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Record Unit 58,  Collected Letters on Ethnology, circa 1876-1879

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator:
Title: Collected Letters on Ethnology
Dates: circa 1876-1879
Quantity: 0.1 linear meter.
Collection: Record Unit 58
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

This record unit includes correspondence, drawings, and maps regarding American archaeology. Most of the correspondence was probably sent to the Smithsonian in response to Circular 316, but some has no reference to the Circular. A small portion antedates its release and was probably included in the collection because of related subject matter.

Historical Note

On February 1, 1878, the Smithsonian Institution released Circular 316, "In Reference to American Archaeology," prepared by Otis Tufton Mason, then a collaborator in Ethnology in the Smithsonian Institution and later Curator of Ethnology and Anthropology, and distributed it under Joseph Henry's name. The Circular was designed to solicit information concerning the large amounts of detail on construction of mounds, earthworks and other traces of aboriginal engineering, as well as newspaper articles and descriptions of characters found in mounds, graves, and superficial soil. This information was to provide the basis for an exhaustive work on American archaeology to be published by the Smithsonian. With this end in mind, the replies were apparently turned over to Mason and Charles Rau, also a collaborator in Ethnology and later Curator of Archaeology in the United States National Museum.

Circular 316 was one of many circulars distributed at this time. It was 15 pages long and consisted of questions concerning the discovery and location of American Aboriginal artifacts. A primary concern was learning the localities of all American collections of artifacts. The Circular stressed a "desire to collect from every available source, whatever is now known, or can be ascertained by special investigation, of the antiquities of North America." In order to receive clear descriptions, 86 questions on American Archaeology and two pages of symbols taken from an international code published in the Smithsonian Report for 1875 were incorporated into the Circular. In addition to the questions, the Circular asked for books, memoirs, extracts from periodicals and newspaper clippings giving pertinent information. Recipients of the Circular were also asked to forward names of others interested in receiving the Circular.

Descriptive Entry

This record unit includes correspondence, drawings, and maps regarding American archaeology. Most of the correspondence was probably sent to the Smithsonian in response to Circular 316, but some make no reference to the Circular. A small portion antedated its release. These were probably included in the collection because of the related subject matter. Most of the letters are addressed to Spencer F. Baird, Joseph Henry, or the Smithsonian. Many of the letters also included references to responses written by Mason. Mason reviewed the letters and wrote an extensive report using abstracted material from them. This report can be found in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1879, pages 428-448.

This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.

Name

Subject

Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection

Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 58, , Collected Letters on Ethnology

Container List

Series 1

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1872-1879. ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

This collection division consists of correspondence received in response to Circular 316. Many of the letters were from professional men with an interest in Ethnology. Some of the letters were written by naturalists and archeologists who later donated collections to the Smithsonian. Any illustration or map mentioned in a letter, but not with the letter can be found in Box 3 (oversized material).

Box 1

Folder 1 Circular 316

Box 1 of 3

Folder 2 Aa-Ad general, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 3 Alexander, James H., 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 1)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 4 Allen, A. W., 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 5 Allen, C. P. - Allis, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 6 And-Atk general, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 7 Ba-Beam, 1876-1878Folder 8 Beauchamp, W. M., 1877-1878 (See Box 3, Folder 2)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 9 Bel-Blo general, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 10 Bo-Boy general, 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 3, Oversized material by Stephen Bowers)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 11 Brace, Lewis Jones K., 1877-1878 (See Box 3, Folder 4)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 12 Brach-By general, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 13 Ca-Cu general, 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 14 Da-Du general, 1877-1878 (See Box 3, Folder 5, Oversized material by Seth Dean)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 15 Ea-Ev general, 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 6, Oversized material by C. W. Ellsworth)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 16 Fa-Fr general, 1877-1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 17 Ga-Gu general, 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 7, Oversized material by S. C. Green)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 18 Ha-Hem general, 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 8, Oversized material by Joseph Haugh)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 19 Henderson, J. G., 1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 20 Hen-Hu general, 1878 (See Box 3, for oversized material by F. C. Hill, Folder 9, and A. Hopkins, Folder 10).

Box 1 of 3

Folder 21 I-Ju general, 1877-1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 22 Ka-Ku general, 1872-1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 23 La-Lou general, 1877-1879

Box 1 of 3

Folder 24 Mc general, 1878 Includes a letter from William John McGee stating archaeological surveys he was currently working on, and letter from Joseph D. McGuire describing relics he owns.

Box 1 of 3

Folder 25 Mac-Mil general, 1872-1879 (See Box 3, for oversized material by Charles L. Metz, Folder 11, G. M. Middleton, Folder 12, and John Millikin, Folder 13.)

Box 1 of 3

Folder 26 Mit-Mu general, 1876-1878

Box 1 of 3

Folder 27 Ne-New general, 1876-1878

Box 1 of 3

Box 2

Folder 1 Of-Os general, 1878

Box 2 of 3

Folder 2 Pa-Po general, 1878-1879 (See Box 3, Folder 14, for oversized material by George Pope)

Box 2 of 3

Folder 3 Pos-Qu general, 1877-1878 (See Box 3, Folder 15, for oversized material by Charles D. Posner)

Box 2 of 3

Folder 4 Ra-Roo general, 1877-1879

Box 2 of 3

Folder 5 Ros-Ru general, 1878-1879

Box 2 of 3

Folder 6 Sc-Stea general, 1878-1879

Box 2 of 3

Folder 7 Steb-Swi general, 1876-1878

Box 2 of 3

Folder 8 Ta-Tri general, 1878-1879 (See Box 3, Folder 16, for oversized material by Theron Thompson)

Box 2 of 3

Folder 9 Va-Vi general, 1878

Box 2 of 3

Folder 10 Wa-Whitc general, 1878 (See Box 3, Folder 17, for oversized material by S. T. Walker)

Box 2 of 3

Folder 11 White-Wri general, 1877-1878

Box 2 of 3

Folder 12 Yates, Lorenzo G., 1878

Box 2 of 3

Series 2

OVERSIZED MATERIAL ARRANGED ALPHABETICALLY.

This collection division consists of illustrations, maps, and newspaper clippings larger than the regular folders would allow. These materials have been separated and placed in an oversized container. Some materials have been removed from this file and placed in a mapping file. Notations on these materials has been placed in this collection division.

Box 3

Folder 1 Alexander, J. H. Illustration of three tapping gouges.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 2 Beauchamp, W. M. Illustration numbers 814, 816, 693, 784, 544 dated November 12, 1878, and numbers 689, 693, and 794 dated June 24, 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 3 Bowers, Stephen. Map of area between San Buenaventura and Fort Fejan dated December 6, 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 4 Bruce, Lewis Jones K. Top view of wooden artifact number 5, dated August 28, 1877.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 5 Dean, Seth. Map of Mills County, Iowa, dated 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 6 Ellsworth, C. W. Drawing of stone relics, drawing dated November 1878, and drawing of stone pot, drawing dated July 22, 1878

Box 3 of 3

Folder 7 Green, S. C. Illustration of stone Implements, drawing dated April 22, 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 8 Haugh, Joseph. Map of mounds in Pike County.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 9 Hill, F. C. Map of "Neff House Grounds," Green County, Ohio.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 10 Hopkins, A. Map of mounds in Moline, Illinois.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 11 Metz, Charles L. Map of Hamilton County, Ohio.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 12 Middleton, G. M. Map of ancient wall in La Rue County, Kentucky.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 13 Millikin, John. Map of mounds on Williams Bayou (illustrated by James Hough).

Box 3 of 3

Folder 14 Pope, George. Inscription on a rock in Provo Canyon, Utah, drawing dated March 19, 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 15 Posner, Charles D. Arizona Silver Belt Newspaper, sent because of article on "Casa Grande." Letter dated November 23, 1878 sent with article.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 16 Thompson, Theron. Map of Muscatine County, Iowa and Rock Island Illinois 1878.

Box 3 of 3

Folder 17 Walker, S. T. Map of shell heaps in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Box 3 of 3