The Robert Rankin papers, 1886, 1914, 1956-2011, document his field work, research, and professional activities, primarily in relation to his work studying American Indian languages. Rankin was professor of linguistics at the University of Kansas from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. The collection consists of sound recordings, field notebooks, vocabulary lists and bibliographies, dictionaries, research files, slip files, word lists, correspondence, ephemera, notes, readings and reprints, writings, drafts, and teaching materials. This includes materials from Rankin's work with the last native speakers of the Quapaw and Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) languages and subsequent research, writings, and collaborations with tribes and fellow linguists.
Scope and Contents:
The Robert Rankin papers, 1886, 1914, 1956-2011, document his field work, research, and professional activities, primarily in relation to his work studying American Indian languages. The collection includes sound recordings, field notebooks, vocabulary lists and bibliographies, dictionaries, research files, slip files, word lists, correspondence, ephemera, notes, readings and reprints, writings, drafts, and teaching materials.
The 196 sound recordings include material from Rankin's work with the last native speakers of both the Quapaw and Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) languages. The collection includes extensive research on these languages along with research on other facets of the Siouan language family. Rankin's close collaboration with colleagues and tribes is well documented, especially his work with linguists John E. Koontz and W.L. Ballard, as well as his contributions to language documentation efforts including the Handbook of North American Indians, the Annotated Dictionary of Kaw (Kanza), and the Comparative Siouan Dictionary. The collection also includes sound recordings and notes from Rankin's study of the Romanian language as part of his graduate study.
The Robert Rankin papers are arranged in 9 series: Series 1. Quapaw, 1972-1991, undated; Series 2. Kaw (Kansa, Kanza), circa 1970-2011, undated; Series 3. Field notebooks, 1981-1983, 1995, undated; Series 4. Subject and correspondence files, 1886, 1956-2007, undated; Series 5. Conferences and professional associations, 1974-2010; Series 6. Writings, 1975-2010, undated; Series 7. Teaching and academic files, 1973-2006, undated; Series 8. Romanian study, 1914, 1962-1972, undated; Series 9. Sound recordings, 1963-1987, undated.
1939 -- Born January 17
1960 -- Graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Romance Languages
1966-1968 -- Fulbright Fellowship in Romania researching Romanian dialects
1968 -- M.A. in Linguistics, University of Chicago
1969 -- Started at the University of Kansas as an Acting Assistant Professor of Linguistics
1972 -- Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Chicago
1972 -- Became an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Kansas
1973 -- Language work with the Quapaw
1973-1974 -- Began work with the Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) language that continued for the rest of his life
1986 -- Became a Professor of Linguistics at the University of Kansas
2005 -- Retired from the University of Kansas
2014 -- Died on February 24
Robert Rankin was a professor of linguistics at the University of Kansas who spent the majority of his career working with American Indian languages in the Siouan language family. He began his career studying romance languages as part of his undergraduate and graduate work and completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Romania (1966-1968) examining regional linguistic differences. He began teaching at the University of Kansas in 1969 and was introducted to the Choctaw language in Summer 1972 while teaching a field methods course. He became fascinated with American Indian languages and started working with the remaining native speakers of the Quapaw tribe in early 1973. When there were no more native speakers left, he started working with the Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) language. When he began this research in 1973-1974, there were only four fluent speakers of Kaw (Kansa, Kanza) left. He continued studying the language until well after his retirement from the University of Kansas in 2005. Rankin died on February 24, 2014 in Kansas City, MO.
Sources consulted: "Robert L. Rankin obituary," Lawrence Journal-World, March 1-5, 2014 http://obituaries.ljworld.com/obituaries/ljworld/obituary.aspx?pid=169905179
This collection was transferred to the National Anthropological Archives by Robert Rankin's wife, Carolyn Rankin, in 2014.
The Robert Rankin papers are open for research.
Use of archival audiovisual recordings with no duplicate access copy requires advance notice.
Computer disks are currently restricted due to preservation concerns.
Access to the Robert Rankin papers requires an appointment.
Indians of North America -- Southern states Search this
Robert Rankin papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.
Digitization and preparation of sound recordings for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.
Contents: Crawfish (Origin of the Earth), pages 76-77; Origin of the Yuchi, pages 74-75; Yuchi song of Dance, pages 67-70; Yuchi legend- no title, pages 54-56; Yuchi song, page 49; List of clans, pages 70-71; The remaining pages are devoted to words and sentences in the Yuchi language. (On pages 91-99 is a vocabulary taken from the copy of Albert Pike's Yuchi vocabulary, with additions by Samuel Johnson.)
Contents: "The first woman to leave a lazy husband", 1 page; "Cadjwana (rabbit) proves to the people that he is not a liar, 2 pages; The Sons of Howita (Wind) killed by old man Iron (Sane), 3 pages. 7 pages miscellaneous. The following myths: "Cadjwane (rabbit)"- 2 pages. "Gadjwane (rabbit) imitates Gas-anowen"- 1 page. "Yutci Spiritualism (modern)," 2 pages. "Yutci Burial Customs"- 3 pages. "Yutci Beliefs." 1 page; Yutci Story- 2 pages; "Yutci Myths-" 1 page. 22 pages without the following: There are eight title pages for myths which have been detached from the stories and the stories are missing.
Biographical / Historical:
Bureau of American Ethnology stamp on one may read 1884. Check Curtin correspondence: and/or Annual Report refers to Correspondence.
NAA MS 1293
The first woman to leave a lazy husband
Cadjwana proves to the people that he is not a liar
The Sons of Howita (Wind) killed by old man Iron (Sane)
Frank Gouldsmith Speck (1881-1950) was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in Mohegan, Connecticut. Concerned about his health, his parents had sent him to live in the country with Fidelia A. Fielding, a native woman and family friend. Fielding was one of the last native speakers of the Mohegan language and, moreover, of any native language spoken in New England and Speck grew up speaking Mohegan. When Speck attended Columbia University as an undergraduate, he took a philology course with the linguist, John Dyneley Prince. Prince was interested in American Indian languages and was impressed that Speck knew a Native American language long thought extinct. Dyneley introduced Speck to Franz Boas, and Dyneley and Boas both encouraged Speck to study anthropology. Speck received an M.A. from Columbia University and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Boas, a profound influence on Speck, supervised his dissertation research. It concerned the ethnography of the Yuchi Indians of Oklahoma and was published by the University Museum.
In 1908, Speck was offered a research fellowship at the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Speck was fired from the University Museum in 1911 for reasons that remain cloudy, but was immediately hired as an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Speck began serving as acting department chair in 1913 and was appointed full professor and chairman in 1925. Speck conducted fieldwork throughout his life. In fact, he spent as much time in the field as he possibly could, focusing his attention on the Algonkian peoples of the eastern woodlands. Speck was also deeply interested in culture change and the contemporary lives of the people with whom he worked. While his major work was among the Algonkian peoples, his field research and collecting ranged from north of the Canadian border down to North Carolina and Louisiana. Speck served as Associate Editor of the American Anthropologist for over ten years and was Vice-President of the American Anthropological Association in 1945-46. He also served as President of the American Folk-Lore Society. His major monographs were: Naskapi: Savage Hunters of the Labrador Peninsula (1935); and Penobscot Man; or, the Life History of a Forest Tribe in Maine (1940). Speck died in Philadelphia at the age of 68.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation Records, Box and Folder Number; National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.