Frans Blom (1893-1963) was a Danish-born archaeologist and explorer and head of Tulane University's Middle American Research
Institute (formerly the Department of Middle American Research) from 1926 to 1940. Having dropped out of the University of
Copenhagen, Blom first arrived in Mexico in 1919 and, after some effort, managed to find work scouting abandoned oil wells
in the Mexican oil industry (mostly in Minatitlán, Veracruz). During these years, Blom travelled extensively throughout remote
areas of Veracruz, Chiapas, and Tabasco, documenting in his journals (in Danish) a developing passion for Mayan archaeology
(a version of these journals was published in Danish in 1923). In 1922, Blom found work with the Dirección de Antropología
in Mexico City. He spent the end of 1922 and 1923 exploring and documenting the state of the ruins in Palenque. These experiences
led to admission to the Master's program in archaeology at Harvard University (which he completed in 1924). During his training,
Blom worked in Uaxactun in the Petén area of Guatemala and participated in the excavations of Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico.
Soon after completing his Master's, Blom took a position at the Department of Middle American Research at Tulane University.
In 1926, Blom became director of the department. The department undertook expeditions throughout the last half of the 1920s
and the 1930s, including the John Geddings Gray Memorial Expedition to Chiapas, Mexico and Guatemala and the 1930 expedition
to Uxmal in preparation for building a replica of the Uxmal Nunnery at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933. While in New Orleans,
Blom forged connections to local bohemians and artists such as Enrique Alférez and William P. Spratling. At the age of thirty
nine, Blom married Mary S. Thomas, a woman he met in 1932 while hosting an excursion to Mexico. Mary Thomas was the daughter
and heir to Lillian Sefton Thomas and Vincent B. Thomas, presidents of the Harriet Hubbard Ayer cosmetics corporation. This
marriage ended in 1938. Blom struggled professionally and personally (with alcoholism) during the late 1930s and early 1940s.
He left Tulane in 1941 and moved to Mexico around 1942. There he married Swiss photographer Gertrude “Trudi” Duby (1901-1993),
who had also recently moved to Mexico and had a passion for the Lacandón Indians of Chiapas. In 1950, the couple purchased
a house in San Cristobal, Chiapas, which they named Casa Na Bolom (House of the Jaguar). During the next thirteen years, Frans
and Trudi worked to make their house into a center for scholars researching Chiapas and Guatemala. Trudi carried on with this
venture in the years after Frans Blom's death in 1963. Today, Casa Na Bolom is a museum, hotel, and restaurant.
Number of containers: 11 cartons, 12 oversize boxes, 6 negative boxes, 5 cardfile boxes, 5 oversize folders, 1 box, 1 volume
(linear feet: 24)
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