An elitist anachronism (a semi-private old boys' and girls' network)? Or a unique window on the past (what archaeologists said informally, year by year, about what they were doing and thinking)? Or both? The Teocentli ("The" was later dropped) began in May 1926 when Carl E. Guthe of the University of Michigan, sent a mimeographed letter to 45 friends and colleagues, proposing an informal newsletter or round-robin to provide periodic communication among archaeologists and others "who are working in various phases of those Indian cultures which came to owe their development to a knowledge of maize cultivation." He took the name 'Teocentli' from the "native Mexican grass from which maize is supposed to have developed."
He began his letter by asking "How many of you can give the details of the work…[of] each of the forty-five men listed on the second sheet of this letter? I'll wager few of you can.. Yet every one of them is working on archaeological problems which are related to those upon which you are working. Suppose we could get... together for a meeting... Would you want to tell them of your work and listen to their reports? ... Since such a meeting 'in the flesh' is out of the question. the next best thing would be a note from each one, wouldn't it?"