Edgar Lee Hewett and the Political Process

The Ithaca Meeting

By April 1905, Hewett had essentially completed the basic work on his draft for the Antiquities Act, so it was possible for him to go into the field to complete his Pajarito research. He spent the summer in the field and returned to Washington at the beginning of September to write up his report and to take care of any last-minute work on the bill. However, Cora's health had deteriorated badly. When they were in Europe she often required a wheelchair, and she was confined to St. Vincent's sanitarium in Santa Fe while Hewett was wrapping up his Pajarito work (Hewett to Holmes, 5 August 1905, NAA). Cora died in Washington that fall and was buried in Fairmount, Missouri (Chauvenet 1983: 52). By mid-December, Hewett had finished the report and returned to his old home in Hopkins, Missouri, for a few days of rest (Hewett to Holmes, 18 December 1905, NAA).

Hewett went to Ithaca, New York, in late December 1905 where he attended the joint annual meeting of the AIA and AAA, presenting a paper on the progress of the "antiquities bill alliance." Prior to leaving for Ithaca he wrote to Holmes, echoing Putnam's advice to Kelsey in June 1904: "1 am convinced that it is my duty to attend that meeting. It is exceedingly important that all the interested parties should be of one mind with reference to the proposed legislation and I am increasingly hopeful that this may be brought about at the Ithaca meeting" (Hewett to Holmes, 18 December 1905, NAA). That is exactly what happened. He gave his paper on December 28 and that evening at a joint business meeting, the two professional groups unanimously accepted his draft and also adopted a resolution calling for the establishment of Mesa Verde National Park (Hewett 1906b: 113–14; Committee meeting, 28 December 1905, AIA). Hewett had successfully transformed the earlier AIA-AAA bill into an entirely new bill that satisfied both the governmental agencies and the professional community. He described his draft bill as "a memorandum of provisions which seem to be needed." He went on to explain: "They are drawn from measures previously brought forward with such modifications as have become necessary through the rise of new conditions, and with the addition of some new matter, designed to meet conditions with which we were previously unacquainted." He pointed out that "every effort has been made to preserve the exact spirit of the measure agreed upon last year ... and at the same time meet the wishes of the various Departments of Government that will be charged with the administration of the law" (Hewett 1906b: 113).

At that same meeting, Hewett was chosen by the AIA as its second Fellow in American Archaeology (Hinsley 1986: 220). He was expected to carry out research in the Southwest and Mexico and to explore the possibility of a School of American Archaeology in Mexico, but he was allowed to spend a few months on the antiquities legislation and the promotion of AIA interests in the West where new chapters were being formed, an arrangement that upset Charles Pickering Bowditch of Boston who funded the fellowship (Bowditch to Kelsey, 25 May 1906; Hinsley 1986: 224). Hewett worked closely with Francis Willey Kelsey of the University of Michigan who was the AIA Secretary (Hinsley 1986: 222–23; Riggs 1927; Robinson 1927; Worrell 1933). The Associate Secretary was Alexander Mitchell Carroll of George Washington University (fig. k) in the nation's capital, where he kept a close watch on political events (Kelsey 1926). Kelsey, Carroll, and Hewett became close friends as a result of this collaboration.

Hewett submitted the approved draft to Lacey, who introduced it into the House on January 9, 1906. At Lacey's request, Senator Thomas MacDonald Patterson of Colorado (fig. l) introduced it in the Senate. Patterson was also the Senate sponsor of Hogg's Mesa Verde bill. Hewett reported to Kelsey that "Mr. Lacey is greatly pleased with [our] bill. … and finds no flaw in it" (Hewett to Kelsey, 12 January 1906, AIA). Lacey had been embarrassed the year before when several archaeologists unsuccessfully brought pressure on the autocratic Speaker of the House, Joseph Gurney Cannon of Illinois, to reverse his decision not to bring the Lodge-Rodenberg bill to the floor during the last few days of the 58th Congress (Carroll to Kelsey, 17 February 1905; Kelsey to Putnam, 20 February 1905; Putnam to Kelsey, I March 1905, AIA). Hoping this time to avoid outside interference in the legislative process, Lacey let Hewett know that further letter writing to him and to the Speaker was unnecessary (Hewett to Kelsey, 12 January 1906; Hewett to Seymour, 26 January 1906, AIA). Clearly, Lacey had everything under control and wanted to allow what Hewett (1905c: 605) called "the great machinery of Congress" to do its work.

Throughout the several months before the bill passed, Lacey reassured Hewett periodically and Hewett passed that encouragement on to others (Hewett to Seymour, 27 February 1906; Hewett to Kelsey, 28 May 1906, AIA). Lacey, of course, received letters from many supporters not involved in the "antiquities bill alliance." For example, WJ McGee, whom Lacey met at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904, wrote in support of legislation in April 1904 and January 1906 (Gallagher 1981: 18).