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Finding Aid to the T. A. (Theodore Arthur) Willard Collection MS.234
MS.234  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
T. A. (Theodore Arthur) Willard (1862-1943) was an inventor, musician, and amateur archeologist. Willard published several books on ancient Mayan culture in the 1930s. This collection of papers dating from 1756-1938 and regarding Mayan languages, Chichen Itza, and the Cocom family include correspondence and manuscripts by and to T. A. Willard, correspondence and papers collected by T. A. Willard, original artworks by and collected by T. A. Willard, and photographic negatives and positives from his 30 journeys to Mexico and Central America.
Background
Theodore Arthur Willard was an engraver, inventor (arguably a mechanical genius), musician, and amateur archeologist. Willard was born in Castle Rock, Minnesota on December 10, 1862. His mother died in childbirth, and a strained relationship resulted between Theodore and his father. When Willard was four or five years old, his father gave him away to a childless farming couple, and Willard could only attend school in the winters when the farm was non-operational. Willard had artistic and mechanical talent besides his drive for knowledge, and graduated second in his class. After excelling in school, he worked for his eldest brother, learning to be a wood engraver. Using his skills as an engraver, he started experimenting with battery cells. In 1886 he went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he lived with his uncle Archibald M. Willard (the artist who painted the famous "Spirit of '76" portrait) and in the 1890s founded the Willard Electric Battery Company, which later became the Willard Storage Battery Company, a hugely successful and profitable company.
Extent
6.0 Linear feet (7 boxes)
Restrictions
Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.
Availability
Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org. An item-level inventory is available from library staff.