retired from business some years ago, simply because I think that after one has what one needs there are much more interesting things to do than make more money. . . (Gates 1911b).Here at Point Loma, near San Diego, Gates became a professor in the School of Antiquity of the Theosophical Society and remained affiliated with it until after the First World War. He was also manager of the Aryan Press, which gave him opportunities for publication.Gates keenly appreciated the spiritualizing atmosphere at Point Loma and once wrote that it was only in this environment that he could study. In a letter to a friend in 1912 he touched upon this subject, expressing his gratitude that the woman had found "helpful" a theosophical magazine he had sent her (It contained an article of his on Copan.) and elaborating on the principles he believed in:. . . This work is a great deal more to me than Maya, which is only an intellectual pastime; but I never say much about it unless I find someone who really wants. . . . even our best (?) friends try to find some other excuse for our devotion to Point Loma than the real one. I have seen a great deal of life in my less than half a century; business life was hard, and other things have been far harder . . . (Gates 1912c).He continued to expound his philosophy of life: he was a firm believer in living and letting live, and in the fundamental principle that the rights of all men should be honored.Early Publications at Point LomaUnder the favoring influence at Point Loma, Gates made headway with his collection and study of Maya materials. In 1909 he published at Point Loma a reproduction of the Codex Perez: Maya Tzental (Gates 1909), consisting of both photographs and printed facsimiles of the PÃ©rez pages. The latter utilized the glyph type and were colored as in the original. The following year, Gates published a commentary on this codex with a concluding note on the linguistic problem of the Maya glyphs (Gates 1910). This was included in Volume VI of the Papers of the Peabody Museum, although Gates paid the publication costs at his own insistence. As an introduction to it, F. W. Putnam of the Peabody Museum published the following note:The Museum is fortunate in adding to its collaborators Mr. William E. Gates, of Point Loma, California, who for more than ten years has been an earnest student of American hieroglyphs. From his lifelong studies in linguistics in connection with his research in "the motifs of civilizations and cultures," he comes well-equipped to take up the difficult and all-absorbing study of American hieroglyphic writing. Mr. Gates has materially advanced this study by his reproduction of the glyphs in type. These type-forms he has used first in his reproduction of the Codex Perez, and now in this Commentary they are used for the first time in printing (Gates 1910, 2).In his commentary, Gates discussed the need he felt for a set of glyphs to work with in facilitating his study and explained the manner in which he made his font type. He had access to the Bowditch materials at Peabody for comparing the glyphs of the three preconquest Maya codices. Advancing the thought that the codices, by their very form, represent the culmination of many centuries, and perhaps millennia, of cultural history, he speculated at great length upon civilization and culture. he concluded with the following:And I am convinced that the widest door there is to be opened to this part of the human race, is that of the Maya glyphs. The narrow limitations of our mental horizon as to the greatness and dignity of man, of his past, and of human evolution, were set back widely by Egypt and what she had to show, and again by Sanskrit; but the walls are still there, and advances, however rapid, are but gradual. With the reading of America I believe the walls themselves will fall, and a new conception of past history will come (Gates 1910, 64).In his commentary, Gates discussed the need he felt for a set of glyphs to work with in facilitating his study and explained the manner in which eh made his font type. He had access to the Bowditch materials at Peabody for comparing the glyphs of the three preconquest Maya codices. Advancing the thought that the codices, by their very form, represent the culmination of many centuries, and perhaps millennia, of cultural history, he speculated at great length upon civilization and culture. He concluded with the following:And I am convinced that the widest door there is to be opened to this part of the human race, is that of the Maya glyphs. The narrow limitations of our mental horizon as to the greatness and dignity of man, of his past, and of human evolution, were set back widely by Egypt and what she had to show, and again by Sanskrit; but the walls are still there, and advances, however rapid, are but gradual. With the reading of America I believe the walls themselves will fall, and a new conception of past history will come (Gates 1910, 64).Gates was at all times convinced of the ultimate worth of his studies for the good of mankind. The following year he published an article "Copan and Its Position in American History" in the Theosophical Path (Gates 1911a), and the next year this article was reprinted in the American Magazine (Gates 1912b). It was this article which had proved "helpful" to Gates' friend for its philosophical content.In 1911 Gates was carrying on studies in both Scandinavian and TibetoChinese languages, and one may assume that this was with the intent of finding new philosophical ideas as well as a possible help to his Maya language study, since both of these languages had been suggested as being possible sources of influence on the Maya.Worldwide Collecting ActivitiesBy 1910 it had become Gates' conviction that the whole restoration of the Maya knowledge contained in the glyphs was largely dependent on a knowledge of the spoken dialects of the various Mayan families. He realized that for this purpose the scanty printed material then available was wholly inadequate and that he would have to have access to much more firsthand manuscript material. Since he had at this time only four small Mexican manuscripts, it was apparent that he would have to survey the field and gather as much as he could to his study room at Point Loma. Accordingly, he acquired and checked through all the published bibliographies and auction and booksellers' catalogues and listed all the linguistic items. Thanks to the thorough political and ecclesiastical system of the early Spanish rulers, a great many reports and accounts of daily life were found to exist, many in the native languages of the various Mayance peoples. Gates summed it up as follows: "Tabulating the known surviving manuscripts in these tongues, back to the earliest days (about 1550) I found well on to 100,000 pages, one per cent of it printed" (Gates 1937a, 11). In the face of this vast amount of material, Gates set himself to recover every page of these documents that he could, either by purchase, by copying, or by photography. Through collaboration with Eastman Kodak Company, he developed a special photographic paper for copying purposes and perfected known techniques then in use.The years 1911 and 1916 Gates devoted almost entirely to the gathering of this material from archives and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. He expended many thousands of dollars each year in this almost fanatical pursuit and eventually succeeded in securing, as he said, ninety-five percent of the material that he sought.The troubles occasioned by this search are evident in his correspondence of the period. He made a series of lengthy exchanges with Dr. gordon of the University Museum in 1911-12 in an effort to gain permission to have the great Berendt collection photographed. He secured partial fulfillment of this request only after causing many hard feelings and misunderstandings. Gates' proclivity for writing great and lengthy detail in his letters and his utter reluctance to make and compromises were poorly calculated to promote friendly relations. He was quick to resent what he interpreted as deviation in complying with his instructions and rarely hesitated to express his often picayune displeasure. He was scrupulous in keeping his obligations in an agreement.Gates got into further difficulties in dealing with copyists and book dealers in England, Italy, and Germany, particularly through the war years when the normal course of business was interrupted. Always careful of every penny, he was quick to take personal offense at anything he construed as an attempt to overcharge, and one detects a very temperamental character in his business correspondence. He had a knack for making enemies which was to extend to his fellow researchers in coming years.Each new acquisition increased Gates' pride in his collection and made him more independent from those whom he thought opposed him. He wrote revealingly to Hodge in 1914, "I am willing to do anything except be a beggar, even for Maya manuscripts, even if I were not already beyond the point where I any longer need to ask favors, as I am." His self-assurance is further reflected in a letter in 1915: "I have now just about got all the rest of the world cleaned up, so I suppose it is time for Seville." Gates was never to have access to the immense mass of materials in the Archives of the Indies in Seville, however; it was the one place where he met a dead end. He did succeed, nevertheless, in tracking down most of the items previously collected by others and resold from time to time in book sales throughout the western world.With his collection of library materials practically complete, Gates turned to the Maya area itself to see if he could not find other lost or unknown documents in the hands of local people or institutions. For this purpose he hired a man of some experience in Yucatan, Frederick J. Smith, to search for him. This man traveled through Yucatan, southern Mexico, and Guatemala in the year 1914-1915 with only moderate success, and for some time after corresponded irregularly. There was some trouble between the two; Gates accused Smith of trying to profit at his expense. Smith countered with the charge that Gates was "cantankerous," accused him of making false accusations, and "turned him over to the Lord" for retribution.Gates was also at this time feelings animosity toward the rising school of anthropology, with its animistic concepts. In 1915 he published a pamphlet carrying a reworded version of a talk he had given at the San Diego Museum outlining the theosophical view toward anthropology. Entitled the "Spirit of the Hour in Archaeology" (Gates 1915b), Professor Gates stated therein his objections to current anthropological inferences and postulated a very long past for civilized man. Also, he manifested his belief in Zodiacal calculations, the existence of Atlantis, and his agreement with the views of Madame H. P. Blavatsky, the founder of the Aryan Theosophical Society. He made, however, a very challenging suggestion:. . . do you try to draw for yourselves the picture of what civilization and man might have been today had the higher side of man's nature been accentuated, thought of as working behind all, animating all; instead of considering man only as an animal. Suppose for the last fifty years man had been thinking of themselves as of divine descent, and had come somehow into their present state. Suppose they had been doing that all along the way, would not our science and our life, and our social ideals and our laws be very different?Gates' concern over the theoretical aspects of his studies did not lessen his desire to complete his collection of early Middle American sources, although with the coming of the war years mention of financial limitation is first noted in his correspondence. Gates appeared to be dependent upon a monthly dividend, and at this period he seemed to be experiencing his first difficulty in keeping within this budget and was plagued with many notices of accounts overdue. Though he had always been careful of every penny, the first years of his avid collecting activities had revealed his willingness to spend any large amount which he thought was warranted to achieve his desires. He had, in addition, gone to great expense in buying the latest type of photographic coping machines and had become adept in their use at his Point Loma offices. (In fact, he made some discoveries and innovations in the art of photographic reproduction which he urged professional studios serving him in the East and in Europe to adopt). In 1915 he tried in vain to arrange to send a $500 photocopying machine to Seville for the joint use of himself, Professor Ayer of Berkeley, and SeÃ±or Torres Lanzas of Seville (Gates 1915a).In this period Gates spent as much as $25,000 in one year (1915) for book and manuscript purchases. Since all his funds were from his personal estate, there is little wonder that his finances were near exhaustion. These expenditures were so great because he dared not leave anything unpurchased, lest the chance of obtaining it be lost forever. Time has vindicated this view. Revolutionary activities in Mexico destroyed far more old manuscript material than had the conquistadores (Gates 1937a, 16). Much of what Gates purchased might have had a similar fate had he been a few years later in making his collection.In 1916 Gates published at Point Loma a long article entitled Chinese Painting, in which he elaborated on the symbolic and artistic principles involved in numerous early oriental masterpieces. Gates was later (1921) to donate his extensive collection of Chinese materials to the San Diego Museum, of which he was a founder and lifelong trustee.By this time, Gates had accomplished the first goal he had set for himself in his study of the Maya--that of gathering together all of the known manuscript material on the Mayance languages. Seventeen years later, he wrote:When war broke out I had half of all known Middle American manuscript material; and had just finished photographing ninety-five per cent of everything in the world known, (outside of Seville) which I did not own. That means some 75,000 pages of photos of original manuscripts or unprocurable imprints, mostly linguistic, but also all the early cultural records of penetration I could locate (Gates 1933a).To this material Gates added the manuscripts obtained for him by Frederick Smith in 1914-15 from the Mexican States of Yucatan, Campeche, Tabasco, Chiapas, and from the Republic of Guatemala. Disappointed with the relatively meager results of Smith's expensive trip, particularly in the Mexican states, Gates determined to traverse the same territory himself and see if he could not track down more documents than had his agent. He was also impelled by a desire to learn firsthand the socio-political situation in our neighboring republic, then in the midst of a great revolution.First Trip to MexicoSome intimate knowledge of the political unrest existing in Mexico during the war years had been given Gates by his agent, but in his first journey through that revolution-torn land in 1917-1918 he was to gain convictions about the trampled rights of the Mexican people that were soon to lead him to "criticize before Congress the American Ambassador to Mexico" and to be "denounced as an 'agent of the rebels' by the Carranza Government in Mexico" (Baltimore Sun 1940). The trip was one of very real personal danger, but it impress was to have a marked influence on Gates' activities for the two ensuing years. We have little correspondence from him for this episode, but after his return he wrote a series of articles in World's Work during 1919 entitled "the Four Governments of Mexico" and others, in which he discussed the political and social conditions he had observed (Gates 191b).The diplomacy required of Gates in this undertaking is shown in a 1925 editorial of Excelsior, one of Mexico City's leading daily newspapers, which describe the trip as a--journey through various states of the Mexican Republic, bearing the safe conduct of President Carranza, and at the same time traversing the regions where Felix Diaz, Villa, Zapata and other revolutionary leaders were lords of the halter and the knife, yet all of them giving the facilities he needed for going through with his labors.It is clearly shown in Gates' writings that a secondary purpose of this Mexican trip was to provide information that would aid in applying pressure to bring about a favorable political atmosphere for the pursuit of scientific studies. this situation, however, gave Gates even greater impulse to utilize his collecting proclivities to the utmost. He has described this phase of his life very well in a summary of the formation of his collection that he wrote in 1921 and which is contained in The Maya Society and its Work (Gates 1937a). the portions of the summary bearing on this first Mexican venture are worth repeating here in full:Immediately after America entered the Great War I undertook a tip, a bare hint of the romance, adventure and constant danger of which was suggested in the series of articles on "The Four governments of mexico," which appeared from my pen in the World's Work, during the months of the Peace Conference. On this trip of some 1500 miles on horseback, at times entirely alone, at times with escorts of Zapatistas or Oaxaca Serrano Indians as protection from the marauding Carrancistas, I set myself to penetrate to those places where no one else tried to go. I stopped in fully half of all the villages in Yucatan, cut to the fringes of "civilization" and the "indios rebeldes". Everywhere I hunted manuscripts in the Maya language, kept friends with the official powers, and also gathered every scrap obtainable of printed material, books, pamphlets, newspapers, poster, election notices revealing from the inside the whole story of the German I. W. W. conquest of that State and the complete Sovietism that still rules . The broadsides in particular include an almost complete set of the Alvarado Proclamations, from his appearance on the frontier. The pamphlets and official prints (supplied me by the State government) give the full long series of Socialist and Soviet legislation, its German and anti-American alliances. The newspapers include files of the opposition prints, the mere possession of which was nearly as dangerous as that of 'La Libre Belge." . . .Passing to Vera Cruz, Mexico city, the unsubdued mountain interior, Oaxaca and the Tehuantepec isthmus, I continued this ransacking of every bookstall or available place, gathering prohibited sheets, copies of newspapers or posters issued in remote places by the various revolutionary forces seeking to overthrow the Carranza dictatorship, as well as those printed by Carranza and his generals and "governors"; political proclamations and local regulations, some even signed with the written autograph of Zapata himself, and other revolutionists. Such material is completely hopeless of procurement again . . . in the past ten years every part of Mexico proper has been ravaged, burned and looted. Save for the isolated revolutionists under whose protection I passed through the country and safely out without revealing to the Carranza officials that I was more than a scientific traveler (the only American to hold the position of Honorary Professor in the Museo Nacional), the whole of Mexico was a parallel, in conditions and percentage of "terrorism," to Russia in these past years. What happened to all copies of printed sheets such as I brought safely out, and are now in this catalogue, may be imagined (Gates 1927a, 10-11).Gates did not let political considerations deter him from his immediate academic pursuits, however, and in January of 1918 he sent a letter to the Register of John Hopkins University containing the following message:. . . the Museo Nacional de Mexico has just conferred on me the honor of Honorary Professor . . . Under present conditions I am especially glad to receive this, as being the only American, and the nomination being accounted as the highest that can be conferred in Mexico.Special exploration privileges for a term of years in some of the most important ancient ruined cities, Maya, have also been granted me by the Dept. in charge of that branch, and with the soon to be expected complete pacification of the country, I hope it will be possible to do much in the matter (Gates 1918a).The official edict of the Museo Nacional accompanying the letter lists the other three individuals who had been given the title of honorary professor. They include the Duke de Loubat, Alfred P. Maudslay, and Eduard Seler. Gates' appearance in the company of such renowned names as these is evidence of the favorable manner in which he impressed the Mexican officials. Outside of the profession he is referred to as "Dr." very generally after this time.Two other archaeological achievements of the trip were an "interesting Calendar discovery" and a discovery of a hitherto unknown Maya city in Northern Yucatan which he was the "first to find" (Gates 1918c).Return to the EastReturning to the United States, Gates stayed in the East and devoted much time to the political situation in Mexico. Writing to Herbert Putnam of the Library of congress in the summer of 1919, he discussed, among other things, the bad political situation in mexico, about which he had been concerned for many years. He concludes:Have just returned from a rest in Canada, in the midst of the Mexican task; it has been very strenuous; but we are going to get Carranza very soon now, and I hope bring relief to that distracted country (Gates 1919c).Gates' activities in this international intrigue would no doubt make another tale worth telling, although it is outside the scope of this paper. Even though his efforts had their effect in the eventual stabilization of the government in Mexico, rivalry in the profession was to prevent Gates from doing the hoped-for field work in that country.During this time in Washington, Gates seems to have abandoned active association with the theosophist group, and he did not return to California except for a few short visits in succeeding years. In his last years, nevertheless, he was to turn to this philosophy with renewed interest. Whether Gates had a change of belief during this interval or whether he abandoned Point Loma for reasons of professional expediency is not clear. At any rate, the recognition he was to receive in professional circles in the next few years might not have been forthcoming had he remained attached to the School of Antiquity.Associations formed during this postwar period with Sylvanus G. Morley and others of the Carnegie Institution of Washington set the stage for what was to be a decade of repeated near-realization of long-cherished dreams and of subsequent "betrayal."In the twenty long years of devotion to Maya Studies just discussed, Gates' accomplishments had been five-fold: 1. He had mastered the known concepts of Maya glyphs and begun his font of Maya glyph type.2. He had spent a small fortune in the completion of a collection of Mayan linguistic materials that was second to none.3. Through his travels and those of his agent he was familiar with the actual situation in Mexico and Guatemala, the lands for whom his studies held the most portent.4. He had gained a basic knowledge of several dialects of the Maya language as a result of the three preceding activities and the constant application of his linguistic abilities and training.5. His publications, wide correspondence, and exchange of manuscript photostats had made him acquainted with most institutions and had given him a measure of the prestige among scholars in his field.Surveying the foregoing achievement sand keeping in mind Gates' ultimate objective of unlocking the secrets of the Maya glyphs, one might assume that the professor would now be able to concentrate on his studies and produce volumes of illuminating material; but such was not to be. Except for an appendix to a book by Morley and an account of his collection written for a catalog issued in 1924, no published work appeared from his pen during the next decade.III. Era of High Hopes and Frustrations -- 1920-1929William E. Gates entered this new decade with a spirit of earnest enthusiasm. He was satisfied with his preparatory work and confident that studies based upon his collection would reveal wonderful new knowledge of the ancient past; he felt assured that his work would be accepted; and he was living in Virginia, in familiar surroundings.In 1920 Gates served as counselor for the Archaeology Commission of the Maryland Academy of Sciences. The object of this commission was to make a survey of the archaeology of Maryland and to assemble a collection of the antiquities of Maryland. He makes no further mention of this position, and it is assumed he played a strictly advisory role. At this time he turned down several invitations to speak--often very curtly--as he did not believe in "performing" for audiences.The Maya SocietyThe year 1920 also saw Gates show a remarkable spirit of compromise between his own "humanistic" concepts and the "mechanistic" and "animistic" concepts of professional anthropology. The climax of this period of relative agreement was the formation of the Maya Society on April 25, 1920, in Philadelphia. Gathered were "[W. H.] Holmes, [Marshal H.] Saville, [Hebert J.] Spinden, [Carl] Guthe, etc. . . . I was almost alone in the linguistic, cultural, historical side; which in fact was natural with my collection" (Gates 1933a).Saville was vice-president; gates was president, since it was his collection which justified the existence of the society. (Probably only his position as the head allowed the independent Gates to suffer such an organization at all, and its short life and nonproductivity is evidence of the inability of the group to work together.)The presence of antagonistic feelings in the profession and of Gates' own high-handed attitude is clearly evident in a letter from Gates to Gordon, in which he discussed a meeting of the society held in December 1920, in connection with a meeting of the American Anthropological Association:I have been feeling most gratified over our December meetings. The Dixon - Boaz - Speck effort to tell us where to get off, reacted as fully as anyone could desire. Every Maya Society function was a complete success. . . . made a Maya Society member and your colleague President of the A. A. A., and I at least feel that the Boaz question will trouble us less and continually less in the future. Our budget was of course a bit high, but all the questions of the hours, and how the Maya Society made its entry, was involved (Gates 1921).This same concern for how the Maya Society impressed people was to be reflected in the expensive publications of the "reincarnated" Maya Society ten years later. But this first society never got out a publication and only served as a temporary hitching post for Gates' aspirations.This decade was ushered in with a product of rare cooperation, however. In 1920 there appeared Morley's huge The Inscriptions at Copan, with an appendix "The Distribution of the Several Branches of the Mayance Linguistic Stock" by Gates (Morley 1920, 605-617; Gates 1920). In the same volume morley included a translation of Juan Galindo's description of the ruins of Copan in 1834, which had been lost for eighty years; he called the "re-discovery" of the manuscript in the Gates collection a "peculiarly happy coincidence," (p. 593, footnote) and remarked upon Gates' gracious consent to its publication. Morley made a number of other acknowledgments of indebtedness to Gates for translations. He include a portion of Gates' translation of the CrÃ³nica de Oxkutzcab on pages 507-509 and of the Chilam Balam de Chumayel on page 485. This cordial Gates-Morley relationship was to be short-lived. Gates frequently expressed the view later that he should have received more credit for the success of Morley's book; he claimed to have corrected much of Morley's "unintelligent" handling of the material and to have aided with various tables and the index.In 1921 Gates served as an honorary research associate of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and he accompanied Morley, Ricketson, and Guthe on an exploratory trip in the PetÃ©n forests of Guatemala. This marked the beginning of a new adventure in Gates' life. With Morley and his party, he visited the Maya sites of Naranjo, El Encanto, Tikal, Uolantun, Ixlu, Tayasal, and Benque Viejo. He subsequently spent time in the Corozal district of British Honduras studying modern Maya.High Hopes for GuatemalaThe highlands of Guatemala have remained relatively free from Spanish influence, especially as compared to Yucatan. Many of the Indian tribes of this region have resisted mixing their blood or language with that of the whites to an extent almost unequalled elsewhere in Mesoamerica. Aware of these facts and having possession of important native-language documents from this region, Gates was convinced that it was here that he could find the most uncorrupted texts of the Maya dialects. He was particularly interested in studying the language of the QuichÃ©s, tribes whose traditions as contained in the Popol Vuh and other works were long known for their exceptional information regarding the mythology and traditional history of the people. In addition to this inducement for going to Guatemala was the existence of the impressive Maya ruins of QuiriguÃ¡ and many others in the PetÃ©n district that were of particular interest to Guthe and Morley and at that time still little known.Gates felt at this time a need for more first-hand knowledge of spoken Maya as an aid to translating his documents and then to unraveling the glyphs. His success in this quest and satisfaction with the course of the expedition are voiced in a letter to Gordon, of the University Museum, in March of 1921. Writing from Belize, British Honduras, Gates said:Morley and I are having a most successful season. A week in Guatemala City formalized every possible official and local support . . . I have copied on m/c nearly five-hundred pages of Maya matter; have gotten much progress in actual spoken use and sounds, with some satisfactory phonetic results . . .Next week will probably see us all off for Lake Peten, where Guthe starts systematic digging. Morley and I scatter around a while, and then I ride my horse through Coban to Guatemala, and back to Chicastenango and the real work of this trip--for a solid three months on QuichÃ©--The Dresden and glyph question, as in my paper in Philadelphia, was so close to something I brought that along also. It needs but a few weeks work to finish the type drawings needed for the testing and comparisons; and to get the whole codex ready as Publ. No. 1 (Maya Society) this Fall. I may not actually read the glyphs, but I will find out much, and will make future work on a wholly new and firm foundation.Gates climaxed this season's success by winning the support of the national government in Guatemala City and by securing for himself the position of Director-General of Archaeology for the Republic of Guatemala. (He had by this time differed with Morely somewhat over proposed field activities.) After completing preliminary arrangements for a museum in Guatemala, Gates returned to the United States, arriving in San Diego in August, 1921. He used this occasion to present his collection of Chinese materials to the San Diego Museum, of which he was a founder. An account of this presentation and a summary of Gates' activities for the season are contained in an article appearing in the San Diego Union of August 14, 1921. the article describes his gift:His collection of books and manuscripts on Chinese art, considered the finest in the world, is held as an important acquisition by the San Diego Museum, which already has the reputation of being the best equipped scientific research museum on the Pacific coast. The rare books have been set apart in what is known as the William E. Gates alcove at the museum and will be available for use by special students who desire to pursue the interesting history of ancient Asiatic art. In the collection are included a number of dictionaries and grammars in 40 to 50 different Oriental languages in addition to modern, completely up-to-date works on Asiatic art and painting.The article continues, expressing Gates' hope that the museum could induce serious students to make use of the collection, that San Diego might thereby "receive an incalculable benefit" by having scholars come there from all over the world.Further excerpts from the article show Gates' continuing independence and his high hopes for the work in Guatemala:. . . Dr. Gates explained that he had undertaken the exploring and excavating at his own expense, that he might be free to pursue his research according to his own dictates."In uncovering the civilization of the ancient Maya Indians, which to my mind was greater than that of Rome," he said, "it is necessary to carry on research in the numerous Indian languages. And in this respect I am fortunate, for I own half of the manuscripts in the world on the subject and have reconstituted the manuscripts of all the great archaeologists on this most fascinating of endeavors."In January of this year, while excavating among the ruins of the ancient Maya cities in Guatemala, I found a monument bearing the date 120 B.C., which is formidable proof that the Maya civilization was one of extreme antiquity. The earliest previous date discovered in the ruins was 80 A.D."(1). . . Dr. Gates said he was impressed with the frankness and openness of the leading officials and the sincerity with which Guatemala feels herself a sister Republic to the United States.". . . the present administration is free from graft, is intelligent and is making a sincere effort to bring that country into close touch with other civilized nations of the world. . . .". . . I organized and founded the Maya Society for the purpose of promoting knowledge and better understanding of all matters pertaining to the Indian races of Middle-America, past and present, particularly those matters relating to the Maya people, and it is planned to erect a permanent museum of archaeology, of which I have just received my appointment from the Guatemala government as president."I shall supervise the construction of the new museum . . . and as I continue my excavations of the ruined Maya cities, molds of the unearthed monuments will be made and placed in the museum for exhibition. I shall spend two-thirds of each year among the Maya Indians and my future work will be the careful excavating of buried cities in an effort to build back a picture of what this great race was at its height. Of the 2,000,000 people in Guatemala, 1,500,000 are Indians, all of different branches of the Maya race, many of them speaking their own language and the task of uncovering the former cities of this enormous race is no small one (San Diego Union 1921).Gates was never one to hide his light under a basket and was always anxious to have his real contributions noted (perhaps because they rarely had been until then). In all of his newspaper interview he showed great enthusiasm for the future of his work. (It is noteworthy that in this long article in a San Diego paper no mention is made of Gates long connection with neighboring Point Loma.)Leaving San Diego, to which he was not to return for thirteen years, Gates proceeded to Washington and made his report to the Carnegie Institution.In this year of 1921, Alfred M. Tozzer published his book A Maya Grammar as Volume IX of the Peabody Museum Papers. In Part III of the publication "An Appraisement of Works Relating to the Maya Language" Tozzer listed William Gates as the only living Maya linguistic researcher and makes the statement:Mr. Gates of Point Loma, California, is a Maya scholar to whom all students of Maya linguistics owe a deep debt of gratitude. An indefatigable energy, great acumen, and a knowledge of the Middle American field have enabled Mr. Gates to gather together the largest collection of documents on the Maya linguistic stock ever assembled in one place. . . . Mr. Gates has made duplicate sets of many of his photographs and he has allowed Mr. Charles P. Bowditch to purchase a set of these. Mr. Bowditch has very generously presented them to the Peabody Museum. The Gates collection stands, therefore, in the first place (Tozzer 1921, 148).Despite this tribute to his work, Gates was later to label Tozzer's book as being full of errors and practically useless. He published his own Grammar of Maya as on of his last Maya publications before his death. It was totally different from Tozzer's work; Gates claimed that Tozzer knew lots of Maya words but that he did not know Maya as a language.Also in 1921, Gates began negotiations to dispose of a portion of his collection in an attempt to raise money to finance his project in Guatemala. Gates turned the "Mexicana" (Aztec, and everything else north of the Maya) portion of his collected works over to the American Art Association for disposal at auction. A large bound sheaf of correspondence with the AAA in Gates' files reveals that he placed a value of $25,000 upon this segment of his collection and was given an advance payment of $20,000 by the association. Negotiations were carried on over the new few years before his agent completed the sale in 1924.In 1922, Gates returned to Guatemala and completed arrangements for ensuring the success of his planned national museum. Information gained on this trip about what he felt were unethical practices caused him to break forever his ties with Morley and the Carnegie Institution. This disclosure of practices detrimental to Guatemalan interests further stimulated his desire to protect these interests through his proposed museum for Guatemala and the Maya.Rise and Fall of the Guatemala VentureAmong the accomplishments of Gates' 1922 trip to Guatemala was the securing of an agent, or deputy director of antiquities, for the PetÃ©n district and passing of an antiquities law to safeguard the country's archaeological treasures. He commented on this law in a letter written to Gordon the following winter:The plans for my coming Guatemalan National Museum have at last come into full shape. Last spring I went down, and there was established a law based completely on the one that has made the Cairo Museum what it is; I enclose copy. You will see that it not only fixes clearly the part and rights of incoming expeditions, but that the whole direction and control is placed with me as Director General (Gates 1923a).In a later letter to Gordon, Gates further explained the benefits of the law he had "got" passed; it would permit expeditions to split their finds with the Museo (instead of, as then, taking 100 percent out of the country) with the permission and supervision of the DirecciÃ³n General (Gates himself), which he felt would be an even better situation then that in Egypt.Gates' attitude in securing this law seems to have been very fair-minded, with a sincere regard for the welfare of Guatemala, but it is not surprising that it should have aroused shouts of protest from some professional quarters and the charge that it was a specific attempt to block Morley and the powerful Carnegie group from working without supervision or control in the country. Gates' personal presence at the head of the law and his independent position were no doubt causes for resentment by many; in any case, the enactment and enforcement of such a law was not to be expected or tolerated in a Latin American country where frequently the most efficient way of doing business was to secure "favors." But Gates had the utmost confidence that his exclusive manifest from the government was watertight and that his superiors would not be liable to graft and bribery, as he stated their predecessors had been.Gates chose as Deputy Inspector for the PetÃ©n as friend, P. W. Shufeldt, who was engaged in the chicle business, and who, incidentally, was a very close friend of Morley. In fact Gates had first met him through Morley in the PetÃ©n the previous year. In any fight Shufeldt was on Morley's side. Gates had extensive correspondence with this representative in 1922 and plainly expressed to him his dismay over the exploitative activities of the carnegie men in the field. He soundly castigated Morley and his agent Thomas Gann, charging them with smuggling archaeological materials out of Guatemala and promising to expose them. His attitude was very bitter and vengeful, although he was at this time still confident of his own secure position with the Guatemalan government. He thought that the Carnegie Institution, its chief Dr. Merriam, and its field representative Morley were acting underhandedly, and he accused Morley of molesting sites and leaving monuments exposed to the mercy of the elements. Although part of this critical attitude may be attributed to Gates' habit of taking offense at what he considered to be personal slights, it is also common knowledge that somewhat less than ideal methods have been used in the beginnings of archaeological field work in many areas of the world. With so vast a field of unstudied ruins lying before him in an almost untracked tropical forest, it is natural that na investigator should attempt to recover as many inscriptions as possible from the monuments in the limited time available, perhaps assuming that no more intensive study would ever be possible.It was also formerly a standard practice that archaeological expeditions take home the materials recovered from excavations to be displayed in their museums or to be studied. The Carnegie Institution of Washington, however, had no museum of its own and so had no interest in removing antiquities from their countries of origin. Indeed, the institution got into trouble with other American institutions because in its contracts with the governments of Guatemala and Mexico it agreed to the retention in its country of origin of every piece excavated. Every member of the Carnegie Institution of Washington was constantly warned that he would be instantly dismissed if found guilty of smuggling any archaeological piece out of a country in which the institution was working (J. E. S. Thompson, personal communication). Nevertheless, while others in the profession may have felt similar resentment about the antiquities situation, no one shouted charges from the housetops as did candid Gates. He was the unpopular reformer and, I think, took some pleasure in placing himself in the same role for Guatemala that Auguste Mariette had played in Egypt in demanding that a nation's treasures remain within its borders.While in the U.S., Gates was at this time (1922) living on a farm which he had purchased at Auburn Hill, near Charlottesville, Virginia, 100 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. This was an old estate which had at one time been part of Jefferson's Monticello. He had brought with him from the highlands of Guatemala a full-blooded Quiche Indian and, with J. P. Harrington, was attempting to study the Quiche dialect amidst the intrigue of his guatemalan venture. This phase of his study is described in a news release from the Associated Press dated December 17:. . . Through the application of a new scientific method, which reaches to the root of the language, Dr. Gates expects to restore the decadent tongue, decipher the hitherto unrevealed secrets of the ancient Maya hieroglyphic writings and inscriptions which have baffled archaeologists for centuries, compile books for the instruction of the Indians, and eventually restore the literature.In his experiments the scientist has been recording on a smoked paper cylinder the vibrations of a stylus actuated by the Indian's words spoken into a mouthpiece. These records are preserved for study of the intricate variations of pronunciation, and already, working with manuscripts written in the Indian tongues by the earliest Spanish missionaries, Dr. Gates has found a remarkable preservation of the ancient speech. The instrument he used is known as the "kymnograph," or wavewriter. Dr. Gates was aided by John P. Harrington, ethnologist of the Smithsonian Institution.. . . As a result of his present studies he expects shortly to be able to translate the entire writing system and reveal the knowledge and attainments of the Maya civilization (Associated Press 1922).Gates always radiated confidence in the approaching success of his work. However, his Indian assistant left shortly after this for his homeland. Gates said he was homesick, since he was the first of his race ever to leave his native country (Baltimore Sun 1940).Gates had also by this time purchased a house and piece of land in Quiche territory near Chichicastenango, Guatemala, where he hoped to spend much of his time each year. He was, however, able to spend only one month of 1923 in Guatemala, during which time he could attend only to the most urgent matters regarding his property and the National Museum in the capital.Gates had been very busy with museum business during the interval between his trips in 1922 and 1923. The year 1924 was to be Guatemala's quatrocentennial (four hundred years from the Spanish conquest), and Gates had set himself the task of having a gigantic museum display ready to attract incoming tourists. He had personally contacted the principal American museums and was receiving pledges from many of them to send archaeological exhibits from various parts of the world to Guatemala. Frequently these offers were in return for privileges to be rendered them, but generally they were forthcoming as a result of Gates' friendship with individual museum directors. He envisioned a truly great museum for guatemala and did all in his power to bring it about.The services of Dr. T. T. Waterman were secured as director of the museum, and he assumed his duties in the early summer of 1923. At about that same time, however, an event occurred which greatly upset Gates and placed all his plans in peril. Going over Gates' head, Sylvanus Morley applied for and received a license to work in PetÃ©n. Broadening his interpretation of this license, Morley also went to QuiriguÃ¡ and removed some articles, according to Gates, and through Shufeldt, word got back to Gates that Morely considered Gates' position of director general and the antiquities law a "mere joke."The effect of such a statement upon a man of Gates' temperament can readily be imagined. His position both at home and in Guatemala was made very insecure. He had to give solid assurances to his museum friends that his Guatemalan project was actually stable and then had to spend a month in that country bulwarking his position. considerable opposition had arisen to the planned use of one of Guatemala City's memorial buildings to house the museum. Gates' argumentive presence was, however, sufficient to swing sentiment back in line, and with Waterman on the job at last, actual remodeling of the building known as the Palace of Minerva was begun the next month (September, 1923).With renewed faith in the reliability of the Guatemalans, Gates returned to the United States to confront his critic s with new evidence of sincerity on the part of official Guatemala. During this critical period Gates was in frequent correspondence with Sinforoso Aguilar, Secretary of the Museum (Gates 1923b). (The following accounts from Gates' letters to Aguilar were preserved purposely in his files as a witness of his feelings in this matter. I consider their inclusion here as necessary, for the embittering effect of this episode was of lasting influence on Gates. They in no way detract from the value of the many years of fine work done by the Carnegie Institution.) On October 8, 1923, Gates wrote to Aguilar expressing his delight at hearing that work was at last underway on the Minerva building and adding:You do not yet realize, hermano mio, what a really great place and center of attraction and standing the Museum is going to be. And had you (Guatemala) fallen down on the building after it had been all decided on and announced as it was, it would have hurt you all along the line . . . and the plain, unvarnished truth is, that if I had not all along declared and insisted here in this country, and stuck to it, that I knew you could be relied on, so that people here just had to help me in spite of their own unbelief--we would never have reached the starting point. . . .And now that it is over, I have since getting back here gotten the absolute cold proofs of the fact that certain so-called friends of Guatemala . . . have deliberately and intentionally tried to prevent the museum becoming a success. . . . my real fighting point has not been in Guatemala, but in the U.S. And we came very near losing--everything. . . .Five new collections have been assured in the past six weeks, and people now talk success, instead of failure and disbelief.But Gates' troubles were not over: they had only just begun to snowball. He had underestimated his opponents' efficiency. On October 15, he wrote again to Aguilar:. . . As you will see by this letter, it is of the greatest importance. Morley and his chief, Merriam, are taking advantage of the Minister's courtesy in giving Morley this preliminary permission, to tell everyone here that they have been relieved of all responsibility or supervision over their plans and work in Guatemala, and have gotten for themselves just the most important sites, regardless of everything. they are boasting that they have shut us - the Direction General out.And this happens just as they have shut every other institution out of Mexico by the contract they made with the government there; so that all the other people were naturally turning to work in guatemala. . . . and now Morley is claiming he and the Carnegie have captured the whole - over my head and behind my back, by what they are claiming is a "Contract" giving them complete and unhampered--unsupervised control of the whole thing.I am going to fight this thing in this country, in the Maya Society, before the Board of Carnegie Trustees, and all the way up to the Chairman of that Board, no less a person than Elihu Root. . .Aguilar, if I stay Director General, I am going to stop this smashing and looting of our antiquities. We are entering an era of fair play; and I mean to stop this contraband. . . .Now get busy, please, and back me up. . . .I am frightfully busy with innumerable things.Having by this time begun to sense the possibility of impending doom for his efforts and high hopes for Guatemala, Gates' letter of November 1, 1923, to Aguilar is couched in desperate phrases. Aguilar served as Gates' emissary to the minister of instruction, from whom both Gates and Morely received their authority, and for this reason did he emphasize the information he wished conveyed to that dignitary. He wrote:I am enclosing you herewith a letter to the Minister . . that you may take the matter up therewith. . . . I have not the slightest doubt but what the Minister will say that the whole law applies to them just as much as to anyone else. But you must understand that the whole matter is crucial; partly through (Morley's) jealousy, partly through determination to make the long-planned (Carnegie) work at Chichen Itza the one big center of interest, and partly through sheer selfish determination to seek his own desires alone and be allowed to exploit our sites without doing a single thing for us in turn, you must simply recognize that Morley, and with him Merriam, have determined to undercut all our Museum plans.There is another thing: what has Morley or the Carnegie ever done to benefit Guatemala, in the very smallest degree? Absolutely not one thing . . . If you think this is personal on my part, remember I was his warm friend and did more than any other man to make his book on Copan a success; that I made a will to the benefit of the Carnegie; and then I found that he absolutely would double-cross any or every one, to his own glory, even to printing young Guthe's doctorate thesis as his own work, (2)to helping Gann and that Belize crowd to break up and take out our monuments, and repay courtesies by smuggling; and finally . . . try to bring the Museum to naught because, once successful, he ceases to be the "director" of Maya archaeology. He has always declared for Yucatan as "the place," and belittled Guatemala, until I came in the game, and began to make people sit up and see what there really was in Guatemala. So of course that had to be stopped. . . .Peabody and Harvard spoke to me about their doing something to bring out . . . some of the great stela . . . in Piedras Negras; so Morley tries to shut them and us out, by asking for that site for the Carnegie. . . .Lothrop was with Morley in 1921 at Uaxactun, and has wanted to make a definite well planned city site excavation of that place . . . now with Heye Museum in New York . . . so Morley straightway adds Uaxactun to his request--all in my absence and behind my back. . . .(3)As I write the Minister, I just got another piece of the same old anti-Guatemala propaganda. . . . And so once more I run against the same old slander--that the present administration is very very insecure, that it will soon fall, that there had just been another uprising and massacre, and things were "unsafe." All this not only from our Mexican propaganda press, but from our American "friends."I am going to smash this thing, this anti-Guatemalan propaganda, and do it through the complete success of the Museum, and all the publicity that comes there, if I never do another thing. It is a dirty contemptible, hypocritical and un-American thing. And I have at my side here a sufficient lot of well-informed people, well-wishers, and well posted newspaper men, to back me. . . . The year is getting short; this condition is impeding all plans. Morley is preparing to go into the field and claiming . . . that I have nothing whatever to say.So let me have the needed adjustment just as soon as you can.Gates still maintained a hope that the minister would see things his way and place the Carnegie Institution under his jurisdiction, the same as any other organization. But immediate events in Washington must have almost completely sapped this hope, and he wrote along appeal to Aguilar for recognition of his cause by the Guatemalan government--or else--and placed his resignation at the president's pleasure. His unwillingness to accept this situation, however, is demonstrated by the hopeful note with which Gates started this letter of November 11, 1923:I have a great budget of news at this end. On Thursday came a telegram from the San Diego Museum . . . that several barrels . . . of ancient . . . pottery from Arizona, had that day been sent off to Guatemala from our Museum, as a gift.I understand from Dr. Waterman that from his old University of California, we are to expect a fine collection of ancient peruvian antiquities. Others are being worked out elsewhere. And remember, all these are not copies, but are ancient specimens, originals. Given to us.He continued with an enthusiastic plan to be worked out with the American Museum Association, which he had just joined, wherein a Pan-American Museum Association was to be launched at a joint "function" sponsored by the Maya Society and Museum Association during the holiday season. Gates also had received assurance of securing a modern art collection from the Art Museum of Philadelphia and other nonarchaeological exhibits from various museums. Following these enthusiastic remarks, seemingly impossibly optimistic at this stage of the game, Gates went on:There is that side of the picture, and now for the other--which threatens to destroy the whole thing completely.Before going to Washington I sent to both Dr. Merriam and to one of the Carnegie Board of Trustees, my full charges . . . while offering fullest cooperation if they wanted it, demanded the complete official recognition of the Direccion General, and cessation of all these attacks.I got to Washington; saw . . . Morely . . . Dr. Gann. . . . I found the whole situation far more serious than I had even realized.Morley told me that he had not only gotten one "licencia" from Minister Carbrera, but two: one for Piedras Negras, Tayasal and Uaxactun, the other for QuiriguÃ¡. His intimate friend told me . . . that they were to be under the direct supervision of the Minister himself, excluding both me and the Direccion General entirely.I knew that Morley had been boasting everywhere that he had "put me out doors" but I did not realize it was said to be as direct and concrete as that.And the result is being felt in the general situation. I am certain that several collections are being held up. . . .But that is far from the most serious thing. . . . It means . . . that the old days of passing, a law, and then granting a "license" to ignore it as a "favor" to some solicitant, still go on. And the result of that is, that I have the whole ground cut from under my feet. . . .. . . And then right here, at the very moment of a crowning success . . . I am faced by this complete annulment of all my power to do. If after all I have said in this country, I am to be upset among my own friends, my usefulness is at an end. And I have no strength to fight not only our enemies in this country and Mexico, but against corruption in Guatemala.And Aguilar, why should I? What am I fighting for? Something for myself, or for Guatemala? . . .. . . I can not imagine the Minister realized how it would hurt everything. But--it leaves the Museum wholly stranded. Morley has a permit; we get NOTHING; and I am discredited before everyone in this country. . . .I maintain that in the clear wording of the law, no permit can be granted, which takes supervision of the work out of the hands of the Direccion General.If this is to be what I meet, I had better save my strength and stay in peace at Auburn Hill, establishing my scientific work by my long delayed publications. . . .I am therefore going to ask you, as Secretary of the Direccion, to lay this letter, and my resignation with it, in His Excellency's hands. . . . if the President approves of me as Director, and what I am doing, standing on this law as it stands, I am at his service. . . .So there it is, querido hermano mio. Which is it to be--complete failure or complete success? Am I to come again to Guatemala, or stay here at my own work?This lengthy letter was followed by a short note the following day which Gates termed "a simple personal letter to a brother," in which he sharply reiterated the issues at stake and concluded with the following:Now, Sinforoso, I men business in enforcing the law, and seeing that all this irregular "bootlegging" (a good name) which has left us with nothing, and no credit, comes to an end. The issue has been made, and I have to face it.Time is very urgent; please cable me.It would appear that Gates thought he was calling the bluff of his opponents and that he still hoped justice would triumph in the end. But, to the lack of single-minded support for the exclusiveness of his authority by government agencies was added the insufferableness of his museum director. Whereas Gates was frequently difficult to get along with, Waterman was also a difficult person in his own right. Waterman had become dissatisfied with Gates' failure to provide money for excavating an imposing site near Guatemala City (the present KaminaljuyÃº), and the two were not long in reaching a final disagreement which completely discouraged Gates.He sent the following telegram to Sinforoso Aguilar on the 26th of November, 1923:Insulting abusive letter just received from waterman. Resignation now final unconditional. Gates.Thus came the fall of Gates' high hopes for Guatemala, brought about finally by the inability of men to compromise their differences. Gates' efforts had not all been in vain, however, and the continuation of the National Museum up to the present day must be considered a tribute to his original vision. He had sown a good seed. (Additional material on Gates versus Morley and the Carnegie Institution's concession is in R. L. Brunhouse's Sylvanus G. Morley and the World of the Ancient Maya (Norman, Oklahoma, 1972) pp. 197-200.Waterman later told Roys that Gates nearly got the two of them stood up in front of an adobe wall and shot. It seems that Gates made some unauthorized application of government funds which could have been construed as theft, although Waterman did not consider that it fell in that category; but Gates was sometimes a bit careless with appropriations. It is possible, therefore, that this trouble or something similar caused the Guatemalan authorities to accept Gates' resignation without asking him to reconsider it (J. E. S. Thompson, personal communication).Abandonment of the Guatemalan project left Gates free to devote his time to his studies. He summed the situation up in a letter written to a friend in December, 1923:. . . Morely and Merriam had (over a distinct promise by Merriam not to) made an agreement in Mexico that shuts every other institution out.(4)Also--my whole Museum project and the law I looked for so much is a complete dead letter and wreck. I resigned a month ago as Director--and will now settle down here to glyphs and tests--and the long delayed publishing for the Maya Society--provided nothing goes wrong at the coming meeting.However, things did go wrong at the coming meeting; the society was declared "in abeyance" as a result of the disinclination of its members to work together. Gates, tried, but failed, to have Morley expelled from the society. Left without an immediate medium for publication, Gates concentrated on the disposal of the Mexicana portion of his collection being held by the American Art Association, and upon which two years previously he had been advanced large sums of money.Gates and Collection Go to TulaneThe American Art Association's long-planned public auction of the half of Gates' collection relating to northern Mesoamerica was finally scheduled in 1924, following three years of delays in cataloging and a change in ownership of the association. Sixteen days before the public sale and after wide publicity and the arousal of considerable interest in many prospective buyers, Tulane University of Louisiana bought, by telegraphs, the whole collection as a unit, thereby inconveniencing a number of would-be bidders who had actually arrived in New York for the sale. Considerable ill feeling thus arose over this preauction disposal. As part of the arrangement, Tulane contracted with Gates to have him engaged in and, accordingly, gave him charge of the new collection as director of a new Department of Middle American Research (see pp. 135-39). Gates describes these events in a later letter:In making my 1924 sale, I simply made a clearance of Mexican from mid-Oaxaca north, retaining Yucatan, Central American and the Zapotec link. Zemurray, hearing of the coming auction offered Tulane an endowment of $300,000 and paid me $60,000 on the specified condition that I head, develop and direct at my sole discretion the Dept. which at my insistance was named the Mid. Am. Res. [Department of Middle American Research] (Gates 1935c).This liberal gift from Mr. Sam Zemurray (who for some time remained anonymous) made possible a project over which Gates became even more enthusiastic than he had been in the Guatemala venture, since it involved, not just one country, but all of Central America. To this institution he expected to bring students on scholarships from all the Central American countries, and he commenced to make plans for an extensive program of trans-Caribbean study that seemingly was to be the fruition of his long-nourished interest in the edification and physical betterment of our southern neighbors.Plans for a Caribbean AlexandriaGates visualized the future Tulane as a cultural center for Caribbean countries, just as Alexandria had been for the ancients of the Mediterranean--a center for study and consultation for the entire area from the United States to Panama (pp. 148-50 and Excelsior 1925), but he was handicapped by lack of funds. He felt that Zemurray had a "duty" to increase his very generous endowment and seems to have been injudiciously persistent in pointing this "duty" out to Zemurray. For instance, on March 3, 1925, less than a year after Zemurray's initial generosity Gates wrote to him about the need for a two-million-dollar endowment, making it evident that Zemurray was expected to be the donor.A scheme to get New Orleans businessmen to subscribe $100 a year each for five years failed dismally (Gates 1926, 29) but on the strength of it Tulane University advanced the department $25,000 to cover costs of the first Tulane expedition to Central America, the agricultural projects in Tabasco and Honduras, and the purchase of books. The advance was to be paid back from the subscriptions and other donations, but they failed to materialize (J. E. s. Thompson, personal communication).After an unsuccessful attempt to hire Alfred V. Kidder of the Carnegie Institution and then Thomas A. Joyce of the British Museum, Gates finally hired Frans Blom, a young experienced archaeologist, to head the field operations of the department in archaeological studies. This man was to participate in Gates' undoing at Tulane, but at this time the professor did not imagine the possibility of experiencing in his own native Southland the same sort of "betrayal" that had unseated him in Guatemala.In the winter of 1924-25, Frans Blom and his ethnological assistant, Oliver LaFarge, were commissioned and outfitted by Tulane and set off on an exploratory trip through parts of the mexican states of Veracruz, Tabasco, and Chiapas and into Guatemala. The account of this expedition through the marginal lands of the Mayas is contained in a fascinating two-volume report entitled Tribes and Temples (Blom and LaFarge 1926-27), which remains today of great value for study of these relatively little-known regions.Leaving New Orleans in the spring of 1925, the New Orleans Commission went to the state of Tabasco to make a study of the economic plants of that state. Gates accompanied this commission as far as Villahermosa, the state capital, where he joined Blom and LaFarge for a short trip into the jungle-covered hinterland. After a strenuous week spent on muleback inspecting the brick structures of the Old Empire Maya site at Comalcalco, Gates returned to the coast (Blom and LaFarge 1926, Vol. I, pp. 78-137). Leaving the Tulane groups, he went on to Honduras, where he planned to prepare the way for future scientific work.On his way to Honduras, Gates spent several days in Mexico City, stopping to make necessary arrangements with the authorities in that capital city. While there, he was interviewed by the editor of Excelsior, who, in a long article previously quoted above, described the doctor as--the eminent Americanist, a man who enjoys a worldwide fame not only for his work as an archaeologist and philosopher, work he takes most seriously, but also for his qualities as a man of action in whom a clear vision of the world's affairs is united to an aggressive intelligence.The article continued, quoting Gates""Who knows what is coming through the Dresden Codex . . . the font of type and the classified arrangement of the glyphs. . . . My friends assure me I am on the eve of finding the key to the intricate system of the Maya hieroglyphic writing. Let us see whether it comes out!"And saying this, Dr. Gates smiled with the ingenuousness of a boy who knows where he is going.Gates was supremely confident at this time that he was pursuing the correct path to the decipherment of the glyphs. Time has yet to prove whether he was right or wrong, since to date (1953) the glyphs have yielded but little more than they had in 1925.The Excelsior article continued by stating Gates' vision that Tulane would be the means of helping the Central American countries to overcome disease and poverty and that neither politics nor commercialism would intervene. Such idealism is admirable in a man who had suffered so recently at the hands of claimed petty favoritism.The Mexican editor then dwelt on Gates' conception of archaeology, quoting him:"Archaeology is inseparably united to the history of culture; and to know and interpret either we must know all we can of the region--geography, climate, old and new trade routes, natural products . . . folklore, language, music."One must learn all possible about those things, in order to interpret the history of human culture, as well as to apply that knowledge to the betterment of conditions today. (Our Dr. Gamio, the Subsecretary of Education, (5) jumped gladly to acknowledge this point.) The end of Archaeology is this interpretation, and not the mere filling of Museums that are only too often morgues. . . . It is a science of life and not of exhumation."Gates here expounded some of the broad, ideal concepts eventually to be embraced by men of anthropology whose "mechanistic" writings he was later so frequently and so severely to criticize. His broad humanistic goal of archaeological studies is a commendable one--one which is seldom reached by the practical working scholar whose obligations and limited time and means confine him perforce to the more immediate aspects of his discipline. Subsequent failure of his institution's support necessitated the limiting of Gates' visions for an idealized pan-Caribbean program, but he never lost any of his belief in the ultimate good to come from an increased knowledge and understanding of our southern neighbors. He felt that this understanding should be founded first on a proper underlying historical perspective of per-Spanish culture, best epitomized by the Maya-speaking peoples. Gates devoted much of his life to contributing to this perspective.Following his visit to Honduras, Gates returned to Tulane and directed the university's preparations for opening a station of scientific research in Honduras, which was to have the services of specialists in many fields in order to make a detailed study of that nation covering both ancient and modern aspects. In September, 1925, Tulane received from Guatemala's minister of agriculture a request that a similar station be opened in his country. In making a reply to the request, Gates placed great stress upon the importance of plant research work, both agronomic and as connected with his coming studies in tropical diseases, medical botany, and related aspects. It was his expressed hope that these labors would "forge strong links of mutual benefit and friendship between the countries on the two sides of the waters which connect us, rather than separate us" (Gates 1925b).While at Tulane, Gates did not neglect any opportunity to add to his collection. He wrote to the Pan American Union that he was still interested in "getting everything" in the way of a working library (Gates 1925a). But the professor's plans for this library to serve as the nucleus for a great Caribbean work were soon to be shattered.Overthrow of Gates at Tulane(6)The normal departmental budget at Tulane of $15,000 was increased to $40,000 for the year October 1, 1924, to September 30, 1925, by the special $25,000 "underwriting" (p. 32), but Gates overspent his budget so that he started the 1925-26 financial year with an overdraft equalling the whole appropriation for the coming year less salaries. The university authorities did not look on that with any pleasure. In addition, he had received from the university $5,000 as an option on the purchase of the rest of his library. He also pretended to have a subscriber who would give $50,000 to the department provided Zemurray or someone else would match the gift. Finally, he admitted that the subscriber was himself. It is to be doubted that Gates at that time had a tenth of that sum available.In a long letter of October 1, 1925, to Dr. Dinwiddie, president of the University, Gates resigned as director of the department because of the lack of support in the form of more funds, but a few days later he withdrew his resignation (Gates 1926, 26-36).Matters slowly drifted to a crisis. Blom, to Gates' intense annoyance, was made directly responsible to Dinwiddie (Gates was fighting him at long range from Charlottesville), and then the departmental library was placed under the tulane University Library Committee.In a long letter of March 1, 1926, Gates stormed against Dinwiddie for his part in the financial strangling of the department; his support of Blom against Gates, his immediate superior; and his removal of the library from Gates' control (Gates seems still to have regarded it as his own). He concluded with the statement that he was putting the whole matter in the hands of his attorney and that he also planned to lay his complaints before the american Association of University Professors.A week later the Tulane Board of Administrators, having considered Gates' letter and that of his attorney, voted unanimously to terminate immediately his employment with the university. a check for his salary to the end of the current financial year was sent to him with the notification.The ousting from Tulane was to leave Gates far more embittered than had the Morley affair. His villain was Frans Blom, and the long and unpleasant story is very briefly told in Gates' own words to an inquirer almost ten years later:For his field capabilities I engaged Frans Blom when he was down to his last $100 and dropped by the Carnegie; gave him all and more than he asked. Returning in my absence, by the usual backstairs method, and by things I do not care to amplify on, by himself and the President (whom I had trusted as a Virginian) he possessed himself of the Department. . . . The whole story was told in a pamphlet I then printed (1926), with the correspondence and records of fraudulent bookkeeping. . . . since then they have ridden on what I created. Enough. the May Society will care for all that. . . . (Gates 1935c)The fiery Gates did not take his dismissal lying down and devoted considerable time and energy in an attempt to have his rights vindicated, as shown by the above mentioned pamphlet, but all to no avail. Effectually dispossessed, Gates retired to his Auburn Hill farm. He never forgave Blom or Tulane.Back to the FarmSeparated from Tulane, Gates expected to devote himself fully to his research at Auburn Hill. He had retained all of his Maya collection and much material from other areas, a good deal of which he had acquired since the sale of the Mexicana portion to Tulane. In 1927 he wrote to his friend C. T. Currelly of the Royal Ontario Museum:Following the break-up of all my dreams for Central America, in the Tulane debacle, I am settling down to just what I can do with my studies--which I should perhaps have done long ago. And it affects my library--I would be glad to have seen it intact as a research memorial in the proper place [he had hoped to sell the Maya collection to tulane], but I will let that pass.Thus saying, he then offered to sell Currelly a portion of his collection (non-Maya) which was up for disposal, but without success.Although in the closing years of this decade Gates achieved little of the hoped-for study, he did devote himself vigorously to improving his farm and to remodeling a portion of the house there into a suitable study. He was plagued at this time by near-bankruptcy and the threatened loss of all his collections and real estate. Through the help of loyal assistants and friends he was able to avoid this impending catastrophe by only a narrow margin. Altogether, this Virginia farming episode (carried on for nine years amid his other projects) proved a great burden to Gates, and when, in 1929 - 1930, he finally dissolved his estate in Virginia and regained financial solvency with the aid of the sale of a collection of manuscripts now in Princeton University to Mr. Robert Garrett of Baltimore, he arranged for an affiliation with his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, and moved to Baltimore.These ten years of diversified activity had seen Gates make little visible contribution to his favored study of Maya linguistics. He had, however, in addition to making his mark in many places at home and abroad, for good or bad, put a great deal of time into transcribing and typing many of his early manuscripts from their difficult early handwriting. With a number of these typescripts completed and their contextual implications in mind, Gates entered into his work at Johns Hopkins with many of his coming publications already outlined.IV. The Final Years of Research and Publication -- 1930-1940The last decade of William Gates' life was a fruitful period. He found the conditions at Johns Hopkins much to his liking, and in May, 1930, he wrote to Currelly:Am here in wholly delightful surroundings at the Hopkins, hard at work on my grammars, dictionaries, and glyphs. Not teaching. Title of Research Associate, but wholly free; just an association and place--with mutual good in the coming publications.having use of the printing facilities of the Johns Hopkins Press, Gates reorganized the Maya Society as a publication and distribution medium and commenced the long-delayed work of getting his manuscript material into print.The Second Maya SocietyThe establishment of the second Maya Society is best described in The Maya Society and Its Work, a small volume published by Gages in 1937 for the purpose of acquainting inquirers with the nature of the Society. It states:The Maya Society was incorporated on July 21, 1930, at Washington, under the Federal law governing corporations for scientific research and the dissemination of knowledge, and not for profit.Its Charter is perpetualIts purpose as therein set forth are:For the promotion of knowledge and better understanding of all matters pertaining to the Indian races of Middle America, past and present, and particularly those matters relating to the Maya people, and their country.To cultivate this knowledge and better understanding particularly through the promotion and fathering of publications covering the said fields of research and knowledge.An immediate and allied purpose for the organization was that the corporation might serve as a Trust Foundation to receive and care for, in trust for said research, the collection. . . . this collection was thereupon donated in trust, to The Maya Society, to be held and cared for as above, in perpetuity (Maya Society, Vol. 19, p. 3).Most of the twenty volumes issued under the name of this society were the direct result of Gates' work. (For a complete listing of these publications, see the entries under Maya Society in the bibliography.) For several of the first publications, however, he had the assistance of Alan W. Payne, a young newspaperman who had been with him in the Tulane activity. Elizabeth C. Stewart worked with him for a few years around 1935, and under Gates' tutelage received the first doctorate of Maya studies ever given by Johns Hopkins or any other university. In addition, at various times in this work Gates was assisted by students and several secretaries. His hope was to establish an organization that would carry on after his death.Maya Society Publication No. 1 appeared in the fall of 1931, under the extended title An Outline Dictionary of Maya Glyphs with a Concordance and Analysis of Their Relationships. This book, printed on Gates' favored Fabriano handmade Italian paper, uncut with gilt top, sold for thirty-five dollars and was "issued for students" according to the introduction. It would seem to require another book of instruction to make it usable to novices. It is nearly unintelligible to the nonspecialist and appears to be poorly organized and integrated, lacking both table of contents and index. The work is a dictionary only in the sense that Gates has treated the glyphs numerically, and this on an arbitrary system of numbering which he does not explain. Under individual numbers a great variety of material is discussed; a historical review of glyph studies appears midway in the book under the heading "The Cardinal Points." Gates had planned this work and formed the broad glyph classes as early as 1901. It included only the glyphs from the three surviving codices, for to include all the glyphs found on the monuments would have been an impossible task. furthermore, Gates felt that study of the codex glyphs was more apt to lead to an understanding of the glyphs as a "true system."The introduction states that the main purpose of the Outline Dictionary of Maya Glyphs was the concordance and tabulation of the glyph forms, and in this it may have succeeded, although I find no evidence that such a tabulation has been of any acknowledged aid to students of the glyphs. I have, in fact, found only one analytical comment on the publication--that of Herman Beyer in the American Anthropologist, 1933. In this lengthy discussion Beyer makes an almost complete refutation of the value of Gates' glyph dictionary. Says he:When I commenced reading this costly publication I realized very soon that its author must have written it about 20 years ago, only adding a few phrases to modernize it. The important literature relating to Maya glyph interpretation during the last two decades has not been utilized. . . . On the whole, the short treatise is faulty in method, full of errors regarding well-known facts, and abounds in mistakes in cross-references (Beyer 1933, 659).Mr. Beyer then backs up his criticism with thirty-two pages of "incontrovertible data," refuting Gates' claims glyph by glyph straight through the book. Gates almost automatically considered Beyer an enemy, since he was associated with Tulane, and usually referred to him as "that old German," but Beyer was a Maya scholar of known repute whose approach to glyph study is considered fundamental by Thompson (1950; 33, 35). There is evidence that this generally cold reception and outright refutation of Gates' work on the hieroglyphs was discouraging to him, for he never published a line of glyph study after 1932, even though he retained an active interest in this subject. His stated reason for this was that other work prevented his giving attention to the glyphic material, but it must have been obvious to him that his approach was not producing recognizable results. It may also be that the sheer weight of his manuscript collection compelled him to devote his time to publishing this material, which over the years had assumed more importance to him than the strictly glyphic studies.The Maya Society had also published several Aztec maps, or "codices," in 1931, as well as the first number of the Maya Society Quarterly. This periodical was expected to be issued regularly, but never went beyond Volume one. The purpose of the Quarterly, as expressed in the Profertur to Number 1, was to make available important material contained in the early manuscript sources. It was Gates' hope to counteract the heavy emphasis on field work in Maya studies by making available documentary material little known to many field researchers and to build up a core of Maya linguists to work with this material. Edited and published in Gates' usual unconventional manner, the Quarterly nevertheless received acclaim for its content and has been perhaps the most widely used of any of Gates' publications. Incorporating the work of his protegÃ©s with his own and that of a few accepted Maya scholars, Gates made the Maya Society Quarterly a valuable clearing house for publication of early documentary material dealing with the languages, history, and culture of the Maya. (For Gates' contributions, see bibliography: Gates 1931-32.) The favorable response to the first volume of the Quarterly was very gratifying to Gates, but his preoccupation with other publications and his inability to keep a responsible staff prevented the issuance of further numbers.The main concern of Gates in 1932 was the publication of the long-planned Dresden Codex, which had been nearly ready in 1931. This was a full-colored facsimile, arranged in chapters and mounted on linen. Fitted in a case, it sold for $60 a copy (Maya Society Publication No. 2).Gates' health was failing in these later years, and he found himself unable to give the desired personal attention to as many matter as he wished. However, this initial period at Johns Hopkins gained him considerable publicity in the press, and his files contain a number of long clippings from Baltimore papers, including a full page from the Baltimore Sun Sunday magazine in which is explained at length the course of Gates' glyph studies and the reasons for which he believed an Atlantis or other lost continent must have been responsible for the unknown antecedents of Maya culture (Macaulay 1932).Another article clipped from an unknown newspaper, probably in 1932, contains a vivid description of Gates at this time:Slender of figure, with a scholar's stoop to his shoulders, gray hair, mustache and imperial running a little wildly over his head and face, sharp gray eyes peering through the heavy lenses of his spectacles, Dr. Gates, who pursues his studies of the Maya civilization at the Hopkins, is the order of man one expects to find unearthing the marks left by buried civilizations.Quick and impulsive in movement, caustic in his comments on what he regards as stupidities and the contrarieties of man, Dr. Gates has been for years uncovering the dust time has put on peoples dead and gone--and getting an amazing kick out of it. . . ."What are your diversions?" he was asked."Crime stories!" he declared in his emphatic speech. "I devour them."Enlightening as this account is, a more significant story is told by other newspaper accounts of these few years. In 1931 and 1932, press releases were headed "Scientist Solve Mystery of Mayan Glyphs, Belief" (Baltimore Sun) and "Dr. William Gates Slowly Solves a Cipher Without a Key." But by 1935, a newspaper article describing the doctor's work is solemnly headed "Language He Will Never Read, His Study For over 30 Years." This article stated that Gates had interpreted the meaning of twelve Mayan characters and translated one religious incantation. The article continued:He does not hope to read any more of the works of these people, to whose culture he has devoted much of his life."I don't think I'll have time," he said yesterday. "I have done the spade work. I have brought the material together. Some other man will be the one to read the texts" (Baltimore Sun 1935).(I find no real opinion expressed by Gates as to his conception of the ultimate value of glyph studies in his latest years.)Though the three years between 1932 and 1935 had brought to Gates the realization that he would never achieve his most dreamed-of goal, that of translating the glyphs, he had not been idle in this time. In 1933 he issued a complete photographic copy of the Madrid Maya Codex mounted on linen, in wooden end boards, and inlaid with silver and abalone ($75 per copy).Nineteen thirty-three was also the year in which Beyer's unfavorable appraisal of Gates' glyph dictionary appeared. This attack, coupled with the general apathy of many Americanists toward him as a scholar and with his own avowed enmity toward the methods of many of the foremost Maya researchers, was having an increasingly bitter effect on the aging William Gates. He castigated his opponents frequently in letters to friends and near-strangers a like. In such a letter to Benjamin Lee Whorf, who had recently published a paper on the phonetic character of Maya glyphs, Gates defended his position. Referring to this Outline Dictionary of the Maya Glyphs, he said to Whorf (Gates 1933b):. . . I do not think I expressed a single opinion without giving just how I came to realize it, and on what fact collations, that anyone might follow and check. What the hell is the good of stating something as a great discovery (to a gaping lecture crowd or the newspapers) on what you know is insufficient data? Stuff. And just that, my friend, is why I have parted company with the whole crowd of whom I wrote you.Further evidence of the chip Gates was carrying on his shoulder as a result of opposition and lack of recognition is shown in his concluding sentences of this letter Whorf:The reason d'etre [of his Maya collection] is the "removal of impediments of research." Substantially the entire Dictionary and Grammar material in all the Mayance tongues is here typescripted, carbons of the dictionary entries clipped, sorted, and pasted together; texts copied; all sorts of card-indexes to build a unified study; for my objectives have been three: the glyphs; comparative Mayance linguistics just as has been done with other tongues; Maya-mexican medical plants and science. Mere accumulations of a "collector." Rats.Trip to the Southwest and MexicoThe following year Gates visited the West Coast for the first time in many years and journeyed on to mexico. This appears to have been one of his most pleasant experiences.For many years Gates had served as a member of the board of directors of the American Indian Defense Association, Inc. (having first accepted this position in 1924), and he had always maintained a keen interest in all that was Indian, past and present. In 1933-24, considerable controversy raged in the country over the proposed Wheeler-Howard Indian Rights Bill. This proposal, also known as the Harold Ickes-John Collier program, involved important changes in the land and education policies of the Indian bureau. Gates assumed an active part in the campaign for the adoption of this bill, and as an aid to his friend John Collier, then head of the Indian bureau, he attended a procedures meeting at Yuma, Arizona, in 1934, "trying to help put the Indians on their feet under this new law." In addition to this service, Gates also went to Mexico as a "$1.00 a year man," again as an official "emissary" to help John Collier (Gates 1935a).Upon his return from these trips, Gates wrote to R. G. W. Vail of the American Antiquarian Society expressing his satisfaction with his experiences:I am just back from near 6 months in S. W., Mexico and Yucatan. . . . Had a most wonderful trip . . . 10,000 miles on nearly every possible conveyance . . . struck the annual meeting of the San Diego Museum. . . . Got Edgar Hewett off the Board for first time in 20 years, and real man as President. . . .Sat in on Indian work. . . . Got a lot of data to be used.Finally, gathered almost the last items for my tremendous plan on Mexican and Yucatecan medical botany. . . . Not a single thing undesirable or such, until I reached the Carnegie push at Cichen, where I suddenly encountered active antagonism. But what else to expect from anything run by Morley and John Merriam (Gates 1934).Following this trip, Gates returned to his publication work, taking time out to give a lecture, on November 5th, at Johns Hopkins on "Rural Education in Mexico and the Indian Problem" (Gates 1935b).Further Publications of The Maya SocietyResuming activity in Baltimore, Gates published in 1935 a number of small photographic facsimiles of Maya linguistic documents, including the controversial Gomesta manuscript. This document purportedly contained a sixteenth-century key to the glyphs, although Roys had previously declared it to be a spurious work of later times. In any case, this work seems to have had little effect upon the progress of Maya research.In the July, 1935, issue of Maya Research, Frans Blom criticized this manuscript and took Gates severely to task for the publication of what was obviously a fake (Blom 1935). Gates wrote a rebuttal of this review but never published it. Subsequent developments proved the Gomesta to actually be a fraud written in the nineteenth century and copied in part from Brinton and other early authors, but Gates was innocent of any duplicity in the matter.Also in 1935, the Maya Society published Plantas Medicinales de Yucatan, a manuscript translated and edited by Elizabeth C. Stewart. This edition seems to have been little noted by the profession.Gates now began serious work on his translating and editing of Fray Diego de Landa's Sixteenth-century "Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan." Following numerous and pointed suggestions from Gates' friend T. A. Willard that he make the book a simple translation with a minimum of "Gates" commentary, Yucatan Before and After the Conquest appeared as essentially that, with the addition of an introduction and appended contemporary documents. This first English publication of Landa was well accepted. F. W. Hodge, another old friend of Gates, gave a favorable review in El Palacio, in which he stressed the importance and comprehensive nature of Landa's work itself. Hodge also noted the valuable helps to understanding added by Gates in the form of related documents, illustrations, maps, and explanatory notes. He concluded with the following:Of priceless value to the student of the Maya particularly, and of Indian culture in general, Mr. Gates' translation will be hailed with joy as a most notable contribution to our archaeological and ethnological literature (Hodge 1937).Thompson reviewed Gates' edition of Landa in the American Anthropologist and showed it to be a real help in understanding the Maya people. After pointing out a few minor errors, he concluded,Mr. Gates is to be congratulated on this publication. Institutions and individuals interested in Latin America should not fail to order it for their libraries (Thompson 1938).Despite the favorable acceptance of his Landa translation, Gates was dissatisfied with the little personal recognition given him. Discussing a planned review of his work in writing to Frank W. Setzler, Gates bemoaned the general ignorance of "present day 'Maya Science,'" and remarked, "Get Hrdlicka to review my work on Landa, as well as the mere Landa text. Tendency is to eliminate Gates' work, and talk only of Landa test" (Gates 1937c).Gates' translation of Landa was superseded however in 1941 by the publication of Tozzer's treatment of the same text (Tozzer 1941). In a work much more exhaustive, with footnotes in excess of the actual body of the text, Tozzer makes repeated references to Gates in these footnotes, pointing out variations in translation. For scholars, Tozzer's work is far more serviceable than Gates' work, and talk only of Landa text" (Gates 1937c).The translation is a free one. The editor gives Landa's illustrations and adds others of his own selection, many of which in the first edition are hand-colored. . . . There are some very interesting additional documents at the end and a colored map of the "chiefdoms" of Yucatan as they probably appeared in 1957 (Tozzer 1941, viii).Four editions of Landa have appeared since the Gates edition, two of them in Spanish and two in English. (For an additional comment on Gates' Landa, see p. 126.)Now in his middle seventies and with failing health, Gates experienced a renewed interest in his early theosophist faith. Writing to Geoffrey Shurlock of the Hays office in Hollywood, one of his early students at Point Loma, he stated:I was in San Diego and Los Angeles several months in 1935; saw them at the Point, and even (by invitation) spent a night in the Homestead. But the "link" ceased for me when K T [Katherine Tingley] went. It was just a visit to a place of "old memories;" place petrified in lace of the radiant youth of everything when we were both there. Of course, I have in no way ceased to maintain and guard my H. P. B. [Madame H. P. Blavatsky] tradition, perhaps even more alive than ever as I approach the gateway to a short rest, before we shall be needed back--to rebuild (Gates 1937b).In other correspondence to intimate friends in this closing period of his life, Gates discoursed at length upon the sublimites of his mystic oriental philosophy. In a previously quoted (p. 2) letter to Alan Hazelton of the Andra Research University of Indian, Gates reveals that he has become something of a slave to his collection:. . . China, Chinese and everything therewith is my "candy," but I reached it too late, after Maya had become work, and my finally unmatchable collection had made my "job" clear (Gates 1938a).In view of Gates' early experience with Chinese art and philosophy, it appears to me that he was experiencing at this time some regret that he had abandoned the Orient and that Maya had failed to give him the spiritual rewards he sought. the stubborn refusal of the glyphs to reveal their supposed "message" was a personal disappointment of genuine consequence to William Gates and was no doubt a factor in causing him to emphasize the medico-botanical side of the Maya and Aztecs as an attainable, concrete means of showing the cultural level obtained by the pre-Conquest Americans.The appearance in 1938 of Gates' A Grammar of Maya (Maya Society Publication No. 13) climaxed many years of work on this subject, and the book went through two editions. Nevertheless, the only comments on the value of this book, to my knowledge, are a few mentioned by Gates himself (But see pp. 64-65). In the above-quoted letter to Hazelton, Gates speaks of his Grammar as follows:It is at least as much a work of racial philosophy of the ancient times, as it is just a "Grammar," and is as such being now reviewed for the Journal of Philosophy (Gates 1938a).Following publication of this review, Gates mentioned his Maya Grammar in a letter to Stanley Wilson of Los Angeles:. . . The work . . . has completely topped the Landa for status. Review in Journal of Philosophy praises it as outstanding contribution; Morley unrestricted in praise, and it wholly clinches our Maya Soc. high scientific status (Gates 1938b) . . . .Gates last publication was, ironically, not a Maya document but an Aztec herbal. Furthermore, issuance of this early botanical picture book involves Gates in a final major controversy and set the stage for his disgruntled departure form his Johns Hopkins University quarters at a still very active age of 75, less than two years before his death. The troublesome publication was the De la Cruz-Badiano Aztec Herbal of 1552. It appeared in 1939 as The May Society Publications No. 22 and 23; the first number contained the Latin and illustrations of the original, and the second contained the full English translation together with introduction, original plant figures, nomenclature, and index.According to J. E. S. Thompson (personal communication 1972), the original Badianus document was discovered, or rediscovered, in the Vatican Library in 1929 by Charles Upson Clark, who was searching for manuscripts on Middle America for the Smithsonian Institution. Clark arranged, with the consent of Cardinal Tisserant, for photostats to be made and for the cardinal's niece to make watercolor copies. These were deposited in the Smithsonian Institution, and the discovery of the manuscript was made public at that time. It would seem that Gates, sometime later, got in touch with the cardinal and made his own arrangements for securing a copy and for its publication. In fact, he took the most unusual step of publishing in facsimile the letter from Cardinal Tisserant transmitting the final batch of water colors as the "letter of authorization from the Vatican Library" (Maya Society Publication No. 23, xxxiii), causing one to suspect that Gates knew that he would be accused of poaching on the preserves of Upson Clark and/or the Smithsonian Institution (though neither of the latter parties ever published the manuscript). Thompson adds a final pungent commentary:There appears to be rich comedy in this little maneuver. Alan Payne, Gates' right hand man at Tulane and later at Baltimore, sent Ross Parmenter in 1962 two long letters of reminiscences of Gates. In one he tells of how he was summoned to the office of the President of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Isaiah Bowman, who was inquiring into a complaint he had received from the Vatican Library that Gates had not paid for the Badiano water colors. "He [the President] was quite sharp about it," Payne adds. In fact, the bill had been sent to Gates as president of the Maya Society at the Johns Hopkins University, so the Vatican was probably under the impression that the University was bilking on its bill.The real joke, of course, is that Gates published this then unpaid bill as chief testimony for his claimed right to publish the Badiano.Whatever the true facts may be regarding proprietorship of the sources, an "official" edition of the Badianus, edited by Emily Walcott Emmart was published (1940), with illustrations in color by the Johns Hopkins Press and sold for $7.50. This contrasts with Gates' price of $25.00 for his black and white edition. Gates was much upset with the planned appearance of a rival edition, and in apparent retaliation he had the Maya Society print and announce, but never distribute, an even less expensive "Popular edition" of its Publication No. 23, as noted below.Move to the Library of CongressDuring the last several years in Baltimore, Gates had negotiated with book publishers to put out popular versions of his books, always to end up publishing them himself as a result of failure to reach agreement (Gates had established a private press in Baltimore to facilitate his work). In 1938, however, the aging but active-minded Gates left Johns Hopkins as a result of disagreement with what he felt were basic changes in the policies of that institution and saying that he planned to establish a complete publication and research center in Washington, D. C. These plans to move the society into its own fully equipped plant failed. Gates then secured two study rooms in the annex of the Library of Congress and carried on his research there. The Badiano Herbals were published at his Baltimore press, but Gates arranged to have several hundred copies of a popular edition printed by a commercial press, and reputedly these were still being held for payment by the printer at the time of Gates' death. As mentioned above, this inexpensive $3.75 edition was intended to drive off the market what he felt to be the "pirated edition" of Emmart already noted, which he said was being published by a garden society through the Johns Hopkins Press.Gates had for some time been working on a book giving a complete picture of the Maya culture. Though much of this book was outlined and some was in manuscript form, it was never completed. (The publication of Morley's The Ancient Maya in 1947 and of other works since then has fulfilled the general mission of this proposed work of Gates.)Although he had his headquarters in Washington at this time, Gates of necessity had much material still stored in his rooms at Johns Hopkins. (His collection of theosophical magazines and other literature relating to theosophy he donated to the Library of Congress in the fall of 1939.) But Gates carried on his study and correspondence (primarily matters relating to the sale of society publications) from the library rooms. Gates was at this time very disturbed about the "whole rotten business" of the Badiano herbal affair and with the "Hitlerian" tactics at Johns Hopkins (Gates 1939a).Toward the end of 1939, while Gates was experiencing ill health, he wrote out a general statement of his major objectives in his life's work and expressed his hopes for the coming year (Gates 1939b). He stated his major objective to have been the linguistic analysis of major Indian languages starting first with the Maya, with the aim of determining the developmental patterns of each language and the affiliation of the peoples involved. In this study he felt it was essential that the earliest (Sixteenth-Century, if possible) documents be used, rather than modern ethnological records, for which he here showed an utter disdain. Gates expressed the thought that he had, through the Maya Society, made available the essential knowledge "about Maya." In the coming year, 1940, he hoped to achieve his "original desire" of going one by one through the different Mayance dialectic branches and comparing these with the grammatical rules established for the Yucatecan Maya in his A Grammar of Maya. He also expressed the hope that his "approaching work on Maya and mexican plants" would be a contribution to our knowledge of the history of medicine comparable to the Egyptian and Vedic knowledge. He concluded with the statement, "Frankly I say to any who may read: this is what I have hoped, collected, my tried for in May ojala que venga pronto. W.G."Death, and Disposal of the CollectionThe end of "this incarnation" came for William Gates on April 24, 1940, at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. Upon his passing away, management of the Maya Society and its collection fell to his sister, Mrs. Edith McComas of Baltimore, who was vice-president of the society for many years. The various secretaries and students whom Gates had been trying to train to follow him in his work had all left him to depart for fields of their own. (Gates said that he had at one time attempted without success to secure the services of J. Eric s. Thompson as vice-president of the society, to assume presidency upon his death.) Mrs. mcComas, with the aid of her husband, Dr. Henry McComas, and the counsel of many of Gates' old friends, managed to dispose of the surplus publications and valiantly catalogued the various portions of Gates' library and Maya collection.Mrs. McComas' hope, following her brother's wish, was to get the collection placed as a unit in some institution that would carry on the work. But few institutions voiced interest in the collection as an entity sufficient to justify its purchase, though a number of institutions and individuals were interested in particular works or sections of it. Most original manuscripts had previously been sold by Gates to Mr. Garrett, who presented them to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. Not until 1946 was the main collection placed. Through the efforts of Dr. M. Wells Jakeman, a Maya researcher who had previously appraised the collection for the estate, and other persons, Brigham Young University of Provo, Utah, purchased the Gates Collection of Middle America Literature. It is now located in the archives section of the J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Library of this institution.As far as I know, no necrology of Gates appeared in any scholarly journal other than the American Historical Review (1940).V. The Contributions of William E. GatesPerhaps the outstanding characteristic of Gates' life was his constant activity. At no time in his life did he sit back and watch the world go by. His was a dissatisfied mind which formulated problems for which no ordinary answer suited. Driven by this restive mind and with a conviction of the superiority of his own work, Gates applied himself to tasks of his own choosing with great energy. He frequently carried on active crusades for rights he believed in contemporaneously with his academic pursuits. that his activities were with rare exception conducted according to his own perceptions with little regard for the counsel or wishes of others does not detract from the enormous amount of work he actually did. But the fact that he was so independent and largely responsible only to himself has made it difficult to form a just conception of his life work, since relatively little of his learning was communicated. At the time of his death, the Baltimore Sun was forced to conclude the following:The exact value of Dr. Gates' contributions to the study of Mayan culture never has been estimated, several savants pointed out last night. Few persons were familiar enough with the subject, they said, and Dr. Gates' tendency to pursue his studies without collaboration had made him somewhat of a "lone wolf" (Baltimore Sun 1940).Unlike many of his contemporaries, Gates did not have a following of students or acolytes anxious to pay tribute to their mentor. No comprehensive estimate of his contributions has been volunteered. Nevertheless, on the basis of his writings it is possible to sum up his achievements, and by appraising the published opinions of his fellow scholars it is possible to form conclusions as to the value of his contributions to the study of Mesoamerican archaeology.Summary of Gates' AccomplishmentsIn summarizing the achievements of so vigorous a life as that lived by Gates, it is conceivable that some omissions may be made, but the following is a general summary of his accomplishments:1. He gathered into a central collection practically the entire corpus of early source materials for Middle America and familiarized himself with most of this material relative to the Maya region, both ancient and modern. He made much of this material available to other students by exchanges with several institutions. By collecting these items he saved without question a great deal of information form eventual loss or destruction. Documents which may have remained little known and unused in private hands were made accessible to researchers through Gates' activities.2. Perhaps Gates' publications, as listed in the Bibliography, can be considered his next most important accomplishment, secondary to the collection itself. Although wide appreciation of his publications was denied as a result of the expensive, "exclusive" manner in which he insisted they should be issued, they are, nevertheless, important study aids. His issues of the codices, in particular, make available to the nonspecialist items not otherwise to be had in so understandable a form.3. Through great physical effort and mental strain, Gates transcribed in typewritten form most important linguistic manuscripts in or dealing with the Mayance languages. A number of these documents he translated into English. This material he also collated and coordinated as working forms for the publication of dictionaries and grammars for all of the seven or eight Mayance linguistic branches. This task frequently entailed the reading of almost illegible photographic copies or weathered manuscripts written in early Spanish or in Maya dialects, and occasionally this task required the translating of German, French, or Latin. He was aided in this project by his notable linguistic ability; it is said that he laid claim to a speaking knowledge of thirteen languages (Baltimore Sun 1940).4. Gates claimed to have translated and indexed every known Maya medico-botanical text and to have done the same for much of the Aztec. This material he classified according to Maya and Aztec plant names, ailments, and modern taxonomic order. It was cross-referenced for ailments and remedies, with 10,000 references to native manuscripts. (This card-index file is not contained in the present collection. Its whereabouts is unknown to the author.)5. Gates designed and made the only font of Maya hieroglyphic type in existence. This font, consisting of all the two thousand glyphs found written in the three known codices, was used by Gates in publishing his codex facsimiles and glyph studies. Regardless of the criticism made of Gates' glyph "reconstructions," this tool conceivably could be useful for instructional purposes.6. Gates' organization of the Department of Middle American Research at Tulane University must be considered an important accomplishment, even though his plans and services were terminated after eighteen months. Reduced in the scope of its activities, the Middle American Research Institute continues today along somewhat the general plan laid out for it twenty-nine years ago by its initiator. In this same respect, Gates' endeavors to protect Guatemala's interests through a museum and antiquity law must be considered as having some beneficial result over the years. another similar accomplishment was Gates' instrumentality in the founding of the San Diego Museum and his interest in this institution throughout the remainder of his life.7. The Maya Society, though little more than a one-man show, did provide a medium for the publishing of several articles by authors other than Gates. It also provided a center to which inquiries regarding the Maya came from newly interested persons. Even though Gates gave little encouragement to most such inquiries beyond recommending the various publications of the Maya Society, stating that most other published works were unsatisfactory, the mere existence of his society tended to keep Maya problems before the public. Various articles based on the Maya Society activities appeared in the daily press and helped to popularize Maya research. He constantly gave help and encouragement to promising nonprofessional students of Maya language and culture.8. The efforts of Gates to improve political and social conditions in Mexico and Guatemala no doubt had some influence in bringing about eventual reforms in those countries, but such influence would be difficult to trace. His efforts in this regard included lectures and published articles in the United States, suggestions and demands made to members of the United States government in Washington right up to the president, and frequent communications with dignitaries of neighboring countries. Included with this consideration should be Gates' work in behalf of the American Indian and his many-sided approach to the agronomic survey of Tabasco and the projected research in Honduras.In achieving these results, Gates also earned a reputation for being cranky and sensitive; he considered that many in his profession were avowed enemies of himself and all his work. He was not content that mere differences of opinion should exist, but openly alienated himself with all who opposed him. Having no use for tact or diplomacy toward those who slighted what he saw as his "rights," he was quick to take offense at small misunderstandings or at unwillingness to give him credit or to see things his way. He expressed bitter personal feelings toward such men as Morely, Merriam, Gann, Tozzer, Waterman, Blom, Boas, Beyer, Hewitt, Isaiah Bowman, and many others with whom he had done business. It is unlikely, however, that any of these men, each prominent in his own field, felt the same personal enmity towards Gates. Gates went to his grave with a grudge against his colleagues for failing to hail him as a great Maya scholar as well as a great collector. Had he received more orthodox recognition, Gates might have felt less compelled to point up the errors of others. He was hurt by the lack of credit he received for his many years of hard work.On the credit side in this connection, it must be said that even though Gates was not free form the avoidable errors he so scorned in others, he was a careful and methodical worker, and as such he was respected. In correspondence with most of the great names in Middle American archaeology and anthropology, Gates retained the friendship and honor of many of them. And, undoubtedly, his caustic opinions and informed criticisms exerted a sobering influence upon those who were prone to publish immature research results, as many were.Viewpoints of contemporariesAdequate expressions from his contemporaries of Gates' contributions are lacking, but there are some half a dozen references to his lifework which are worth noting. I have found no opinion of Gates from his archrival, Sylvanus Morley, but he did use Gates as a reference frequently in his various publications, including his popular work The Ancient Maya (1947, 19), wherein he quotes a paragraph from Gages in describing the Maya language, and Gates in several letters quotes Morley as being very enthusiastic about his edition of Landa (Gates 1938b). So it would appear that Morley bore no complete prejudice against Gates and held a good opinion of him as a linguist. Gates became friendly again with Morley when the latter praised his edition of Landa.Alfredo Barrera VÃ¡squex, whom Morley (1947, 19) described as "our greatest modern authority on the Maya language," paid a tribute to Gates in his history of Maya language investigation (1949, 220). In tracing the history of this research, Barrera VÃ¡squex described in warm phrases the work of Gates in collecting and photographing, "with or without permission," the richest and largest collection of Mayance material. He commented upon the distinguished quality of the Gates publications, both intrinsically and in typographic quality.The foremost student of the Maya glyphic writing today is Thompson, long with the Carnegie Institution of Washington, whose Maya Hieroglyphic Writing: Introduction (1950) is now the standard work for Glyph study. He made a statement respecting Gates' contributions that is probably the best evaluation in print, saying,Students of Maya linguistics and hieroglyphs owe a deep debt to William E. Gates for his unflagging zeal in gathering or photographing every available manuscript or are book on Maya linguistics in particular and Middle American culture in general. Gates' death in 1940, at the ge of 76, left unfinished the tremendous task he had set himself of collating the vocabularies and grammars of all the Maya languages. His principal publications in the hieroglyphic field were a study of the Codex Perez (1910) and his dictionary of Maya hieroglyphs (1931), but many other papers from his pen, particularly in the short-lived Maya Society Quarterly, are of very considerable importance to the discipline (Thompson 1950, 32). Thompson has not all praise for Gates, of course, for in discussing the reproduction of the codices he states:. . . The various editions published by Gates should be avoided because of the casting of the glyphs in type, a treatment which greatly reduces their value for students. Gates also restores glyphs, usually without any indication of the fact (Thompson 1950, 26).Gates would ill-appreciate these criticisms, but they are in line with similar criticisms made by Beyer in the review mentioned previously (1933).However, Dr. Linton Satterthwaite of the University Museum in Philadelphia, another noted Maya scholar, takes exception to this extreme view. In a review of Gates' Dresden codex, he quoted Thompson's criticism of the glyphs and then went on to add:Because of this (the coloring and folding of the codex in the original manner) I think the Gates edition is much superior as a tool for explaining the general nature and function of the manuscript to beginners, despite Thompson's justified criticism of it. As a tool for fresh research it can be very useful, but any important conclusions resulting from its use should be checked against a facsimile edition, hard though it may be to find one (Satterthwaite 1952).T. A. Willard, a man of wide experience in Maya matters, also added a note in defense of these codices. In a letter to Mrs. McComas in the year following Gates' death, he said:. . . the museums don't care much for his (gates') codices, which entailed a monumental amount of work, I refer to the ones which he made thousands of characters (type) for. Personally I would not be without them as I know their value (Willard 1941b).Gates perpetually quarreled with Willard but did consider him his oldest friend (mcComas 1941), and they held a mutually fine regard for each other. In a letter written earlier in 1941, Willard spoke praisingly of his colleague:In all my experience in the archaeological field there was no one else that I had regard for as I did your brother. . . . his knowledge and mine were along exactly the same lines. . . . The reason was that we both knew more about the interpretation of the hieroglyphs and the construction, meaning, etc. . . . The other archaeologists and scientists did not know as much as we did, but they had a way of boosting themselves when they ran across something different. . . . most of them used to irritate me when they spoke despairingly of your brother (Willard 1941a).Both Willard and Gates were of the old school and had built independent, noninstitutional careers for themselves in Maya studies. Gates did, however, have friends among the younger generation of archaeologists, including Alfred V. Kidder and J. Alden Mason. Writing as editor of the "New and Notes for Middle America" section of American Antiquity in 1941, Mason notes that, "The library of the late great Maya student Dr. W. E. Gates of Baltimore will soon be offered for sale" (Mason 1941). This tribute to Dr. Gates as a Maya student rather than as a great collector, which would have been appreciated by Gates, is not unexpected, for in 1934 Mason had written to him:It was dear and sweet of you to send me that welcome gift of a copy of your Landa, and the friendly dedication or inscription makes it doubly valuable to me. The friendship of one of the earliest Maya students in this country to a tyro in the field like myself is most pleasing to me. Sincerest thanks old friend.Outside the field of Maya studies, Gates held the respect of many collectors, museum people, and historians. In October, 1940, the American Historical Review published a full-page obituary of Gates, sketching briefly his life and concluding with the following summary:Mr. Gates' most significant contribution to the general field of Maya archaeology was his extensive collection of photographic reproductions of almost every known post-Conquest manuscript, complete sets of which he sold to the Library of Congress, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology of Harvard University, and the American Museum of Natural History. His private collection of Maya and Nahuatl post-Conquest manuscript material was probably the best in the world. Mr. Gates' most important publication is probably his distinguished English translation of Bishop Diego de Landa's sixteenth century Historia de las Cosas Yucatan. . . . Gates translation--the first English translation to appear in print--preserved in another tongue, practically without loss, the quaint, vigorous flavor of the original.After these comments by his contemporaries, it remains for a professor of Tulane's Middle American Research Institute to lay stress on what is probably the most significant portion of the Gates collection--the typescripts of the Mayance languages. Mrs. McComas quotes Tulane's linguist, Dr. Arthur E. Gropp, in her letter to Willard in 1941:Mr. Gropp said he felt that the heart of my brother's work lay in his typescripts and his photostats, which complement each other and should go together. He said there was nothing like the typescripts anywhere in the world. . . .It is noteworthy that this comment comes from the Institute at Tulane, which, having a portion of Gates' collection, frequently felt it suffered by not having all of his materials.Thus we have seen that various of Gates' contemporaries have given him credit for making important contributions to source materials, to glyph study, to comparative linguistics, and to historical reconstruction.ConclusionAlthough in his forty years' devotion to Maya research Gates never achieved his original goal of reading the glyphs and of reconstructing the prehistory of the Maya, he did, nevertheless, establish his worth by making important contributions to his chosen field. His publications, particularly the editions of the codices, were denied the full appreciation which they merit as a result of his collector's passion for rare and limited editions. He simply could not justify making the laborious results of his costly collection available to a common audience.VI. After the Smoke of Battle: A Colleage's Assessmentby J. Eric S. ThompsonAs one of the few men alive today who knew Gates fairly well--one can hardly say intimately, for intimate is applicable to the relationship of very few to him--I can rest an appraisal of the character of that remarkable man on personal contacts covering quite a few years. It will be seen that the views that follow are in close agreement with Lowe's judgement as brought out in the preceding chapters. To his fine assessment of Gates' achievements I can add nothing.My first contact with Gates was one-sided. While a student at Cambridge university, in October, 1924, I applied to him for a job at Tulane University at the suggestion of T. A. Joyce of the British Museum (see p. 33). I received a note from a secretary saying that Gates was away from new Orleans but would answer me on his return. He never did. blom had by then been engaged to lead the first Tulane expedition to Central America, and Gates' interest was turning to botanical research. With funds stretched to the limit and beyond, I did not stand a chance of getting a job from Gates. It was not until 1931 that Gates and I were in close contact.Two incidents in 1937 throw some light on Gates' character. His trans- lation of Landa appeared early that year in a quarto edition of eighty hand- colored copies on Whatman paper retailing at twenty-five dollars each. This was followed later in the year by an octavo uncolored edition selling at ten dollars a copy. Being in financial straits at the time, I wrote Gates asking him to hold me a copy of the octavo edition until I could afford ten dollars (a dollar was a dollar in those days). Gates wrote back that he would let me have a copy of the twenty-five dollar quarto edition for my ten dollars if I would review the book for him in The American Anthropologist. That seemed pretty close to bribery and corruption, but I salved my conscience with an explanatory note to the editor and wrote the review.Gates was upset because he thought my review was too critical; Tozzer, who was dagger-drawn with Gates and who was then busy preparing his own edition of Landa, rebuked me for writing so favorably of this rival public- ation.It was in that same year that I met Gates for the first time. I arrived at his room in Baltimore about 8:00 a.m. straight off the night train. We talked all morning and into the afternoon. Gates was so full of his plans that he heeded neither contracting stomach nor passing time. I, made of less stern stuff, got hungrier and hungrier. As I was his invited guest, I felt that I could hardly offer to take him out to lunch, but, in desperation around 4:00 p.m., I did suggest just that. "We won't waste time going out," replied Gates, "We'll eat here. I've got food, although I am not much of an eater". Thereupon producing a tin, he prepared a cup of tepid and very watery cocoa which would have made any honest Maya turn in his grave, and that with some stale crackers formed the meal. I made a beeline for the nearest drugstore--eating places were closed--when I left late that evening.Typically, Gates' talk that day--and it was monologue rather than dialogue--like his letters, was a strange mixture of enthusiastic discussion of his plans and diatribes against his many "enemies."He wanted the Maya Society to become a sort of combination research center and social club. The premises, he thought, should be in or near New York. I do not know how this was to be financed, for only the very few elect who had the badge of Gates' approval were to be selected as members. "Thompson," he continued, "I want the club to be for gentlemen such as you and Ted Kidder," and, more shrilly, "I won't have bounders like Morley, Tozzer, and Spinden in it." I passed on that conversation to Tozzer, who did not think it funny.Gates, then in his seventy-fourth year, was worried about the future of his library and his papers. He wanted to ensure that they would continue to serve as a unit for research work. He offered me vice-presidency of the Maya Society with the assurance, implicit or direct, I do not now remember which, that after his death I would accede to the presidency. Regretfully I declined the honor. One reason for this decision I gave to Gates, namely, that the collection was overwhelmingly concerned with linguistics, something about which I knew very little. A second reason I kept to myself. As long as several hundred miles lay between Gates and me and our correspondence was confined to problems of research, our relations were on a good footing, but proximity and any attempt by me to suggest how the Maya Society--that is to say Gates himself--was to be conducted would have provoked hostilities; in no time I would have joined the bounders ineligible for membership in the club.Gates' primary interest was in securing the continuity of his work; but there was, too, kindness in offering that partnership to a man nearly forty years his junior. The offer was made with no thought of future enmity. Gates believed the best of all men; the trouble was that, through no fault of his, they invariably proved to be snakes in the grass.The reader will have had little difficulty in recognizing in the preceding chapters various sides to Gates' complex character. To list and weigh a man's good and bad points is very difficult, for so often they will not stay quietly put in the sheep and goat pens. It is, therefor, with considerable diffidence that I try my hand. First let us get the less amiable features out of the way. those, I think, are a sharpness in money matters and a string of related complexes which can be best described as an extreme readiness to take lasting offense at the slightest hurt, imaginary or real.The transactions in connection with the sale of the first Gates collection to Tulane University in 1924 supply a good instance of the first failing. the details are in Gates' A Gage of Honor (1926), written in white heat in the same month that he was dismissed from his post there.Gates had divided his library in two. Much of the Mexican material and photographic copies of linguistic material were offered for sale in New York. "I simply made a clearance of Mexican from mid-Oaxaca north," as Gates himself wrote (pp. 48 and 49). The catalogue contained 1,580 items. Gates, never one to underestimate his possessions, had valued the collection at $25,000 when he wanted to borrow on it. I calculate that over half (approximately 850) of the entries could be considered trivia (autographs of viecroys, etc.) or definitely peripheral (Mexican history subsequent to 1850) to the interests of a department planning to concentrate on the Maya and their neighbors, past and present.In response to telegrams, Gates went to Tulane on March 24, just sixteen days before the auction of his collection was to open in New York. There he was offered directorship of a new department ot be formed around his collection at a salary with travel allowance of $6,000 a year, a generous offer for the South in those days. Samuel Zemurray, head of the United Fruit Company, had already promised $3,00,000 to endow the new department.As reported by Gates (126, 9), the New Orleans people were somewhat naive. After saying that they knew nothing of the value of the collection, but that wanted both it and Gates as director, Mr. Saunder, chairman of the trustees, concluded: "We are ready to give you the $50,000; and if that is not enough, we will find more.""I answered," continued Gates, "Gentlemen, going over the matter in mind last night, and considering the competition I hope to have at the sale in New York, I had put quite a good deal higher figure as proper to you; I had thought $75,000. You have offered me here an opportunity to develop a great work, in which I see tremendous possibilities, and which appeals to me immensely. Your figure of $50,000 I do not feel is high enough; but I am not going to ask you for the $75,000 for the reasons I have mentioned. . . . I will say that $60,000 will do."Gates remarks that Ballard, who arranged the transaction, told him he could have gotten $65,000. "I answered I knew I could have gotten more, but I would not make a mere dollar bargain on a matter of such importance. $60,000 was fair, and that was enough."One can not easily guess what the stuff would have fetched. As the main potential buyers already had the photographic material and would be little interested in the trivia and modern Mexican history, I suspect the total would not have been more than $20,000. There was, of course, no one at Tulane with any idea of its coverage or of its worth. It would seem that Gates had gotten about three times the value of his collection and a job for life; Tulane had gotten a library lacking most of the standard works on the Maya and other peoples of Middle America and a director who would direct operations from his home in Virginia, for it had been agreed that Gates should spend as much or as little time in New Orleans as he wished. He spent little time in the department.From the start funds were scarce. The endowment left $9,000 a year after subtraction of the director's salary and travel. Gates had great and, in truth, excellent schemes for the development of the department, but they could not be implemented without money. He took it into his head that Zemurray, having endowed the department most generously and having bought the collection, had a sort of obligation to triple his gifts so that those plans could be carried out. Zemurray's careless answer to Gates' pestering about the need to expand the work, "Indeed, we will not let things slump, you go right ahead," was construed by Gates as a definite promise of considerable new funds. When they did not materialize, Zemurray was to blame for the troubles of the department. It was a strange attitude. Gates had taken advantage of Zemurray's generosity and ignorance of Gates' restricted field and had made no effort to pull his weight by moving to New Orleans yet he was quite ready to accuse Zemurray of letting down him and the departmentNow for example of Gates' quarrelsome nature. In the summer of 1924, when one would have expected him to have been busy with his new department, he went to Stockholm to attend the Twenty-first International Congress of Americanists, of which the famous ethnologist Baron Erland von NorenskiÃ¶ld was general secretary. This congress meets every two years and, as its articles say, "as far as possible it shall alternate between the Old and New Worlds." Customarily a country is not again host until a reasonable number of years has elapsed. The council of each congress considers invitations for the next meeting and places these, with or without recommendation, before the final plenary session.On this occasion two invitations were received, from Philadelphia and from Rome. The council voted in favor of Rome, I suppose for the following reasons: (1) the two previous meetings had been held in the New World because of the 1914-18 war and two sequent meetings in the Old World would even the score; (2) the USA had been host of the penultimate session, Washington; and (3) the congress had not met in Italy since 1886.It is customary for delegates of a country whose invitation is not accepted to take their lack of success with good grace. Gates, however, was not of that way of thinking. He typed a long letter of protest on Maya Society stationery to NordenskiÃ¶ld. The opening paragraphs complained of the Rome decision and the fact that Marshall Saville, senior American member of the council, was not consulted. "No similar instance of discourtesy has ever occurred in the history of the Congress," Gates continued, although as this was the first such Congress he had attended, his knowledge of this subject was limited.Next, Gates charged that although a majority of the American delegates had chosen Saville to be their spokesman, NordenskiÃ¶ld had invited Frans Boas to speak for the United States at the opening session. "Such action violates all precedent," and, he wrote, "was invasive of their rights and of international courtesy."In the final paragraphs Gates returns to the choice of Rome:It is a fundamental law of the International Congress of Americanists that it shall meet alternately on opposite sides of the ocean. The change of location, especially in the manner and circumstances in which it was done, is absolutely unconstitutional. Any American city will hereafter consider long before extending an invitation to this body, after Philadelphia's present experience.A number of my co-delegates have urged me to let the matter go. But the affront is too clear and open to be allowed to pass. And I therefore beg to withdraw my membership and participation in the present session, to ask that my name does not appear anywhere in the Compte-rendus of the GÃ¶teborg session, and that this letter be made a part of the records of the Congress.What mountains out of a couple of nonexistent molehills! Gates was in the wrong over every point. There was no fundamental law on where the congresses should be held; the action was not unconstitutional; the host country invites whom it wishes to speak as delegate at the opening session; and the Swedish choice of Boas was logical, for he had a far higher international reputation than Saville. The trouble was that Boas was another of Gates' enemies (p. 39); Saville was or had been vice-president of the Maya Society.Gates clearly enjoyed taking offense over the most trivial matters, but it did his career no good, isolated him from the stimulus of colleagues, and, in the end, left him without a close friend in the world. Now for a brighter side of Gates.He was ready to give generously of his time and his possessions to help anyone who displayed an interest in Maya matters.The great Maya scholar Ralph L. Roys told me how helpful Gates had been to him at the outset of his career, when he chanced to meet him at Point Loma, California, in 1915. At that time Roys, who was in the family lumber business in British Columbia, had taken up study of Yucatec Maya as a hobby following a trip to Mexico. He was not getting far with his new interest because of difficulty in finding out and then acquiring the source materials in what was then a highly esoteric study.Gates, the one man who could guide him, treated him with great kindness, giving him photographic copies of manuscripts and selling him others as well as rare imprints at cost or less. These included grammars and the books of Chilam Balam--precisely the material Roys needed to carry forward his new hobby. One such book is the Maya grammar composed by Friar Gabriel de San Buenaventura, a reimpression of seventy-six copies of the exceedingly rare edition of 1684. It was bequeathed me by Roys, who wrote in it, "I 'bought' it from Gates at a nominal price: almost a gift, so you can pass it on as such, as from him."Quite possibly without Gates' help and encouragement, Roys' interest in Yucatec Maya might not have survived; it certainly would have been impeded, and his great contributions to Maya research might never have been made.In the days before his great Guatemalan battle (pp. 49-67), Gates was generous in helping Morley with "The Inscriptions at Copan," as Lowe has already noted (p. 40). Gates' "The Distribution of the Several Branches of the Mayance Linguistic Stock," which formed an appendix of that book, was a really important step forward in Maya research in that it demonstrated the essential unity of Maya speech from Palenque to Copan by establishing for the first time that Chorti was a mere dialect of Chol. It deserved to stand alone, not to be tucked away at the end of a book dealing with the calendrics of Copan. By supplying it to Morley, who, incidentally, failed to make any reference to its conclusions, he showed both liberality and lack of self-interest.Roys passed on to me the story of the EbtÃºn papers as told him by the local school teacher in Yucatan. In 1917 Gates saw these archives at EbtÃºn was highly suspicious of outsiders--they even refused to sell food to the first school teachers--the village elders agreed. After eight or nine years, the younger men began asking when the archives would be returned. the old men bade them to be patient; sorting and photographing took time. but as the years passed, they admitted that they had been tricked.Then in 1934, to everyone's amazement, a message came from ChichÃ©n ItzÃ¡ that Gates was there and that the village elders were to come to receive back their papers. The volume, handsomely bound in blue morocco and with the Maya Society's coat of arms on it, is indeed the pride of EbtÃºn and bears witness that Gates was as good as his word.In any assessment of Gates' character, the gift of his chinese collection to the San Diego Museum should not be overlooked.Gates was a man with vision. His ideas on what should be done to set Maya research in a wide context of man and his environment were very sound and showed him years ahead of his fellows. The drawbacks were that men and money to carry them out were not available and Gates was no Aladdin to summon them to his service, although (alas!) he believed he had the knack of rubbing the lamp. Lowe has already given us a glimpse of the New World Alexandria of which Gates dreamed (pp. 32-35), but let us see this dream in Gates' own words as they appeared in a letter he wrote to Dr. Dinwiddie, president of Tulane University, on April 13, 1924, less than three weeks after his appointment to Tulane. The letter is long and I quote only a small part:I want to begin plans to make the Department not merely a scientific research center in linguistics, archaeology, history and the rest, but a developing center of specific information useful to the Port of New Orleans, and the business that lies behind it. . . . I want to begin to gather information of every kind about the Caribbean littoral countries, and attach that gathering to all our expeditions and field work, and all our home scientific work. to put it in a word - I want to card-index those countries. . . . I am going to get in touch with Isaiah Bowman in the Amer. Geographic, and set out for all the map information we can get; to which we can ourselves add on every expedition. I want the concrete cooperation of Dr. Wilson [of the Commercial Museum] in Philadelphia and the Pan-American in Washington- all to help each other, and we to help New Orleans. . . .The collection you have bought is already the starting point of all that. I want all kinds of information about plants. About everything that will be of use to international intercourse, travel and trade. Every single thing of that kind will somehow tack itself onto our special Indian research problems. When we study ancient climatic and food matters, as related to their ancient civilization and life, we meet at every point the 'country and its products, possibilities, roads.'The letter was written with the obvious end of gaining support from the commercial interests of New Orleans, but the need for integrating every aspect of life, ancient and modern, in Middle America in order to understand the maya was a view Gates had long advocated. Botany, economic and therapeutic, receives little mention in this letter, but does in others on the same subject of the future role of the Department of Middle American Research, likewise published in A Gage of Honor (1926).Gates labored under a serious disadvantage: he had had no training in linguistics or in general anthropology. The attitude toward research at Point Loma was not such as to encourage him to overcome that handicap. His Grammar of Maya was unlike any grammar of any language ever published. I myself have found his long discussion of verb formation highly interesting, although his explanations are confused and accompanied by far too few examples. However, it is perhaps typical of the author that he reserved only ten pages for syntax. Most of the ten pages are devoted to uses of three terms, and the reader is told that syntax will be covered in future publications. He had almost filled the book with the material on verb formation and on the philosophy of language growth, so that there was no room to show how sentences were constructed, that is, how Maya was spoken.One final quotation. This is abstracted from a letter of march 16, 1940, found unposted at Gates' death. It recounts with the youthful enthusiasm he still retained in his seventy-seventh year his many plans for the future:I am just sending through the press a coming list of volumes that will more than surprise you. . . . First, amazingly the lost 16th century Solana Maya dictionary. . . . Of course I now put this through the press at once. Overlooked by me for thirty years [For the story of this see J. E. S. Thompson, "El misterio del diccionario maya de solana," Estudios de Cultura Maya, 2(Mexico, 1962):11-16.]With January First I just began the development of Full Mayance, by planning a long series (to begin at once), of one cognate dialect at a time. . . .First: complete copies of a translated Cholti Vocab, arte and texts of 1685, close affined to Maya.Next, Kekchi and arte of 1554 followed by another about 100 years later; with bilingual and other texts.Second: follow down the line, with long Pokonchi and Pokoman dictionary compared together; with very fine Arte showing almost identical syntax with Maya; also long analyzed texts. Next the same through Quiche, Cakchiquel, Mam, Ixil, Tzotzil, Tzeltal on through to Aguacatec [?]. And all early and apt for comparison.A poly-lingual root-vocabulary for all the dialects; almost finished. . . .The series of the separate branches, based mostly on the pure 16th and 17th originals, will follow in order. And start by April, . . . all copied and ready to go ahead and make my final years in Maya for the greatest of all. . . .Next will come my own translation of The Ritual of the Bacabs and after that, I hope, the Popol Vuh, at last in English.Finally, am doing all I can to get these started on the press. . . . Vol. II of Quarterly - with that lovely find of Brasseur's signed autograph treatment of Quiche history, signed in Rabinal 1855!! [Titulo real de D. Francisco Izquin, 1588?] will take about a week to get ready for the press. On [In?] this I want an article by Eric Thompson, to discuss a volume, long worked at and now ready . . . on the colored succo frieze at Acanceh. . . . These I have redrawn . . . to be folded in next week [with] illustrated text on . . . Eastern entrada with Itzamna, and the Old Empire, and the Western entrada with the Xius and Quetzalcoatl.Eric Thompson only a month ago wrote on this very question, and I am going to offer him space on this very question, and I am going to offer him space in the Quarterly, checking his results with mine - to see what is right. And who was Quetzalcoatl! . . . Once started telling the 1940 tale, I could not stop. "Do you blame me?"In those comments on A Grammar of Maya and in the lengthy abstracts from that last letter, Gates reveals his greatest endowment, which too often he transformed into an obstacle to his success--his enthusiasm.This enthusiasm carried Gates to the heights whence he could see every aspect of the kingdom of Maya research spread at his feet and--there was the trouble--waiting for him in person alone and unaided to explore. When it came to preparing his material for publication, that zeal was his undoing. It made him act like a town dog out for a country walk. The scents were so many that he never managed to pick out the important ones and follow them without distraction to the kill.Perhaps in place of the above somewhat-uncharitable appraisal we can make one that is more kindly. May it be that Gates' zeal drove him to plan a program so Herculean that a single life would not have sufficed for the mere acquisition and organization of the data? In that case, it is arguable that he departed this life before he reached the interpretive stage with opportunities to prove himself a good deal more than the "collector" he so resented being called.That enthusiasm had led Gates to lay out and start programs which a team of twenty men with enthusiasm and drive could hardly have concluded in as many years, but membership in such as team was an impossibility for a man who could never concede. The four he did have at one time or another as subordinates - Waterman, Roys, Blom and Elizabeth Stewart - were of considerable to outstanding ability, but he was jealous of them and sought to dictate their every move. So he lost them, in all but one case after violent quarrels. His great programs came near to naught, and he will be remembered largely as a collector and duplicator of rare or unique works, but that in itself is no mean achievement.The man who gave us Ritual of the Bacabs, the only known copy of Coronel's Maya grammar and half a shelf-full of unique Americana has more than earned our gratitude. some one some day may build on the foundations Gates laid with tireless energy; those reams of typescript call to be used. Mayhap he expected that he would do just that when he is "needed back to rebuild" (p. 55).The Department of Middle American Research, now the Middle American Research Institute of Tulane University, owes its being to Gates, Samuel Zemurray and Albert Dinwiddie, president of the university. After that disturbed childhood, it grew in wisdom and stature under Robert Wauchope, appointed director in the forties. With the aid of outside funds, such as Gates sought in vain, it has carried out field work in Yucatan and Guatemala and has published an impressive series of publications, now comprising thirty five volumes, on Middle American archaeology, sociology, economics, political development, linguistics, ethnology and botany. These have brought to fruition Gates' original vision. The series includes a translation of the Popol Vuh, which Gates had once hope to make and linguistic material in his two loved tongues, Yucatec and Quiche Maya. The library, much augmented, is housed in a graceful building. Gates, near fifty years on and with all passion spent, would surely have been proud of his creation. At Brigham Young University he has another noble monument.Volcanoes, be they ne'er so small, erupt and with their ash enrich the soil.Footnotes:(1) According to the correlation then used, the Maya equivalent of 120 B.C. would have been 220.127.116.11.0. A date near this, but not a contemporary record was found that year on a monument at Naranjo. Gates was a member of the expedition. However, the stela was actually erected some 450 years later, in A. D. 613. (J. E. S. Thompson, personal communication)(2) Morley had not published Carl E. Guthe's thesis as his own. That thesis was published under Guthe's own name as "A Possible Solution of the Number Series on pages 51 to 58 of the Dresden Codex" in the Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University vol. 6, no. 2 (Cambridge, 1921) two years before Gates' ill-founded accusation (J. E. S. Thompson, Personal communication)(3) The Museum of the American Indian: Heye Foundation was interested always in specimens, usually acquired by purchase. It would not have wished to excavate Uaxactun, especially in view of the laws against exporting finds. On the other hand, Uaxactun had been the apple of Morley's eye since he found there, in 1916, the earliest then-known dated stela. He revisited the site in 1921 and 1922, recommending the site for intensive excavation in his 1922 report (J. E. S. Thompson, personal communication).(4) The agreement in no way shut out other institutions. It did, however, stipulate that all finds except duplicates (which in a strict interpretation are almost nonexistent) should remain in Mexico. That deterred museums that wished to augment their collections.(5) In Mexico, the care of monuments and antiquities is a function of the Department of Education.(6) For the first five paragraphs of this section I am indebted to J. E. S. Thompson (personal communication 1972). Transcripts, printers proofs, grammars, vocabularies, dictionaries, glyph studies, botanical studies, commentaries, articles, editions of codices, personal correspondence, 44 original manuscripts, imprints, maps, charts, drawings, photographs, notes, memoranda, Maya Society materials, genealogies of Maya families, Mayan glyphs on moveable type, and an unpublished biography of Gates by Gareth W. Lowe. Many of the items are photocopies. The materials relate to the languages history and archaeology of the Indian peoples of Centeral America. The collection emphasizes the Mayan and Aztec civilizations.
Open for public use. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.Permission to publish material from Biography of William E. Gates must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
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