Smithsonian Disseminates Circular for Collecting North American Indian Vocabularies

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Summary

For the Smithsonian, ethnologist George Gibbs produces a circular in 1865 with instructions for collecting North American Indian vocabularies. It contains 211 words in four languages and blank forms for recording additional words. It is widely disseminated and becomes the most important resource for collecting Indian vocabularies over the next twelve years. It would later be expanded to become John Wesley Powell's 1877 field guide, "Introduction to the Study of Indian Languages." First Smithsonian Secretary Joseph Henry considered the study of Indian languages key to understanding the origins and history of North American Indians.

Subject

  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Powell, John Wesley 1834-1902
  • Gibbs, George 1815-1873

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • This publication can be found at http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/8817843.
  • Curtis M. Hinsley, Jr., The Smithsonian and the American Indian: Making a Moral Anthropology in Victorian America.Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press: 1994, 48.
  • Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Volume 7, Article 11. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1865.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

March 15, 1865

Topic

  • Archaeology
  • Publications
  • Citizen science
  • Historians
  • Collectors and collecting
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Language and languages
  • Ethnologists
  • Ethnology
  • Anthropology
  • Volunteers
  • Indians of North America
  • Linguistics
  • Fieldwork

Place

  • United States
  • North America

Form/Genre

Circular

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