University of Arizona

Trudy Griffin-Pierce and Keith Pierce Papers

Trudy Griffin-Pierce with Mother and Sister

Trudy Griffin-Pierce earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Florida State University in printmaking and fine arts. While she was a student there she wrote to the Navajo Tribal Chairman asking if she could join a traditional Navajo family as a daughter. She earned a Master of Arts in museum studies in 1970. She worked as a curator at the Indian Pueblo Culture Center as well as at the Kitt Peak National Observatory museum. There she met Keith Pierce who she married in 1979. She returned to the University of Arizona and earned a doctorate in anthropology in 1987.

Dr. Griffin-Pierce specialized in medical anthropology and native cultures. She gained tenure as an associate professor in 2008. She authored six books including Earth is my Mother, Sky is my Father: Space, Time and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting 1992. Dr. Griffin Pierce was also an artist and did much of the art work for her books herself. She died January 6, 2009.

Austin Keith Pierce graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor of Science degree in astronomy. During World War II he worked on uranium isotope separation at the E.O. Lawrence Radiation Laboratory calutron in Berkeley as well as in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He returned to Berkeley in 1945 and earned his doctorate in Astronomy in 1948 under Dr. C.D. Shane.

After graduation he w moved to the McMath-Hulbert Observatory near Pontiac, Michigan. Dr. McMath found funding to develop the worlds largest solar telescope at Kitt Peak which Dr. Pierce helped site and design. Dr. Pierce greatly contributed to work on the solar spectrum, especially the ultraviolet and infrared frontiers and was also a pioneer in the use of infrared and photoelectric detectors to make accurate measurements. At the 30th anniversary of the dedication of the McMath Solar Telescope in 1992 it was renamed the McMath Pierce Solar Telescope in honor of his contribution to the development of the facility. He died on March 11, 2005.

This collection consists primarily of the papers of Trudy Griffin-Pierce relating to her professional career as an anthropologist as well as her journals spanning 40 years. The bulk of the material consists of her writings, academic material including material from her graduate education and teaching career as well as correspondence, personal material and her personal journals. Also included is material from solar astronomer Keith Pierce primarily drafts of his autobiography as well as astronomy notes.