These papers reflect the professional lives of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Francis La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Due to the close professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche, their papers have been arranged jointly. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939. Included in the collection is correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.
Scope and Contents:
These papers reflect the professional lives of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard University and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Francis La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Due to the close professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche, their papers have been arranged jointly. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939. Included in the collection is correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.
The papers have been divided into three general categories: the papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, the papers of Francis La Flesche, and the ethnographic research of Fletcher and La Flesche. The first two categories represent personal and professional materials of Fletcher and La Flesche. The third section holds the majority of the ethnographic material in the collection.
Of primary concern are Fletcher and La Flesche's ethnological investigations conducted among the Plains Indians, particularly the Omaha and Osage. Fletcher's Pawnee field research and her allotment work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs among the Omaha, Nez Perce, and Winnebago are represented in the collection. A substantial portion of the ethnographic material reflects Fletcher and La Flesche's studies of Native American music. Much of the correspondence in the papers of Fletcher and La Flesche is rich with information about the situation of Omaha peoples in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Also included in the collection are documents related to Fletcher's work with the Archaeological Institute of America and the School for American Archaeology. Additionally, substantial amounts of Fletcher's early anthropological and historical research are found among her correspondence, lectures, anthropological notes, and early field diaries. La Flesche's literary efforts are also generously represented.
The collection is divided into the following 3 series: 1) Alice Cunningham Fletcher papers, 1873-1925; 2) Francis La Flesche papers, 1881-1930; 3) Papers relating to the anthropological research of Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, 1877-1939.
Series 1: Alice Cunningham Fletcher papers is divided into the following 10 subseries: 1.1) Incoming correspondence, 1874-1923 (bulk 1882-1923); 1.2) Outgoing correspondence, 1873-1921; 1.3) Correspondence on specific subjects, 1881-1925; 1.4) Correspondence between Fletcher and La Flesche, 1895-1922; 1.5) Publications, 1882-1920; 1.6) Organizational records, 1904-1921; 1.7) General anthropological notes, undated; 1.8) Lectures, circa 1878-1910; 1.9) Diaries, 1881-1922; 1.10) Biography and memorabilia, 1878-1925.
Series 2: Francis La Flesche papers is divided into the following 6 subseries: 2.11) General correspondence, 1890-1929; 2.12) Correspondence on specific subjects, 1881-1930; 2.13) Publications, 1900-1927; 2.14) Literary efforts, undated; 2.15) Personal diaries, 1883-1924; 2.16) Biography and memorabilia, 1886-1930.
Series 3: Papers relating to the anthropological research of Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche is divided into the following 12 subseries: 3.17) Alaska, 1886-1887; 3.18) Earth lodges, 1882, 1898-1899; 3.19) Music, 1888-1918; 3.20) Nez Perce, 1889-1909; 3.21) Omaha, 1882-1922; 3.22) Osage, 1896-1939; 3.23) Pawnee, 1897-1910; 3.24) Pipes, undated; 3.25) Sioux, 1877-1896; 3.26) Other tribes, 1882-1922; 3.27) Publications collected, 1884-1905, undated; 3.28) Photographs, undated.
Biographical / Historical:
Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923) was an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Francis La Flesche (1856-1923) was an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Chronology of the Life of Alice Cunningham Fletcher
1838 March 15 -- Born in Havana, Cuba
1873-1876 -- Secretary, American Association for Advancement of Women
1879 -- Informal student of anthropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1881 -- Field trip to Omaha and Rosebud Agencies
1882 -- Assistant in ethnology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1882 -- Helped secure land in severalty to Omaha Indians
1882-1883 -- Begins collaboration with Francis La Flesche on the Peabody Museum's collection of Omaha and Sioux artifacts
1883-1884 -- Special Agent, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Omaha Agency
1886 -- Bureau of Education investigation of Alaskan native education
1887-1888 -- Special Disbursing Agent, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Winnebago Agency
1889-1892 -- Special Agent for allotment, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Nez Perce Agency
1890-1899 -- President, Women's Anthropological Society of America
1891-1923 -- Mary Copley Thaw Fellow, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1892-1893 -- Department of Interior consultant, World's Columbian Exposition
1896 -- Vice-President, Section H, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1897 -- Collaborator, Bureau of American Ethnology
1899-1916 -- Editorial board, American Anthropologist
1900 -- Published Indian Story and Song from North America
1901-1902 -- Advisory committee, Anthropology Department, University of California at Berkeley
1903 -- President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1904 -- Published The Hako: A Pawnee Ceremony with James Murie
1908-1913 -- Chair, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1911 -- Honorary Vice-President, Section H, British Association for Advancement of Science
1911 -- Published The Omaha Tribe with Francis La Flesche
1913 -- Chair Emeritus, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1915 -- Published Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs Arranged from American Indian Ceremonials and Sports
1923 April 6 -- Died in Washington, D.C.
Chronology of the Life of Francis La Flesche
1857 December 25 -- Born on Omaha Reservation near Macy, Nebraska
1879 -- Lecture tour, Ponca chief Standing Bear
1881 -- Interpreter, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
1881-1910 -- Clerk, Bureau of Indian Affairs
1891 -- Informally adopted as Fletcher's son
1892 -- LL.B., National University Law School
1893 -- LL.M., National University Law School
1900 -- Published The Middle Five: Indian Boys at School
1906-1908 -- Marriage to Rosa Bourassa
1910-1929 -- Ethnologist, Bureau of American Ethnology
1911 -- Published The Omaha Tribe with Alice Fletcher
1921 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part One
1922 -- Member, National Academy of Sciences
1922-1923 -- President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1925 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part Two
1926 -- Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Nebraska
1928 -- Published The Osage Tribe, Part Three
1932 -- Published Dictionary of the Osage Language
1932 September 5 -- Died in Thurston County, Nebraska
1939 -- Posthumous publication of War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Indians
Additional material related to the professional work of Fletcher and La Flesche in the National Anthropological Archives may be found among the correspondence of the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) and the records of the Anthropological Society of Washington.
Sound recordings made by Fletcher and La Flesche can be found at the Library of Congress. The National Archives Records Administration hold the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), including those relating to allotments in severalty for the Nez Perce by Alice Fletcher. The Nebraska Historical Society has diaries, letters and clippings regarding the La Flesche family, including correspondence of Francis La Flesche and Fletcher. The Radcliffe College Archives holds a manuscript account of Alice Fletcher's four summers with the Nez Perce (1889-1892). Correspondence between Fletcher and F. W. Putnam is also located at the Peabody Museum Archives of Harvard University.
Ethnographic photographs from the collection have been catalogued by tribe in Photo Lot 24.
Glass plate negatives from the collection have been catalogued by tribe in the BAE glass negatives collection (Negative Numbers 4439-4515).
The papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche have been received from an undocumented number of sources. Portions of Fletcher's ethnographic papers were donated to the archives by Mrs. G. David Pearlman in memory of her husband in 1959.
The Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche papers are open for research.
Access to the Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche papers requires an appointment.
The collection includes materials from cultures in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Colombia, Ecuador, and Guiana: Acoma Pueblo, Apache, Arapaho, Arikara, Assiniboine, Caddo, Cahuilla, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chibcha, Chinantec, Chippewa (Ojibwa), Choco, Chol, Chontal, Cochiti Pueblo, Crow, Cuicatec, Eskimo, Flathead, Haida, Hopi, Huastec, Huave, Iowa, Iroquois, Isleta, Karaja, Kwakiutl, Laguna Pueblo, Macusi, Mandan, Maya, Mazahua, Mazatec, Mehinaku, Menomini, Mixe, Mixtec, Navajo, Nez Perce, Osage, Otomi, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pima, Ponca, Potawatomi, Salish, San Blas, San Felipe Pueblo, Sauk & Fox, Shuar, Sioux, Taos Pueblo, Tarasco, Teotihuacan, Tepehua, Tlaxcala, Tlingit, Tonkawa, Totonac, Triqui, Tzental, Tzotzil, Ute, Wampanoag, Zapotec, Zoque, Zuni.
Collection arranged by item number.
Frederick Starr was born in Auburn, New York, on September 2, 1858. He received a Ph.D. in biology in 1884 at Coe College, where he was later appointed professor of biology. Starr did postgraduate work in anthropology at Yale. In 1889 he was appointed head of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History, and in 1892 he was chosen by William Harper to organize the Anthropology Department at the new University of Chicago. Starr remained at the University until his retirement in 1923. Besides his field studies with various Indian tribes in the United States, Starr traveled to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Guiana, Japan, the Philippines, and Africa. He died in Tokyo, Japan, on August 14, 1933. Starr was the author of several books and scholarly articles.
Starr hired professional photographers Charles B. Lang and Louis Grabic to accompany him on his field trips. One lantern slide of Moses Ladd (Menomini) was taken by William H. Jackson.
Dr. Frederick Starr, Purchased, circa 1929
Access restricted. Researchers should contact the staff of the NMAI Archives for an appointment to access the collection.
The Frank Gouldsmith Speck photograph collection includes portraits of individuals and families, as well as scenic shots and landscape views made between 1909 and 1937. Speck was an anthropologist and ethnographer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and worked on behalf of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation collecting ethnographic materials across the Eastern United States and Canada. His collection of photographs includes materials from native communities ranging from Newfoundland to Ontario in Canada and from Maine to South Carolina in the United States.
Scope and Contents:
The Frank Gouldsmith Speck photograph collection includes negatives and a small amount of prints made by Speck throughout the course of his career as an anthropologist and ethnographer. The majority of the photographs in this collection were made while Speck conducted field trips on behalf of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation between 1924 and 1932, though there are photographs from before and after this time. This collection has been arranged into Series by geographical location and then into subseries by culture group or community. Series 1: Newfoundland and Labrador: Innu, Mushuaunnuat, 1916-1935; Series 2: Quebec: Innu, Mistassini Cree, Lorette Huron, Wawenock, Mohawk, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, 1910-1937; Series 3: New Brunswick and Nova Scotia: Maliseet, Mi'kmaq, 1909-1917; Series 4: Ontario: Six Nations/Grand River (Naticoke, Mohawk, Cayuga, Mahican, Tutelo), Oneida Nation, 1914-1937; Series 5: Maine and New Hampshire: Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Abenaki, 1910-1924; Series 6: Massachussets and Rhode Island: Wampanoag, Nauset, 1914-1931; Series 7: Connecticut: Mohegan, Niantic, Schaghticoke, Pequot, 1912-1931; Series 8: Delaware: Nanticoke and Rappahanock, 1911-1925; Series 9: Virginia and Maryland: Rappahanock, Chickahominy, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Nansemond, Potomac, Accomac, Powhatan, 1915-1924; Series 10: North Carolina and South Carolina: Catawba, Eastern Band of Cherokee, 1915-1930.
Many of Frank Speck's photographs are individual and family portraits of community members, many identified, posed outdoors in front of homes and community buildings. There are also landscape views as well as photographs taken during community events. There are a small amount of photographs that have now been restricted due to cultural sensitivity though for the most part Speck did not photograph culturally sensitive activities.
The collection is intellectually arranged in 10 Series by geographic region and within each series by culture group. The negatives are physically arranged by catalog number.
Biographical / Historical:
Frank Gouldsmith Speck was born on November 8, 1881 in Brooklyn, New York. He studied under the prominent linguist John Dyneley Prince and anthropologist Franz Boas at Columbia University, receiving his BA in 1904 and MA in 1905. He received his Ph.D. in 1908 from the University of Pennsylvania. His doctoral dissertation on the ethnography of the Yuchi became a basis for an article which later appeared in the Handbook of American Indians. That same year Speck became an assistant in the University of Pennsylvania Museum and an instructor in anthropology at the University. He was made assistant professor in 1911, and professor and chairperson of the department in 1925, a position which he held until his death in 1950. Speck was the founder of the Philadelphia Anthropological Society, and was vice-president of the American Anthropological Association from 1945-46. Speck's research concentration was on the Algonkian speaking peoples. Speck studied every aspect of a culture: language, ethnobiology, technology, decorative art, myths, religion, ceremonialism, social organization, and music. Collecting material culture was also an integral part of Speck's fieldwork. His collections can be found in museums around the world, one of which is the National Museum of the American Indian. He is the author of numerous books and articles. Frank G. Speck died February 6, 1950. (A. Irving Hallowell, American Anthropologist, Vol. 53, No. 1, 1951)
The Frank G. Speck Papers can be found at the American Philosophical Society (Mss.Ms.Coll.126) along with additional photographic materials by Speck.
Frank Speck published extensively in the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation publications; "Indian Notes" and "Indian Notes and Monographs." These publications are avialable through the Smithsonian Institution Libraries or online on the Internet Archive.
A small amount of notes from Speck's field work can be found in the Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation records (NMAI.AC.001) in Box 273, Folder 18 through Box 274 Folder 2.
Close to 4000 ethnographic and archeological items were collected by Speck for the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (MAI) and are now in the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) collection. For more information about these objects contact the NMAI Collections Department.
The majority of the negatives were gifted to the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation (MAI) by Frank Speck in 1927. The group of Nanticoke photographs were purchased by the MAI in 1915 and smaller amounts of photographs were gifted and purchased by the MAI between 1923 and 1942.
Access to NMAI Archive Center collections is by appointment only, Monday - Friday, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm. Please contact the archives to make an appointment (phone: 301-238-1400, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reverend James Owen Dorsey (1848-1895) was a missionary and Bureau of American Ethnology ethnologist who conducted extensive research on Siouan tribes and languages.The papers of James Owen Dorsey comprise mostly ethnographic and linguistic materials on various tribes of the Siouan language family as well as tribes from Siletz Reservation in Oregon. These materials include texts and letters with interlineal translations; grammar notes; dictionaries; drawings; and his manuscripts. In addition, the collection contains Dorsey's correspondence, newspaper clippings, his obituaries, and reprints.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains James O. Dorsey's research and writings as a BAE ethnologist, as well as his earlier work as a missionary among the Ponca. The vast majority of the collection pertains to his research on Siouan-Catawban languages, including the Dakota and Dhegiha languages, Chiwere, Winnebago, Mandan, Hidatsa, Tutelo, Biloxi, and Catawba. His research on Athapascan, Kusan, Takilman, and Yakonan languages from his field work at Siletz Reservation are also present, as well as some notes on the Caddoan languages. Dorsey's research files include linguistic and ethnological field notes, reading notes, stories and myths, vocabularies, drawings, and unpublished and published manuscripts. The collection also contains Omaha, Ponca, Quapaw, and Biloxi dictionaries that he compiled and materials relating to his work editing Steven Riggs' Dakota-English Dictionary. Additional noteworthy materials in the collection are Teton texts and drawings from George Bushotter and drawings by Stephen Stubbs (Kansa), Pahaule-gagli (Kansa), and George Miller (Omaha). The collection also contains Dorsey's correspondence, newspaper clippings, obituaries, and his collection of reprints.
The collection is organized into 6 series: 1) Siouan; 2) Siletz Reservation; 3) Caddoan; 4) General Correspondence; 5) Personal Papers; 6) Miscellaneous & Reprints.
Reverend James Owen Dorsey (1848-1895) was a missionary and Bureau of American Ethnology ethnologist who conducted extensive research on Siouan tribes and languages.
Dorsey was born on October 31, 1848 in Baltimore, Maryland. He exhibited a talent for languages at an early age. At age 6 he learned the Hebrew alphabet and was able to read the language at age 10. In 1867 Dorsey attended the Theological Seminary of Virginia and was ordained a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1871. In May of that year, Dorsey traveled to the Dakota Territory to serve as a missionary among the Ponca. Plagued by ill health, Dorsey was forced to end his missionary work in August 1873. By that time, however, he had learned the Ponca language well enough to converse with members of the tribe without an interpreter.
Dorsey returned to Maryland and engaged in parish work while continuing his studies of Siouan languages. His linguistic talents and knowledge of these languages attracted the attention of Major John Wesley Powell. Powell arranged for Dorsey to work among the Omaha in Nebraska from 1878 to 1880 to collect linguistic and ethnological notes. When the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) was established in 1879, Powell recruited Dorsey to join the staff.
As an ethnologist for the BAE, Dorsey continued his research on Siouan tribes. His studies focused on languages but also included Siouan personal names, folklore, social organization, religion, beliefs, and customs. He conducted fieldwork among the Tutelo at Six Nations on Grand River in Upper Canada (1882); the Kansa, Osage, and Quapaw in Indian Territory (1883-1884); the Biloxi at Lecompte, Rapides Parish, Louisiana (1892); and again with the Quapaw at the Quapaw Mission (1894). He also worked with Native Americans that visited DC, including George Bushotter (Teton), Philip Longtail (Winnebago), Samuel Fremont (Omaha), and Little Standing Buffalo (Ponca). He also spent time at Siletz Reservation in 1884 to collect linguistic notes on the Athapascan, Kusan, Takilman, and Yakonan stocks.
In addition to his research, Dorsey helped found the American Folklore Society and served as the first vice-president of the association. He also served as vice-president of Section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
At the age of 47, Dorsey died of typhoid fever on February 4, 1895.
1st-16th Annual Reports of the Bureau of American Ethnology. 1881-1897.
Hewitt, J.N.B. 1895. "James Owen Dorsey" American Anthropologist A8, 180-183.
McGee, W.J. 1895. "In Memoriam." Journal of American Folklore 8(28): 79-80.
1848 -- Born on October 31 in Baltimore, Maryland.
1871 -- Ordained a deacon of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
1871-1873 -- Served as a missionary among the Ponca in Dakota Territory.
1878-1880 -- Conducted fieldwork among the Omaha in Nebraska.
1879 -- Joined the staff of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
1882 -- Conducted fieldwork among the Tutelo at Six Nations on Grand River in Upper Canada.
1883-1884 -- Conducted fieldwork among the Kansa, Osage, and Quapaw in Indian Territory.
1887 -- Worked with George Bushotter to record information regarding the language and culture of the Dakota.
1884 -- Conducted fieldwork at Siletz Reservation.
1892 -- Conducted fieldwork among the Biloxi at Lecompte, Rapides Parish, Louisiana.
1894 -- Conducted fieldwork among the Quapaw at the Quapaw Mission in Indian Territory.
1895 -- Died of typhoid fever on February 4th at the age of 47.
The James O. Dorsey Papers are open for research. Access to the James O. Dorsey Papers requires an appointment
Manuscript 4800 James O. Dorsey papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Creation of this finding aid was funded through support from the Arcadia Fund.
Digitization and preparation of additional materials for online access has been funded also by the National Science Foundation under BCS Grant No. 1561167 and the Recovering Voices initiative at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
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.
220 Linear feet (The total extent of the collection is 191.41 linear feet (consisting of 473 document boxes and 2 record boxes) plus 254 sound recordings, 94 computer disks, 42 card file boxes, 85 oversize folders, 9 rolled items, 18 binder boxes, and 3 oversize boxes. Of the total extent, 4.79 linear feet (14 boxes) are restricted.)
This collection contains the professional papers of William Curtis Sturtevant and documents his activities as Curator of North American Ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History, his work as the editor-in-chief of the Handbook of North American Indians, his research among the Seminole and Iroquois people, and other professional activities. The collection is comprised of books, sound recordings, research and field notes, realia, artifacts, clippings, microfilm, negatives, slides, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, memorandums, card files, exhibition catalogs, articles, and bibliographies.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains the professional papers of William Curtis Sturtevant and documents his activities as Curator of North American Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, his work as the editor-in-chief of the Handbook of North American Indians, his research among the Seminole and Iroquois people, and his involvement in various professional activities. The collection is comprised of research and field notes, sound recordings, realia, clippings, negatives, slides, prints, published and unpublished writings, correspondence, memorandums, conference papers and meeting notes, card files, exhibition catalogs, articles, bibliographies, student files such as class notes and papers from Sturtevant's years as an anthropology student, teaching materials including lecture notes and exams, daily planners, passports, military records, artwork including prints and lithographs, maps, and computer files.
The materials in this collection document Sturtevant's career as a preeminent North American ethnologist, museum curator, university professor, his role as General Editor of the Handbook of North American Indians, and his contributions to the field of Anthropology. From his early work with the Seminole Indians of Florida to his forays into Burma, and his decades-long study of how Native Americans have been depicted in artistic and popular culture, Sturtevant's diverse intellectual interests are represented in his research files. A copious note taker, Sturtevant captured his observations and opinions of everything from meetings with colleagues to museum exhibits. Sturtevant's commitment to the anthropological profession can be found in the notes and programs of the many conferences, symposiums, and lecture series he attended and at which he presented. He also held numerous leadership positions in various professional associations and sat on the board of directors/trustees for several cultural organizations including Survival International and the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation. Sturtevant was respected for his vast knowledge of indigenous peoples and he received a voluminous amount of correspondence from colleagues who often included copies of their papers and grant proposals. He kept many of these works, which, it appears he used as reference material. Sturtevant's own work is reflected in his writings; he published over 200 scholarly papers, articles, and books.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.
This collection is organized in 14 series: 1. Correspondence, 1951-2008; 2. Research Files, 1851, 1860s, 1880s, 1890, 1939-2006; 3. Writings, 1952-2006; 4. Professional Activities, 1952-2006; 5. Smithsonian, 1954-2008; 6. Handbook of North American Indians, 1971-2007; 7. Biographical Files, 1933-2007; 8. Student Files, 1944-1985; 9. Subject Files, 1902-2002; 10. Photographs, 1927-2004; 11. Artwork, 1699-1998; 12. Maps, 1949-1975; 13. Sound Recordings, 1950-2000; 14. Computer Files, 1987-2006.
William C. Sturtevant (1926-2007), preeminent North American ethnologist, museum curator, and university professor, was best known for his contributions to Seminole ethnology, as curator of North American Ethnology in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, and for his work as the general editor of the Handbook of North American Indians.
Sturtevant's passion for studying Native peoples began at a young age. In third grade "after a class on American Indians, he asked his father what kind of people study Indians, and his father replied, 'Anthropologists.' Sturtevant decided then that he would make anthropology his career" (Merrill 11). After graduating with honors from the University of California at Berkeley in 1949, Sturtevant went on to Yale University to complete his graduate work in anthropology. When it came time to decide on what area of North America he should focus his research, one of his faculty members at Yale, Irving Rouse, "suggested he consider the Seminoles of south Florida. By the end of his first fieldwork season, Sturtevant was convinced that the dearth of ethnographic information about these Seminoles and their status as one of the least acculturated of all North American Indian societies justified ethnographic research among them and offered the possibility of making an important contribution to North American ethnology" (Merrill 13). Sturtevant spent the summers of 1950 and 1951 conducting preliminary fieldwork among the Mikasuki-speaking Seminole and in 1952 he took up temporary residence at Big Cypress Reservation to undertake research for his dissertation, "The Mikasuki Seminole: Medical Beliefs and Practices." This work focused on Seminole medicine, but also included Sturtevant's analysis of Seminole worldview, religion, history, inter-ethnic relations, material culture, economy, kinship, language, and social organization.
In 1954, while he was finishing his dissertation, Sturtevant made the transition from student of anthropology to professional anthropologist. He was hired as an instructor in Yale's Anthropology Department and began his career in museum work as an assistant curator of anthropology at the Yale Peabody Museum. After receiving his PhD from Yale in 1955, Sturtevant moved on to the Smithsonian Institution, where he accepted a position as a research anthropologist at the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). This position afforded Sturtevant the chance to continue to explore his many research interests in ways that a full time professorship or museum curatorship could not. Over the next ten years he studied the Catawba in South Carolina; the Seneca and Cayuga nations of the Iroquois League in New York, Oklahoma, and Ontario; continued his work with the Seminole; visited European museums to examine early ethnographic examples and possible European prototypes of eastern North American Indian material culture; and spent a year in Burma. In 1963, Sturtevant and his wife, Theda Maw, the daughter of a prominent Burmese family, took their three young children to Burma so that they could visit with Maw's family. Sturtevant took this as an opportunity to branch out from his Native American research and spent the year visiting neighborhoods in Rangoon and villages in the surrounding countryside, examining archival materials, studying the Burmese language, learning about Burmese clothing and other aspects of the culture, and taking photographs. He also collected 386 items of clothing and other objects for the Smithsonian.
When Sturtevant returned from Burma, he found the BAE had been dissolved. In 1965, he was transferred from the now-defunct BAE to the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), where he became curator of North American Ethnology, a position he held for the next forty-two years. During his tenure at NMNH Sturtevant oversaw all the North American ethnology collections, planned exhibitions, served on committees, and sponsored interns and fellows. One of Sturtevant's primary duties at NMNH was serving as the General Editor of the Handbook of North American Indians, "a major multi-volume reference work summarizing anthropological, linguistic, and historical knowledge about native peoples north of Mexico" (Jackson). Each volume was designed to represent a geographic or topical area of Americanist study. As General Editor, Sturtevant selected volume editors, chapter authors, oversaw office staff, and proofread manuscripts over the course of production.
Besides focusing on the Handbook, much of Sturtevant's time was taken up by responsibilities he held outside the Institution. Sturtevant was extremely involved in professional anthropological associations and held many leadership positions. Fresh out of graduate school, he began a three-year term on the Board of Governors of the Anthropological Society of Washington in 1957. He later became a member of the executive committee of the Florida Anthropological Society, served as book-review editor and associate editor of the American Anthropologist from 1962-1968, was a member of the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Anthropological Research in Museums and was both vice president and president of the committee once it became the Council for Museum Anthropology, was on the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Archives, served three terms on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation from 1976-1982 and was appointed to a fourth term between 1984 and 1986, and sat on the Board of Directors of Survival International from 1982-1988. He was President of the American Society for Ethnohistory, the American Ethnological Society, the American Anthropological Association, and the Anthropological Society of Washington. Sturtevant also taught classes at Johns Hopkins University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology, served as a consultant on exhibits at other museums, and reviewed manuscripts for scholarly publications.
Sturtevant remained active in the profession throughout his later years. After divorcing Theda Maw in 1986, he married Sally McLendon, a fellow anthropologist, in 1990 and they undertook several research projects together. Sturtevant was recognized for his dedication and contributions to the field of anthropology in 1996 when he was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters by Brown University, and in 2002 when his colleagues published a festschrift in his honor, Anthropology, History, and American Indians: Essays in Honor of William Curtis Sturtevant.
Sturtevant died on March 2, 2007 at the Collingswood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rockville, MD after suffering from emphysema.
Estrada, Louie. 2007. William C. Sturtevant; Expert on Indians. Washington Post, March 17. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/16/AR2007031602273.html, accessed August 31, 2012.
Jackson, Jason Baird. 2007. William C. Sturtevant (1926-2007). http://museumanthropology.blogspot.com/2007/03/william-c-sturtevant-1926-2007.html, accessed August 31, 2012.
Merrill, William L. 2002. William Curtis Sturtevant, Anthropologist. In Anthropology, History, and American Indians: Essays in Honor of William Curtis Sturtevant. William L. Merrill and Ives Goddard, eds. Pp. 11-36. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.
1926 -- Born July 26 in Morristown, NJ
1944 -- Entered the University of California at Berkeley as a second-semester freshman
1944 -- Attended summer school at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City where he took courses on Mexican archaeology and South American ethnology
1945 -- Drafted into the United States Navy
1946 -- Received an honorable discharge from the Navy with the rank of pharmacist's mate third class and returned to UC Berkeley
1947 -- Attended the University of New Mexico's summer field school in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
1949 -- January: Received his Bachelor's degree with honors in anthropology from UC Berkeley
1949 -- Began graduate studies at Yale University
1950-1951 -- Spent the summers of 1950 and 1951 in Florida conducting fieldwork among the Mikasuki-speaking Seminole
1951 -- Conducted his first research study of the Iroquois, a classification of Seneca musical instruments, their construction and use, with Harold Conklin
1952 -- May: Moved to Big Cypress Reservation in Florida to conduct research for his dissertation. He focused on Seminole medicine, but also collected physical anthropological data such as blood-type frequencies, handedness, and color blindness
1952 -- July 26: Married Theda Maw
1954 -- Hired by Yale University as an instructor in the Department of Anthropology and as an assistant curator of anthropology in the Yale Peabody Museum
1955 -- Received PhD in anthropology from Yale University
1956 -- Joined the staff of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE) as a research anthropologist
1957 -- Began a three-year term on the Board of Governors of the Anthropological Society of Washington
1957 -- Traveled to Rock Hill, South Carolina to collect linguistic data from Sam Blue, the last member of the Catawba tribe to have maintained some proficiency in the Catawba language. While there, he made a small collection of Catawba pottery for the United States National Museum
1957-1958 -- Spent seven weeks continuing his research among the New York Seneca
1959 -- Returned to Florida to study Seminole ethnobotany. He also collected ethnographic materials, especially objects made for the tourist market, which he deposited in the United States National Museum
1959-1960 -- Member of the executive committee of the Florida Anthropological Society
1960 -- July and August: Visited 17 European museums to examine early ethnographic examples and possible European prototypes of eastern North American Indian material culture
1961-1962 -- Spent the summers of these years conducting ethnographic fieldwork among the Seneca-Cayuga in Oklahoma
1962 -- October: Visited the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada to conduct fieldwork among the Seneca and Cayuga there
1962-1968 -- Book-review editor and associate editor of the American Anthropologist
1963 -- October: Spent the year in Burma; visited neighborhoods in Rangoon and villages in the surrounding countryside, examined photographs in several archives, studied the Burmese language, and read extensively about the country's history and culture. Assembled notes on Burmese clothing and other aspects of the culture, took hundreds of photographs, and made a collection of 386 items of clothing and other objects for the Smithsonian
1964 -- Visited Inle Lake in the Southern Shan States southeast of Mandalay, where he examined local approaches to artificial island agriculture
1964-1981 -- Became a member of the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Anthropological Research in Museums, which became the Council for Museum Anthropology in 1974. Sturtevant was the Council's first vice president, serving two terms between 1974 and 1978, and was its president from 1978 to 1981
1965 -- Became curator of North American Ethnology in the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History after the dissolution of the BAE
1965-1966 -- President of the American Society for Ethnohistory
1966 -- Named the editor of the Handbook of North American Indians
1967-1968 -- Fulbright scholar and lecturer at Oxford University's Institute of Social Anthropology
1969 -- Began serving on the American Anthropological Association's Committee on Archives
1974-1989 -- Adjunct Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University
1976-1982 -- Served three terms on the Board of Trustees of the Museum of the American Indian-Heye Foundation and was appointed to a fourth term between 1984 and 1986
1977 -- President of the American Ethnological Society
1980-1981 -- President of the American Anthropological Association
1981 -- Spent part of the spring semester at the University of California Berkeley as a Regents Lecturer
1982-1988 -- Board of Directors of Survival International
1986 -- Divorced Theda Maw
1986-1987 -- Smithsonian Fellow at Oxford University's Worcester College
1990 -- Married Sally McLendon
1992 -- President of the Anthropological Society of Washington
1996 -- Awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters at Brown University
2007 -- Died March 2 in Rockville, MD
Other materials relating to William C. Sturtevant at the National Anthropological Archives are included in the following collections:
Photo Lot 59
Photo Lot 79-51
Photo Lot 80-3
Photo Lot 81R
Photo Lot 86-68 (6)
Photo Lot 86-68 (7)
American Society for Ethnohistory records
Committee on Anthropological Research in Museum Records
Handbook of North American Indians records
Records of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History
Gordon Davis Gibson Papers, Sound Recordings
SPC Se Powhatan Confederacy Mattapony BAE No # 01790700
DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04913800
DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04913900
DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04914000
Negative MNH 1530
Negative MNH 1530 B
Sturtevant is listed as a correspondent in the following NAA collections:
Administrative file, 1949-1965, Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology
John Lawrence Angel Papers
James Henri Howard Papers
Donald Jayne Lehmer Papers
John Victor Murra Papers
Records of the Society for American Archaeology
Albert Clanton Spaulding Papers
Waldo Rudolph Wedel and Mildred Mott Wedel Papers
Copies of sound recordings made by William C. Sturtevant can be found at The California Language Archive at UC Berkeley in two collections, The William Sturtevant collection of Creek/Seminole sound recordings, which includes 31 minutes of Northern Muskogean linguistic field recordings from 1951, and The William Sturtevant collection of Mikasuki sound recordings, which includes 33 minutes of Mikasuki linguistic field recordings from 1951. Two sound tape reels of Seminole music Sturtevant recorded in Florida in 1951 can be found at Wesleyan University's World Music Archives. Folk songs on these recordings include "Scalping Sickness," "Bear Sickness with blowing," "Bear sickness without blowing," "Lullaby," "Feather Dance," "Snake Dance," and "Crazy Dance." Performers include Josie Billie, Lee Cypress, Harvey Jumper, Boy Jim, Charlie (Johnny?) Cypress, Little Tiger Tail, Billy Ossiola, and Charlie Billy Boy.
One video tape, "Seminole History and Tradition", was transferred to the Human Studies Film Archives.
Series 2.2, Tukabahchee Plate: Glass negative of spectrogram from FBI (Box 135), removed for storage with other glass plate negatives.
These papers were transferred to the National Anthropological Archives by the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History.
Files containing Sturtevant's students' grades have been restricted, as have his students' and colleagues' grant and fellowships applications. Restricted files were separated and placed at the end of their respective series in boxes 87, 264, 322, 389-394, 435-436, 448, 468, and 483. For preservation reasons, his computer files are also restricted. Seminole sound recordings are restricted. Access to the William C. Sturtevant Papers requires an apointment.
William C. Sturtevant papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The papers of William C. Sturtevant were processed with the assistance of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Historical Archives Program grant awarded to Dr. Ives Goddard. Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.