Comanche Ethnography: Field Notes of E. Adamson Hoebel, Waldo R. Wedel, Gustav G. Carlson, and Robert H. Lowie

By E. Adamson Hoebel; Waldo R. Wedel et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

During the initial stages of gathering the Field Party notes, I visited the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). While there, I asked if there were any extant notes from Robert Lowie's 1912 research trip to the Comanches, the basis of his 1915 publication, Comanche Dances. I was shown his small notebook and made a manuscript transcription. In 1995, the AMNH provided a copy of Wahkinney's drawing of the “otter wrapped crooked stick” from those notes for use in my Comanche Political History (1996).

In 1999, while editing the Field Party notes, I began to consider other original sources that might also be suitable for publication. I concluded that although Lowie's notes were too brief to warrant a separate publication, they were still important in their own right. The AMNH granted permission to publish the notes and provided a photocopy of the original manuscript for comparison with my earlier transcription. Their cooperation is most appreciated.


ROBERT LOWIE'S 1912 FIELD TRIP

In early June, 1912, Dr. Robert Lowie spent about a week (his notes are unclear) among the Comanches. Lowie's trip was part of the AMNH's investigation of Plains Indian men's societies, begun by Franz Boas and continued by Clark Wissler (1912–16). This was a broadranging field project with many collaborators.

Lowie's notes of his Comanche trip are in a small pocket notebook, about four inches by six inches. The first page is dated June 8 (Saturday), noting “I have been here several days”; the last dated page, page 9, is dated June 12. There are seventeen more pages of notes, some attributed to consultants, some not.

It is not clear whether the notes were immediate inscriptions or whether there was some interval between interview and inscription. That the latter may be the case is suggested by several points: there are a number of changes of writing implements, e.g. from pencil to pen and back, and there are several pages of apparent doodles. Though it does seem likely that most of the notes were written after the fact, it was probably not that long afterward.

In formatting Lowie's notes, I have used the same normalizing protocols as with the Field Party notes: full sentences, past tense, Comanche names as spelled on the censuses, normalized spelling of Comanche words in italics, and unattested Comanche words in angle brackets.

Since Lowie did not supply note headers other than date and consultant name, I have not inserted any. However, I have indexed his notes in the same format as the Field Party notes. The bolding of consultants and dates and the insertion of Lowie's page numbers in braces are my own.

Lowie identified four Comanche consultants by name: Quassyah,1 Isatai,2 Wahkinney,3 and Cavayo.4 In addition, there was at least one other, unnamed, Comanche consultant, and two non-Indian consultants, Hope M. Fulbright and Dr. James Rowell.

Along with his notes on the societies, Lowie recorded comments on a number of other topics, including personal hygiene, buffalo hunting, the organization of war parties, and the value of coups.

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Comanche Ethnography: Field Notes of E. Adamson Hoebel, Waldo R. Wedel, Gustav G. Carlson, and Robert H. Lowie
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Photographs ix
  • Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Part One - The 1933 Comanche Field Party 1
  • Introduction 3
  • The 1933 Field Party Notes 33
  • Part Two - Robert Lowie's 1912 Field Trip 481
  • Introduction 483
  • Lowie's 1912 Field Notes 484
  • Appendix A - Sources of Ethnographic Information in Hoebel (1940) 493
  • Appendix B - Sources of Ethnographic Information in Wallace and Hoebel (1952) 499
  • Appendix C - Sources of Ethnobotanical Information in Carlson and Jones (1940) 511
  • Appendix D - Comanche Lexicon 515
  • References 523
  • Index 533
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