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vol 8

Harrington Microfilm Volume 8

The Papers of John P. Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957
Volume Eight, Microfilm

A Guide to: Notes and Writings on Special Linguistic Studies

This series within the John Peabody Harrington papers represent the results of the linguistic studies, which John P. Harrington conducted before, during, and after his employment at the Bureau of American Ethnology (1915 -1954). There are various materials, which supplement the field notes described in the other subseries of his papers. The files, which are arranged by tribe or language, usually consist of only a few pages, although those for several of the California groups are more extensive. The highly miscellaneous linguistic and ethnographic notes consist of a large, unorganized block of notes, containing little or no original field data, and notes on grammatical terminology and anthropometrics. The subseries "Linguistic Questionnaires" contains many of the semantically arranged lists, which he used to elicit linguistic and ethnographic information in the field. The bibliographic records indicate a variety of the secondary sources, which he used in his work. Filed immediately after these materials is a set of notes, which Harrington used in preparing responses to inquiries, which were sent to the Bureau of American Ethnology. The responsibility of handling a portion of the bureau's reference correspondence was a major aspect of his job as ethnologist during the periods when he was not conducting fieldwork. Many of the remaining subseries reflect the diversity of topics Harrington explored during his fifty-year career in linguistics. Some studies, such as those on state names or on the origin of the American Indian, were related to his interest in American Indian languages. Others grew, perhaps, from his early training in classical and Indo-Germanic languages and philology. There are files on the etymologies of personal names, on the Arabic origin of Spanish words, and on numerous world languages. The last four subseries represent Harrington's attempts to synthesize his research and field experiences. There are notes for lectures he gave at a number of summer-school sessions from around 1910 to 1915 and records, which reveal a life-long attempt to develop a standard phonetic alphabet. The files on miscellaneous writings contain drafts for over one hundred short papers on a wide variety of linguistic subjects. The final set of records, "Major Writings on Linguistics," comprises notes, drafts, and illustrative materials for a magnum opus on language, the study of which Harrington believed would provide the "masterkey to man."

Volume 8, 1-35:

Reel 1: Supplemental Material on Alaska/Northwest Coast

Reel 1-2: Supplemental Material on Northern and Central California

Reel 1-3: Supplemental Material on Southern California/Basin

Reel 3: Supplemental Material on the Southwest

Reel 3: Supplemental Material on the Plains

Reel 3: Supplemental Material on the Northeast/Southeast

Reel 3: Supplemental Material on Mexico/Central America/South America

Reel 4: Miscellaneous Linguistic and Ethnographic Notes

Reel 5: Linguistic Questionnaires

Reel 6: Bibliographic and Library-Related Materials

Reel 6: Memoranda Prepared in Response to Letters of Inquiry

Reel 7: Records Relating to Non-American Languages

Reel 8-11: Records Relating to Arabic Origins of Spanish Words

Reel 12: Records Relating to Personal Names

Reel 12-20: Records Relating to State Names, Province Names, and Other Geographical Names

Reel 21: Records Relating to the Siberian Origin of the American Indian

Reel 22: Records Relating to Lectures

Reel 23: Records Relating to Phonetics

Reel 24-28: Miscellaneous Writings on Various Linguistic Topics

Reel 29-35: Major Writings on Linguistics


Sincere appreciation and thanks to those who helped make the Harrington collection more widely accessible to the interested public. Support for preparation and digitization of the collection for online access has been provided by the following:

Arcadia Fund; Colorado College Library; Cow Creek Band of Umpqua; Pechanga Band of Luiseno; Recovering Voices, SI; Rosetta Project, Long Now Foundation; Save America’s Treasures, DoI; Matthew Vestuto, on behalf of BarbareƱo/VentureƱo Band of Mission Indians; Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival (AICLS); and the Collections Program of the National Museum of Natural History.


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