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Nan A. Rothschild Papers

Identifier: BC20-43

Collection Scope and Content Summary

This collection contains material relating to the scholarly and administrative work of Nan A. Rothschild during her time as a Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and later as an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

The collection primarily contains material relating to Rothschild’s academic work, including research files, course preparation materials, conference papers, and drafts of papers and book chapters. The collection also contains material related to archaeological excavations around New York.


  • Creation: 1977 - 2015
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1990 - 2005



This collection has restrictions. Restricted material includes student work and personnel information that will be restricted for 75 years from the date of creation.

Publication Rights

Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Barnard Archives and Special Collections. The Barnard Archives and Special Collections approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Reproduction Restrictions

Reproductions can be made for research purposes.


Nan A. Rothschild was a professor of Anthropology from 1981-2006 at Barnard College. Since 2007 she has been an adjunct professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.

She received her masters from Columbia University and her PhD from New York University in 1975.

Rothschild’s research interests reflect a concern with the manifestation of social realities in the patterning of material things. She has done prehistoric, historic, and ethno-archaeology; her field research has taken place in North America, in and around New York City, on the Zuni Reservation and in the Rio Grande Valley in New Mexico. As Principal Investigator in excavations in lower Manhattan beginning in the late 1970’s, she spearheaded the field of urban and modern historical archeology.

She has also worked with museum collections and has studied a number of socio-cultural issues: colonial encounters in North America, changes in gender role and status, the construction and recognition of coherent sub-units within urban entities, and the way in which food is used to express social and symbolic concepts.

Her published books include New York City Neighborhoods: The 18th Century, Colonial Encounters in a Native American Landscape, and The Archaeology of American Cities written with Diana diZerega Wall.

In 2016 the Landmarks Preservation Commission opened the Nan A. Rothschild Research Center, the first municipal archive devoted to a city’s own archaeological collection.

Rothschild served as president of the New York Archaeological Council and of Professional Archaeologists of New York City (PANYC) and was a member of the Executive Committee Board of the Society for American Archaeology, an Associate Editor of American Antiquity, and a member of the Nomination Committee of the American Anthropological Association.


6 Linear Feet (4 records cartons, 1 document box, 1 half document box)




This collection consists of the research and course materials of Nan A. Rothschild, a professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Colulmbia University.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1, Teaching 1984-2012

This series contains lecture notes, student papers, readings, syllabi, and discussion questions for courses taught by Rothschild at Barnard College and Columbia University.

Series 2, Scholarship 1977- 2015

This series contains material related to Rothschild's book and graduate school research,conference papers, book proposals, curated exhibitions, and archaeological excavations.

Series 3, Professional and Administrative materials 1982-2009

This series contains material related to Rothschild's position as a Professor at Barnard College and Columbia University as well as member of societies such as the Professional Archaeologists of New York City, the Society of Historical Archaeology, and the American Anthropological Association.

Physical Location

This collection is located in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library. To use this collection, please contact the Barnard Archives and Special Collections at 212.854.4079 or

Acquisition Information

The Nan A. Rothschild Papers were donated to the Barnard Archives and Special Collections in 2017 by Nan A. Rothschild. Addditions were donated to the Barnard Archives and Special Collections in 2024 by Nan A. Rothschild.


Additions are expected.

Processing Information

This collection was processed and the finding aid written by Joan Hsiao in May 2018 and updated by Olivia Newsome in January 2024.

Descriptive Rules Used: Finding aid adheres to that prescribed by Describing Archives: A Content Standard. Finding aid written in English.

  • Student grant applications - Karen Holmberg, Erin Hasinoff, Felipe Gaitan Ammann, Chad Gifford, Matthew Palus, and Christine Flaherty
  • Rothschild published papers that are easily findable elsewhere.
Guide to the Nan A. Rothschild Papers
Joan Hsiao and Olivia Newome
2018 and 2023
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Repository

3009 Broadway
New York NY 10027 United States