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Finding Aids to Oral Histories in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 9505

Ewers, John C. (John Canfield), 1909-1997 interviewee

Oral history interviews with John C. Ewers, 1974-1975

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Ewers, John C. (John Canfield), 1909-1997 interviewee
Title: Oral history interviews with John C. Ewers
Dates: 1974-1975
Quantity: 7 audiotapes (Reference copies). 11 digital .mp3 files (Reference copies).
Collection: Record Unit 9505
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These interviews of Ewers by Pamela M. Henson cover his education; early career with the National Park Service and the Museum of the Plains Indian; and his work at the Smithsonian, especially the Division of Ethnology, Exhibits Modernization Program, development of the NMHT, and ethnological research.

Historical Note

John C. Ewers (1909-1997) was an ethnologist for the National Museum of Natural History. After pursing his graduate work in anthropology at Yale University, Ewers was a field Curator for the National Park Service from 1935 to 1940 and developed exhibits for many National Park Service sites. From 1941 to 1944, he was Curator at the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, Montana, under the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In 1945 Ewers was appointed Associate Curator of Ethnology in the United States National Museum and worked on the Museum's Exhibits Modernization Program. From 1956 to 1959, Ewers served as Planning Officer for the development of the National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History, as Assistant Director of the Museum of History and Technology from 1959 to 1964, and as Director from 1964 to 1965. Ewers was Senior Ethnologist in the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History from 1965 to 1997. Ewers' research concentrated on Plains Indian ethnology and art depicting American Indians.

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Introduction

The Smithsonian Institution Archives began its Oral History Program in 1973. The purpose of the program is to supplement the written documentation of the Archives' record and manuscript collections with an Oral History Collection, focusing on the history of the Institution, research by its scholars, and contributions of its staff. Program staff conduct interviews with current and retired Smithsonian staff and others who have made significant contributions to the Institution. There are also interviews conducted by researchers or students on topics related to the history of the Smithsonian or the holdings of the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Ewers was interviewed for the Oral History Program because of his significant scholarly and administrative contributions to the Smithsonian Institution during the prior thirty years.

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Descriptive Entry

Ewers was interviewed by Pamela M. Henson on 17 December 1974, 15 and 18 January and 4 February 1975. The interviews consist of reminiscences of his education, career with the National Park Service, Museum of the Plains Indian, and Smithsonian Institution, especially his work in exhibits modernization, the development of the National Museum of History and Technology, and ethnological research.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 9505, Ewers, John C. (John Canfield), 1909-1997 interviewee, Oral history interviews with John C. Ewers

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Container List

Box 1

Transcripts of Interviews

Interview 1: 17 December 1974

Box 1 of 1
Interview covers Ewers' education, exhibits work with the National Park Service and Museum of the Plains Indian, early ethnological field work, and early career in the Department of Anthropology in the United States National Museum and Exhibits Modernization Program, c. 1909-1955.
Transcript, pp. 1-36, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 2: 15 January 1975

Box 1 of 1
Interview covers Ewers' work at the Museum of the Plains Indian, collections management in the Division of Ethnology at the National Museum and role as Planning Officer for the development of the National Museum of History and Technology, c. 1940-1965.
Transcript, pp. 37-81, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Interview 3: 28 January 1975

Box 1 of 1
Interview covers Ewers' career in the Division of Ethnology, including curation, research, publications, and field work, c. 1935-1970.
Transcript, pp. 82-106, of audio recording, 1 hour.

Interview 4: 4 February 1975

Box 1 of 1
Interview covers Ewers' career in administration of the National Museum of History and Technology and ethnological research, especially Indian land claim cases, c. 1960-1975.
Transcript, pp. 107-149, of audio recording, 1.5 hours.

Audio Recordings of Interviews

Interview 1: 17 December 1974

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes; 3 digital .mp3 files.

Interview 2: 15 January 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes; 3 digital .mp3 files.

Interview 3: 28 January 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1 hour
Original Masters: 1 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Masters: 2 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 2 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 1 cassette audiotape; 2 digital .mp3 files.

Interview 4: 4 February 1975

Box 1 of 1
Total Recording Time: 1.5 hours
Original Masters: 2 5" reel-to-reel analog audiotape
Preservation Masters: 3 7" reel-to-reel analog audiotapes; 3 digital .wav files
Reference Copies: 2 cassette audiotapes; 3 digital .mp3 files.