Edward H Thompson

Young Edward Thompson

Edward Herbert Thompson

Archaeologist   Explorer    Writer

Biographical sketch,
written in 1911
Fireside Tales of Yucatan,
talks given in 1911
Edward, Henrietta and Abby

  Older Edward Thompson

Thompson in the Yucatan

Below is a photo taken in 1932 of Mama Grande (Henrietta Hamblin Thompson), Papa Grande and Tia Abby.



































From Worcester Daily Telegram, Tuesday, October 31, 1911

TWENTY-FIVE years United States Consul at Yucatan. Member of American Antiquarian Society. Fellow of various foreign scientific societies. etc.. etc.

In 1891 Mr. Thompson was granted indefinite leave of absence from his Consular post by the President that he might take charge of a scientific work of great importance. This very distinctive honor was conferred upon him by the Department of State at the request of Prof. F. W. Putnam, professor of American Archaeology, Peabody Museum. Harvard University, who had been made Chief of the Department of Anthropology at the World's Fair, Chicago. How successfully Mr. Thompson fulfilled his task can best be told in the "Official report of the Massachusetts Board of Managers, World's Fair, page 161.

The recent work in Yucatan by Mr. E. H. Thompson, a Massachusetts man and United Stales Consul to Merida, acting as assistant to Professor Putnam, and for the Peabody Museum, was shown partly within and partly outside the Anthropological Building. Ten thousand square feet of molds were taken by the expedition under his charge, during fourteen months of hard labor and serious risk of life in the dense, malarial jungles of Yucatan. The principal sections chosen as characteristic examples of the architecture and sculpture of these magnificent ruined temples were the 'Portal of Lebna,' with dimensions of twenty-five feet in height and forty feet in width; 'The Straight Arch of Uxmal,’ twenty-seven feet high and twenty-two feet wide; the famous fašade of the ‘Serpent House’; and three different sections from the ‘House of Nuns’. Full-size reproductions of these sections were made in staff and erected on the grounds just north of the Anthropological Building. Everyone who visited the Exposition will recall the weird effect produced on the imagination by these old monuments of an unknown past standing in stately grandeur amidst all the magnificence and beauty that landscape art and architecture of to-day could devise."
building in the Yucatan

The following editorials and press excerpts explain themselves.

Buried deep in the forests and jungles of Yucatan are these wonderful structures of stone and lime, the last vestiges of a forgotten civilization. Pyramids and temples, palaces and shrines, all the wealth of the ancient builders lie there entombed.

Over 25 years ago the then president of the United States was requested by Mr. Stephen Salisbury, president of the American Antiquarian Society, to appoint Edward H. Thompson, a former student at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, United States consul to Yucatan, Mex.

Mr. Salisbury was ably and successfully seconded in this effect by Senator George F. Hoar.

Yucatan was considered to be a scientific rather than a commercial post, and it was intended and so understood that Mr. Thompson was to devote his trained abilities to scientific research among the ruined cities of Yucatan and the Maya Indians, the probable descendants of their builders.

How well Mr. Thompson has performed his allotted tasks is known to those who have followed the events of his career. Several times he has been chosen to head well-equipped expeditions of exploration and research on behalf of the larger universities, and every one has been fruitful of results.

Sometimes at the head of important expeditions and at others alone, with only his native servants as companions, he has discovered buried cities hitherto unknown, and explored among those already discovered.



Fireside Tales of Yucatan:
Adventures in the Jungles of Yucatan

Edward H. Thompson, writer of the short but beautiful descriptive story, "The Hut in The Valley," in the September Century, is a native of Worcester. Mr. Thompson is an explorer and scientist, whose special attainments in his chosen field of research, archaeology, are appreciated by his fellow workers, while his peculiarly forceful and intensely interesting descriptive writings are beginning to be sought by magazines.

Mr. Thompson's life history is a romance in itself, and when he is at his own fireside, with a few friends that are dear to him, around him, the hours pass with magic swiftness to his listeners.


The Uninhabited Land and the land of the brown skinned savages. The coming of the mysterious wise men, the People of the Serpent. The Great Migration mid terrible trials. They reach the Uninhabited Land and found "Chichen Itza, The Sacred City of the Serpents." Its wonderful structures of stone and lime. The downfall of the Sacred City and the blotting out of an ancient American civilization. The legend of Canek. Love of Chichen Itza.


Evolution of primitive hut types from leaf shelters to thatched huts and from thatched huts to the stone palaces and temples of the ancient builders. How they cut the stone and moved the masses, built the walls and covered their surfaces. The ancient artists and craftsmen—how they worked and what they did. Both lectures profusely illustrated by beautiful monochrome and colored lantern slides taken by Mr. Thompson personally.


A strange region with stranger things, a land where no water runs or springs bubble, where the arid places grow the valuable plants and the rich lands grow the thorns and thistles. The Maya Indian, descendent, an ancient American civilization and the cleanliest people in the Americas.

The jaguars that I have met. Little vipers and big pythons. Curious plants and strange birds and adventures among them all. Fully illustrated by monochrome and colored slides.


The Demon Potters. The Magic Crystal. The Fox that laughed. The Rabbit that wanted to be big, etc. etc.

Worcester Daily Telegram, Sept. 15, 1911