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Catalog Data

Harrington, John Peabody 1884-1961  Search this
Clark, Charles Upson 1875-1960  Search this
Paul Wilhelm Duke of Württemberg 1797-1860  Search this
Ishi d. 1916  Search this
Physical description:
1 box
Miwok Indians  Search this
Nisenan Indians  Search this
Indians of North America California  Search this
Field notes
Sacramento (Calif.)
Microfilm and digital surrogates of microfilm are available. See Volume 2, reel 5, which also contains files from other subseries. Only original documents created by Harrington, his collaborators and field assistants, or notes given to him were microfilmed.
In early June 1939 John P. Harrington spent several days examining Prince Paul of Wurttemberg's "account of the Sacramento Valley Indians of California in 1850 and two vocabularies." Using agent Michael Harrison's home at the Sacramento Indian Agency as his headquarters, Harrington made several trips throughout the Sacramento area in search of knowledgeable native speakers. Among those he interviewed were Lizzie Enos of Clipper Gap, Jane Lewis of Auburn rancheria, George Nye of Dobbins, Albert Porter and Henry Hanson of Forest Hill, and Lilly Williams-all Nisenan-and Mike Murray, a, who knew Northern Sierra Miwok as well as some Nisenan.
Two particularly helpful sources of nonlinguistic information were Winifred Codman, a social worker in the area, and H. C. Peterson, curator in charge of the centennial celebration of the founding of Sacramento. Harrington also spoke with Mrs. Thomas Edward Holmes, Mrs. Lou Wilson, and Ben Frost.
Electronic inventory available. Consult with archivist. For a comprehensive description of these materials, see "The papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution, 1907-1957, Volume 2, A guide to the field notes: Native American history, language, and culture of Northern and Central California, edited by Elaine L. Mills (1985).
This subseries of the Northern and Central California series contains material that supplement Harrington's research on Nisenan and Northern Sierra Miwok.
A section of Harrington's field notes are based on Prince Paul of Wurttemberg's research on "Hok" (Southwestern Nisenan) dialect and "Kosume" (Northern Sierra Miwok). In 1937 Matthew W. Stirling, chief of the B. A. E., commissioned Charles Upson Clark to conduct research in Stuttgart, Germany, on Prince Paul's expedition of 1849-1851 to the Pacific Coast. A translation of a portion of Clark's journals was sent to Harrington in the field to be reheard with his various informants. The notes are organized on the basis of interviews which Harrington conducted with each informant individually or in small groups. George Nye, described as a speaker of the "Yuba County language," and Lizzie Enos provided the bulk of the data. A variety of Nisenan dialects are represented, including the Northern and Central Hill varieties. Much of the ethnographic information interspersed with the linguistic notes is concerned with Harrington's attempts to locate the Hock Indian mound described by von Wurttemberg. Also included are sketch maps, historical anecdotes, and descriptions of photographs of Sutter's Mill.
Notes from secondary sources consist of handwritten excerpts made by Harrington from various published sources which he evidently found at the Sacramento Public Library. Works by Kroeber, Gudde, and Powers are among those quoted. A few random comments from informants were added to these pages, although for the most part the informants were unfamiliar with the geographical names mentioned in the sources.
This subseries also contains biographical data that Harrington collected on possible informants.These include notes copied by Harrington from social worker rolls made available to him by Winifred Codman. Individuals are listed by county with some genealogical information and assessments of their capabilities in giving linguistic data. Similar information was copied from the files of the Sacramento Indian Agency. These records are followed by a few miscellaneous pages of biographical notes obtained during his interviews.
There are also miscellaneous notes, which include a few comments on phonetics of Maidu and Nisenan and a brief dicussion of the well-known northern California Indian, Ishi.
Cite as:
Northern and Central California: Nisenan/Northern Sierra Miwok, John Peabody Harrington papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Repository Loc.:
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland
Northern Sierra Miwok language  Search this
Nisenan language  Search this
Maidu language  Search this
Language and languages--Documentation  Search this
Linguistics  Search this
Ethnology  Search this
History  Search this
Local number:
Accession #1976-95
Restrictions & Rights:
No restrictions on access
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John Peabody Harrington papers: Northern and Central California, 1912-1957
Data Source:
National Anthropological Archives