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files include linguistic and ethnological field notes, reading notes, stories and myths, vocabularies, drawings, and unpublished and published manuscripts.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.
Photographs documenting Iroquois people made circa 1897-circa 1937 on and near the Six Nations Reserve by J.N.B. Hewitt, linguist with the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of American Ethnology.
Scope and Contents note:
Hewitt's photos primarily depict Mohawk, Cayuga, Seneca, Onondaga, Tuscarora, Oneida, and Tutelo peoples. There are also a few images of Iroquois houses and other structures, Hewitt's mask collection, and Onondaga Chief John Buck and family, Seneca Chief John Arthur Gibson and family, Cayuga Chief James Jamieson and family, and Cayuga-Seneca Chief Simeon Gibson. Most of the photographs were taken during several trips between 1897 and 1937, on and near the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario (Oshweken, Deseronto, and Brantsford), and New York (Niagara Falls, Nedrow, and Syracuse).
For Photo Lot 155 Hewitt's original arrangement and numbering has been maintained. The order of the photographs does not follow the chronology that they were taken; for instance there are often several photographs of an individual that were clearly made in different years. The original negatives also represent a variety of film and camera types.
The arrangement and numbering for MS 4596, established at an unknown time, was maintained.
J.N.B. (John Napoleon Brinton) Hewitt (December 6, 1859-October 14, 1937) was a linguist and ethnographer who specialized in Iroquoian and other Native American languages. Born on the Tuscarora Reservation near Lewiston, New York, his mother was of Tuscarora, French, Oneida, and Scottish descent. His father's heritage was English and Scottish, but he was raised in a Tuscarora family. Hewitt spoke English growing up, but when he left the reservation to attend schools in Wilson and Lockport, he learned to speak the Tuscarora language from other students. Hewitt grew up planning to become a physician, like his father. However, the course of Hewitt's interests changed when, in 1880, he was hired by Erminnie A. Smith of the Smithsonian Institution's Bureau of Ethnology (now the Bureau of American Ethnology) as an assistant ethnologist tasked with collecting myths among the Iroquoian tribes of New York. He continued this work from 1880-1884, and then was briefly employed by the Jersey City Railways Co. (1884-1885) and Adams Express Co. (1885-1886). Upon Smith's death in 1886, Hewitt returned to the BAE to continue her work, remaining employed there until his death.
Over the course of his career, Hewitt became the leading authority on the organization of the Iroquois League and the ceremonials, customs, and usages of the tribes composing it. He acquired an intimate knowledge of the languages of the League, including a speaking knowledge of Mohawk and Onondaga, and also became acquainted with several Algonquian dialects. On February 28, 1914, in recognition of his services in preserving for posterity a knowledge of the history and ethnology of the Iroquoian people of New York state, he was awarded the Cornplanter medal for Iroquois Research.
Additionally, he was a founder of the American Anthropological Association and an active member of the Anthropological Society of Washington and the American Museum of Natural History, serving as both treasurer (1912-1926) and president (1932-1934) of the latter. Hewitt also contributed over one hundred articles for the Handbook of American Indians (Bulletin 30) and published the two volume Iroquoian Cosmology (1903 and 1928).
Contents: Adirondack tribe (St Lawrence River) Old Manuscript Number 3553. Adoption Old Manuscript Number 4007. Refers to Algonquian method of counting -only; see Haas note 2/18/72; Old Manuscript Number 3864. "Alligewi"; Animism Old Manuscript Number 3867 and 2842-c, box 6. Blood Indians, origin of name; Brant, Joseph Old Manuscript Number 3874. Chippewa, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3646. Chiefs, function and significance of Old Manuscript Number 2842-c, box 6. Delaware tribe, New Jersey area claimed by Old Manuscript Number 3866. Detroit River, tribes near; Ekaentoton Island-- see Ste. Marie Island Environment (Bulletin 30 draft by O. T. Mason) Old Manuscript Number 4007. Erie, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3646. Erie and Black Mincqua tribes Old Manuscript Number 3586. [Eskimo] Arctic tribes, leaving elderly and sick people to die Old Manuscript Number 3668. Family, Bulletin 30 draft and notes Old Manuscript Number 4011 and 2842-c, box 6. Grand River (Tinaatoua), name of; Hebrew calendar; Hewitt, list of Bulletin 30 articles by Old Manuscript Number 4066. Hoboken, origin of name; Iroquois, "On the Northern and Eastern Territorial Limits of the Iroquoian people, in the 16th Century," and Algonquian tribes, at Chaleur Bay. Iroquois at Gulf of St Lawrence and Bay of Gaspe Old Manuscript Number 3625.
Iroquois, location of Six Nations tribes reservations Old Manuscript Number 3763. Iroquois false face; Iroquois preparation of corn ("as food") Old Manuscript Number 4009. Iroquoian early dress Old Manuscript Number 3660. Iroquoian "Gachoi" tribe, identity of (Correspondence with F. Bogaskie.) Old Manuscript Number 3816. Iroquoian moon names and concept of time; Iroquoian social organization, and place name-name origins; "Man," Iroquoian term for Old Manuscript Number 3781. Iroquoian towns Old Manuscript Number 4006. Kentucky, meaning of the word; Kentucky, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3840. Lenni Lenape, meaning of the word; Logstown-- see Shenango Old Manuscript Number 3773. Lost Ten Tribes as American Indians Old Manuscript Number 3670. Mayan linguistic family and other Mayan linguistic notes including Quiche and Tepehuanan notes Old Manuscript Number 3473. Mexico: idols, sacrifices, etc. Old Manuscript Number 3807. Mexico: Indian languages. Letter from Captain W.E.W. MacKinley Old Manuscript Number 3778. Missouri, Indian village, location of Old Manuscript Number 3944. Mohawk land near Lake Champlain; Mohawk grammar; Montour family, notes for Bulletin 30 Old Manuscript Number 3812. Muskhogean social organization. Letter from J. J. Harrison. Old Manuscript Number 3891. New England tribes Old Manuscript Number 3513.
Niagara, origin of name; "Old Smoke"-- see Sayenqueraghta Old Manuscript Number 3949. Onondaga tribe, text of memorial inscription to, and correspondence Old Manuscript 4391 and 4271- box 1 (part.) Ontwaganha or Toaganha, origin and meaning of name Old Manuscript Number 3864. Owego, meaning of town's name; Pekwanoket tribe (Cape Cod); Pemaquid, Abnaki word and its origin Old Manuscript Number 89. Piasa bird- pictograph formerly near present Alton, Illinois. Article is similar to that by Cyrus Thomas, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 30. Old Manuscript Number 3981. Potawatomi, notes on the name Old Manuscript Number 4034. Potawatomi Green Corn Dance; Roanoke, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3998. Sacagawea, spelling of; St Ignace, 3 settlements (Michigan); St Marie Island or Ekaentoton Island; Sauk, Bulletin 30 article and galley proof, notes Old Manuscript Number 3764. Sayenqueraghta or "Old Smoke" (correspondence with Alanson Skinner) Old Manuscript Number 3949. Scalping Old Manuscript Number 4025. Shenango and Logstown Old Manuscript Number 3773. Sioux, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3624. Society of American Indians, resolutions by thanking General Hugh L. Scott, Fr. Anselm Webber and others Old Manuscript Number 3868. Susquehanna, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3707. Tacoma, origin of name Old Manuscript Number 3470.
Thunderbird, notes on Old Manuscript Number 3552. Tinaatoa-- see Grand River; Toronto, origin of name; Tuscarora villages Old Manuscript Number 3998. Wampum Old Manuscript Number 3998. War club with inscription; West Virginia panhandle tribes Old Manuscript Number 3945. Williams, Eleazer Old Manuscript Number 3998. Women, status of Old Manuscript Number 3566. Wyandots (Huron) List of tribes of which Wyandots of today are constituted. Old Manuscript Number 3774.
101 Traditions and Transformations: Northern Plains Drum / Red Eagle Singers, Georgia Wettlin-Larsen. Hand drums,Rattle (Musical instrument).
102 Traditions and Transformations: Iroquois and Ulali / Six Nations Women Singers, Ulali (Musical group). Hand drums,Rattle (Musical instrument),Water-drum.
103 Assiniboine and Navajo Singers: Georgia Wettlin-Larsen and Geraldine Barney / Georgia Wettlin-Larsen, Geraldine Barney. Hand drums,Guitar.
Date/Time and Place of an Event Note:
Recorded in: Washington (D.C.), United States, June 30, 1995.
Restrictions on access. Some duplication is allowed. Use of materials needs permission of the Smithsonian Institution.
Informal photographic portraits depicting Iroquois, Seminole, and other Native American people. Images document the preparation of fry bread, a lacrosse player, a corn-husk doll maker, an Iroquois dancer, a longhouse wedding party, a Seneca wood carver making a water drum, a Seneca basketmaker, and a Seneca flute maker.
Richard W. Hill, Sr. is a Tuscarora artist, writer, educator, curator, and museum consultant. He studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago and earned a masters degree from the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo. He taught at McMaster University, Mohawk College, Six Nations Polytechnic and SUNY Buffalo, and he served as director of the American Indian Art Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was also Assistant Director for Public Programs and an exhibition catalog writer for the National Museum of the American Indian. Hill's artwork includes photography, painting, carving, beading, and basketweaving.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 83-35
Location of Other Archival Materials:
The Canadian Museum of Civilizations in Quebec, the Woodland Indian Cultural Center in Brantford, Ontario, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board in Washington, DC, and the Seneca Iroquois National Museum in Salamanca, New York, hold artwork by Hill.
This subseries of the Notes and writings on special linguistic studies series contains material that supplement Harrington's Northeast/Southeast field notes.
The file on Algonquian includes three slips of Fox, Cree, Ojibwa, and Massachusett (labeled "Natick") vocabulary in the hand of Truman Michelson; typed copies of the above; notes on Cree and Ojibwa from secondary sources; information on the growing of wild rice by the Menominee; and miscellaneous notes on placenames and tribenames regarding the Cree, Ojibwa, Conoy, Nanticoke, and Narraganset.
The Shawnee/Peoria section consists of six pages of notes on Shawnee tribal divisions.
Among the miscellaneous material on the Abnaki languages is a page of Penobscot vocabulary obtained from Frank Siebert in April 1940. The remaining material was compiled during fieldwork on Western Abnaki at St. Francis in 1949. There are four pages on possible informants from Charles Nolet and a page of vocabulary from "Am"; bibliographic references; and lexical and grammatical notes excerpted from the works of Joseph Laurent and Masta.
For Massachusett there are three pages of miscellaneous notes with references to Trumbull's Natick Dictionary.
The bulk of the file on Iroquoian consists of a typed copy of an unidentified historical text from the 1880s. It discusses the relations of the Iroquois with the Spanish, French, and English settlers in the New World. Special mention is made of Gy-ant-va-chia (Cornplanter), chief of the Seneca. The spacing of the lines of text suggests that Harrington was planning to add a translation or annotations of some kind. There are also three pages of miscellaneous notes in his hand.
Most of the file on Delaware consists of information on placenames and tribenames obtained from Frank Siebert, Carl F. Voegelin, and a number of Oklahoma residents in 1940. Siebert gave both Delaware and Penobscot terms, and Unami words were given by Roy Longbone, Salley Fallleaf, and Jake Parks. Munsee forms were obtained from Josiah Montour and Jane Pattice of the Six-Nations Reserve in Ontario, Canada. Also included are a carbon copy of a typed list of possible informants and several pages of miscellaneous notes from the works of Brinton, Strachey, and Zeisberger.
The section on Creek/Seminole/Alabama/Koasati/Choctaw contains twenty-one pages of vocabulary (mostly on tribenames) which Harrington obtained in an interview with James Feagin Sylestine, a speaker of the Alabama language, on April 25, 1940. The informant's home was in Livingston, Texas, although he was at the Shawnee Sanatorium at the time Harrington worked with him. The remaining miscellaneous notes were excerpted from various published and manuscript sources. They include references to Creek, Cherokee, Seminole, Alabama, and Choctaw.
Miscellaneous material relating to the East consists of brief notes which Harrington copied from a number of secondary sources. There are mentions of the Huron, Wyandot, Powhatan, and Cherokee tribes, among others. Three of the pages consist of a partial typed list (alphabetically arranged K to M) of "Carolina and Virginia Algonquian" words. This list is based on that given in the commentary on the map of Raleigh's Virginia, pages 852 to 872 of The Roanoke Voyages, which was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1955.
Indians of North America -- Southern states Search this
John Peabody Harrington papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
The preferred citation for the Harrington Papers will reference the actual location within the collection, i.e. Box 172, Alaska/Northwest Coast, Papers of John Peabody Harrington, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
However, as the NAA understands the need to cite phrases or vocabulary on specific pages, a citation referencing the microfilmed papers is acceptable. Please note that the page numbering of the PDF version of the Harrington microfilm does not directly correlate to the analog microfilm frame numbers. If it is necessary to cite the microfilmed papers, please refer to the specific page number of the PDF version, as in: Papers of John Peabody Harrington, Microfilm: MF 7, R34 page 42.