Truman Michelson's handwritten linguistic notes on various Algonquian languages from his work with students at Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania during the winter of 1911-1912. The notes include information about the students he worked with, vocabulary, grammar, and an Arapaho text. Mary Belgarde and Patrick Azure provided information on Turtle Mountain Chippewa (which Michelson determined is Cree); Dorothy Morse on Northern Chippewa (near Duluth); Flora Masta on Abenaki; Grover Allen (a Kickapoo) on Potawatomi; Louise Kitchikum (likely Kachicum) on Menominee; and Bruce Groesbeck on Northern Arapaho.
Notes are organized by language.
NAA MS 2703
Title changed from "Materials relating to various Algonquian languages" 4/15/2014.
Penobscot vocabulary and ethnological notes, most likely from Truman Michelson's field work in Maine. One of the people he interviewed in the notes is Alexander Sapil (possibly Sapiel), identified by Michelson as Passamaquoddy.
Notebook containing linguistic, ethnological, and anthropometric notes on the Chippewa collected by Truman Michelson in L'Anse and Baraga in Michigan. His notes include Chippewa words and phrases with glosses in English, stories, and anthropometric measurements.
See MS 7230 for translations of stories.
NAA MS 1830
Title changed from "Linguistics and ethnology" 3/13/2014.
Handwritten notes on the Piegan Blackfoot language from Truman Michelson's work with Mabel Monroe, whose mother was Piegan. Includes lexical and grammatical notes, text (concerning Trickster) with free translation, and kinship terms.
NAA MS 2813-a
Title changed from "Piegan Blackfoot linguistic notes 1910" 4/7/2014.
Cheyenne and Sutaio stories and notes collected by Truman Michelson from his work with Badger, Bull Thigh, Medicine Top, William Somers, and Tall Bull at the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Montana. The notes include information about war and medicine societies and Cheyenne and Sutaio history.
NAA MS 2828
Title changed from "Cheyenne Stories and Narratives August 25- September 8, 1910" 5/13/2014.
Notes and texts collected by Truman Michelson during his field work among the Piegan Blackfoot in Montana in 1910. The materials consist primarily of stories in English and ethnographic notes covering topics such as Crazy Dog society, Sun Dance, and other ceremonies and societies. There are also notes on Piegan vocabulary and Chippewa Sun Dance and Medicine Dance. Michelson obtained information from various people, including David Duvall, who also served as an interpreter; Mountain Chief; George Pablo; Little Young Man; Norah Thomas; James Vielle; and Julie White Swan.
NAA MS 2827
Title changed from "Field notes concerning Piegan Blackfoot ethnography, including ceremonials and societies, with some linguistic notes June-July, 1910" 5/13/2014.
Ethnological and linguistic notes collected by Truman Michelson during his fieldwork among the Munsee in Kansas and the Delaware in Oklahoma in 1912. Also letters received in 1913 from Silas Longbone, one of the Delaware with whom Michelson worked closely. The majority of the notes are on the Delaware, and include Delaware stories in English. According to Ives Goddard, most of the information was provided by Elk Hair, the last great Delaware ceremonialist. Longbone served as an interpreter.
Contents of Delaware files: F.1) Letters from Silas Longbone, Dewey. Oklahoma, January 10, 1913. 5 pages; F.2) Ethnological notes. Longbone, informant. 3 pages; F.3) Legend. 8 pages; F.4) Doll Dance. 11 pages. Notes on small sheets, 2 pages; F.5 ) Delaware linguistic notes. 4 unnumbered pages. Text with interl. translation. 8 pages. Notes on small sheets, 5 pages. (17 pages total); F.6) Notes from Elk Hair. December 12  11 pages; F.7) [Story of Delawares and White People] 10 pages; F.8) "Doctoring. Otter Skin Dance, ritualistic origin." 9 pages. Plus small sheet numbered "2". (10 pages.); F.9) Story of Wehixamokas, "the Delaware Sampson." Possibly from Longbone, with comments at end by Silas and Elkhair. 21 pages; F.10) Delaware Meeting House. Elk Hair, age 62. English text. 18 and 1 page (Also 3 pages notes on small sheets, possibly unrelated.); F.11) Miscellaneous ethnological and linguistic notes, apparently Delaware of Oklahoma. 8 pages.
Contents of Munsee files: F.12) "Munsee notes," ethnological and linguistic. Informants: Mr and Mrs Veix, Mr Caleb, Mrs Plake, Mr Eliot, Rufus Caleb, Joab Samuel, Mrs Spooner. 6 and 6 and 1 plus 3 pages. (16 pages total); F.13) [Munsee. Mrs Plake mentioned as 1 inft.] Text with interlinear English translation. 10 pages. Vocabulary and other linguistic notes, 9 unnumbered pages and pages numbered 2-8. (26 pages, total)
Truman Michelson conducted research among the Kickapoo in 1929 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. During this time, he worked with Joseph Murdock, a Mexican Kickapoo and former student at Carlisle Indian Industrial School. These notes contain information from Murdock and include phonetic transcriptions of vocabulary, a list of gentes, and some personal names.
Shawnee linguistic notes collected by Truman Michelson, most likely during his fieldwork in Oklahoma. The notes may be from Michelson's work with Charley Switch, whose name appears on the top of the first page. Notes consist of Shawnee terms and phrases with English glosses.
Cheyenne and Sutaio notes collected by Truman Michelson from Wolf Chief, Bull Thigh, and Wrapped Hair, with Milton Whiteman as interpreter. Subjects include: Sutaio-Cheyenne history, Cheyenne relationship terms, joking relationship, English-Cheyenne-Sutaio vocabulary, Cheyenne soldier societies (Red Hoof society, Dog Soldiers, Elk society, Fox soldiers), Sutaio tales (Everybody starving, Prairie chicken), Sutaio customs, Cheyenne customs, and berdaches. According to the BAE catalog card, these notes were collected in Clinton, Oklahoma, which is most likely incorrect. His 1913-1914 correspondence in the Records of the BAE and the 35th BAE Annual Report indicate that he conducted fieldwork on the Sutaio during this period at Tongue River Reservation in Montana.
NAA MS 2684-a
Title changed from "Notes on Cheyenne and Sutaio. August 11-15, 1913" 4/7/2014.
Ethnological and linguistic notes collected by Truman Michelson on the Arapaho. Michelson obtained ethnological information from Little Shield, Sun Road, and Wolf Bear, with John Goggles serving as interpreter. Topics include games and accounts of Friday and Bad Arm (Thomas Fitzpatrick). Also among the ethnological notes are Michelson's observations of a peyote lodge ceremony with comparisons to Alfred Kroeber's descriptions. The linguistic notes are more extensive and include vocabulary and grammar notes from Goggles and other sources.
NAA MS 2707
Title changed from "Miscellaneous ethnological notes; linguistic notes; vocabulary Apparently 1910; certain pages dated 1910" 4/15/2014.
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.
The collection consists of one (1) notebook containing Franz Boas' notes on the Nisqa'a. The notebook includes a vocabulary and several pages of sketches. There are also two loose pages of notes and pages 3-6 of the newsletter of The New York Society for Ethical Culture (circa 1909).
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.
Franz Boas (1858-1942) was a German-American anthropologist and pioneer of modern anthropological practice. He studied physics and geography at the universities at Heidelberg and Bonn before completing a doctoral program in physical geography at Kiel in 1881. After graduation, he joined an expedition of Baffin Island (1883-1884), which influenced his decision to him to focus on cultural tradition rather than biological and physical influences. In 1885, Boas emigrated to the United States, where he took an editorial position with the journal Science and started what would become his most famous ethnographic project, working among the Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw) Indians, in 1886. Boas spent three years teaching at Clark University in Massachusetts, then took an appointment at the Field Museum in Chicago in 1892. Boas then moved to New York, where he joined the American Museum of Natural History (1895-1905) and began teaching at Columbia University in 1896. For 37 years, Boas established himself as an academic and mentored numerous future influential anthropologists, including Margaret Mead, Alfred Kroeber, Edward Sapir, and Zora Neale Hurston. He also served as one of the founders of both the American Anthropological Association and the International Journal of American Linguistics.
NAA MS 2135
Niska notes and sketches
The National Anthropological Archives holds additional material by Franz Boas concerning the Nisga'a in MS 348 Niska Manuscript and MS 1823 Nisqa (Niska) Dictionary.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
MS 2135 Franz Boas notebook concerning the Nisga'a, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution