Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Ralph Hilt Negatives, 1960-1964

1 linear foot

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series consists of approximately 1,500 (medium format, 6 cm.) negatives taken from approximately 1960 to 1964. All of the negatives are black-and-white except nine (located in Box 3, Division 1, 2407-2424: Najá). There are also 15 images on 35 mm. film.

Although taken at different points in time the series represents two distinct subjects: the Lacandón and their jungle environment at the village of Najá taken in approximately 1960, and the religious celebrations of other indigenous Maya peoples taken in 1963 and 1964.

A majority of the images are of religious festivals, possibly Carnaval, which is celebrated simultaneously in a number of indigenous villages in the Chiapas region just before the Christian season of Lent. Hilt apparently photographed this celebration twice, in 1963 and 1964, in a number of local villages.

The majority of the rest of the series are images of the Lacandón village at Najá, which date from approximately 1960. These images include a number of photographs of Lacandón life, religious ceremonies, members of the community and most notably the t'o'ohil ("great one") of the time: Chan K'in. There are also images of the Mayan sites at Palenque and Yaxchilan, which most likely also date from 1960.

Other noteworthy images include portraits of friends, scenes from daily Mexican life, museum objects, and miscellaneous sets which make up the rest of the collection, including images of California and what may be personal family photographs.

Lastly, Hilt photographed a well-known advocate of the Lacandón, Gertrude Doby Blom, and perhaps even her husband Frans Blom the archaeologist before his death in 1963. Images of Gertrude ("Trudi") Blom and the Bloms' famous home in San Cristóbal de las Casas – Na Bolom – are located throughout the collection.


This series is arranged into two subseries.

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 2: Ralph Hilt Negatives; Indians of Chiapas, Mexico, Film Negatives Collection, WC058, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
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Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-4

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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