Originally Published in 1910

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Dr. Edward Sapir, Instructor in Anthropology, has accepted the position of Ethnologist-in-Charge on the Geological Survey of Canada, a post that has just been created by the Canadian Government.

Dr. Sapir came to the University Museum in 1908 as George Leib Harrison Research Fellow in Anthropology and in 1909 was appointed Instructor. He published last year in the Anthropological Series of the University Museum his “Takelma Texts,” a collection of Indian myths from Oregon, related in the original tongue with English translations by the author. During the summer of 1909 Dr. Sapir spent some time among the Ute Indians in Northern Utah and while there began a study of the Ute language and collected a number of myths. During last winter these studies were continued in the Museum by the assistance of Tony Tillohash, an Indian youth who had come from his home in Utah to the Carlisle School. By courtesy of the Superintendent of the School the Museum was able to take advantage of the abundant knowledge of his people’s customs and myths which this youth was found to possess. Tony remained in the Museum till he left for his home in July. Out of the knowledge thus acquired Dr. Sapir has been preparing a study of Paiute mythology based on the myths recorded, and a grammar of the language has also been undertaken. In addition to his mythical narratives Tony sang the songs of his people and over two hundred of these, recorded on the phonograph, taken in connection with the myths, will make a very full record of the less material side of Ute culture, and leave us in possession of a very notable collection of data for the study of American mythology and linguistics.

In undertaking his new duties in the high position to which he has been called, Dr. Sapir will be under the necessity of delaying the completion of this important work, but it is hoped that a volume of Paiute mythology may be ready in about a year.

While Dr. Sapir’s departure from the Museum is regretted by everyone here, his colleagues will all rejoice that his appointment to the most important anthropological post in Canada is one that is likely to promote the best interests of the science in that rich northern field where such a great work remains to be done in preserving the aboriginal records and in observing the effect of a new environment upon different peoples newly transplanted from Europe in the course of the present active immigration.

The Director went to Mexico in August to represent the Museum at the International Congress of Americanists assembled there during the centennial celebration of the Independence of the Republic. During the meeting of the Congress, a committee consisting of delegates from Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, the University of Berlin and the University of Paris, together with a representative of the Mexican Government, drew up and adopted a plan for the formation of an international School of Anthropology to be located in Mexico City with the object of making investigations with relation to the ancient civilizations of Mexico and the adjacent countries. The five institutions named in the articles, together with the Mexican Government, are known as the patrons of the school who will appoint one representative each to form a governing committee. This committee will elect the director of the school, whose term of office shall be one year. The Mexican Government will provide suitable quarters for the school and make an annual appropriation for its support. It will also assign to the patrons all duplicate archaeological specimens that may he found in the course of excavations. The patrons undertake to provide one fellowship each in the school. Other properly constituted institutions may become patrons upon the conditions laid down in the articles.

Upon approval of the plan by the several institutions named as patrons, the articles of foundation take immediate effect, and Dr. Seler, of Berlin, has been elected as the first director of the School.

During his trip to Mexico the Director of the Museum visited Yucatan and through the kindness of Senor Andamaro Molina and the courtesy of the owner, Senor Regil, obtained permission to photograph the original manuscript of “The Book of Chilam Balam of Chumayel.” Accordingly this priceless document was brought to Philadelphia by Mr. Molina and loaned to the Museum for photographing. The Museum therefore, now possesses in addition to the beautiful annotated manuscript copy made by Dr. Berendt in 1868, a photographic copy which has the advantage of showing the original in its actual condition. Students of the ancient Maya language and literature have long been awaiting this opportunity of comparing Berendt’s copy with the original, and it will now be possible to publish the text with the greatest possible accuracy. The copy in the Museum, in Berendt’s clear hand, is occasionally more complete than the original is at present, owing to the wear and tear to which it has been subjected. On the other hand it is found that sometimes a word in Berendt’s copy varies from the original text. Such variations can hardly be without significance in the work of so great a Maya scholar and so careful a copyist as Dr. Berendt, and a rigid comparison of the two texts has been undertaken.

Mr. Raymond Harrington, who has been in Oklahoma since the beginning of 1910 bringing to a close his ethnological researches in that region begun in 1908, is returning to the Museum with an extensive collection from the tribes among whom he has been living, and especially from those whose former seats were to the east of the Mississippi.

Harrington’s work, which was initiated by Mr. George G. Heye in 1907 and which has been maintained by him for a period of four rears, began among the Seminoles of Florida and was later carried on among the various tribes that remain in the Eastern and Southeastern States. It was afterwards continued with marked success among the representatives of the same tribes who have been removed from their old homes in the woodlands and on the eastern coast and who, Mr. Harrington has found, carried with them to Oklahoma many of their old ceremonial objects and have carefully conserved the knowledge of the ancient rites in which these objects were used. Perhaps the most interesting part of the collections made by Mr. Harrington during the present year consists of these ceremonial objects, which include more than a hundred of the sacred bundles around which were crystallized the most ancient traditions and the most solemn rites of the people.

Doctor Frank G. Speck, Instructor in Anthropology and assistant in the Museum, who is engaged in making a study of Penobscot ethnology, spent the vacation in an Indian summer camp in Maine, returning with the inhabitants to their permanent villages and continuing his investigations at the Penobscot village of Oldtown and the Passamaquoddy village at Pleasant Point. Later he joined a Penobscot trapper on an extended canoe trip, to learn the customs of woodcraft. Before returning to Philadelphia Dr. Speck made a hurried trip of reconnaisance to the villages of the Malisits on the St. John River, the Bay of Fundy and Riviere du Loup on the Saint Lawrence, where Mr. Mechling, a graduate student in Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, carried on investigations throughout the summer.

Mr. George H. Pepper, assistant curator of the American Section, has been occupied during almost the entire summer in cleaning and putting in order the accessions made to the Heye collections. These have been especially extensive owing to Mr. Harrington’s successful field work.

During the same period Mr. Heye has, with Mr. Pepper’s help, catalogued all of this new material, which is now thoroughly prepared for study and ready to be exhibited.

Mr. J. O. Warfield, a graduate student in Anthropology, visited the reservations of the Pamunkey and Mattapony Indians in Virginia, with a view to learning what traditions, if any, remain among these remnants of the Powhatan Confederacy. The Pamunkey reservation consists of about 800 acres of marsh land belonging to the State, which owns also the 65 acres allotted to the Matta-pony. The identity of both these tribes has almost disappeared by mixture with the white and black people with whom they are surrounded, and the loss of their Algonquian speech had been accompanied by the passing of the native traditions and habits of thought. Mr. Warfield’s report will be given in full elsewhere.

Sir William M. Ramsay, Professor in the University of Aberdeen, and Lady Ramsay will lecture at the Museum on Saturday afternoon, November the 12th. An introductory address will be given by Sir William on “Archæological Problems in Asia Minor, Present and Future.” The subject of Lady Ramsay’s lecture will be “Wanderings of an Archæologist in Asia Minor,” and will be accompanied by lantern illustrations.

Miss Edith H. Hall, who, with Mr. Richard B. Seager, carried on work for the Museum last season on the island of Crete, conducted excavations at Vara-kastro, three hours to the west of Gournia, where she began the work of clearing a large town site. In the upper stratum were found objects dating from the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age; the lower stratum yielded specimens from the Middle Minoan period of the Bronze Age. In the earlier deposits fragments of beautiful cups were unearthed which mark the best period of Minoan art. Spear-heads of iron and bronze, sometimes the two metals welded together, and terra cotta figures of animals and goddesses were also found.

On November 19th, Mr. C. Leonard Woolley, who conducted the excavations for the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr., Expedition at Karanog during the last season, will deliver an illustrated lecture at the Museum entitled KARANOG CASTLE AND THE CEMETERY AT ANIBEH.

On December 10th, Dr. David Randall-MacIver, Director of the Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr., Expedition to Nubia, 1907-1910, will give an illustrated lecture at the Museum on THE TEMPLES OF VUHEN.

It was announced in the spring that a course of lectures would be given in the Museum during the winter of 1910-11 by eminent scholars of Europe and America. The general title of this course of lectures, according to the announcement made at that time, is THE HISTORY OF MANKIND, and with one or two exceptions each lecture will be illustrated. The following is a preliminary announcement of the lecturers and their subjects :

December 3 — Dr. GEORGE GRANT MAO-CURDY, of Yale University, The Antiquity of Man in Europe.
January 7 — F. F. OGILVIE, ESQ., of Cairo, Egypt, The Pyramids of Giza.
January 14 — DR. ALFRED M. TOZZER, of Harvard University, Picture Writing and the Beginnings of the Alphabet.
January 21 — MISS EDITH H. HALL, of Mt. Holyoke College, Ancient Crete and the Pre-Greek Civilization of the Ægean.
January 28 — DR. ALBERT LE COQ, Director of the German Expedition to Turkestan, The Ancient Civilization of Turkestan.
February 4 — Prof. W. MAX MÜLLER, The Ancient Egyptians.
February 11 — Lecture to be announced later.
February 18 — MISS STONE, of the British School at Athens, The Ancient Greeks and Their Mythology.
February 25 — Miss STONE, The Acropolis of Athens.
March 4 — DR. EDWARD SAPIR, Ethnologist in charge on the Geological Survey of Canada, The Origin of Spoken Languages.
March 11 — DR. FRANZ BOAS, of Columbia University, Environment as a Cause of Variations in Man’s Physical Structure.
March 18 — DR. A. A. GOLDENWEISER, of Columbia University; The Institution of Totemism.
March 25 — Lecture to be announced later. April 1—Lecture to be announced later.

Complete announcements of these lectures will shortly be sent to all members of the Museum. They will be given on Saturday afternoons, at four o’clock, throughout the winter, omitting only those dates that fall within the Christmas holidays. Each lecturer is a scholar of distinction, especially qualified by study or by original investigation to impart the most advanced knowledge on his particular subject. The course is provided especially for the benefit of Museum members.

Cite This Article

"Notes." The Museum Journal I, no. 2 (September, 1910): 36-39. Accessed February 21, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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