Register to the Papers of
Alice Cunningham Fletcher
and Francis La Flesche

By Joy Elizabeth Rohde

National Anthropological Archives
Smithsonian Institution

April 2000



Scope and Content Note

Chronology of the Life of Alice Cunningham Fletcher

Chronology of the Life of Francis La Flesche

Alice Cunningham Fletcher Papers

Incoming Correspondence
Outgoing Correspondence
Correspondence on Specific Subjects
Correspondence between Fletcher and La Flesche
Organizational Records
General Anthropological Notes
Biography and Memorabilia

Francis La Flesche Papers

General Correspondence
Correspondence on Specific Subjects
Literary Efforts
Personal Diaries
Biography and Memorabilia

Papers Relating to the Anthropological Research of Fletcher and La Flesche

Earth Lodges
Nez Perce
Other Tribes
Publications Collected

Appendix A: Itemized correspondence



The papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche have been received from an undocumented number of sources; portions of Fletcher's ethnographic papers were donated to the archives by Mrs. G. David Pearlman in memory of her husband in 1959.

The collection occupies 19 linear feet of shelf space.


These papers reflect the professional lives of Alice Cunningham Fletcher (1838-1923), an ethnologist with the Peabody Museum of Harvard and collaborator with the Bureau of American Ethnology, and Francis La Flesche (1856-1923), an anthropologist with the Bureau of American Ethnology. Due to the close professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche, their papers have been arranged jointly. The papers cover the period from 1874 to 1939. Included in the collection are correspondence, personal diaries, lectures, field notes and other ethnographic papers, drafts, musical transcriptions, publications by various authors, maps and photographs.

Due to the joint arrangement of the collections, the papers have been divided into three general categories: the papers of Alice Cunningham Fletcher, the papers of Francis La Flesche, and the ethnographic researches of Fletcher and La Flesche. The first two categories represent personal and professional materials of Fletcher and La Flesche. The third section holds the majority of the ethnographic material in the collection.

Of primary concern are Fletcher and La Flesche's ethnological investigations conducted among the Plains Indians, particularly the Omaha and Osage. Fletcher's Pawnee field research and her allotment work for the Bureau of Indian Affairs among the Omaha, Nez Perce and Winnebago are represented in the collection. A substantial portion of ethnographic material reflects Fletcher and La Flesche's studies of Native American music. Much of the correspondence in the papers of Fletcher and La Flesche is rich with information about the situation of Omaha peoples in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Also included in the collection are documents related to Fletcher's work with the Archaeological Institute of America and the School for American Archaeology. Additionally, substantial amounts of Fletcher's early anthropological and historical research are found among her correspondence, lectures, anthropological notes and early field diaries. La Flesche's literary efforts are also generously represented.

Among correspondents whose letters are included are Franz BOAS, Charles BOWDITCH, Daniel G. BRINTON, George LeRoy BROWN, agents and superintendents of the BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, Charles Wakefield CADMAN, Lucien CARR, William H. DALL, E. S. DAWES, Francis DENSMORE, Roland B. DIXON, G. A. Dorsey, J. O. DORSEY, W. C. FARABEE, Caryl E. FARLEY, Rosalie La Flesche FARLEY, Arthur FARWELL, J. W. FEWKES, J. C. FILLMORE, E. Jane GAY, William N. GUTHRIE, Phoebe A. HEARST, Edgar L. HEWETT, J. N. B. HEWITT, F. W. HODGE, William Henry HOLMES, Walter HOUGH, Sheldon JACKSON, Joseph LA FLESCHE, Charles F. LUMMIS, George Grant MACCURDY, Washington MATTHEWS, Kate C. MCBETH, W J MCGEE, Frances MEAD, C. Hart MERRIAM, Karl MOON, James MURIE, Zelia NUTTALL, George H. PEPPER, Susan La Flesche PICOTTE, R. H. PRATT, Edna Dean PROCTOR, F. W. PUTNAM, F. B. SANBORN, A. R. SPOFFORD, Frederick STARR, Emily TALBOT, William THAW, Alfred M. TOZZER, R. WALLASCHEK, Edith WESTCOTT, and C. C. WILLOUGHBY.

Additional material related to the professional work of Fletcher and La Flesche in the National Anthropological Archives may be found among the correspondence of the Bureau of American Ethnology and the records of the Anthropological Society of Washington. Ethnographic photographs from the collection have been catalogued by tribe in photo lot 24; glass plate negatives have been catalogued by tribe in the BAE glass negatives collection. Portions of the collection have been microfilmed, including the entirety of Fletcher's incoming correspondence. Refer to appendix B for a list of microfilmed materials.

Sound recordings made by Fletcher and La Flesche can be found at the Library of Congress. The Nebraska Historical Society has diaries, letters and clippings regarding the La Flesche family, including correspondence of Francis La Flesche and Fletcher. The Radcliffe College Archives holds a manuscript account of Alice Fletcher's four summers with the Nez Perce (1889-1892). Correspondence between Fletcher and F. W. Putnam is also located at the Peabody Museum Archives of Harvard University.


1838 Born March 13 in Cuba
1873-76 Secretary, American Association for Advancement of Women
1879 Informal student of anthropology, Peabody Museum, Cambridge
1881 Field trip to Omaha and Rosebud Agencies
1882 Helped secure land in severalty to Omaha Indians; assistant in ethnology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1882-83 Begins collaboration with La Flesche on Peabody's collection of Omaha and Sioux artifacts
1883-84 Special Agent, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Omaha Agency
1886 Bureau of Education investigation of Alaskan native education
1887-88 Special Disbursing Agent, Winnebago Agency
1889-92 Special Agent for allotment, Nez Perce Agency
1890-99 President, Women's Anthropological Society of America
1891-1923 Mary Copley Thaw Fellow, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
1892-93 Department of Interior consultant, World's Columbian Exposition
1896 Vice-President, Section H, American Association for the Advancement of Science
1897 Collaborator, Bureau of American Ethnology
1899-1916 Editorial board, American Anthropologist
1900 Indian Story and Song from North America
1901-02 Advisory committee, Anthropology Department, University of California at Berkeley
1903 President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1904 The Hako: A Pawnee Ceremony with James Murie; member, ethnology section, Louisiana Purchase Exposition
1905 President, American Folk-lore Society
1908-1913 Chair, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1911 Honorary Vice-President, Section H, British Association for Advancement of Science; The Omaha Tribe, with Francis La Flesche
1913 Chair Emeritus, Managing Committee of School of American Archaeology
1915 Indian Games and Dances
1923 Died April 6


1857 Born December 25 on Omaha Reservation near Macy, Nebraska
1879 Lecture tour, Ponca chief Standing Bear
1881 Interpreter, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
1881-1910 Clerk, Bureau of Indian Affairs
1891 Informally adopted as Fletcher's son
1892 LL.B., National University Law School
1893 LL.M., National University Law School
1900 The Middle Five: Indian Boys at School
1906-08 Marriage, Rosa Bourassa
1910-29 Ethnologist, Bureau of American Ethnology
1911 The Omaha Tribe with Alice Fletcher
1921 The Osage Tribe, Part One
1922 Member, National Academy of Sciences
1922-23 President, Anthropological Society of Washington
1925 The Osage Tribe, Part Two
1926 Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Nebraska
1928 The Osage Tribe, Part Three
1932 Dictionary of the Osage Language; died September 5
1939 War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage Indians


Alice Cunningham Fletcher Papers

The papers of Alice Fletcher include materials that reflect her allotment work among Native Americans and her many anthropological investigations and organizational affiliations. Additionally, Fletcher’s early ethnographic research, conducted under the tutelage of F. W. Putnam at Harvard’s Peabody Museum, is well represented. Little material predating 1879 can be found in the collection.

Items of interest include Fletcher’s early correspondence in which she outlines her views on the contemporary problems facing Native Americans, and her early historical lectures, which illustrate the evolution of her interest in ethnology and archaeology.

Materials related to Fletcher’s ethnographic work among the Nez Perce, Omaha, Pawnee, Ponca and Winnebago tribes, as well as her government sponsored trip to Alaska, may be found in the third section of the Fletcher and La Flesche papers.


Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive

The bulk of the correspondence in this series dates from 1882 to 1923. Undated items are located behind the dated papers.

Correspondents include government officials, philanthropists and others involved in contemporary Native American issues, informants, colleagues and collaborators.

Many items in this series reflect Fletcher’s involvement in contemporary Native American issues. The majority of correspondence from 1881 to 1891 relates to Fletcher’s efforts to gain property rights and education for Native Americans and the Omaha tribe in particular. Also of interest are letters from 1885 and 1886 regarding the Omaha tribe’s plans for self-government.

Other materials in this series reflect Fletcher’s ethnographic work and professional affiliations. Ample correspondence from informants and colleagues is found from 1891 to 1918.

The subjects of some of this correspondence may overlap with items in series 3; for more information and materials regarding Fletcher’s involvement with the School of American Archaeology and her relationship with Edgar Hewett, see boxes 7 and 8. Further correspondence from Fletcher’s years as a Special Agent for the Bureau of Indian Affairs may be found elsewhere in the collection (boxes 3-5).

Letters from Francis La Flesche are located in a separate series (box 5), but letters between Fletcher and other La Flesche family members, including Rosalie La Flesche Farley, are located in this series, particularly between the dates 1885 and 1887.

This series has been microfilmed on two reels located in box 26 of the N.A.A. microfilm collection. The first microfilm reel also includes Fletcher's letters to the BAE and materials from other N.A.A. and Smithsonian Archives collections that relate to Fletcher's career. (For a full list of microfilmed materials, see appendix B.)

Box 1

1874, 1876-1879

1881-1882 (J. O. Dorsey, R. H. Pratt, Emily Talbot)

1883 (D. G. Brinton, Sheldon Jackson, R. H. Pratt, Rosalie Farley)

1884-1885 (D. G. Brinton, Lucien Carr, William Dall, Rosalie Farley, Joseph La Flesche, R. H. Pratt)

1886-1887 (Rosalie Farley, Joseph La Flesche)

1888-1890 (Rosalie Farley, J. C. Fillmore, E. D. Proctor)

1891 (Franz Boas, Rosalie Farley, J. C. Fillmore, F. W. Putnam, Frederick Starr)

1892-1893 (D. G. Brinton, J. C. Fillmore, Washington Matthews)

1894-1895 (E. S. Dawes, J. C. Fillmore, F. B. Sanborn)

1896-1898 (D. G. Brinton, Rosalie Farley, J. C. Fillmore, Horatio Hale, O. T. Mason, Washington Matthews, James Murie)

Box 2

1899-1900 (Charles Lummis, Washington Matthews, James Murie, F. W. Putnam)

1901-1902 (G. A. Dorsey, Arthur Farwell, E. Jane Gay, W J McGee, Frances Mead, James Murie)

1903-1904 (Franz Boas, F. W. Hodge, W. H. Holmes, W J McGee)

1905-1910 (J. N. B. Hewitt, F. W. Hodge, W. H. Holmes, Sheldon Jackson, Francis Mead, James Murie, A. M. Tozzer)

1911-1913 (F. W. Hodge, Zelia Nuttall, W. D. Walcott, C. C. Willoughby)

1914-1916 (W. N. Guthrie, F. W. Hodge, Zelia Nuttall, E. D. Proctor)

1918-1923 (J. W. Fewkes, W. N. Guthrie)



Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive.

Fletcher rarely retained complete copies of letters that she sent; therefore the bulk of these materials are incomplete handwritten drafts. Undated items are located behind the dated papers.

Material dated between 1881 and 1892 was largely written by Fletcher while she was pursuing field work and government allotment and may overlap with items in Series 3 relating to Fletcher’s work at the Omaha, Nez Perce and Winnebago reservations (boxes 3-5).

The majority of the items between 1898 and 1911 reflect Fletcher’s anthropological work and professional affiliations. More information on Fletcher’s research on earth lodges, as illustrated in her 1898 correspondence with "Lassie" (E. Jane Gay), is located elsewhere in the collection (box 18).

Microfilm of incoming correspondence from 1873 to 1890 is located on reel 3, N.A.A. microfilm box 26.

Box 2

1873, 1882-1883 (R. H. Pratt)

1884, 1886-1892 (F. W. Putnam)

1895-1900 (Jane Gay, James Murie)

1902-1903, 1907-1907, 1911, 1921 (R. B. Dixon, J. O. Dorsey, P. A. Hearst, F. W. Hodge, W. H. Holmes)



Arranged chronologically by subject.

This series was created to encompass correspondence that was separated from the rest of Fletcher's letters. Materials have been divided into five subject headings, covering Fletcher's allotment work for the Omaha (1881-1884), Winnebago (1887-1889) and Nez Perce (1889-1894), the theft of the Omaha sacred buffalo hide, and the anthropology department at the University of California, Berkeley.

The bulk of the allotment correspondence is between Fletcher and the Commissioner of Indian affairs. Included are her instructions, inquiries regarding spurious land claims, and updates on her work. There is no incoming correspondence for the Nez Perce allotment. Other materials relating to allotment, including record books of land claims, are included in this series. Microfilm of Omaha and Winnebago outgoing correspondence and Nez Perce outgoing correspondence to 1890 is located on reel 3 of Fletcher microfilm (N.A.A. microfilm box 26).

In 1898 the Omaha sacred hide was stolen from James Robinson. Francis La Flesche was involved in the search for item and is included in this correspondence.

In 1901, Phoebe Apperson Hearst funded a new Anthropology museum and department in Berkeley, California, and Fletcher was named a member of its Advisory Committee. This section reflects her brief involvement in the new department.

Ethnographic materials are filed under separate series: for the Omaha, see boxes 20-22; Winnebago ethnography, box 31; Nez Perce ethnography, boxes 19 and 20.

Box 3

Omaha allotment

Field notebook, 1881

Congressional bills, 1882-1925

Incoming correspondence, 1883-1884

Outgoing correspondence, 1883-1884 (2 folders)

Correspondence: Omaha Indians and government officials, 1884-1887

Allotment recordbook, n.d.

Miscellaneous, 1881-1883, n.d.

Box 4

Winnebago allotment

Incoming correspondence, 1887-1888

Outgoing correspondence, 1887-1889

Allotment recordbook, 1887-1889

Nez Perce allotment

Outgoing correspondence, 1889-1891

Box 5

Outgoing correspondence, 1891-1894

Theft of buffalo hide, 1898-1904

Berkeley anthropology department, 1901-1902


Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive.

These materials reflect the professional and personal relationship of Fletcher and La Flesche; when the two were separated, they wrote each other regularly and often, even as much as twice a day.

Box 5

Fletcher to La Flesche, 1895, 1899, 1905

Fletcher to La Flesche, 1911

Fletcher to La Flesche, 1913-1921 (non-inclusive)

La Flesche to Fletcher, 1901, 1905, 1911

La Flesche to Fletcher, 1912

La Flesche to Fletcher, 1916-1922 (non-inclusive)

PUBLICATIONS. 1882-1920. 8 in.

Arranged by reprints, drafts, and unpublished drafts; ordered chronologically therein; dates non-inclusive.

This series includes early articles on Native American affairs, abstracts from proceedings of scientific meetings, and some scholarly works. The drafts of published materials are primarily Fletcher's articles on Indian music reviews of other individuals' publications. The draft of "Indian Songs and Music" includes an announcement for a lecture which appears to be basis of this draft.

This series also encompasses Fletcher's unpublished fictionalized account of her early fieldwork with the Omaha tribe and Rosebud Sioux.

Box 5

1882-1889 (non-inclusive)

A Study of Omaha Indian Music, 1893

Box 6



1911-1920, n.d. (non-inclusive)

Reviews, 1896-1916 (non-inclusive)

Drafts, 1882

Drafts, [c. 1891]-1899 (non-inclusive)

Drafts, 1916 [?]

Drafts of reviews, 1897-1916 (non-inclusive)

Box 7

"Camping with the Sioux," I, 1887

"Camping with the Sioux," II, n.d.

Drafts, unidentified, n.d.


Arranged chronologically by subject.

Materials have been divided into three subject headings to encompass the act to preserve American antiquities, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), and the Colorado Cliff Dwellings Association. Materials include correspondence, committee proposals and Congressional documents.

Fletcher was actively involved in the business and development of the Archaeological Institute of America throughout her career. Of particular interest is rich information in the form of correspondence and newspaper clippings on the character defamation controversy between Edgar Hewett and Franz Boas in 1911. Related materials are located among Fletcher's incoming correspondence in 1911 (box 2).

The formation of the School of American Archaeology (later the School of American Research), which Fletcher avidly supported, created friction between herself and F. W. Putnam. These issues are reflected in the folder relating to the formation of the school, the contents of which consist of drafts of letters from Fletcher to Putnam and Charles Bowditch.

The Colorado Cliff Dwellings material may relate to Fletcher's work for the preservation of antiquities.

Box 7

Act to preserve antiquities, 1904-1907

Archaeological Institute of America official business, 1895, 1906-1916

AIA correspondence, Edgar Hewett to Fletcher, 1906-1922

Box 8

Formation of School of American Archaeology, 1908-1909

School of American Archaeology official business, 1911-1921

AIA clippings, 1907-1911

Cliff Dwellings Association, 1908


Arranged alphabetically by subject; most undated.

Much of this series consists of fragmentary reading notes and other unidentifiable materials, some of which may have been intended for publication. The majority of these papers likely date to Fletcher's early ethnographic researches which she undertook in the late 1870s and early 1880s at Harvard's Peabody Museum. The folder labeled "General" consists of materials kept together by Fletcher and may have been research for her early anthropological lectures, particularly those on the mound builders (see boxes 9 and 10).

Box 8


British Guiana



Native American anthropology

Native American bibliography

Native American issues

Plains Indians



LECTURES. [1878-1910]. 14 in.

Arranged chronologically; lecture series are placed before single lectures.

Dates non-inclusive; many materials undated.

This series encompasses lecture tours and individual addresses. The dates of many of Fletcher's lectures are unknown, and the archivist used the content to assign tentative dates. Some papers may have been manuscripts for publication.

Fletcher's early lecture tours, "Lectures on America" (c. 1878-1879) and "Lectures on Ancient America" (c. 1879) were primarily historical in content, reflecting her early studies in the history of man. There appears to be some overlap between individual lectures from the "Ancient America" group; two different lecture tours were given under the same title (see lecture series announcements, box 9).

Fletcher's lectures on Armenia (1894-1895) illustrate her interest in the oppression of Armenians which she encountered on a trip to Europe in 1894.

The later lectures in this series were delivered to a number of organizations, from the Literary Society in Washington to the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Box 9

"Lectures on America"

"Our Nationality" (including announcement for lecture series)

"Both Sides of the Atlantic"

["Virginia"] [fragment]

"New Netherlands"

"The Lost Colonies"

Unidentified notes

"Lectures on Ancient America"

lecture series announcements

"The Mound builders"

"Mound builders of the Upper Ohio Valley"

"Mound builders of the Lower Mississippi Valley"

"Arts of the Mound builders"

"Camps and Rock Shelters"

"Antiquities of the Coast"

"The People of the Pueblos"

Box 10

"Comparative Archaic Art"

"Earliest Traces of Man"

"Value of Anthropological Study"

Unidentified Notes


Armenia lectures, 1894-1895

Armenia notes, 1894-1895

General lectures

1880-1882 [?]

1899, c. 1890s [?]

[1903]-[1907] (non-inclusive)

Box 11

c. 1910

Archaeology, n.d.

Native Americans, n.d.

Women, n.d.

Miscellaneous, n.d.

Archaeological fragments and notes

Miscellaneous fragments and notes

DIARIES. 1881, 1885, 1887-1922. 10.5 in.

Arranged chronologically.

This material consists of Fletcher's field diaries of 1881 and her personal diaries and address books.

In 1881, Fletcher ventured into the field for the first time, traveling to the Omaha and Rosebud reservations in Nebraska and South Dakota. Her field diaries from this trip contain scant ethnographic material but are rich in personal insights and include many passages relevant to Fletcher's interest in the plight of Native Americans. Field diaries include sketches Fletcher drew along her trip; drawings which were removed from the notebooks have been filed directly behind them. Francis La Flesche copied the majority of the field diaries and this series includes two copies of his transcripts.

Alice Fletcher kept a small daily record of her activities when home from the field. These items provide a comprehensive account of Fletcher's affairs throughout her career. Newspaper clippings which Fletcher kept in personal diaries have been removed, photocopied and placed in a separate folder with their original location noted.

Other field diaries may be found in the ethnographic section of the collection, filed according to tribe, and in Oversize Box 1.

Box 11

Diary, Sept. to Nov. 1881

Diary, Nov. to Dec. 1881

Drawings, Sept. to Nov. 1881

Box 12

Handwritten copy [Francis La Flesche]


Personal diaries (including address books, diary from Europe) (see Oversize Box 1)


Calling cards


Arranged by subject, chronologically therein.

Dates non-inclusive; many items undated.

This series encompasses materials Fletcher saved as memorabilia as well as those documents and items that reflect her life and scientific work. Few of the items in this series were produced by Fletcher; a short autobiographical sketch is included.

Fletcher saved items from expositions and organizational meetings she attended, illustrating her various interests from women's organizations to social clubs and scientific societies. The majority of institutional records in this series encompasses the 1896 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which Fletcher attended as Vice-President, and the St. Louis Exposition of 1904.

Reviews dominate the clippings about Fletcher's life and work, in particular those of Indian Story and Song. Unfortunately, many of the identifying papers for these articles were removed. They have been preserved in the folder labeled "Clippings Bureau."

In 1907, Alice Fletcher met Leo Tolstoy and wrote an account of the experience. Other Tolstoy materials include correspondence with and articles by Tolstoy admirers.

Alice Fletcher also collected and wrote poetry. Few of these items are dated.

The folder labeled "Collected clippings" includes only materials that do not relate directly to Fletcher's life or work, including obituaries of friends, notices of women's organizational meetings, and articles about various exhibits at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Miscellaneous materials include invitation cards from Phoebe Apperson Hearst, hotel bills from Fletcher's 1907 trip to Europe, sparse financial records, photographs, and a notebook outlining her filing system.

Box 12

Biography and bibliography (by Fletcher)

Institutional affiliation records: 1880, 1891-1922

Newspaper clippings about Fletcher's life and work, 1880-1922, n.d. (two folders)

Box 13

Clippings bureau, 1900

Fletcher family documents, 1878, n.d.

Tolstoy, 1907-1919

Obituaries, 1923

Will and estate: 1919, 1923-1925

Poetry, 1886, 1900-1913 and n.d.

Collected clippings, 1885-1918

Miscellaneous memorabilia, 1902, 1907 and n.d.

Miscellaneous notes, 1882-1922


Francis La Flesche Papers

The papers of Francis La Flesche include materials that reflect his anthropological research and organizational affiliations, as well as his continual involvement in Omaha tribal affairs.

Items of interest include La Flesche's short story manuscripts and his daily diaries.

Materials related to La Flesche's ethnographic work among the Omaha, Osage and Ponca tribes may be found in the third section of the Fletcher and La Flesche papers.


Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive.

Undated items placed behind dated material. Mixed incoming and outgoing correspondence.

These items are primarily professional in nature. Further materials relating to La Flesche's interest in Osage sacred bundles are located elsewhere (box 15, box 23).

Box 14

1890-1916 (J. C. Fillmore, Jane Gay, Walter Hough, C. Hart Merriam, Karl Moon, James Murie, G. H. Pepper, F. W. Putnam)

1917-1920 (F. W. Hodge, G. G. MacCurdy, C. Hart Merriam, Karl Moon, G. H. Pepper)

1922-1929 (J. W. Fewkes, W. N. Guthrie, E. L. Hewett, C. Hart Merriam)


Arranged chronologically by subject; dates non-inclusive. Correspondence mixed incoming and outgoing.

This series encompasses items which were separated topically from La Flesche's general correspondence.

Materials relating to La Flesche's employment reflect his work as a clerk in the Office of Indian Affairs (1881-1910) and as an ethnologist for the Bureau of American Ethnology (1910-1929). Items include La Flesche's instructions for work under both bureaus, records of his field expenses for the BAE (particularly 1910-1912), and updates on his ethnographic work.

La Flesche's fictionalized account of young Indian boys at school, The Middle Five, was published in 1900. Materials under this subject heading include business letters from his publisher and personal letters from friends and fans. Many of the latter items are addressed to Alice Fletcher.

Material under the headings of La Flesche family and Omaha tribal affairs reflect La Flesche's concern about land possession and welfare on the Omaha reservation.

La Flesche spent many years studying Osage sacred bundles owned by museums, private collectors and Native Americans. For more material on sacred packs, see La Flesche's general correspondence with Harry L. George and George H. Pepper, 1915-1916 in his general correspondence. Additional materials on sacred bundles may be found among La Flesche's general correspondence (box 14) and Osage ethnography (box 23).

In 1916, La Flesche sought the results of George Pettigrew's mound survey in the Sioux Falls region which had likely come to his attention through Alice Fletcher. Fletcher corresponded with George Pettigrew in the 1890s (these letters are included in this series) and La Flesche corresponded with his descendants in order to obtain Pettigrew's findings. Photographs and diagrams of the Pettigrew survey are located elsewhere (box 30).

In 1918, the Missouri Historical Society commissioned La Flesche to complete a dictionary of Osage which was ultimately published by the Bureau of American Ethnology in 1932. Drafts of the dictionary are located in a separate series (box 27, index card boxes 3-6).

Box 14

Employment, 1881-1903 (non-inclusive)

Employment, 1910-1912

Employment, 1913-1928 (non-inclusive)

The Middle Five business, 1899-1907, 1927

The Middle Five royalty statements, 1901-1910

The Middle Five personal, 1900-1912, n.d.

La Flesche family, 1900-1930

Estate of Joseph La Flesche, 1909-1916

Box 15

Omaha tribal affairs, 1907-1918

Sacred bundles, 1911, 1915-1917

Inquiries, 1912-1930

Pettigrew mound exploration, 1916-1917

Osage dictionary, 1918-1927

Miscellaneous business and personal, 1918-1930

PUBLICATIONS. 1900-1927. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive.

Included is a draft of "Alice Fletcher's Scientific Work." The reprints and articles include La Flesche's addresses and articles on Indian policy issues.

Manuscripts and materials for La Flesche's Omaha and Osage texts are located elsewhere in the collection (boxes 22, 23-28, index card boxes 2-6).

Box 15

Reprints and articles, 1900-1927

Drafts, 1923


Arranged alphabetically by title; undated.

The majority of these materials are short stories or fragments thereof. Some of the tales about young Indian boys may be autobiographical in nature; others may have been adapted from mythology La Flesche collected in the field. La Flesche commonly used the same character names in multiple stories; as a result, the relationships between tales are unclear.

Box 15 (cont.)


D-H (includes play with music by Cadman)

K (includes play in collaboration with Fletcher and Mabel Hay Barrows)

Box 16





PERSONAL DIARIES. 1883-1924. 2.5 in.

Arranged chronologically; dates non-inclusive.

These items provide a log of La Flesche's personal and professional activities on an almost daily basis.

Box 16 (cont.)

1883-1885, 1887-1889, 1892-1895

1897, 1900-1901, 1904-1912

1913-1920, 1923-1924


Arranged chronologically by material; dates non-inclusive.

Items include a short autobiographical sketch, La Flesche's law degrees and his certificate of membership to the Freemasons. Clippings include reviews of The Middle Five that Fletcher may have collected for La Flesche.

Box 17

Biographical information, n.d.

Degrees and certificates, 1892-1926

Financial records, 1886-1929

Clippings on life and work, 1900-1930 (2 folders)


Papers Relating to the Anthropological Research of
Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche

The following materials represent Fletcher and La Flesche's ethnographic work and publications dating from 1882 to 1939. Ethnographic materials have been arranged alphabetically by subject. Although some of the materials in this section represent work by only Fletcher or La Flesche, they have been filed together to maintain consistency with the papers' prior arrangement.

This section also includes the personal photographs of Fletcher and La Flesche. Ethnographic images are catalogued by tribe (photo lot 24) and glass plate negatives have been catalogued by tribe.

ALASKA. 1886-1887. 2 in.

Arranged chronologically by material.

Under the direction of the U.S. Office of Education, Alice Fletcher ventured to Alaska in 1886 and provided the government with a report on "Indian Education and Civilization" which summarized her findings and recommendations for native education in the territory.

Her field notebooks include a census, a petition of teachers for better native education and loose notes and drawings from the voyage. Also included is correspondence between Sheldon Jackson and William Thaw, dated 1883, regarding plans for establishing the trip to Alaska.

Fletcher conducted ethnographic research on her voyage, and following her return, communicated with informants about Alaskan totems.

Box 18

Field notebooks


Reading notes

Informant's correspondence, 1886-1887

EARTH LODGES. 1882, 1898-1899. 1 in.

Arranged chronologically by material; most undated.

This series reflects Fletcher's research for an intended joint publication with Washington Matthews on earth lodges (see Fletcher's incoming correspondence, 1898, box 1).

Further Pawnee and Omaha materials are located elsewhere in the collection (box 20-22, 28-29).

Box 18

Notes from informants, 1898-1899

Field and reading notes, n.d.

Photos, 1882, n.d.

MUSIC. 1888-1918. 1.5 ft.

Arranged by materials; by tribe and date therein.

Some materials located in oversize box 2.

Dates non-inclusive; many materials undated.

The majority of this material is musical transcriptions of native songs and ceremonies. In many cases Fletcher and La Flesche did not label the tribe or otherwise identify the sheet music. Those items not clearly related to any publications have simply been labeled as sheet music.

The Omaha and Osage tribes are most fully represented in this series, although a few transcriptions of other tribes (Nez Perce, Ponca, Winnebago, etc.) are included.

Fletcher acquired J. C. Fillmore and Franz Boas' musical transcriptions of non-Native American peoples from the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. This material is located at the end of the series. Many composers created popular adaptations of Native American music; Fletcher's collection of these materials are located at the end of this series.

For further ethnographic information on the particular tribes represented in this collection, see below.

Box 18

Lectures: 1888, 1894

Lectures: 1895, 1897, c. 1903

Lectures: c. 1890s and n.d.

Omaha song lyrics

Omaha sheet music (see oversize box 2)

Osage sheet music (see oversize box 2)

Oto sheet music (see oversize box 2)

Unidentified sheet music (titled)

Unidentified sheet music (untitled)

Various tribes, sheet music

Popular adaptations, n.d.

A Study of Omaha Indian Music, 1893, sheet music (see oversize box 2)

Indian Story and Song from North America, 1900, sheet music (see oversize box 2)

Box 19

Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs, 1915, sheet music

Work of J. C. Fillmore, 1891-1898 (non-inclusive)

Boas and Fillmore, 1893

Fillmore: Korea and Dahomey, 1893 (see oversize box 2)

Various composers, publications: 1891-1907 (see oversize box 2)

Various composers, manuscripts, n.d. (2 folders, one located in oversize box 2)

Clippings, 1893-1918, n.d.

Miscellaneous, 1901-1910, n.d.

NEZ PERCE. 1889-1909. 4.5 in.

Arranged chronologically by material.

Fletcher collected ethnographic information while allotting land to the Nez Perce for the Bureau of Indian Affairs between 1889 and 1892. She never published on the Nez Perce, although she did maintain correspondence with some informants for years after finishing her allotment work.

This series includes items sent to Fletcher by Kate McBeth, a missionary among the Nez Perce who provided Fletcher with much information. For other letters from Kate McBeth, see Fletcher's incoming correspondence (boxes 1-2).

In 1926, Francis La Flesche submitted Alice Fletcher's manuscript on the Nez Perce to J. W. Fewkes for publication by the BAE; Fewkes decided against publishing the material (Fewkes to La Flesche, 10-4-26, in La Flesche general correspondence). F. W. Hodge appears to have annotated one of the drafts. A microfilmed version of one of the drafts is included in the collection (see appendix B).

Fletcher's informant, Billy Williams, drew a map titled "Nez Perce Country," which is located in the map case (drawer 1, photo mounted in corner, neg. no. 55,020). The collection also includes four negatives of Williams (BAE neg. nos. 55,021 a, b, c).

Box 19

Field notebook and informants, 1889-1891

Mythology, 1891, n.d.

Language, n.d.

General ethnography, 1889-1894

Box 20

"The Nez Perce Country," c. 1891

"Ethnologic Gleanings Among the Nez Perces," n.d.

"Ethnologic Gleanings," draft.

Lecture fragment [?], n.d.

Reading notes

Vocabulary, 1891 (sent by Kate McBeth)

Correspondence with informants, 1895-1909

Photos (Billy Williams)

OMAHA. 1882-1922. 14 in.

Arranged chronologically by material.

Those materials filed under "General papers" encompass items that cannot be definitively identified as field notes or drafts of published works. They include lectures and other materials on subjects such as Omaha child life, the legend of the sacred pole, and items that may have formed the basis for Fletcher and La Flesche's joint publication, The Omaha Tribe.

Photographs of ethnographic subjects are filed separately in photo lot 24. Music of the Omaha tribe is located elsewhere in the collection (box 18 and oversize box 2). Omaha allotment correspondence is located in box 3. For materials relating to the theft of the Omaha sacred buffalo hide, see box 5.

Box 20

Field diaries: 1882-1885, 1895, 1898

Field diaries: 1900

Field diary: 1909

Box 21

Field diaries, n.d.

Field notes, 1895-1899; 1906-1906

Field notes, n.d (2 folders)

Field notes extracts, 1898-1906

Mythology field notes, 1900, n.d.

Language, n.d.

Omaha-English, W-Z, n.d. (see index card file 1)

General papers, Fletcher, n.d.

Box 22

General papers, La Flesche, 1919-1922, n.d.

General papers, author(s) unspecified, n.d.

Sacred tent, Peabody Museum, 1884, n.d.

Reading notes (includes letter from Indian Commissioner to Joseph La Flesche)

"Omaha Tribe" illustration list

Ethnographic fragments, n.d.


OSAGE. 1896-1939. 5.5 ft.

Arranged chronologically by material.

La Flesche devoted a large amount of his field work to the study of Osage rituals, culminating in a three part monograph. La Flesche appears to have saved intact only those parts of his drafts that were not ultimately published. These materials, including lyrical translations and miscellaneous notes, are filed according to their respective publications.

La Flesche's War Ceremony and Peace Ceremony of the Osage was published posthumously; because he conducted the research for this text over a number of years and the date of completion is unknown, manuscript materials have been filed by publication date.

La Flesche's Osage research dominated much of his career and many references to the tribe may be found among his correspondence. Further information on Osage sacred bundles, including their relationship to tattooing rites, is located elsewhere in the collection (box 14, box 15). Microfilm of portions of the Rite of Vigil manuscript and tattooing materials are also available (see appendix B).

Box 22

Biographical sketches

General ethnography 1896, 1915-1918, n.d.

Gens and kin, 1896-1897, n.d.

Hunting, 1896, 1898, n.d.

Medicine men, n.d.

Box 23

Myths and stories, 1916, n.d.

Peyote ceremony, 1915-1917, n.d. (includes photos)


Sacred bundles notes, 1898, n.d.

Sacred bundles photos and descriptions

Tattooing ceremony notes, 1898, 1910-1911, 1918, n.d.

Tattooing ceremony photos and drawings, n.d.

Wa-xo-be letters (extracts), 1910-1911


General papers, 1909-1924

Manuscripts, 1912, 1916, n.d.

Box 23-24

Rite of Chiefs, 1914-1915

Box 24

Rite of Vigil, 1917-1918

Box 25

Child Naming, 1925-1926

Child Naming, personal names, roughs (index card box 1)

Child Naming, gentile names, roughs (index card box 2)

Child Naming, personal and gentile (index card box 2)

Box 25-26

Wa-xo-be A-wa-thon, 1927-1928

Box 27

Dictionary, 1932

Dictionary, English to Osage, n.d. (index card boxes 3-5)

Dictionary, Osage to English, n.d. (index card boxes 5-6)

Dictionary, misc., n.d. (index card box 6)

Box 27-28

War Ceremony, Peace Ceremony, 1939

Box 28

Reading notes, general

Reading notes, history

Reading notes, religion

Portraiture notes, 1922, 1925, n.d.



Unidentified index, n.d. (index card box 7)

PAWNEE. 1897-1910. 5 in.

Arranged chronologically by material.

Although Fletcher published a monograph on the Pawnee, few of her field notes for the Ha-ko Ceremony are preserved. Two field notebooks including some Pawnee materials, dated 9-95 and 6-98, are located with the Omaha ethnographic materials (box 20).

James Murie was Fletcher's primary Pawnee informant and co-authored the Ha-ko Ceremony. For more ethnographic information relating to the Pawnee, see Fletcher's incoming correspondence from Murie, 1898-1904 (boxes 1-2, microfilm reels 1-2).

Box 28

Field notebooks, 1894, 1901

Box 29

Buffalo ceremony, 1900, n.d.

Buffalo ceremony music (see oversize box 2)

Ceremony notes, 1898, 1907, n.d.

Star of the West

Music notes

General papers, 1898, n.d.

Ha-ko Ceremony, 1904

"The Pawnee," 1910

Reading notes

PIPES. Undated. 1 in.

Arranged by material.

Francis La Flesche apparently collected these materials. None of the items are dated and it is unclear how La Flesche obtained the photos and drawings in this series.

Box 29



Drawings by F. H. Cushing

SIOUX. 1877-1896. 2.5 in

Arranged chronologically by material; dates non-inclusive.

Many items in this series reflect Fletcher and La Flesche's research on the Sioux Sun Dance conducted from 1882 to 1896. Fletcher prepared a manuscript documenting a Sun Dance she witnessed in 1882. Alice Fletcher's field notebook also includes drawings and notes about the Sioux elk mystery.

Avidly opposed to the misrepresentation of native ceremony by the uninformed, Fletcher composed an undated letter in response to an exaggerated account of the Sioux Sun Dance which is included among "General papers."

Fletcher and La Flesche also sought information about George Pettigrew's mound excavation near Sioux Falls. Correspondence regarding these materials is located elsewhere in the collection (box 15).

Box 30

Field notebook, 1882

Sun Dance notes, 1882, 1896

Pettigrew mound survey, n.d.

General papers, 1877, n.d.

Sun Dance manuscript, 1882

OTHER TRIBES. 1882-1922. 3.25 in.

Arranged alphabetically by tribe; dates non-inclusive.

This series encompasses the slight amount of information that Fletcher and La Flesche collected on other Native American tribes. Much of the material in this series reflects their field work among the Ponca and the Winnebago, some of which yielded information used in The Omaha Tribe. Other field notes illustrate Fletcher and La Flesche's interest in the Sun Dance among different tribes. In addition, this series includes miscellaneous reading notes.

Further materials on the Sun Dance are located above (Box 30).

Box 30

A-B (includes Arapaho Sun Dance)


H-O (includes Mexico reading notes and Oto Sun Dance)

Ponca field notes, 1890, 1896 (includes Sun and Ghost Dance)

Ponca general papers, 1922, n.d.

S-Z (includes Wichita field notes, 1898, notes from Zuni visit, 1882)

Box 31

Winnebago field notes, 1883, 1887, n.d.

Winnebago general papers, n.d.

Winnebago manuscript, 1890


Alphabetical by author.

These materials include items of ethnographic, historical and literary nature; many were received by Fletcher or La Flesche with compliments of the authors.

Native American musical publications collected by Fletcher and La Flesche are located elsewhere in the collection (see oversize Box 2).

Box 31


Ba-Br (Barrows, Boas)


C (Catlin)

D (J. O. Dorsey)


F (Fewkes, Fillmore)


Box 32

Gatschet, Albert S.




M, P (Powell)




Box 33

Maps, national, 1902, n.d.

Maps, states and regions, 1884-1905, n.d

PHOTOGRAPHS. n.d. 4 in.

Arranged by subject; materials largely undated.

These photographs are primarily personal in nature, and include many pictures of Fletcher and La Flesche's life at their home in Washington DC.

Many of the portraits of friends in this series are unidentified.

Box 33


La Flesche and family

Friends and colleagues


Miscellaneous (includes photos of Zelia Nuttall's apartment)

Filmed items with location of originals.

End Part One.
Continue: APPENDIX A

Last updated: December 15, 2000
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