Doris Zemurray Stone

Doris Zemurray Stone (November 19, 1909 – October 21, 1994)[1] was an archaeologist and ethnographer, specializing in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the so-called "Intermediate Area" of lower Central America. She served as the director of the National Museum of Costa Rica and endowed numerous professorial chairs in U.S. universities.

Doris Zemurray Stone
Doris Zemurray

November 19, 1909 (1909-11-19)
DiedOctober 21, 1994 (1994-10-22) (aged 84)
Occupationarchaeologist and ethnographer
Spouse(s)Roger Thayer Stone


Born 1909 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Doris Zemurray was the daughter of Samuel Zemurray, aka Sam the Banana man, a Jewish immigrant who founded the Cuyamel Fruit Company the following year. He built the company into a successful venture, later famously selling it to the United Fruit Company giant in 1930 only to subsequently engineer a reverse takeover of sorts, serving as the latter's director in a profitable, if controversial, tenure from 1933 to 1952.[2]

In 1917 Zemurray purchased and moved his family into a three-storey Beaux Arts mansion on St. Charles Avenue facing Tulane University, which would become the family home for the next four decades. In the early 1960s the mansion was transferred to Tulane where it became the residency of the University's presidents.[3]

Doris Zemurray attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she majored in anthropology, and also pursued graduate studies in archaeology.[4] She graduated in 1930.[2] During her studies she met and married Roger Thayer Stone, a physics student at Union College, Schenectady, New York.[5]

The year after graduating Doris Stone joined the Department of Middle American Research at Tulane University, which later became the Middle American Research Institute (MARI). Over the next eight years Stone was employed initially as a research associate in ethnography, and then as an associate in archaeology.[6]

In 1939 shortly before the outbreak of World War II Doris Stone and her husband moved to Costa Rica, where Roger had business interests in a coffee plantation operating in Curridabat, outside of the capital San José.[7] Stone would remain based there and in Central America for the next two decades, returning to New Orleans after her father's death and her husband's retirement from the plantation business, in 1961.[8]

With her husband Roger Thayer Stone, she co-founded the Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University.

Stone was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree in 1973 by Union College NY, her husband's alma mater.[2]

In her last decades Doris served as president of the Zemurray Foundation, the funding agency supporting educational and cultural programs established through the legacy of her father. Her husband Roger had been foundation president up until his death in 1983.[2]

Stone died in Covington, LA on October 21, 1994, at the age of eighty-four.[2]


  1. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF). Retrieved on 2008-08-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e Union College Office of Communications (1995)
  3. ^ Johnson (2007)
  4. ^ Ogilvie & Harvey (2000, p.1241)
  5. ^ Ogilvie & Harvey (2000, p.1241), Union College Office of Communications (1995)
  6. ^ Stone Center (2007)
  7. ^ Ogilvie & Harvey (2000, p.1241), Stone Center (2007). Union College Office of Communications (1995) gives the date as 1930, possibly an erratum.
  8. ^ Ogilvie & Harvey (2000, p.1241), Stone Center (2007)


  • Johnson, Suzanne (2007-09-12). "If walls could talk" (online reproduction). The Tulanian. New Orleans, LA: Tulane University Office of Alumni and University Affairs. 2007 (Summer). ISSN 0041-4026. OCLC 3952454. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  • Ogilvie, Marilyn Bailey; Joy Dorothy Harvey, eds. (2000). "Stone, Doris Zemurray (1909–1994)". The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science: Pioneering Lives from Ancient Times to the mid-20th Century. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 1240–1241. ISBN 0-415-92038-8. OCLC 40776839.
  • Stone Center for Latin American Studies (2007). "History". History of the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Tulane University. Archived from the original on 2008-05-22. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
  • Union College Office of Communications (January 1995). "Doris Zemurray Stone dies" (online reproduction). Union College Magazine. Schenectady, NY: Union College. OCLC 6850493. Retrieved 2008-08-10.

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