I was saddened to learn about the recent death of Professor Sidney Mintz. Professor Mintz’s towering stature in the field of anthropology was equally matched by his humility, as I learned first-hand when I worked with Professor Mintz to finalize the transfer of his archives to the Sheridan Libraries in 2011. Professor Mintz charmed me with his modesty as he marveled that a research institution the stature of Hopkins would want to document his career—not fully understanding that collections like Professor Mintz’s are exactly what make Hopkins great! For more reminiscing about Professor Mintz’s singular contributions to the anthropology field and the deep personal relationships he forged along the way, I’ll direct you to social media, where heartfelt tributes to Mintz continue to stream in as more of his colleagues, friends, and admirers learn of his passing.
In the course of processing Professor Mintz’s archives in 2012, our student assistant (a PhD student in Anthropology) uncovered many a gem, not least of which was a file Professor Mintz kept of his correspondence with Claude Levi-Strauss, the heralded anthropologist whom Mintz invited to campus to a give a Commemoration Day talk in 1978. I’m reproducing selections of this file here (including a draft bearing Levi-Strauss’s handwritten edits and annotations) to provide a window into Mintz’s efforts to make this historic event come to fruition.