Collection is open for research but negatives and audiovisuial materials are stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Some papers of living persons are restricted. Access to restricted portions may be arranged by request to the donor. Gloves required for unprotected photographs. Viewing film portions of the collection and listening to LP recording requires special appointment. Contact the Archives Center for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-633-3270.
The Archives Center does not own exclusive rights to these materials. Copyright for all materials is retained by the donor, Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.; permission for commercial use and/or publication may be requested from the donor through the Archives Center. Military Records for Franklin A. Robinson (b. 1932) and correspondence from Richard I. Damalouji (1961-2014) are restricted; written permission is needed to research these files. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
The Robinson and Via Family Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Preservation of the 8mm films in this collection was made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Film Preservation Fund.
Garrick Mallery (1831-1894) was an ethnologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology who focused primarily on Native American sign language and pictography. This collection reflects Mallery's research interests and methods. Much of the collection is comprised of correspondence and notes relating to sign language and pictography and is organized chiefly by either the cultural or geographic region to which the material belongs. Bound volumes of several of his publications are included, along with annotated draft copies from collaborators. In the case of Mallery's work on pictography, the collection includes several oversize items including original works and reproductions.
Scope and Contents:
This collection contains Garrick Mallery's research and writings as a BAE ethnologist and is largely comprised of correspondence and preparatory materials for publications on Native American sign language and pictography. The geographic scope of the material is chiefly the present-day United States and Canada, though other areas of the world are represented less comprehensively. Correspondence and research notes include verbal descriptions of signs, sometimes with illustrations included. Bound volumes of Mallery's publications are included, along with annotations from collaborators. In addition, this collection includes notecards, drawings, illustrations, photographs, articles, and art objects. Art objects (mostly oversize) deal chiefly with Dakota winter counts and other artifacts.
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 arranged into 3 series: 1) Research Notes, undated; 2) Materials on Sign Language, 1843-1849, 1873-1894; 3) Materials on Pictographs and Petroglyphs, 1849-1902, undated
Garrick Mallery (1831-1894) was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and practiced law in Philadelphia from 1853 until the outbreak of the American Civil War. While serving in the army, he became interested in Native American sign language and pictography, perhaps while performing his duties in frontier areas. After retiring from the military in 1879, Mallery was appointed to the newly created Bureau of American Ethnology as one of its first ethnologists. In his work with the Bureau, Mallery pioneered the study of sign language and pictographs, examining them as a universal human phenomenon with a direct link to spoken language.
In his work, Mallery collected and examined sign language vocabulary from Native American groups throughout the U.S. and Canada and regularly solicited contributions from collaborators. He also related his findings to examples from the wider world, comparing the formation of Native American signs to those in other areas by hearing individuals and by the deaf. Mallery completed several publications on the topic throughout the 1880s, notably Introduction to the Study of Sign language Among the North American Indians (1880), A Collection of Gesture- Signs and Signals of the North American Indians (1880), and "Sign-language among North American Indians Compared with that Among other People and Deaf-mutes," which appeared in the BAE 1st Annual Report (1881).
While most widely known for his work with sign language, Mallery also undertook extensive research into Native American pictography. Like his work with sign language, he both conducted original research and solicited assistance from collaborators. He was especially interested in the representational images in Dakota winter counts and petroglyphs in the United States and throughout the world.
Fletcher, Robert. "Garrick Mallery, President of the Philosophical Society of Washington, in 1888." In Brief Memoirs of Colonel Garrick Mallery, U.S.A., Who Died October 24, 1894, 3-8. Washington: Judd & Detweiler, 1895.
1831 -- Born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on April 25
1850 -- Graduates Yale College
1853 -- Earns LL. B. from the University of Pennsylvania Admitted to the Pennsylvania bar
1853-1861 -- Practices law in Philadelphia
1861 -- Enters the volunteer army of the United States
1862 -- Severely wounded in the battle of Peach Orchard, Virginia Captured and held prisoner at Libby prison in Richmond, Virginia
1866 -- Completes service with volunteer army of the United States Accepts commission in regular army of the United States
1870 -- Marries Helen W. Wyckoff
1879 -- Retires from the United States army due to disability Appointed to the Bureau of American Ethnology
1880 -- Publishes Introduction to the Study of Sign-Language Among the North American Indians as Illustrating the Gesture-Speech of Mankind and A Collection of Gesture-Signs and Signals of the North American Indians With Some Comparisons
1881 -- Publishes "Sign Language Among North American Indians, Compared with that Among Other Peoples and Deaf-Mutes"
1894 -- Dies after a short illness in Washington, D.C., on October 24
See MS 2322 A collection of gesture-signs and signals of the North American Indians for more of Garrick Mallery's work on sign language.
MS 2372 was transferred from the Bureau of Ethnology Archives to the Smithsonian Office of Anthropology Archives with the merger of the BAE and the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History in 1965. The Smithsonian Office of Anthropology Archives was renamed the National Anthropological Archives in 1968.
Manuscript 2372 is open for research.
Access to Manuscript 2372 requires an appointment.