Newsletter of the J.P. Harrington Conference Number 4

Newsletter of the J.P. Harrington Conference

Number 4: February 1993

At the first working conference on the linguistic and ethnographic papers of John P. Harrington, held in Santa Barbara in June 1992, plans were made for further meetings and projects, as well as for maintaining and expanding the network of Harrington scholars. The Newsletter of the J. P. Harrington Conference serves as the vehicle for communicating information about these and other Harrington-related activities. The Newsletter is published at irregular intervals and is distributed free to anyone interested. To be placed on the mailing list contact the editor: Victor Golla, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521. Telephone: (707) 826-4324 or 839-0830. Fax: (707) 826-5555. E-mail: or golla@calstate.bitnet.


The second working conference on the linguistic and ethnographic papers of John P. Harrington will be held at the Smithsonian Institution, Tuesday and Wednesday, November 16-17, 1993, immediately preceding the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (and the 32nd Conference on American Indian Languages). The host of the conference will be the National Anthropological Archives, the repository of most of Harrington's papers, and the meeting will include a tour of the archives. The conference will begin at midday Tuesday and will continue through Wednesday afternoon; the NAA tour will take place at the end of the Tuesday session. There will be a small registration fee of $10.

A formal call for papers will be sent out in May. Suggestions regarding the structure of the program should be directed to Victor Golla at the address on the masthead. Inquiries about Smithsonian arrangements should be directed to: Mary Elizabeth Ruwell, Director, Natl. Anth. Archives, NHB, MRC 152, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560. (Tel: 202/357-1976.)


Kathryn A. Klar (Celtic Studies Program, UC Berkeley) sends us the following announcement:

At the Harrington Conference in Santa Barbara last June something that repeatedly came up in informal discussions was the realization that, nearly 30 years after his death, no biography of Harrington was yet available. I lamented this fact as much as others. I had always thought that one or more of the fine scholars who worked with the materials early on would take up the work. Although several useful short pieces have been published (by Jane Walsh, Harry Lawton, Carobeth Laird, and Matthew Stirling, among others) nothing currently available addresses the full range of the man's interests and abilities or firmly locates his work in the linguistic and ethnographic context of the time. So, after much thought and some preliminary work to evaluate the feasibility of doing so at this time, I have decided to undertake a full-scale intellectual biography of Harrington. I would like to ask for the cooperation and assistance of everyone whose personal, cultural, or scholarly life has been somehow touched by Harrington and his work.

For those who don't know me, my interest in Harrington goes back more than 20 years. As Mary Haas's graduate research assistant at UC Berkeley in the early 1970s I was assigned to work on Harrington's Obispeño materials and (along with Geoff Gamble, Marc Okrand and Richard Applegate) to help prepare the Berkeley portions of the Harrington papers for their return to the Smithsonian. (The contents of a storage room that Harrington had long maintained in California were removed to Berkeley shortly after they turned up in the early 1960s.) After I received my Ph.D. in 1977 I followed these materials to the Smithsonian. I spent a year there as a postdoctoral fellow in the National Anthropological Archives, continuing my own Chumash research and assisting Elaine Mills in cataloguing the Chumash portionof the papers. During this time my curiosity led me to begin compiling biographical information on Harrington, but I did not continue this after I returned to Berkeley to teach Celtic Studies. In the past few years, however, my old interest in Harrington has revived, thanks to the encouragement of John Johnson and Victor Golla, and I have once again become seriously involved in Native American language research.

I have already been in contact with a substantial number of individuals whose cooperation will be vital to the success of a project such as this. Especially important are Elaine Mills and Jack Marr. Elaine has devoted many years to compiling a detailed chronology of Harrington's research, which will serve as the basis for much of my biographical work. Jack, who was Harrington's research assistant for a few years around 1940, has been unceasingly gracious and generous in sharing his memories with me. I have also received a copy of Arthur Harrington's memoirs of his uncle. Many others have promised their assistance, and I believe the project is off to a good start.

Later this year, I will be sending out a questionnaire to everyone on the Harrington Conference mailing list. In the meantime I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who can suggest sources of information or people to contact, or who have memories or experiences of their own to share. I would also be interested in hearing what people think should (or should not) be covered in a biography of Harrington. My aim is to produce a work of maximal use to the scholarly community that will, at the same time, provide a balanced picture of the man and his work. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Correspondence should be sent to the following address: Kathryn A. Klar, 710 Courtland, Richmond, CA 94805. She can also be contacted by telephone (510/237-7733), by fax (510/642-4607 until July 1, 1993), and by e-mail (


Leanne Hinton organized a session on "The Legacy of J. P. Harrington" for the 1992 California Indian Conference (Berkeley, Oct. 16-18). Presentations include: Victor Golla, "J. P. Harrington: The Man who Saved the Lore"; Catherine Callaghan, "Pursuing Old Ethnographers"; John Johnson, "The Ethnohistoric Context of Harrington's Research in South Central California"; Kathryn Klar, "'Precious Beyond the Power of Money to Buy': Harrington's Obispeño Fieldwork with Rosario Cooper"; Katherine Turner, "Harrington's California Spanish in Salinan"; Betty Rivers, "Harrington's Salinan Place Name Trips"; and Jack Marr, "Making Recordings for Harrington: Reminisences." The session concluded with a panel discussion on "Native Californian Views of Harrington and his Notes," with Ernestine McGovran, L. Frank Manriquez, and Linda Yamane.


The summary of JPH sound recordings that was printed in the July 1992 Conference Newsletter needs to be amended in several particulars.

* The number of "unidentified" aluminum discs is considerably larger than was reported. In fact, there are more than 150 discs whose content is not known. It is to be hoped that among these are the recordings of Yokuts and Navajo that Jack Marr tells us he distinctly remembers making, as well as the recordings that JPH made of Frances Johnson, the last speaker of Takelma (and Sapir's informant in 1906).

* We noted that, where no master tape of a disc recording yet exists, the NAA can arrange to have one made at a commercial recording studio in Washington. However, the price we cited for this service - approximately $50 per tape - is inaccurate. Cutting Studios (the company that the NAA utilizes) charges $78 per hour, and estimates 2 hours per recording.

* Several of us (particularly, Geoff Gamble, Victor Golla, John Johnson, and Richard Keeling) are now exploring the feasibility of applying for a substantial grant to transfer to tape the entire collection of JPH aluminum disc recordings. We hope to report significant progress in the May 1993 Conference Newsletter. Meanwhile, we would be very interested in hearing from other Newsletter readers who might know of some promising sources of funding. (We estimate we will need no less than $50,000 to complete the job. Since other US Government agencies ordinarily cannot fund projects at the Smithsonian, NSF and NEH are probably out.)

Standardizing References to the JPH Microfilm and Guides

As more and more scholars become acquainted with the microfilm edition of the Harrington papers, citations of specific reels and frames grow common, as well as references to Elaine Mills' Guides. Some confusion exists in this area, and there is a clear need for standardization. The editor of this Newsletter , who has recently been wrestling with this question while editing the proceedings of the 1992 Harrington Conference, would like to propose the following citation format:

* All references to the Krauss microfilm edition of the Harrington papers should be to The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957 (abbreviated PJPH-SI). References should specify the volume number in roman numerals (I to IX), the reel number(s) in arabic numerals, and (if specific frames are cited) the frame numbers in 4-digit arabic numerals (i.e., "0001"). Volume, reel and frame references should be cited in this order, separated by colons. Thus "PJPH-SI II:31:0001-0263" should be the standard reference to volume two of the microfilm (Northern and Central California, 1985), reel 31, frames 0001 to 0263. Similarly, "PJPH-SI I:13" refers to volume one of the microfilm (Alaska/Northwest Coast, 1981), reel 13, without reference to specific frames.

* When citing two or more consecutive reels in the same volume without reference to specific frames, these should be hyphenated: "PJPH-SI III:19-67" refers to reels 19 through 67 in volume three (Southern California/Basin).

* When citing two or more non-consecutive reels, and/or reels in which specific frames are referenced, each citation should be given in full, separated by commas: "PJPH-SI I:21:0708-1001, I:22:0002-0663, I:22:1196-1300, I:23-24" refers respectively to reel 21 (frames 0708-1001), reel 22 (frames 0002-0663), reel 22 (frames 1196-1300), and reels 24 and 25, all in volume one.

* If only one, interconnected set of microfilmed notes is cited in a paper, it would be best to place most of the detail in the bibliography. Thus, the example above could be rendered:

Harrington, John P. 1981. The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957. Volume I. Native American History, Language and Culture of Alaska/Northwest Coast. Ed. by Elaine L. Mills. Millwood, NY: Kraus International Publications. Reels 21:0708-1001, 22:0002-0663, 22:1196-1300, 24-25.

In the text of the paper, the microfilm as a whole would be cited as "Harrington 1981" and a specific place in the notes as "Harrington 1981, reel 22:0073-0075."

* If, however, references are made to a number of different sections of the Harrington papers, the bibliography should contain only the general reference to the Papers, with a note that in-text citation will be made in the format described above. Thus:

Harrington, John P. 1981-1992. The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957. Volumes I-XI. Ed. by Elaine L. Mills. Millwood, NY: Kraus International Publications. [Referred to as PJPH-SI, with volume, reel and frame numbers].

* The printed Guides to the Papers should be referred to separately, for example:

Mills, Elaine L., ed. 1981. Native American History, Language and Culture of Alaska/Northwest Coast. Vol 1, The Papers of John Peabody Harrington in the Smithsonian Institution 1907-1957: A Guide to the Field Notes. White Plains, NY: Kraus International Publications.

In the text of the paper, this Guide would be cited as "Mills 1981." Note that the Guides to volumes 3 through 7 are co-edited by Elaine L. Mills and Ann J. Brickfield, and must be so cited ("Mills and Brickfield 1986," etc.).

* Some scholars use photocopies of the originals and are unaware of where in the microfilm these notes are located. As a service to other Harrington scholars, most of whom have access to the notes only through the microfilm, these scholars (or at least their editors) should make an effort to determine at least the general location in the microfilm edition of the materials they cite.

These are proposals only. Please feel free to comment.


* Michael Lerch (P.O. Box 55134, Riverside, CA 92517) writes:

I have worked with Harrington material since 1980 and think this is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with others who, I'm sure, have faced many of the same frustrations and also the same excitement of deciphering his data. My work has centered principally on the Serrano (San Bernardino Mountains and environs) and, to a lesser extent, on the Kitanemuk, Cahuilla, Gabrielino, and Luiseño. I did a senior thesis in 1981 on Serrano ethnobotany based to a large extent on JPH material. That work will someday (soon, I hope) be available in published form from Malki Museum Press. I also served as contributing scholar on a 1981 study for the San Bernardino National Forest entitled Native American Places in the San Bernardino National Forest, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, California, prepared by Cultural Systems Research, Inc., and edited by Lowell Bean and Sylvia Vane. Since I worked for the Forest Service at the time as a seasonal archaeologist and had a good personal knowledge of the geography of the area, my task was interpreting Harrington's notes to figure out and map the actual locations of the myriad place names they contain. The study contained an appendix with verbatim copies of Harrington's notes and his hand drawn maps of the study area, organized alphabetically by place name. It is a wonderful reference which I use constantly. Sylvia has indicated that it will be published one of these days by Ballena Press.

You might be aware that one of Harrington's field trips with Santos and Tom Manuel (Harrington's principal Serrano informants and the grandfather and father of my principal Serrano informant) was described by Carobeth Laird in chapter 8 of Encounter With An Angry God. We (I am on the Malki Board of Directors and Editorial Board) have recently completed negotiations to sell the movie rights for the book. As you know, many such deals never result in an actual movie being made, but we are keeping our fingers crossed. We'll keep the conference posted as things progress.

* A Japanese translation of Carobeth Laird's Encounter with an Angry God was published in 1992 by Sanseido in Tokyo. The work was translated by Megumi Ichinose, and contains a commentary by Osahito Miyaoka. The price is 2,800 yen. It is a beautiful little hard cover book of 304 pages, with a frontispiece photograph of Harrington - the well-known one of him standing in front of his car - and a map to show readers where the languages referred to are spoken. This translation is yet another indication of the strong interest among Japanese linguists and anthropologists in American Indian studies.

* Julian Lang, a Karuk tribal scholar and a devoted student of Harrington's northwest California field notes, has received a one-year grant from the Tides Foundation for the "Karuk Native Knowledge Project."

With this funding, Julian hopes to create a comprehensive but accessible database of the published and unpublished resources on Karuk ethnography. Of the 6,000 pages of manuscript that he is dealing with, he estimates 95% to be Harrington's notes. (Harrington made an especially thorough study of Karuk language and culture, and took Phoebe Maddux, his principal informant, to Washington for a year.)

Julian is devoting a portion of his time to working with a half-dozen of the best surviving Karuk speakers, making recordings of technical terms and expressions that he has culled from the Harrington materials. (One wonders what Harrington, who constantly "re-heard" the data of his predecessors and contemporaries, would think of his notes being re-elicited?) These recordings will be supplementary to the database but indexed to it. Julian is also planning to incorporate earlier sound recordings (particularly those of Helen H. Roberts) and photographs. When finished, the database will be available on a CD-ROM disc, and also in hard copy format.

Julian would be delighted to hear from scholars working on-or contemplating-similar projects. (He is also looking for further funding.) He can be contacted at: Institute for Native Knowledge, P.O. Box 261, Arcata, CA 95521 (707/826-3711).


John Johnson (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) brought the manuscript of the following unpublished poem to our attention. It is Harrington's tribute to his consultant on Mutsun, Ascención Solórsano, who died in January 1930.

Where on the height beside the meadow	Born mid the past's bright-burning embers,	Let her be known in near and far land
The ancient church its vigil keeps,	She learned the ways of earlier times,		As one whose act was true as word;
Enfolded in the kindly shadow,		Talked with a vanished folk's last members,	Let mercy grace her with its garland,
'Tis there a noble woman sleeps,-	And heard the belfry's pristine chimes.		And service bless her with reward;
Whose deeds of mercy were uncounted,	That lore of earlier horizon,			Let all who love the ancient history
Whose duty found her unafraid,		Caught from her lips, shall not be lost-	That once camped round the Mission spire
Whose charities increased and mounted	Her wisdom science now relies on,		Bless her who hath revealed its mystery
The more she found them poorly paid.	Her knowledge now is history's boast.		And led us to its hidden fire.


Dennis Berkla, "Were Hernan de Soto's Men the First Spaniards in California?" The Californians: The Magazine of California History, vol. 9, no. 4, January-February 1992, pp. 8-16. ["The eccentric, obsessively secretive genius of Indian ethnology, John Peabody Harrington...may have been the mysterious 'professor' who, in the early 1930s, asked a fisherman to help him unseal a cave near the Feather River that contained rusted Spanish armor, a curved helmet and a halberd."]

Marjorie W. Cummins, How Coyote Stole the Sun. Privately printed, 1992. [Based on a manuscript by Carobeth Laird, discovered by Mrs. Cummins in the NAA, that includes Carobeth's retelling of a Tachi Yokuts myth collected by JPH in 1916 and her description of the field situation in which it was collected. Order from the author: Marjorie W. Cummins, 2064 Carter Way, Hanford, CA 93230; tel. 209/584-7576. A cassette tape and video of a 1940 retelling of the myth is also available.]

John Johnson, "Tataviam Geography and Ethnohistory." Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 191-214 (1990). [Discussion of Tataviam ethnic identity and ethnogeography, with genealogical reconstructions, based largely on JPH's notes.]

Frank F. Latta, "Biographical Sketch of Dr. John Peabody Harrington." Pp. 303-307 in Tailholt Tales. Santa Cruz, CA: Bear State Books, 1976. [We were unaware of this short biographical sketch until recently (thanks to Arthur Harrington for pointing it out). Latta, a teacher and amateur historian, met JPH in the course of his ethnohistorical work with the Yokuts, and the two seem to have kept in fairly close touch. JPH contributed a Foreword to this book (a collection of interviews with a white pioneer who had been raised among the Choynumni Yokuts); dated September 18, 1960, it is among the last things he wrote.]

Lin Rolens, "The Lost Language of the Chumash." Santa Barbara Magazine, September-October 1992, pp. 40-41. [News story on current work with the documentation of the now-extinct Chumash language, focusing on Ernestine McGovran, daughter of the last speaker, Mary Yee, with whom JPH worked until 1961.]


Linda Agren - Anthropology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Alice Anderton - 2911 Queenston Ave., Norman, OK 73071-3832
Ray Baldy - P.O. Box 1244, Hoopa, CA 95546
Mary Bates - Native California Network, P.O. Box 1050, Bolinas, CA 94924
Brian Bibby - P.O. Box 1062, Sloughhouse, CA 95683
Eugene Buckley - Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
David J. Costa - Dept. of Linguistics, UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720
Jerry R. Craddock - Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720
Marjorie W. Cummins - 2064 Carter Way, Hanford, CA 93230 [note corrected street address]
Bob Edberg - 1875 Cloverdale Dr., Pomona, CA 91767
Darlene Franco - 1426 West Sunnyview Ave., Visalia, CA 93291
Robert Hitchcock - Dept. of Anthropology, UC-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720
Paul Kroskrity - Dept. of Anthropology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Michael Lerch - P.O. Box 55134, Riverside, CA 92517-0134
Mark Macarro - 1400 E. Menlo #100, Hemet, CA 92544
Alexis Manaster Ramer - Dept. of Computer Science, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202
Tony Mitura - Kraus International Publications, Route 100, Millwood, NY 10546 [replaces Marie Lattari as Kraus International's contact person for purchases of microfilm]
Osahito Miyaoka - Dept. of Linguistics, Hokkaido Univ., North 10, West 7, Kita-ku, Sapporo 060 JAPAN
Susan Morley - 661 37th Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Nancy Richardson - CICD, Humboldt State Univ., Arcata, CA 95521
Anne Marie Sayers - Indian Canyon Ranch, Hollister, CA 95024-0028
Sylvia Brakke Vane - Cultural Systems Research, Inc., 823 Valparaiso Ave., Menlo Park, CA 94025
Darryl Wilson - 609 W. El Caminito, Tucson, AZ 85705
Henry Zenk - 8065 Canyon Lane, Portland, OR 97225-3819

posted to the web 27jan1997