Spencer MacCallum

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Spencer MacCallum
Spencer MacCallum at the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, AZ, April 8, 2006, lecturing on the origins of Mata Ortiz pottery.
Alma materPrinceton University
University of Washington
Known forwork on Mata Ortiz pottery
Scientific career

Spencer Heath McCallum (born 1931), commonly known as Spencer MacCallum, is an American anthropologist, business consultant and author. He is especially noted for his discovery of the pottery of the town of Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico.

Personal life[edit]

MacCallum graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelors in art history and received a Masters of Arts in social anthropology from the University of Washington. He specialized in studying the life, culture and stateless society of Northwest Coast Indians.[1]

MacCallum is the grandson of Spencer Heath, inventor and dissenter from mainstream Georgism.


In 1956, MacCallum and his grandfather founded the Science of Society Foundation, which published a number of works including Heath's book Citadel, Market, and Altar. MacCallum was for many years an active researcher and lecturer for academic and business clients.[2] He remains a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute.[3]

MacCallum shared his grandfather's interest in multi-tenant properties where developers lease properties and are responsible for providing community services, thereby replacing the functions traditionally provided by the state.[1] He details these ideas in his 1970 booklet The Art of Community, as well as his 2003 articles "The Enterprise of Community: Market Competition, Land, and Environment" and "Looking Back and Forward" (which describes the influence of his grandfather); and his 2005 article on stateless social organization "From Upstate New York to the Horn of Africa".

In 2005, MacCallum also edited and published The Law of the Somalis by Michael van Notten. The book deals with the foundations of the Somali customary law (Xeer).

Through his grandfather, MacCallum met alternative currency theorist E.C. Riegel. After Riegel's death, MacCallum obtained all Riegel's papers, which now reside with the Heather Foundation, of which MacCallum is director.[4] During the 1970s MacCallum re-published Riegel's books "The New Approach to Freedom" and "Private Enterprise Money" and collected his papers into a new book called Flight from Inflation: The Monetary Alternative.[5]

In 1976, MacCallum discovered artisan Juan Quezada, who soon became the leader of the now-thriving pottery movement located in Mata Ortiz, a small town near the ancient Paquime (or Casas Grandes) ruins in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. McCallum is the author of many articles on Mata Ortiz, as well as introduction to the book, Portraits of Clay: Potters of Mata Ortiz. His efforts helped the pottery win acceptance as a contemporary art form and a legitimate folk art.

MacCallum lives in nearby Casas Grandes,[1] and still plays a key role in Mata Ortiz affairs. Additionally, MacCallum has assisted archaeological investigations in the region by providing a compound to serve as quarters and lab space.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Spencer MacCallum: "Looking Back and Forward[permanent dead link]", Lewrockwell.com, December 19, 2003.
  2. ^ Spencer Heath McCallum, The Art of Community, Institute for Humane Studies, 1970, back cover.
  3. ^ The Independent Institute page on Spencer MacCallum.
  4. ^ The Phoenix Forum sponsors list
  5. ^ E.C. Riegel, The New Approach to Freedom, Editorial preface by Spencer MacCallum, San Pedro, CA, The Heather Foundation, 1979 edition.

External links[edit]

  • Mata Ortiz Calendar, formerly maintained by Spencer and Emalie MacCallum. Links to photos of Mata Ortiz pottery, news, exhibits, etc.