In late June 1933, six anthropologists—one professor and five male graduate students1—met at the Hotel Midland in Lawton, Oklahoma (Linton 1933b). They would spend the next six weeks recording traditional Comanche culture as remembered by eighteen Comanche elders.2
The six anthropologists came from diverse academic backgrounds and had diverse research goals. The leader, Ralph Linton, at that time on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, was an established anthropologist.3 He had carried out archeological fieldwork in New Jersey and the Southwest, ethnographic fieldwork on a number of Pacific islands, and published several articles and pamphlets on the Pawnee Indians. However, this was his first, and apparently only, Native American ethnographic fieldwork (Linton and Wagley 1971).
1. Besides the five male graduate students, two females were associated with the Field Party:
Hoebel's wife, F. Gore Hoebel, and Martha Champion (later Mrs. E. P. Randle), a recent graduate in
anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Linton's academic home. Their presence was the cause
of some concern in Santa Fe because in 1931 a female anthropology student studying the White
Mountain Apaches in Arizona had been murdered (Woodbury 1987). Although that was not a Laboratory
of Anthropology field school, it did result in a ban on female students participating in Laboratory-
sponsored field parties.
Gore Hoebel had a semi-active role in the Field Party interviews. According to one of Hoebel's note
cards, she served as recorder; in addition, Wallace and Hoebel (1952:260) states that she participated in
the interviews with Herkeyah. Nothing further is known of her as an anthropologist.
Martha Champion, other than being mentioned in Linton's final report (Linton 1933d), has no
presence in the Field Party documentation. She received a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia
University in 1946, and published a number of works on the Iroquois and on Fox peyotism (Slobodin
1966), but she never published anything about the Comanches. My thanks to Richard Wilsnack, David
Price, and Mike Pavlik (p.c. 2002) for biographical information on Champion.
2. Linton stated: “The Comanche were selected for study partly because very little ethnological work
had previously been done with this tribe and partly because it contained many individuals who had been
reared under aboriginal conditions” (Linton 1933d). If “individuals reared under aboriginal conditions”
meant reaching adulthood before 1875, perhaps only one-third of the adult Comanche population in 1933
so qualified. Of the consultants interviewed by the 1933 Field Party, only two, Tahsuda and Teneverka,
3. Wallace and Hoebel (1952:x) cites Linton as being from Yale University, but he did not go to
Yale until 1946.