Acee Blue Eagle was a Pawnee-Creek artist, poet, dancer, teacher, and celebrity. The papers relate to both Blue Eagle's personal and professional life. Also included are some materials of Blue Eagle's friend Mae Abbott and a collection of art by other Indians.
Scope and Contents:
This collection reflects the life and work of Acee Blue Eagle, internationally famed Indian artist of Oklahoma. Identified for his brilliant paintings of tribal ceremonies, legend and dance, Blue Eagle's work is represented in numerous private collections and museums both in this country and abroad.
A portion of the papers contains correspondence. Fan mail written by school children to Chief Blue Eagle of the Chief Blue Eagle television program is included. Letters regarding Blue Eagle's participation in Indian festivals and events, art shows and exhibitions, speaking engagements on Indian life and culture are found in the collection. Personal correspondence is included; most frequent correspondents are Devi Dja, Mae Abbott, and Charles E. Pond. There are approximately 100 letters from Devi Dja, approximately 90 to or from Mae Abbott, and approximately 36 from Charles E. Pond. Some letters addressed to these individuals from other friends and acquaintances are also within this collection.
Photographs comprise a large portion of the Blue Eagle collection. Included are not only portraits of the artist himself and photographs of his art work, but a large number of prints of Blue Eagle in full costume and other Indians engaged in tribal ceremonies, identified by tribe, whenever possible. Photographs of Mae Abbott, Devi Dja and the latter's Balinese dance troupe are identified. A file of negatives is arranged in the same subject order as the prints. Newspaper and magazine clippings regarding Blue Eagle's work and activities are also included in the collection. These clippings have not been arranged. In addition, Mae Abbott's recipes and notes for her cookbook, wood blocks, greeting cards and other miscellaneous publications can be found in the collection. These items have been sorted but not arranged.
Within the collection are also over 600 pieces of artwork. A good number are by Blue Eagle while most are by other Native artists. Artists whose are work are represented in the collection include Fred Beaver, Harrison Begay, Archie Blackowl, Woodrow Crumbo, Allan Houser, Ruthe Blalock Jones, Quicy Tahoma, Pablita Verde, and members of the Kiowa Five (Spencer Asah, James Auchiah, Stephen Mopope, Monroe Tsatoke).
The collection is arranged into six series: 1) Personal; 2) Collections; 3) Artwork; 4) Television; 5) Correspondence; 6) Photographs.
Biographical / Historical:
Acee Blue Eagle was an artist, poet, dancer, teacher, and celebrity. Born Alex C. McIntosh in 1907, Blue Eagle attended Indian schools in Anadarko, Nuyaka, and Euchee, Oklahoma, and the Haskell and Chilocco Indian schools. Advanced study came at Bacone Indian College and the University of Oklahoma. At the latter, he studied with Oscar B. Jacobson. Privately he studied with Winold Reiss. Discrepancies exist in the records regarding his early life: born in either Anadarko or Hitchita, Oklahoma; he's cited as both Pawnee-Creek and 5/8 Creek without any Pawnee blood; his mother is either Mattie Odom, the first wife of Solomon McIntosh or Ella Starr, McIntosh's second wife.
A prolific painter who, for the sake of authenticity, carried out research in libraries and museums, Blue Eagle was an outstanding American Indian artist of the 1930s-1950s. His paintings hung in many exhibits, including the Exposition of Indian Tribal Arts, 1932-1933; International Art Exhibition of Sport Subjects at Los Angeles, 1932; Chicago Century of Progress Exposition, 1934; a one-man show at the Young Galleries in Chicago; National Exhibition of Art at the Rockefeller Center in New York, 1936; a one-man show at the Washington, D.C., Arts Club, 1936; Museum of Modern Art, 1941; Northwest Art Exhibition at Spokane, Washington, 1944; a one-man show at the Gilcrease Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1953; An Exposition of American Indian Painters in New York, 1955; and a one-man show at the Philbrook Art Center in Tulsa, 1957. Between 1946 and 1965, over fifty galleries hung his paintings. Some pieces are among the permanent holdings of many institutions.
In 1934, Blue Eagle joined the Work Projects Administration (WPA) Public Works of Art Project, painting murals in public buildings. In 1935 at Oxford University, he participated in a program of the International Federation of Education and lectured on Indian art. A tour of Europe followed. He taught at Bacone Indian College from 1935-1938 where he founded the art program and became Director of Art. He also taught at the University of Kansas extension division in 1949 and Oklahoma State Technical College beginning in 1956. During World War II, he served in the United States Army Air Force; and, following the war, he spent a few years attempting to get into the movies. During 1946-1952, he was married to his second wife, a famous Balinese dancer, Devi Dja, and became involved in her career, an involvement that was briefly reflected in his art. However, Dja and Blue Eagle divorced and Blue Eagle lived with Mae Wadley Abbott for the last years of his life. During the 1950s, he had a television show for children on a Tulsa-Muskogee station. Acee Blue Eagle died on June 18, 1959 of a liver infection.
Martindale, Rob. Muskogee Paying Tribute to Blue Eagle. Biographical/Genealogical data, Box 1, Acee Blue Eagle Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
West, Juanita W. 1967. Acee Blue Eagle: A.C. McIntosh. Biographical/Genealogical data, Box 1, Acee Blue Eagle Collection, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
1907 -- Born August 17, 1907 on the Wichita Reservation, north of Anadarko, Oklahoma
1928 -- Graduated Chilocco High School
1929-1934 -- Attended Bacone College, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State Tech
1935 -- Toured United States and Europe giving lecture-exhibition program, "Life and Character of the American Indian"
1935-1938 -- Established and headed art department at Bacone College at Muskogee
1936 -- Exhibited at the National Exhibition of Art, Rockefeller Center, New York
1942-1945 -- World War II, U.S. Air Force (Army)
1947-49 -- Free-lance work in New York and Chicago
1951-52 -- Artist-in-residence at Oklahoma Tech
1950-54 -- Conducted TV program, Muskogee, OklahomaToured U.S. West Coast exhibiting and lecturing about ways to improve TV programs for children
1958 -- Named Indian-of-the-Year by the American Indian Expostion at Anadarko, Oklahoma
1959 -- Died June 18, 1959
Other materials relating to Acee Blue Eagle at the National Anthropological Archives include correspondence in the Solomon McCombs papers, 1914-1972, and correspondence with Betty Meilink under Manuscript 2011-20.
Acee Blue Eagle's private papers and collection of paintings were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Mrs. Mae Abbott of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
There are no restrictions on access.
Literary property rights to unpublished material in the collection in the National Anthropological Archives has been given to the public.
Most of Ruth Landes's papers relate directly or indirectly to Landes's American Indian research, her work in Brazil, and her study of bilingualism. There is also a considerable amount of material that relates to her experiences (sometimes fictionalized) at Fisk University. There is only small amount of material related to her other interests. Her collection also has material of and relating to the Brazilian folklorist and journalist Edison Carneiro. There is also noteworthy material concerning Herbert Baldus, Ruth Benedict, Elmer C. Imes, Charles S. Johnson, and Robert E. Park. There is a large amount of printed and processed materials in the collection, mainly in the form of newspaper clippings and a collection of scholarly papers.
Scope and Contents:
This collection is mainly comprised of the professional papers of Ruth Schlossberg Landes. Included are correspondence, journals, published and unpublished manuscripts of writings, research materials including field notes and reading notes, photographs, drawings, scholarly papers and publications by other scholars, and clippings from newspapers and periodicals.
Landes's field research on Candomblé in Brazil is well-represented in this collection, consisting of her field journals, writings, and photographs. Also present are Maggie Wilson's stories that were the basis for Landes's The Ojibwa Woman. Unfortunately, Landes was unable to locate her journals for her early research with the Ojibwa/Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Dakota. There are, however, field photographs of the Ojibwa/Chippewa and Potawatomi in the collection. There is also a great deal of her research on groups, especially minorities, in multilingual states with particular focus on the French of Quebec, Basques of Spain and the United States, Boers and Blacks of South Africa, the several socio-linguistic groups of Switzerland, and Acadians (Cajuns) of Louisiana. In the collection are several drafts of her unpublished manuscript on bilingualism, "Tongues that Defy the State." There is also a small amount of material about Black Jews of New York and considerable material about Landes's experience among African Americans when she taught briefly at Fisk University, including her unpublished manuscript "Now, at Athens," containing fictional and autobiographical accounts of her time at Fisk.
Reflections of other facets of Landes's professional activities are also included. Some materials concern her teaching activities, and there is also documentation of her work with the Fair Employment Practices Commission (a federal government agency during the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt) and a similar private organization which immediately succeeded the FEPA; Gunnar Myrdal's research into the plight of African Americans ("The Negro in America"); the Research in Contemporary Cultures project at Columbia University; and the American Jewish Congress.
Among Landes's correspondents are Ruth Benedict, Franz Boas, Margaret Mead, Ralph Bunche, Herbert Baldus, Edison Carneiro, Sally Chilver, Frances Densmore, Sol Tax, Elmer S. Imes, Charles S. Johnson, Robert E. Park, and Hendrik W. van der Merwe.
The collection is organized into 6 series: (1) Correspondence, 1931-1991; (2) Research Materials, circa 1930s-1990; (3) Writings, circa 1930s-1990; (4) Teaching Materials, 1935-1975, undated; (5) Biographical and Personal Files, 1928-1988; (6) Graphic Materials, 1933-1978, undated
Ruth Schlossberg Landes was born on October 8, 1908 in New York City. Her father was Joseph Schlossberg, an activist in the Yiddish labor socialist community and one of the founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. She studied sociology at New York University (B.A. 1928) and social work at the New York School of Social Work, Columbia University (M.S.W. 1929). While in graduate school, Landes studied Black Jews in Harlem for her master's thesis, a topic that developed her interests in anthropology.
After graduating in 1929, she worked as a social worker in Harlem and married Victor Landes, a medical student and son of family friends. Their marriage ended after two years when she enrolled in the doctoral program in anthropology at Columbia against her husband's wishes. She kept his surname due to the stigma of being a divorced woman.
At Columbia, Landes studied under Franz Boas and Ruth Benedict, her main advisor. Under the guidance of Benedict, Landes moved away from further study of African Americans to focus on Native American communities. Upon Benedict's suggestion, Landes studied the social organization of the Ojibwa in Manitou Rapids in Ontario from 1932 to 1936 for her Ph.D. fieldwork. Her dissertation, Ojibwa Sociology, was published in 1937. Landes also contributed "The Ojibwa of Canada" in Cooperation and Competition among Primitive Peoples (1937), a volume edited by Margaret Mead. In 1938, Landes published Ojibwa Women (1938), a book written in collaboration with Maggie Wilson, an Ojibwa interpreter and informant.
In addition to studying the Ojibwa in Ontario, Landes also conducted fieldwork with the Chippewa of Red Lake, Minnesota in 1933, working closely with shaman or midé Will Rogers. Her book, Ojibwa Religion and the Midéwiwin (1968) was based largely on her research with Rogers and Maggie Wilson. In 1935 and 1936, she undertook fieldwork with the Santee Dakota in Minnesota and the Potawatomi in Kansas. Like Ojibwa Religion and the Midéwiwin, her books on the Santee Dakota and Potawatomi were not published until several years later—The Mystic Lake Sioux: Sociology of the Mdewakantonwan Sioux was published in 1968 while The Prairie Potawatomi was published in 1970. In between her field research in the 1930s and the publication of The Prairie Potawatomi, Landes returned to Kansas to study the Potawatomi in the 1950s and 1960s.
Landes's plan to continue her studies with the Potawatomi in 1937 changed when Benedict invited her to join a team of researchers from Columbia University in Brazil. Landes was to conduct research on Afro-Brazilians in Bahia, Brazil, while Walter Lipkind, Buell Quain, and Charles Wagley studied indigenous people in the Amazons. To prepare for her research, Landes was at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee in 1937 and 1938 to consult with Robert Park and Donald Pierson and to use the university's library collections of African and African American materials. During that time, Landes also held a teaching position at Fisk and lived in the non-segregated women's residence on campus. Landes later wrote "Now, at Athens," an unpublished memoir containing fictional and true accounts of her experiences at Fisk.
From 1938 to 1939, Landes conducted fieldwork on the role of Afro-Brazilian women and homosexuals in the Candomblé religion in Bahia, Brazil. Unable to move freely by herself in Brazil as a single woman, Landes was accompanied by Edison Carneiro, a Bahian journalist and folklorist. With Carneiro as her companion, Landes was allowed access to rituals and people that would have been closed off to her otherwise. Due to her association with Carneiro, a member of the Brazilian Communist Party, Landes was suspected of being a communist and was forced to leave Bahia early. Publications from her research in Brazil include "A Cult Matriarchate and Male Homosexuality" (1940) and City of Women (1947). She returned to Brazil in 1966 to study the effects of urban development in Rio de Janeiro. In 1967, a Portuguese translation of City of Women was published, a project that Carneiro had commissioned as the first director of the Ministry of Education and Culture's Special National Agency for the Protection of Folklore.
Landes returned to New York in 1939, working briefly as a researcher for Gunnar Myrdal's study of African Americans. Unable to obtain a permanent position at a university, she worked in several other short term positions throughout most of her career. During World War II, Landes was a research director for the Office of the Coordinator for Inter-American Affairs (1941) and consultant for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fair Employment Practices Committee on African American and Mexican American cases (1941-44). In 1945, Landes directed a program created by Pearl S. Buck and a group of interdenominational clergy to analyze pending New York anti-discrimination legislation. She moved to California the following year to work for the Los Angeles Metropolitan Welfare Council on a study of race and youth gangs. After her contract ended, she moved back to New York and was hired as a contract researcher for the American Jewish Congress (1948-50). She also participated in Columbia University's Research in Contemporary Cultures (1949-51), studying Jewish families. She coauthored with Mark Zborowski, "Hypothesis concerning the Eastern European Jewish Family." From 1951 to 1952, Landes spent a year in London, funded by a Fulbright fellowship to study colored colonial immigrants and race relations in Great Britain.
After her fellowship ended, Landes returned to the United States and held short term appointments at several universities. She taught at the William Alanson White Psychiatric Institution in New York (1953-54), the New School for Social Research in New York (1953-55), University of Kansas (1957, 1964), University of Southern California (1957-62), Columbia University (1963), Los Angeles State College (1963), and Tulane University (1964). At Claremont Graduate School, Landes helped to develop and direct the Claremont Anthropology and Education Program (1959-62).
It was not until 1965 that Landes obtained a permanent faculty position at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario; she was recruited for the position by Richard Slobodin. Due to Ontario's age retirement law, Landes was forced to retire in 1973 at the age of 65. She continued to teach part-time until 1977, when she became professor emerita.
Landes passed away at the age of 82 on February 11, 1991.
Cole, Sally. 2003. Ruth Landes: A Life in Anthropology. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press.
1908 October 8 -- Born Ruth Schlossberg in New York City
1928 -- B.A. in sociology, New York University
1929 -- M.S.W., New York School of Social Work, Columbia University
1929-1931 -- Social worker in Harlem Married to Victor Landes
1929-1934 -- Studied Black Jews in Harlem
1931 -- Began graduate work in anthropology at Columbia University
1932-1936 -- Studied the Ojibwa in Ontario and Minnesota (in field periodically)
1933-1940 -- Research Fellow, Columbia University
1935 Summer-Fall -- Studied the Santee Sioux (Dakota) in Minnesota
1935-1936 -- Studied the Potawatomi in Kansas
1935 -- Ph.D., Columbia University
1937 -- Instructor, Brooklyn College
1937-1938 -- Instructor, Fisk University
1938-1939 -- Studied Afro-Brazilians and Candomblé in Brazil, especially at Bahia
1939 -- Researcher on Gunnar Myrdal's study, "The Negro in America"
1941 -- Research Director, Office of Inter American Affairs, Washington, D.C.
1941-1945 -- Representative for Negro and Mexican American Affairs, Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC), President Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration
1944 -- Interim Director, Committee Against Racial Discrimination, New York
1946-1947 -- Researcher, study of Mexican American youth, gangs, and families, Los Angeles Metropolitan Council
1948-1951 -- Researcher, American Jewish Congress, New York
1949-1951 -- Research consultant, study on Jewish families in New York for Research in Contemporary Cultures Project, Columbia University
1951-1952 -- Fulbright Scholar, to study colored colonial immigration into Great Britain
1953-1954 -- Lecturer, William Alanson White Psychiatric Institution, New York
1953-1955 -- Lecturer, New School for Social Research, New York
1956-1957 -- Married to Ignacio Lutero Lopez
1957 Summer -- Visiting Professor, University of Kansas
1957-1958 -- Visiting Professor, University of Southern California
1957-1965 -- Consultant, California agencies (Department of Social Work, Bureau of Mental Hygiene, Department of Education, Public Health Department) and San Francisco Police Department
1958-1959 -- Director, Geriatrics Program, Los Angeles City Health Department
1959-1962 -- Visiting Professor and Director of Anthropology and Education Program, Claremont Graduate School
1962 -- Extension Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles and University of California, Berkeley
1963 -- Extension Lecturer, Columbia University Extension Lecturer, Los Angeles State College
1963-1965 -- Consultant, International Business Machines (IBM)
1964 January-June -- Visiting Professor, Tulane University
1964 Summer -- Field work with Potawatomi in Kansas Professor, University of Kansas
1965-1975 -- Professor at McMaster University
1966 -- Studied urban development in Rio de Janeiro
1968-1975 -- Studied bilingualism and biculturalism in Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, United States, and Canada (in Spain and the United States concentrated on Basques)
1975 -- Became part-time faculty member at McMaster University
1977 -- Professor Emerita, McMaster University
1978 -- Award of Merit from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay
1991 February 11 -- Died in Hamilton, Ontario
1991 -- Establishment of the Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund at Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM)
Correspondence from Ruth Landes can be found in the William Duncan Strong Papers, the Leonard Bloomfield Papers, and MS 7369. The Ruth Bunzel Papers contains a copy of a grant application by Landes.
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Ruth Landes in 1991.
The Ruth Landes papers are open for research. The nitrate negatives in this collection have been separated from the collection and stored offsite. Access to nitrate negatives is restricted due to preservation concerns.
Access to the Ruth Landes papers requires an appointment.
Notes and corrections to Contributions to North American Ethnology, Volume 1, 1877 (Part I, W. H. Dall, "Tribes of the Extreme Northwest;" Part II, George Gibbs, "Tribes of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon.")
NAA MS 1035
Manuscript 1035, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Includes Gibbs' draft of the same, 3 pages. "Map of the Indian Tribes in the neighborhood of Fort Yuma, Cal.," document 1 page. "Notes on the Indians of the Colorado," by Lieutenant Sylvester Mowry, Third Artillery. Fort Yuma, Calif. March 23, 1856. Autograph document signed. 10 pages including note of transmittal on page 8. (21 pages, total)
Gibbs states that his paper is based on data received from Milhau and Mowry; the latter in turn obtained data from Olive Oatman, Apache captive, 1851-55.
The prayer board is signed by P. Cabot, believed to be Father Pedro Cabot of the San Antonio Mission.
Biographical / Historical:
The recent rediscovery of a rare Indian-Spanish prayer board in the National Anthropological Archives has engendered much interest and research on the part of various scholars in early Spanish-American history. The board is about eight inches wide by twelve inches high and has a handle at the bottom. There are prayers and songs (with musical notation) written in the Salinan Indian language of southern California and in Spanish and Latin. On the front of the board is a "Brief act of Charity and Prayer" and a "Brief Prayer." On the reverse is pasted Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity in Salinan and Spanish. Prayer boards such as this were used by Franciscan priests to teach Native Americans the fundamentals of Roman Catholic practice and belief through standardized prayers and songs. The prayer board was prepared by two Franciscan missionaries, Father Pedro Cabot and Father Juan Batista Sancho of the San Antonio Mission in the year 1817. This particular prayer board is a rare find not only because there is only one other of its kind known to us, but also because the Salinan language is long dead. There were only about 1200 Salinan Indians in the 1760s, and by the beginning of this century only about forty natives carried on that culture. The Salinan-Spanish prayer board was used in hearings before the Senate and House appropriation sub-committees March 1973 to demonstrate the great benefits realized from the modest increases in funds provided by the Congress in recent years to the National Museum of Natural History for additional personnel and resources to support the work of our scientific staff. JMW 4/24/73
NAA INV 09067000
NAA MS 1082
The prayer board was on exhibit in the Museum of History and Technology (now called the National Museum of American History) in the "Hall of Every Day Life in the American Past," in a special section entitled," Character of the Old West."
Notes collected by Truman Michelson on the sacred bundle sold through Green, believed to be Buck Green, a Winnebago agent. The materials consist of texts in Meskwaki (Fox) and translations in English. According to Ives Goddard, Thomas Brown probably provided the translations.
NAA MS 1178
Title changed from "Notes on the Sacred Pack sold through Green, 1916" 3/12/2014.
Manuscript 1214-C, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded by the National Science Foundation under BCS Grant No. 1561167 and the Recovering Voices initiative at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.