Skip to main content

Sylvanus G. Morley papers, 1915-1955

Identifier: MSS 1587 Series 2

Scope and Contents

The Sylvanus G. Morley series is composed of papers created by Morley and include both personal and professional papers. Papers include contracts, correspondences, blue prints, financial records, and publication drafts and notes. The bulk of the papers date from 1927 to 1945.


  • 1915-1955


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Sylvanus (Vanus or Vay) Griswold Morley was born June 7, 1883 to Benjamin F. Morley and Sarah Eleanor Constance De Lannoy. Sylvanus attended school at Harvard University, where he received bachelors and masters degrees in archaeology. In 1908, he married Alice Gallinger Williams, and they had one child, Alice Virginia Morley. Sylvanus and Alice got divorced around 1914. After finishing school, Sylvanus worked with the Carnegie Institute and investigated the ancient Maya in the Yucatan Peninsula. He also visited sites throughout Mesoamerica, including Copan, Tikal, Chichen Itza, and Uxmal. His interests included heiroglyphics, monumental architecture, and the Classic and Postclassic Maya. In 1927, Sylvanus G. Morley married Frances Louella Rhoads, and she began to accompany him on excavations and they owned houses in Mexico and Sante Fe. In 1946, Morley wrote The Ancient Maya, a large volume detailing Maya archaeology. Sylvanus died on September 2, 1948.


2 cartons

Language of Materials



Arranged in two subseries: 1. Morley family personal papers, 1927-1955; and 2. Sylvanus G. Morley professional papers, 1915-1945.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States