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Frederica de Laguna Papers

Creator:
McClellan, Catharine  Search this
Guédon, Marie Françoise  Search this
Swanton, John Reed, 1873-1958  Search this
Emmons, George Thornton  Search this
De Laguna, Frederica, 1906-2004  Search this
Correspondent:
Stearns, Mary Lee  Search this
Aberle, David F. (David Friend), 1918-2004  Search this
Arensberg, Conrad M. (Conrad Maynadier), 1910-1997  Search this
Baird, Melissa  Search this
Balzer, Marjorie  Search this
Bersch, Gretchen  Search this
Birket-Smith, Kaj  Search this
Black, Lydia  Search this
Boas, Franz, 1858-1942  Search this
Chowning, Ann  Search this
Clark, J. Desmond (John Desmond), 1916-2002  Search this
Codere, Helen F., 1917-2009  Search this
Collins, Henry B. (Henry Bascom), 1899-1987  Search this
Colton, Harold Sellers, 1881-1970  Search this
Conklin, Harold C., 1926-2016  Search this
Corbett, John M.  Search this
Darnell, Regna  Search this
Dauenhauer, Nora  Search this
Dauenhauer, Richard  Search this
Davenport, William  Search this
Dockstader, Frederick J.  Search this
Drucker, Philip, 1911-1982  Search this
Du Bois, Cora Alice, 1903-1991  Search this
Duff, Wilson, 1925-  Search this
Fair, Susan  Search this
Fitzhugh, William W., 1943-  Search this
Foster, George McClelland, 1913-  Search this
Garfield, Viola Edmundson, 1899-1983  Search this
Giddings, James Louis  Search this
Gjessing, Gutorm, 1906  Search this
Grinev, Andrei V.  Search this
Hanable, William S.  Search this
Hara, Hiroko, 1934-  Search this
Haury, Emil W. (Emil Walter), 1904-1992  Search this
Heizer, Robert F. (Robert Fleming), 1915-1979  Search this
Helm, June, 1924-  Search this
Herskovits, Melville J. (Melville Jean), 1895-1963  Search this
Holtved, Erik  Search this
Jenness, Diamond, 1886-1969  Search this
Kahn, Mimi  Search this
Kan, Sergei  Search this
Krauss, Michael E., 1934-  Search this
Kroeber, A. L. (Alfred Louis), 1876-1960  Search this
Larsen, Helge, 1905-1984  Search this
Leer, Jeff  Search this
Lindgren, E. J. (Ethel John), 1904-1988  Search this
Lomax, Alan, 1915-2002  Search this
Low, Jean  Search this
Mathiassen, Therkel, 1892-1967  Search this
Mead, Margaret, 1901-1978  Search this
Olson, Wallace  Search this
Rainey, Froelich G. (Froelich Gladstone), 1907-1992  Search this
Riddell, Francis A. (Francis Allen), 1921-2002  Search this
Ritchie, William A. (William Augustus), 1903-1995  Search this
Schneider, William  Search this
Schumacher, Paul J. F.  Search this
Shinkwin, Anne D.  Search this
Spier, Leslie, 1893-1961  Search this
Spiro, Melford E., 1920-2014  Search this
Underhill, Ruth, 1883-1984  Search this
VanStone, James W.  Search this
Weiner, Annette B., 1933-  Search this
Weitzner, Bella, 1891?-1988  Search this
White, Leslie A., 1900-1975  Search this
Woodbury, Natalie Ferris Sampson  Search this
Woodbury, Richard B. (Richard Benjamin), 1917-2009  Search this
Workman, Karen Wood  Search this
Workman, William B.  Search this
Names:
American Anthropological Association  Search this
Bryn Mawr College  Search this
Photographer:
Smith, Harlan Ingersoll, 1872-1940  Search this
Extent:
2 map drawers
38 Linear feet (71 document boxes, 1 half document box, 2 manuscript folders, 4 card file boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 oversize box)
Culture:
Yakutat  Search this
Tutchone Indians  Search this
Tsimshian Indians  Search this
Indians of North America -- Subarctic  Search this
Tlingit Indians  Search this
Tanana Indians  Search this
Kawchottine Indians  Search this
Ahtna Indians  Search this
Athapascan Indians  Search this
Athapaskan -- Northern  Search this
Chugach Eskimos -- Archaeology  Search this
Eskimos -- Greenland  Search this
Indians of North America -- California  Search this
Eyak Indians  Search this
Hare Indians  Search this
Indians of North America -- Northwest Coast of North America  Search this
Ingalik Indians  Search this
Arctic peoples  Search this
Type:
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Map drawers
Manuscripts
Maps
Field notes
Correspondence
Photographs
Sound recordings
Place:
Alaska -- Archeology
Aishihik (Yukon)
Angoon (Alaska)
Alaska -- ethnology
Chistochina (Alaska)
Greenland
Copper River (Alaska)
Klukshu (Yukon)
Hoonah (Alaska)
Kodiak Island (Alaska)
Klukwan (Alaska)
Saint Lawrence River Valley
New Brunswick -- Archaeology
Yukon Island (Alaska)
Date:
1890-2004
bulk 1923-2004
Summary:
These papers reflect the professional and personal life of Frederica de Laguna. The collection contains correspondence, field notes, writings, newspaper clippings, writings by others, subject files, sound recordings, photographs, and maps. A significant portion of the collection consists of de Laguna's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students, as well as her informants from the field. Her correspondence covers a wide range of subjects such as family, health, preparations for field work, her publications and projects, the Northwest Coast, her opinions on the state of anthropology, and politics. The field notes in the collection mainly represent de Laguna and her assistants' work in the Northern Tlingit region of Alaska from 1949 to 1954. In addition, the collection contains materials related to her work in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Ontario in 1947 and Catherine McClellan's field journal for her research in Aishihik, Yukon Territory in 1968. Most of the audio reels in the collection are field recordings made by de Laguna, McClellan, and Marie-Françoise Guédon of vocabulary and songs and speeches at potlatches and other ceremonies from 1952 to 1969. Tlingit and several Athabaskan languages including Atna, Tutochone, Upper Tanana, and Tanacross are represented in the recordings. Also in the collection are copies of John R. Swanton's Tlingit recordings and Hiroko Hara Sue's recordings among the Hare Indians. Additional materials related to de Laguna's research on the Northwest Coast include her notes on clans and tribes in Series VI: Subject Files and her notes on Tlingit vocabulary and Yakutat names specimens in Series X: Card Files. Drafts and notes for Voyage to Greenland, Travels Among the Dena, and The Tlingit Indians can be found in the collection as well as her drawings for her dissertation and materials related to her work for the Handbook of North American Indians and other publications. There is little material related to Under Mount Saint Elias except for correspondence, photocopies and negatives of plates, and grant applications for the monograph. Of special interest among de Laguna's writings is a photocopy of her historical fiction novel, The Thousand March. Other materials of special interest are copies of her talks, including her AAA presidential address, and the dissertation of Regna Darnell, a former student of de Laguna's. In addition, materials on the history of anthropology are in the collection, most of which can found with her teaching materials. Although the bulk of the collection documents de Laguna's professional years, the collection also contains newspaper articles and letters regarding her exceptional performance as a student at Bryn Mawr College and her undergraduate and graduate report cards. Only a few photographs of de Laguna can be found in the collection along with photographs of her 1929 and 1979 trips to Greenland.
Scope and Contents:
These papers reflect the professional and personal life of Frederica de Laguna. The collection contains correspondence, field notes, writings, newspaper clippings, writings by others, subject files, sound recordings, photographs, and maps.

A significant portion of the collection consists of de Laguna's correspondence with family, friends, colleagues, and students, as well as her informants from the field. Her correspondence covers a wide range of subjects such as family, health, preparations for field work, her publications and projects, the Northwest Coast, her opinions on the state of anthropology, and politics. Among her notable correspondents are Kaj Birket-Smith, J. Desmond Clark, Henry Collins, George Foster, Viola Garfield, Marie-Françoise Guédon, Diamond Jenness, Michael Krauss, Therkel Mathiassen, Catharine McClellan, and Wallace Olson. She also corresponded with several eminent anthropologists including Franz Boas, William Fitzhugh, J. Louis Giddings, Emil Haury, June Helm, Melville Herskovitz, Alfred Kroeber, Helge Larsen, Alan Lomax, Margaret Mead, Froelich Rainey, Leslie Spier, Ruth Underhill, James VanStone, Annette Weiner, and Leslie White.

The field notes in the collection mainly represent de Laguna and her assistants' work in the Northern Tlingit region of Alaska from 1949 to 1954. In addition, the collection contains materials related to her work in the St. Lawrence River Valley in Ontario in 1947 and Catharine McClellan's field journal for her research in Aishihik, Yukon Territory in 1968. Most of the audio reels in the collection are field recordings made by de Laguna, McClellan, and Marie-Françoise Guédon of vocabulary and songs and speeches at potlatches and other ceremonies from 1952 to 1969. Tlingit and several Athapaskan languages including Atna, Tutochone, Upper Tanana, and Tanacross are represented in the recordings. Also in the collection are copies of John R. Swanton's Tlingit recordings and Hiroko Hara's recordings among the Hare Indians. Additional materials related to de Laguna's research on the Northwest Coast include her notes on clans and tribes in Series VI: Subject Files and her notes on Tlingit vocabulary and Yakutat names specimens in Series 10: Card Files.

Drafts and notes for Voyage to Greenland, Travels Among the Dena, and The Tlingit Indians can be found in the collection as well as her drawings for her dissertation and materials related to her work for the Handbook of North American Indians and other publications. There is little material related to Under Mount Saint Elias except for correspondence, photocopies and negatives of plates, and grant applications for the monograph. Of special interest among de Laguna's writings is a photocopy of her historical fiction novel, The Thousand March.

Other materials of special interest are copies of her talks, including her AAA presidential address, and the dissertation of Regna Darnell, a former student of de Laguna's. In addition, materials on the history of anthropology are in the collection, most of which can found with her teaching materials. The collection also contains copies of photographs from the Harriman Alaska Expedition of 1899. Although the bulk of the collection documents de Laguna's professional years, the collection also contains newspaper articles and letters regarding her exceptional performance as a student at Bryn Mawr College and her undergraduate and graduate report cards. Only a few photographs of de Laguna can be found in the collection along with photographs of her 1929 and 1979 trips to Greenland.
Arrangement note:
Arranged in 12 series: (1) Correspondence, 1923-2004; (2) Field Research, 1947-1968; (3) Writings, 1926-2001; (4) Teaching, 1922-1988; (5) Professional Activities, 1939-2001; (6) Subject Files, 1890-2002; (7) Writings by Others, 1962-2000; (8) Personal, 1923-2000; (9) Photographs, 1929-1986; (10) Card Files; (11) Maps, 1928-1973; (12) Sound Recordings, 1904-1973
Biographical / Historical:
Frederica Annis Lopez de Leo de Laguna was a pioneering archaeologist and ethnographer of northwestern North America. Known as Freddy by her friends, she was one of the last students of Franz Boas. She served as first vice-president of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) from 1949 to 1950 and as president of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) from 1966-1967. She also founded the anthropology department at Bryn Mawr College where she taught from 1938 to 1972. In 1975, she and Margaret Mead, a former classmate, were the first women to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Born on October 3, 1906 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, de Laguna was the daughter of Theodore Lopez de Leo de Laguna and Grace Mead Andrus, both philosophy professors at Bryn Mawr College. Often sick as a child, de Laguna was home-schooled by her parents until she was 9. She excelled as a student at Bryn Mawr College, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in politics and economics in 1927. She was awarded the college's prestigious European fellowship, which upon the suggestion of her parents, she deferred for a year to study anthropology at Columbia University under Boas. Her parents had recently attended a lecture given by Boas and felt that anthropology would unite her interests in the social sciences and her love for the outdoors.

After a year studying at Columbia with Boas, Gladys Reichard, and Ruth Benedict, de Laguna was still uncertain whether anthropology was the field for her. Nevertheless, she followed Boas's advice to spend her year abroad studying the connection between Eskimo and Paleolithic art, which would later became the topic of her dissertation. In the summer of 1928, she gained fieldwork experience under George Grant MacCurdy visiting prehistoric sites in England, France, and Spain. In Paris, she attended lectures on prehistoric art by Abbe Breuil and received guidance from Paul Rivet and Marcelin Boule. Engaged to an Englishman she had met at Columbia University, de Laguna decided to also enroll at the London School of Economics in case she needed to earn her degree there. She took a seminar with Bronislaw Malinowski, an experience she found unpleasant and disappointing.

It was de Laguna's visit to the National Museum in Copenhagen to examine the archaeological collections from Central Eskimo that became the turning point in her life. During her visit, she met Therkel Mathiassen who invited her to be his assistant on what would be the first scientific archaeological excavation in Greenland. She sailed off with him in June 1929, intending to return early in August. Instead, she decided to stay until October to finish the excavation with Mathiassen, now convinced that her future lay in anthropology. When she returned from Greenland she broke off her engagement with her fiancé, deciding that she would not able to both fully pursue a career in anthropology and be the sort of wife she felt he deserved. Her experiences in Greenland became the subject of her 1977 memoir, Voyage to Greenland: A Personal Initiation into Anthropology.

The following year, Kaj Birket-Smith, whom de Laguna had also met in Copenhagen, agreed to let her accompany him as his research assistant on his summer expedition to Prince William Sound and Cook Inlet. When Birket-Smith fell ill and was unable to go, de Laguna was determined to continue on with the trip. She convinced the University of Pennsylvania Museum to fund her trip to Alaska to survey potential excavation sites and took as her assistant her 20 year old brother, Wallace, who became a geologist. A close family, de Laguna's brother and mother would later accompany her on other research trips.

In 1931, the University of Pennsylvania Museum hired de Laguna to catalogue Eskimo collections. They again financed her work in Cook Inlet that year as well as the following year. In 1933, she earned her PhD from Columbia and led an archaeological and ethnological expedition of the Prince William Sound with Birket-Smith. They coauthored "The Eyak Indians of the Copper River Delta, Alaska," published in 1938. In 1935, de Laguna led an archaeological and geological reconnaissance of middle and lower Yukon Valley, traveling down the Tanana River. Several decades later, the 1935 trip contributed to two of her books: Travels Among the Dena, published in 1994, and Tales From the Dena, published in 1997.

In 1935 and 1936, de Laguna worked briefly as an Associate Soil Conservationist, surveying economic and social conditions on the Pima Indian Reservation in Arizona. She later returned to Arizona during the summers to conduct research and in 1941, led a summer archaeological field school under the sponsorship of Bryn Mawr College and the Museum of Northern Arizona.

By this time, de Laguna had already published several academic articles and was also the author of three fiction books. Published in 1930, The Thousand March: Adventures of an American Boy with the Garibaldi was her historical fiction book for juveniles. She also wrote two detective novels: The Arrow Points to Murder (1937) and Fog on the Mountain (1938). The Arrow Points to Murder is set in a museum based on her experiences at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and the American Museum of National History. Fog on the Mountain is set in Cook Inlet and draws upon de Laguna's experiences in Alaska. Both detective novels helped to finance her research.

De Laguna began her long career at Bryn Mawr College in 1938 when she was hired as a lecturer in the sociology department to teach the first ever anthropology course at the college. By 1950, she was chairman of the joint department of Sociology and Anthropology, and in 1967, the chairman of the newly independent Anthropology Department. She was also a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania (1947-1949; 1972-1976) and at the University of California, Berkeley (1959-1960; 1972-1973.)

During World War II, de Laguna took a leave of absence from Bryn Mawr College to serve in the naval reserve from 1942 to 1945. As a member of WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service), she taught naval history and codes and ciphers to women midshipmen at Smith College. She took great pride in her naval service and in her later years joined the local chapter of WAVES National, an organization for former and current members of WAVES.

In 1950, de Laguna returned to Alaska to work in the Northern Tlingit region. Her ethnological and archaeological study of the Tlingit Indians brought her back several more times throughout the 1950s and led to the publication of Under Mount Saint Elias in 1972. Her comprehensive three-volume monograph is still considered the authoritative work on the Yakutat Tlingit. In 1954, de Laguna turned her focus to the Atna Indians of Copper River, returning to the area in 1958, 1960, and 1968.

De Laguna retired from Bryn Mawr College in 1972 under the college's mandatory retirement policy. Although she suffered from many ailments in her later years including macular degeneration, she remained professionally active. Five decades after her first visit to Greenland, de Laguna returned to Upernavik in 1979 to conduct ethnographic investigations. In 1985, she finished editing George Thornton Emmons' unpublished manuscript The Tlingit Indians. A project she had begun in 1955, the book was finally published in 1991. In 1986, she served as a volunteer consultant archaeologist and ethnologist for the U. S. Forest Service in Alaska. In 1994, she took part in "More than Words . . ." Laura Bliss Spann's documentary on the last Eyak speaker, Maggie Smith Jones. By 2001, de Laguna was legally blind. Nevertheless, she continued working on several projects and established the Frederica de Laguna Northern Books Press to reprint out-of-print literature and publish new scholarly works on Arctic cultures.

Over her lifetime, de Laguna received several honors including her election into the National Academy Sciences in 1976, the Distinguished Service Award from AAA in 1986, and the Lucy Wharton Drexel Medal from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999. De Laguna's work, however, was respected by not only her colleagues but also by the people she studied. In 1996, the people of Yakutat honored de Laguna with a potlatch. Her return to Yakutat was filmed by Laura Bliss Spann in her documentary Reunion at Mt St. Elias: The Return of Frederica de Laguna to Yakutat.

At the age of 98, Frederica de Laguna passed away on October 6, 2004.

Sources Consulted

Darnell, Regna. "Frederica de Laguna (1906-2004)." American Anthropologist 107.3 (2005): 554-556.

de Laguna, Frederica. Voyage to Greenland: A Personal Initiation into Anthropology. New York: W.W. Norton Co, 1977.

McClellan, Catharine. "Frederica de Laguna and the Pleasures of Anthropology." American Ethnologist 16.4 (1989): 766-785.

Olson, Wallace M. "Obituary: Frederica de Laguna (1906-2004)." Arctic 58.1 (2005): 89-90.
Related Materials:
Although this collection contains a great deal of correspondence associated with her service as president of AAA, most of her presidential records can be found in American Anthropological Association Records 1917-1972. Also at the National Anthropological Archives are her transcripts of songs sung by Yakutat Tlingit recorded in 1952 and 1954 located in MS 7056 and her notes and drawings of Dorset culture materials in the National Museum of Canada located in MS 7265. The Human Studies Film Archive has a video oral history of de Laguna conducted by Norman Markel (SC-89.10.4).

Related collections can also be found in other repositories. The University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania holds materials related to work that de Laguna carried out for the museum from the 1930s to the 1960s. Materials relating to her fieldwork in Angoon and Yakutat can be found in the Rasmuson Library of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in the papers of Francis A. Riddell, a field assistant to de Laguna in the early 1950s. Original photographs taken in the field in Alaska were deposited in the Alaska State Library, Juneau. Both the Archive of Folk Culture at the Library of Congress and the American Philosophical Library have copies of her field recordings and notes. The American Museum of Natural History has materials related to her work editing George T. Emmons' manuscript. De Laguna's papers can also be found at the Bryn Mawr College Archives.
Provenance:
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Frederica de Laguna.
Restrictions:
Some of the original field notes are restricted due to Frederica de Laguna's request to protect the privacy of those accused of witchcraft. The originals are restricted until 2030. Photocopies may be made with the names of the accused redacted.
Rights:
Contact repository for terms of use.
Topic:
Language and languages -- Documentation  Search this
Anthropology -- History  Search this
Genre/Form:
Manuscripts
Maps
Field notes
Correspondence
Photographs
Sound recordings
Citation:
Frederica de Laguna Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Identifier:
NAA.1998-89
See more items in:
Frederica de Laguna Papers
Archival Repository:
National Anthropological Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-naa-1998-89
Additional Online Media:

Circumpolar Stone age

Author:
Gjessing, Gutorm 1906-  Search this
Physical description:
70 p. ; 29 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Arctic regions
Date:
1944
Topic:
Stone age  Search this
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
GN768.G53
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_104645

Norges steinalder

Author:
Gjessing, Gutorm 1906-  Search this
Physical description:
vii, 527 p. illus. 26 cm
Type:
Books
Place:
Norway
Date:
1945
Topic:
Stone age  Search this
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
GN776.N6 G53
GN776.N6G53
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_154725

A circumpolar reappraisal : the legacy of Gutorm Gjessing (1906-1979) : proceedings of an international conference held in Trondheim, Norway, 10-12th October 2008, arranged by the Institute of Archaeology and Religious Studies, and the SAK department of the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) / edited by Christer Westerdahl

Author:
Westerdahl, Christer  Search this
Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet Institutt for arkeologi og religionsvitenskap  Search this
Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet Seksjon for arkeologi og kulturhistorie  Search this
Subject:
Gjessing, Gutorm 1906-  Search this
Physical description:
ii, 378 p. : ill., maps (some col.) ; 30 cm
Type:
Congresses
Place:
Arctic regions
Date:
2010
Topic:
Ethnoarchaeology  Search this
Antiquities  Search this
Call number:
GN673 .C57 2010
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries
EDAN-URL:
edanmdm:siris_sil_959412

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