Subtitled "The Journal of the Basket Fraternity of Lovers of Indian Baskets and Other Good Things," The Basket made its appearance in April, 1903, at Pasadena, California. The quarterly publication reflected the goals of the Basket Fraternity, which, organized by George Wharton James, had the following as some of its goals: to collect reliable and accurate information about Indian weavers' methods and work; to photograph weavers and to collect photographs; to seek ways to revive the art and to prevent it from dying out; to discourage among the Indians the "modern commercial methods," which encouraged them to make baskets only for sale, to use commercial dyes and "alien" designs, and to produce hasty and crude work; to make a national collection of typical baskets; to organize a traveling library of baskets; and to produce lectures and distribute information about basketry.
James was the editor of The Basket. Born in England in 1858, he had migrated to America in 1881 and moved to the Southwest in 1889. He traveled widely and studied the culture of the Southwestern tribes. 1
The first issue of The Basket contained only James' work, "How to Make Indian and Other Baskets." James contributed many articles to subsequent issues and apparently was responsible for many of the unsigned articles. His essays about the basketmakers among the California tribes, the Apaches, the Hopis, and others were well illustrated with photographs. There were also more general articles about the Havasupai, the Apaches, and the Hopis. Other writers submitted articles on other tribes as well as on color, designs, and materials for baskets. The publication also contained brief analyses of books on related topics and advertisements for dealers in Indian baskets.
The Basket ceased publication with the October, 1904, issue when James went to work for The Craftsman. While the publication was extremely specialized and its content dominated by James' work, one of its greatest values is the photographs of contemporary basketmakers and their work.
Index Sources: None
Location Sources: NUC; ULS