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Donald Cordry Mexican Masks Collection, 1931-1978
Artist; self-taught Mesoamerican scholar and ethnographer of the arts and crafts of Indian Mexico. Born 1907 in Detroit, Michigan; died August 30, 1978 in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Cordry studied at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and later earned a reputation as an expert on puppets, which he both created and collected. He began collecting artifacts and information documenting Mexican Indian arts and crafts in 1931, on a trip to Mexico. He formed professional associations with the Heye Foundation (now the Museum of the American Indian), which sponsored further trips, and with the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles, California. In 1941 Cordry traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, and in 1942 founded a crafts workshop there to finance his expeditions to collect and record ethnographic data. He later relocated to Mixcoac, in Mexico City, and Cuernavaca, but kept his home in Mexico and pursued the documentation of its arts and crafts until his death. Publications include: Mexican Indian Costumes (1968) and Mexican Masks (c1980).
Manuscript, galley proofs, photographs, and slides relating to the publication of Cordry's book, Mexican Masks, and 67 masks from Cordry's personal collection, the result of his work to preserve and record Mexican masks and their significance. The original, edited manuscript comprises 455 typed pages and is accompanied by galley proofs. Photographic material, made up of 88 black and white photographs dating from 1931 to 1977, 201 color slides, and two negatives, depicts ceremonial Mexican folk masks, mask makers, and people wearing the masks. Most photographs are annotated. Assorted materials consist of a 1945 broadside promoting the Feria Regional de Corpus in Papantla, Veracruz, and a flat mask, “Tzotzil Zinacantan.”
Donald Cordry Mexican Masks Collection, 1931-1978, Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, The University of Texas at Austin
The Donald Cordry Collection Mexican Masks Collection was donated to the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection in 1982 by Dorothy Mann Cordry.
The collection was described by the Benson's Mexican Archives Project in July 1994.
Prepared by the Mexican Archives Project, November 1994.