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Catherine McElvain Library

The Catherine McElvain Library is a special research library and archive serving the scholars, artists and staff of the School for Advanced Research. The library and archive are open to the public for research and members may check books out.

The library catalog is available online at

Our library collections, resources and services are part of SAR’s support for comparative research on human prehistory and multiple dimensions of human social life, ranging from how people make a living in difficult environments to how they create meaning through language, ritual, and art.

The Library has a strong basic anthropology collection with emphasis on innovative research in all the subdisciplines. The history and theory of anthropology are well represented, including an important donation from Dr. William Y. Adams tracing the development of anthropological thought from the 16th century.

Our collections support research in the development and history of United States Indian policy as well as the cultures, art and history of Native America. Southwest and Mesoamerica are geographic focus areas, however our collections also include many of the published ethnographies of cultures around the world that are included in projects such as the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) and the Murdock-White Standard Cross-Cultural Sample (SCCS). Information on this collection and how it can be used for comparative statistical analysis is available here.

Catherine McElvain Library, photo by Jose Cruzado Coronel

Stacks, Catherine McElvain Library

The library also supports the work of the Indian Arts Research Center in documenting its research collections and projects in Native studies, art history, and creative expression that illuminate the intersections of the social sciences, humanities, and arts.

The archival collections include the records of the Indian Arts Fund, the papers of Kenneth M. Chapman, the papers of Martha and Amelia Elizabeth White, records of the De Vargas Development Corporation, and papers of Rick Dillingham. Other collections relate to the history and work of SAR from its beginning in 1907 through the following century.

Library hours are Monday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, holidays excepted. Appointments are strongly advised. Please contact the librarian, Katherine Wolf, with requests for an appointment or questions about the collection.

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