A not-for-profit organization, the Human Relations Area Files was founded in 1949 to provide ethnographic data from many societies for research. It is currently located near Yale University in New Haven, CT. Originally, the materials were on paper, but later the information was preserved on microfilm. Now many of the files are accessible on an electronic data base. Besides the ethnographic data, archaeological files are also available.
Human Relations Area Files (http://www.yale.edu/hraf/)
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