This subseries of the Mexico/Central America/South America series contains Harrington's Yucatec research. The materials consist of vocabulary, grammar, texts, writings, and miscellaneous notes.
The Yucatec vocabulary falls into three distinct subsections. The first consists of wordlists from an unidentified informant, supplemented by a little ethnographic and anecdotal material. A second set of vocabulary was recorded from Domingo Canton Aguilar and his wife (abbreviated "Ag. Y Sra."). They contain references to the dialects of Nahuatl spoken by Alfonso Hernandez Catarina (Alf.) and Arcadio Sagahon (Arc.). The third and most extensive section is a file of semantically arranged lexical items. The notes include a mixture of excerpts from secondary sources and original data recorded by Harrington. There are some notes in unidentified handwriting scattered throughout. A number of large subject categories--corporeal, animals, and material culture--are subdivided.
The grammar files consist of extensive notes and a rough draft for a grammar of the Yucatec language. The material is somewhat repetitious due to the presence of variant drafts. The notes contain a mixture of general observations on various points of grammar, extracts from published sources, and original field data. The rough draft and accompanying notes are filed under two headings "Maya Grammar and Lists" and "Maya Language and Semantic Lists." The introduction includes a bibliography of other dictionaries and grammers, a description of the physical features of the Yucatan peninsula, and a discussion of the Maya linguistic stock. The body of the material is divided into categories on phonetics, morphology, verbs, adverbs, particles, nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, interjections, and unsorted topics. The sections dealing with phonetics and verbs (the latter is labeled "Uc. on Lop.") are particularly extensive. A typed manuscript of 308 pages (former B.A.E. ms. 4782) titled "Maya Grammar and Lists" was submitted by Harrington in 1952 for publication as a Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin. The language presented is the ''standard dialect of the states of Yucatan and Campeche." The grammar contains a detailed table of contents, furnishes details on the geographical background and history of the Yucatan peninsula, and discusses Maya grammars and dictionaries.
Yucatec textual material is of three types. The first set consists of myths, the second of records relating to the ''Treaty of Mani," and the third of notes on a Yucatec religious newspaper dating from 1949. Thirty pages of native myth texts contain interlinear translations in a mixture of Spanish and English. The stories include "El Milpero, el Cascabel, el Perro, el Tigre" and "El Zorro y la Esposa del Milpero." The four-page text "Le Ocb Yetel Can" is in the hand of David Arceo H. The "Story of the Blind Hammockmaker" was recorded from Arceo with English and Spanish translation. There is also a summary of the story of venado and tortuga. Material relating to the "Treaty of Mani" includes a word-by-word translation of the treaty, a typed version with free translation and notes, and correspondence with Arthuro Medina and David Arceo H. dating from July 1948 and March 1950. There is also a copy of one issue of the newspaper U Tajil T'au dated November-December 1949. There are a few pages of related notes.
Harrington's writings on Yucatec begins with notes and a rough draft for the article "Original Form and Application of Maya." The paper, which is concerned with the etymology of the name "Maya," discusses the six names by which the Yucatan peninsula is known. There are also notes and drafts for two related articles titled "Egyptian, Chinese and Mayoid Ideographic Writing" and "Reading the Maya Ideograms." This material is followed by a partial rough draft titled "Maya Ideograms Being Read"; it is not clear whether the handwriting, which is not Harrington's, is that of a copyist or a "ghost writer." Dating from June 28, 1950, are extensive notes on the Maya system of counting, arranged behind heading sheets which are labeled "How the Maya Count," "Maya Enumeration," and "V[alladolid] Maya Counting." It appears that Harrington originally worked on several drafts of an article with these different titles; the material is now inextricably mixed. The subtopics covered are arithmetical processes, systems of measures, and time reckoning (including discussion of the twenty-day month). Also filed here is a rough draft labeled "Draft for the Ag. typewritten paper on May[a] Numeration" and a typed draft titled "The Maya Count." "The Maya Count" discusses the system of counting used in the northern part of the Yucatan peninsula by speakers whose language was probably a direct descendent of the language in which the Maya hieroglyphics and codices were written. There are also notes and drafts of reviews which he drafted from 1948 through 1960. The file of writings ends with rough notes for proposed papers on "Maya Hieroglyphic Writing," "Maya Linguistic Stock," and "Influence of Maya and Yucatan Spanish on Each Other."
The section of miscellaneous notes on Yucatec includes a small file of correspondence. There is a letter from Isaias Uc C., Campeche, Mexico, in 1950; a carbon copy of a letter to Jesse Shaw dated April 14, 1952, regarding arrangements for Domingo Aguilar's travel to the United States; handwritten drafts of two letters to John Linkins; and a typed copy of a lengthy letter to Dr. Tozzer from an unidentified writer. Also included is a section labeled "Persons & Addresses," as well as some notes on the sound recordings which Harrington made during fieldwork in Mexico in 1950. The file concludes with what appear to be drafts of annual reports. There is the first page only of a typed statement titled "Maya Language Studies." This is followed by ten handwritten pages of notes which refer to three papers on Maya ideograms and numerals.
Biographical / Historical:
John P. Harrington's study of the Yucatec language of Mexico was undertaken in at least five distinct phases. Both in correspondence and in a draft of a Quiche grammar, Harrington claimed that his first study of the Maya stock was conducted with Eduardo Caceres, a fluent speaker of Maya proper from Merida in the state of Yucatan. They evidently worked together in National City and San Diego, California, around 1914.
In the Sixty-fifth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology for 1947-1948, Harrington reported that he had recently completed a grammar of the Maya language as well as an article comparing the ideographic writing systems of the Maya, Egyptians, and Chinese. In the following year he continued his revision of these two works and studied the etymology of the word "Maya." His work on the grammar was evidently made possible through studies undertaken with two Yucatec speakers residing in New York City.
Notes indicate that Harrington was in contact with Arthuro Medina (abbreviated "Med.") by at least September 1948. Medina was from Tikul, near the ruins of Uxmal, a few miles south of Merida, and his wife was also from the Yucatan. Through them Harrington learned of a second Maya speaker, Castulo Ucan. Evidently beginning in mid-November 1949, Harrington made a number of trips of several days duration to New York to work with Ucan. Letters which he wrote to bureau chief Matthew W. Stirling in November and December describe Ucan (abbreviated "U.") as a good informant and make mention of the "Motul dictionary" which he used as a questionnaire during their work together.
Although he felt that his work with these informants had been satisfactory, Harrington still wished to travel to Merida to conduct fieldwork with additional informants. He arrived in Merida on Saturday, February 11 and returned to Washington, D.C., on April 11 "bringing a large quantity of linguistic material" as well as "ten half-hour recordings of stories in the Maya language" which he had recorded on tape.
Harrington's first Mexican informant was Isaias Uc whom he described to Stirling as "a treasure," someone who spoke Spanish as a professor, with "a wonderful vocabulary for grammatical terms." Their work included a review of the grammar by Daniel Lopez Otero. He also worked with David Arceo H. (evidently abbreviated "A."), whom he described as "an unsurpassed teacher of Maya," with a knowledge of proverbs and traditional Maya history. From Arceo he was able to obtain a handwritten translation of the Treaty of Mani, from Maya to Spanish, as well as tape recordings of the same.
Other informants with whom Harrington evidently worked during this same period include Pascual Ayora Taliaferro (also spelled "Talavera" and abbreviated "P.") and Geronimo Pacheco. He also received nonlinguistic information from Dr. Solis, Mr. Romero M., Mr. Nichols, Willey (possibly Gordon R. Willey), and Harry, among others.
On March 9, 1951, Harrington had the opportunity to return to Mexico to pursue studies of the classical Aztec, or Nahuatl, language. During the approximately six months he spent there he also worked with another Yucatec speaker, Domingo Canton Aguilar (abbreviated "Ag.") and his wife, who were from Xochimilco in the Distrito Federal. Harrington referred to the latter as Maria Pura Aguilar de C.
Aguilar accompanied Harrington back to Washington, D.C., to assist in the preparation of a grammar and a dictionary of the Maya language. In the same fiscal year (1951 -1952) Harrington completed a monograph on the numeration system of the Valladolid Maya Indians of Yucatan.
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.
The material is in the handwriting of A.S. Gatschet, in a composition book. In the same volume are numerous miscellaneous notes, many in German script; brief bibliographic notes, and notes of an apparently personal nature. There are also extracts from the Codex Wangianus, from Charles Lyell, and from others. In addition, there is a Chinese vocabulary in Chinese characters, on pages 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, and one sheet pasted in book.
Partial contents: Carib terms (obtained from Maria Antonia, a native of Rio Frio, Costa Rica (or Chulpan, native name), 6 pages. Guatuso words, 3 pages. (same source.) Apache words and sentences, page 112. Santa Ana vocabulary (additional page.) Hopi vocabulary, page 113. Jemez vocabulary, page 113. Tehua (Tewa) page 114. Isleta vocabulary, page 114. Yohuns (Yojuane) vocabulary, page 115. Notes to vocabularies, page 115. Dakota language (words, etc.) page 122-129. Apache language (words, etc.) page 130. Dakota (Santee), page 131. Hidatsa, page 132. List of American languages, pages 133-138. Nevome grammatical notes, page 148. (Kasua) vocabulary, pages 151-152. Tobikhars (Gabrieleno) vocabulary, page 153. Island of LaCruz page 154 (from California Farmer- 1836). Few Poosepatuck words, page 154. Received by A.S. Gatschet, September 6, 1875. Chibcha vocabulary pages 155-170. Arawak language of Guiana in its linguistic and ethnological relations. By D.G. Brinton (1871) - Extracts from, pages 188-190. Chabas, les Papyrus---de Berlin, 1863- vocabulary in hieroglyphic symbols, pages 194-5. Hidatsa vocabulary, pages 206-208.
Page 114- Brief discussion of location of "Tehua" (Tanoan) pueblos. Gatschet, A.S. Pages 151-52 in notebook- "Kasua" vocabulary. June, 1875. Loew, Oscar. Page 153- Brief vocabulary of the "Tobokhars, extinct tribe at the San Gabriel Mission, collected from an old sick chief, [by] Oscar Lowe, June, 1875...(Fernando Quinto, who recollects Fremont's Exped..." This is not the same as the main "Tobikhar" vocabulary from Lowe in Bureau of American Ethnology Manuscript 774. Page 113- Note on "Moqui" (Hopi) language, with brief vocabulary. Gatschet, A.S. 1 slip bound between pages 112-113 in notebook- Eleven words and phrases of the Santa Ana or Silla language. Gatschet, A.S. Pages 122-129-Dakota vocabularies. 1890's? Autograph document. Gatschet, A.S.
Contents: Carib terms (obtained from Maria Antonia (or Chulpan, native name), 6 pages. Guatuso words, 3 pages (same source) Apache words and sentences, page 112. Santa Ana vocabulary (additional page) Hopi vocabulary page 113. Jemez vocabulary page 113. Tehua (Tewa) page 114. Isleta vocabulary page 114. Yohuns (Yojuane) vocabulary page 115. Notes to vocabularies, page 115. Dakota language (words, etc.) pages 122-129. Apache language (words, etc.) page 130. Dakota (Santee) page 131. Hidatsa page 132. List of American Languages, pages 133-138. Nevome grammatical notes page 148. Kasua vocabulary pages 151-152. Tobikhars (Gabrieleno) vocabulary page 153. Island of LaCruz page 154 8from California Farmer - 1836). Few Poosepatuck words, page 154. Received from A. S. Gatschet September 6, 1875. Chibcha vocabulary pages 155-170. Arawak language of Guiana in its linguistic and ethnological relations By D. G. Brinton (1871) - Extracts from pages 188-190 Chabas, les Papyrus --- de Berlin, 1863- vocabulary in hieroglyphic symbols, page 194-5. Hidatsa vocabulary pages 206-208.
Contents: Tanoan. Gatschet, A. S. Brief discussion of location of "Tehua" (Tanoan) pueblos. 1/3 page, page 114. Barbareno Chumash. Loew, Oscar. "Kasua" vocabulary. June, 1875. Pages 151-52 in notebook. Gabrielino. Loew, Oscar. Brief vocabulary of "Tobikhars, extinct tribe at the San Gabriel Mission, collected from an old sick chief, [by] Oscar Loew, June, 1875...(Fernando Quinto. who recollects Fremont's Exped..." Page 153 in notebook. This is not the same as the main "Tobikhar" vocabulary from Loew in Bureau of American Ethnology Manuscript 774. Hopi. Gatschet, A. S. Note on "Moqui" (Hopi) language, with brief vocabulary. Page 113 (1/4 page) in notebook. Page 113 on Microfilm Negative Reel 11 (Hopi manuscript reel). Sia. Gatschet, A. S. Eleven words and phrases of the Santa Ana or Silla language. 1 slip, bound between pages 112-113 in notebook. Dakota Gatschet, A. S. Dakota vocabularies. [1890s ?] Autograph document. 7 pages.
A collection of ethnographic and linguistic notes from diverse sources, aiming at an understanding of problems of reading Mayan hieroglyphic characters. Most of the notes cover Mayan vocabulary and glyphs, but Gatschet ranges almost at random over other data, ethnographic and linguistic, that may have caught his interest. He touches on the Maya calendar, day names, Landa's alphabet, Maya-Spanish vocabulary from the Motul dictionary at Providence, similar vocabulary from Brasseur, etc., some Narraganset-English vocabulary (page 57 only) from Williams, notes on day signs from Rosny, etc., cultural objects compared with glyphic designs, Brasseur's synonymy of glyph characters, lists of Southeast tribes from a French source, Otomi vocabulary notes especially on the numerals (see pages 84-85), notes on Cariban and Arawakan, etymologies of Mayan words (pages 110, 111), notes from Brinton's Maya Chronicles, notes on Codices Mendoza, Troano, Tellerano-Remensis, notes from Penafiel, Pinart, etc., names of Aztec and Mayan gods, etc. No problems are settled, nor is any problem carefully attended: the notes are all preliminary. H. Landar 7 July, 1969.
The bulk of the photographs document Mayan reliefs and hieroglyphics at ancient sites, including Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Yaxchilan. Additional photographs depict items in the Museo Nacional de Antropologia in Mexico, including a necklace, the Stone of Tizoc, and a stone altar disk to Tlaltecuhtli. The collection includes photographs made by Alvarez y Medina, Kildare y Cia, and a photograph of a drawing by Frederic de Waldeck.
Cyrus Thomas (1825-1910) was an archeologist for the Bureau of American Ethnology best known for his work on American Indian burial mounds in the American Midwest. Born in Kingsport, Tennessee, Thomas was educated in law and served as Deputy County Clerk under his brother-in-law, the County Clerk of Jackson County, Illinois (1850-1853). In 1858, Thomas helped found the Illinois Natural History Society, through which he met John Wesley Powell. Thomas served for a brief period as an Evangelical Lutheran minister (1864-1866) before becoming an entomologist for the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories (1869-1873), Illinois State Entomologist (1874-1876), and a member of the US Entomological Commission (1876-1882). In 1876, he also worked as a professor of natural history at Southern Illinois Normal College and founded the school's Museum of Natural History (now the University Museum). During this time, Thomas also became interested in Mesoamerican ethnology, publishing articles about Mesoamerican codices and writing systems. In 1881 Thomas joined the Bureau of American Ethnology at the Smithsonian and served as the Director of the Division of Mound Exploration, a position he maintained until his death in 1910.
Local Call Number(s):
NAA Photo Lot 169
Location of Other Archival Materials:
This collection has been relocated from Photo Lot 123.
Additional Cyrus Thomas materials relating to Mesoamerica held in the National Anthropological Archives are in MS 103, MS 1328, MS 3705, MS 3956, MS 3530, MS 3941, MS 3260, MS 2337, and MS 3920-b.
Correspondence from Thomas is held in the National Anthropological Archives in MS 4821, the J. C. Pilling papers, and records of the Bureau of American Ethnology.