The Frederic G. Cassidy papers contain sound recordings and partial transcriptions; drafts of manuscripts and conference papers; and one map, all relating to his work on Jamaican and Creole lanugages.
Scope and Contents:
Of primary interest in the Frederic G. Cassidy papers are his 1952 sound recordings of everyday Jamaican people. The recordings are itemized and described according to a typed inventory found among the papers. There are partial handwritten notes and transcriptions of some of the recordngs as well as a map of Jamaica which Cassidy used in his field work. The papers also contain drafts of articles and conference papers on Jamiacan and Creole languages. It is not clear which, if any, of these drafts were published.
Biographical / Historical:
Frederic Gomes Cassidy (1907-2000) was a Jamaican-born lexicographer who is best known as a long time editor and director of the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) Project at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he was a professor of English. In 1951 Cassidy received a Fullbright Research Fellowship to go back to Jamaica to interview people about their daily lives. These recordings became the source for Jamaica Talk (1961) and the Dictionary of Jamaican English (1967) which he co-authored with R.B.LePage.
Digital surrogates of the sound recordings are also held by the Dictionary of American Regional English at the University of Wisconsin and at the University of the West Indies Archives in Kingston, Jamaica.
This collection was donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Claire M. Cassidy and Michael Cassidy in 2008.
The Frederic G. Cassidy papers and sound recordings are open for research. Access to the Frederic G. Cassidy papers and sound recordings requires an appointment. Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
The collection documents George Eaton Simpson's fieldwork in Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Nigeria from 1936-1964. There are 704 images in several formats including negatives, prints, and slides. The photographs were primarily made by Simpson, but a few were made by Frederic Ramsey, Jr. Ramsey's prints are stamped on verso with his name. Many prints and slides are annotated by Simpson.
The collection also includes a few reprints of articles based on Simpson's field work and words and musical transcription from Savalou Ricourt, a musician of Port au Prince in 1937.
The collection is arranged into six series:
1. Haiti, 1936-1937
2. Jamaica, 1953, 1957
3. Trinidad, 1960
4. Nigeria, 1964
5. Lantern slides, undated
6. Publications, 1940-1987
George Eaton Simpson (1904-1998) was an anthropologist whose focus was the various social aspects of Caribbean religions. He wrote over 60 articles and books, and taught sociology and anthropology at Oberlin College from 1947-1971.
Born in Knoxville, Iowa, Simpson received his B.S. from Coe College in 1926, his M.A. from the University of Missouri in 1927, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1934. In 1947 he began teaching at Oberlin College in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. In addition to teaching classes, Simpson served on numerous committees and as department chair.
Simpson conducted fieldwork in the Caribbean, specifically Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad, and Nigeria. He focused primarily on Caribbean religions such as Vodun in Haiti, Rastafarianism in Jamaica, and the Spiritual Baptists in Trinidad. His fieldwork has been documented in numerous articles and books, including "The Vodun Service in Northern Haiti", "The Shango Cult in Nigeria and Trinidad", and Black Religions in the New World. He occasionally collaborated on articles with fellow anthropologists Joseph G. Moore and J. Milton Yinger. He also served as a visiting professor at several leading universities.
He was the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Wellcome Medal for Anthropological Research, the Anisfield-Wolf Award in Race Relations (with J. Milton Yinger), Doctor of Humane Letters – Oberlin College, and Doctor of Humane Letters – Coe College.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 93-14
Additional photographs from Simpson are held in National Anthropological Archives Photo Lot 2001-24.
The George Eaton Simpson Film Study of Plaisance, Haiti, 1937, accession No. 92.12.1 in the Smithsonian Institution Human Film Studies Archives contains silent black and white film footage of Plaisance, Haiti shot by Simpson and his colleagues. The footage contains events also depicted in the photograph collection including work coumbites, marketplace scenes, a wedding ceremony, a funeral, drumming and dancing at a social gathering, and a dancing demonstration. Included in this accession are 21 audiotapes recorded by Simpson and Joseph G. Moore during their fieldwork in Jamaica and Trinidad.
The Joseph G. Moore Collection: Jamaican Revival and Kumina, 1957-1958, accession No. 92.1.1 in the Smithsonian Institution Human Film Studies Archives contains related material to Simpson's study of Jamaican Revival Zion and Kumina. The collection contains film footage of Morant Bay and West Kingston, Jamaica shot in 1957. The footage was originally intended for the "Odyssey" program or possibly a short feature. Some of the it ended up being featured on the CBS program "Lamp Unto My Feet" which also includes interviews with Joseph G. Moore and George Eaton Simpson. There is over 10 hours of footage, and in 1992 Simpson, Smithsonian Institution Human Film Studies Archives Director John Homiak, and research associate Ken Bilby recorded approximately 10 hours of commentary about the footage. This collection also contains audio recordings made in 1993 of a discussion between Simpson, Homiak, and Bilby concerning the relation of Jamaican Revival with Rastafari.
Sound recordings by Simpson held in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections in the Folkways Records Collection and the Moses and Frances Asch Collection.
Oberlin College has a manuscript collection of George Eaton Simpson's papers (RG 30/64) that document Simpson's research and academic work.
The collection was donated to the National Anthropoligical Archives by George E. Simpson in 1992.
The collection is open for research.
Access to the collection requires an appointment.
The negatives are in cold storage and require advanced notice to access.
Smithsonian Institution. Anacostia Community Museum Search this
Box 6, Folder 9-11
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment: ACMarchives@si.edu.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Black Mosaic: Community, Race, and Ethnicity among Black Immigrants in Washington, D. C. Exhibition Records, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).