Ephraim George Squier

Birth: 1821


Ephraim George Squier (1821-1888) was an American archaeologist and prolific author. He was born in Bethlehem. N. Y., 17 June, 1821. In early youth he worked on a farm, attended and taught school, studied engineering, and became interested in American antiquities. He was associated in the publication of the "New York State Mechanic," at Albany, in 1841-'2, and engaged in journalism in Hartford, Conn., and Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1843-'8, during which period he also investigated the ancient monuments of the Mississippi valley in conjunction with Dr. Edwin Hamilton Davis, and prepared the narrative that was published in vol. i. of the "Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge" (Washington, 1848).

He also made an examination of the ancient remains of New York state under the auspices of the New York historical society in 1848. He was appointed special charge d'affaires to all the Central American states in 1849, and negotiated treaties with Nicaragua, Honduras, and San Salvador. In 1853 he made a second visit to Central America to examine a line for a projected interoceanic railroad, and to make further study of the archaeology of the country. In 1856 he received the medal of the French geographical society for his researches.

In 1863 Mr. Squier was appointed U.S. commissioner to Peru, where he made an exhaustive investigation of Inca remains and took numerous photographs of them. In 1868 he was appointed consul-general of Honduras at New York, and in 1871 he was elected the first president of the Anthropological institute of New York. In 1874 his health became so seriously impaired as to preclude further original research, and though he subsequently recovered sufficiently to direct the final preparation and revision of his work on Peru for publication, the affection resulted in his death.

He was a member of numerous historical, archaeological, and scientific societies, and several years chief editor of Frank Leslie's publishing-house. Besides many official reports, scientific papers, magazine articles, and contributions to the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" and foreign periodicals, his works include: "Aboriginal Monuments of the State of New York" ("Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge," 1849; Buffalo, 1851); "Serpent Symbols" (1852); "Nicaragua: its People, Scenery, and Monuments" (New York, 1852); "Notes on Central America" (1854); "Waikna, or Adventures on the Mosquito Shore" (1855); "The States of Central America" (1857; revised ed., 1870); "Monographs of Authors who have written on the Aboriginal Languages of Central America" (1860); "Tropical Fibres and their Economic Extraction" (1861); and "Peru: Incidents and Explorations in the Land of the Incas" (1877).


Appletons' Cyclopaedia of American Biography pg. 641.

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