Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Giles G. Healey Negatives, 1946

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series consists of 14 (8x10 in.) black-and-white negatives of Lacandón natives, their lifestyle in the jungle (including hunting, cooking, and the harvesting of bark), and one image of a mural at Bonampak. They were taken in 1946 under the aegis of the United Fruit Company and collected by Charles Morrow Wilson (1905–1977) for use in publications.

The negatives themselves are the result of a photographic journey into the heart of the Chiapas region when Giles G. Healey was commissioned by the United Fruit Company to document the region and the native peoples therein. While filming in the Chiapas rainforests for what would become the 1949 release of Maya Through the Ages, Healey earned the trust of the reticent Lacandón natives. On several occasions Healey and a number of colleagues were brought to visit some of the abandoned Maya ruins that still served as religious sites for the local populations. It was on one such trek into the jungle in May 1946 that Healey and his guide Jose Pepé Chan Bor serendipitously discovered a structure containing the most significant and complete pre-Columbian mural paintings ever found. The murals, which were unknown even to the local Lacandón communities, would thrust the site – thereafter known as Bonampak or 'painted wall' in Maya – and the Lacandón themselves into an international spotlight the following year. A number of scientific expeditions returned to the site in the years immediately following, along with illustrators and photographers.

Healey took a plethora of famous photographs upon discovering the ruin and then later in the same year while artists worked to record the murals. A number of these prints and negatives were gathered by Charles Morrow Wilson (1905–1977) for use in publications, and these are the materials present in the collection.

Morrow himself was another documentary employee of the United Fruit Company who wrote at least two articles and a number of books on the region. One image derived from a negative in the collection appears in his 1947 article written for Natural History (Volume 56, Number 8).


This series is arranged in one folder.

Collection History


Researchers should note the separated photographic prints of Giles G. Healey (Box M3, Numbers M0058-M0075) in:

(WC064) - Western Americana photographs collection, 1800s-1900s.

Processing Information

This collection was processed and compiled by Valerie Addonizio, November 2009. Finding aid written by Valerie Addonizio in 2009 and updated in 2011.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Giles G. Healey Negatives; Indians of Chiapas, Mexico, Film Negatives Collection, WC058, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 1

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Bibliography Palenque Round Table, & Robertson, M. G. (1980). Third Palenque Round Table, 1978--part 2: Proceedings of the tercera Mesa Redonda de Palenque, June 11-18, 1978. Austin: University of Texas Press. Palka, J. W. (2005). Unconquered Lacandon Maya: Ethnohistory and archaeology of indigenous culture change. Maya studies. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Wilson, Charles Morrow. (1947). Backwards a dozen centuries. Natural History, 56 (8), pp. 370-378.

Chiapas (México)
United Fruit Company.
Blom, Gertrude Duby
Healey, Giles G. (Giles Greville), 1901-1980
Hilt, Ralph
Wilson, Charles Morrow, 1905-1977