Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 7209
Gibbs, George, 1815-1873
George Gibbs Papers, circa 1850-1853, 1857-1862
George Gibbs (1815-1873) was an ethnologist and expert on the language and culture of the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of Harvard University, Gibbs moved west during the gold rush of 1848 and eventually secured the position of Collector of the Port of Astoria, Oregon Territory. From 1853 to 1855, he was a geologist and ethnologist on the Pacific Railroad Survey of the 47th and 49th parallels under the command of Isaac Stevens. In 1857, Gibbs joined the Northwest Boundary Survey and served as geologist and interpreter until 1862. The last decade of his life was spent in Washington, D.C., where he undertook studies of Indian languages under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution.
This finding aid was digitized with funds generously provided by the Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee.
This collection consists primarily of journals kept by Gibbs while in Oregon Territory, 1850-1853, and on the Northwest Boundary Survey, 1857-1862. The journals contain zoological and ethnological observations, accounts of collections made, and Indian vocabulary. Also included are notes on the forest growth of Washington Territory, circa 1860.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Gibbs, George, 1815-1873
- Stevens, Isaac I.
- Northwest Boundary Survey, 1857-1861
- Harvard University
- Pacific Railroad Survey of the 47th and 49th Parallels
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7209, George Gibbs Papers