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William C. Sturtevant papers, 1699-2008 (bulk 1950-2000)

Sturtevant, William C
Ahlborn, Richard E
Appell, George N
Borhegyi, Stephan F
Brasser, Ted J
Campisi, Jack
Carpenter, Edmund
Chafe, Wallace L
Chagnon, Napoleon A. 1938-
Clifton, James A
Conklin, Harold C
Dark, Phillip John C
Darnell, Regna
Deloria, Vine
DeMallie, Raymond
Ewers, John C (John Canfield) 1909-1997
Feder, Norman
Feest, Christian F
Fenton, William Nelson
Fitzhugh, William W. 1943-
Fogelson, Raymond D
Fontana, Bernard Lee
Force, Roland W
Fried, Morton H
Garn, Stanley Marion
Geertz, Clifford
Goddard, Ives 1941-
Haas, Mary R
Hamell, George R
Hardin, Margaret Ann
Hicks, Sheila 1934-
Honigmann, Irma
Hymes, Dell H
Jackson, Jason Baird 1969-
Kaeppler, Adrienne Lois
King, Duane H
King, J.H.T
Knight, Charles L
Krech, Shepard 1944-
Lehman, Edward J
Levi-Strauss, Claude
Lomax, Alan 1915-2002
Lurie, Nancy Oestreich
McLendon, Sally
Meighan, Clement W
Meltzer, David
Merrill, William
Milanich, Jerald T
Mintz, Sidney W
Murra, John V (John Victor) 1916-
Osmundsen, Lita S
Parks, Douglas R
Pollitzer, William S. 1923-
Price, Richard 1941-
Price, Sally
Rappaport, Roy A
Silverman, Sydel
Stocking, George W. 1928
Tax, Sol
Taylor, Colin F
Tooker, Elizabeth
Trigger, Bruce G
Truettner, William H
Viola, Herman J
Washburn, Wilcomb E
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.)
Six Nations
1699-2008 bulk 1950-2000
Collection descriptions
Sound recordings
Office files
Exhibition catalogs
Card files
Field notes
Slides (photographs)
Physical Description
191.41 linear feet (473 manuscript boxes and 2 record boxes) plus 254 sound recordings, 94 computer disks, 42 card file boxes, 85 oversize folders, 9 rolled items, 18 binder boxes, and 3 oversize boxes
Restrictions & Rights
Files containing Sturtevant's students' grades have been restricted, as have his students' and colleagues' grant and fellowships applications. For preservation reasons, his computer files are also restricted. Seminole sound recordings are restricted. Access to the William C. Sturtevant Papers requires an apointment
Contact the repository for terms of use
Local number
NAA-MS 2008-24.0329
Iroquois Indians
Seminole Indians
Indians of North America Northeast
Indians of North America Southern States
The papers of William C. Sturtevant were processed with the assistance of a Wenner-Gren Foundation Historical Archives Program grant awarded to Ives Goddard. Digitization of sound recordings was funded by a grant from the Arcadia Fund.
Other materials relating to William C. Sturtevant at the National Anthropological Archives are included in the following collections: MS 4504; MS 4595; MS 4806; MS 4821; MS 4972; MS 7045; Photo Lot 59; Photo Lot 79-51; Photo Lot 80-3; Photo Lot 81R; Photo Lot 86-68 (6); Photo Lot 86-68 (7); American Society for Ethnohistory records; Committee on Anthropological Research in Museum Records; Records of the Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History; Gordon Davis Gibson Papers, Sound Recordings; SPC Se Powhatan Confederacy Mattapony BAE No # 01790700; DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04913800; DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04913900; DOE Oceania:Amer Poly:Hi:Hawaiian Helmet:Sturtevant 04914000; Negative MNH 1530; and Negative MNH 1530 B.
Sturtevant is listed as a correspondent in the following NAA collections: Administrative file, 1949-1965, Records of the Bureau of American Ethnology; John Lawrence Angel Papers; James Henri Howard Papers; Donald Jayne Lehmer Papers; John Victor Murra Papers; Records of the Society for American Archaeology; Albert Clanton Spaulding Papers; and Waldo Rudolph Wedel and Mildred Mott Wedel Papers.
Copies of sound recordings made by William C. Sturtevant can be found at The California Language Archive at UC Berkeley in two collections, The William Sturtevant collection of Creek/Seminole sound recordings, which includes 31 minutes of Northern Muskogean linguistic field recordings from 1951, and The William Sturtevant collection of Mikasuki sound recordings, which includes 33 minutes of Mikasuki linguistic field recordings from 1951. Two sound tape reels of Seminole music Sturtevant recorded in Florida in 1951 can be found at Wesleyan University's World Music Archives. Folk songs on these recordings include "Scalping Sickness," zBear Sickness with blowing," zBear sickness without blowing," zLullaby," zFeather Dance," zSnake Dance," and "Crazy Dance." Performers include Josie Billie, Lee Cypress, Harvey Jumper, Boy Jim, Charlie (Johnny?) Cypress, Little Tiger Tail, Billy Ossiola, and Charlie Billy Boy.
William C. Sturtevant (1926-2007), preeminent North American ethnologist, museum curator, and university professor, was best known for his contributions to Seminole ethnology, as curator of North American Ethnology in the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, and for his work as the general editor of the Handbook of North American Indians.
Sturtevant's passion for studying Native peoples began at a young age. In third grade "after a class on American Indians, he asked his father what kind of people study Indians, and his father replied, 'Anthropologists.' Sturtevant decided then that he would make anthropology his career." After graduating with honors from the University of California at Berkeley in 1949, Sturtevant went on to Yale University to complete his graduate work in anthropology.
In 1954, while he was finishing his dissertation, "The Mikasuki Seminole: Medical Beliefs and Practices," Sturtevant made the transition from student of anthropology to professional anthropologist. He was hired as an instructor in Yale's Anthropology Department and began his career in museum work as an assistant curator of anthropology at the Yale Peabody Museum. After receiving his PhD from Yale in 1955, Sturtevant moved on to the Smithsonian Institution, where he accepted a position as a research anthropologist at the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). This position afforded Sturtevant the chance to continue to explore his many research interests in ways that a full time professorship or museum curatorship could not. After the BAE was dissolved he was transferred to the Department of Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), where he became curator of North American Ethnology, a position he held for the next forty-two years. One of Sturtevant's primary duties at NMNH was serving as the General Editor of the Handbook of North American Indians, "a major multi-volume reference work summarizing anthropological, linguistic and historical knowledge about native peoples north of Mexico."
Sturtevant died on March 2, 2007 at the Collingswood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rockville, MD after suffering from emphysema.
Electronic finding aid available via the website of the National Anthropological Archives.
Addl. KW Subjects
Five Nations
The collection is organized into 14 series: 1) Correspondence, 1951-2008; 2) Research Files, 1851, 1860s, 1880s, 1890, 1939-2006 [Bulk 1950-2000]; 3) Writings, 1952-2006; 4) Professional Activities, 1952-2006; 5) Smithsonian, 1954-2008; 6) Handbook of North American Indians, 1971-2007; 7) Biographical Files, 1933-2007; 8) Student Files, 1944-1985 [Bulk 1949-1955]; 9) Subject Files, 1902-2002; 10) Photographs, 1927-2004; 11) Artwork, 1699-1998 [Bulk circa 19th century-circa 20th century]; 12) Maps, 1949-1975; 13) Sound Recordings, 1950-2000; 14) Computer Files, 1987-2006
This collection contains the professional papers of William Curtis Sturtevant and documents his activities as Curator of North American Ethnology at the National Museum of Natural History, his work as the editor-in-chief of the Handbook of North American Indians, his research among the Seminole and Iroquois people, and other professional activities. The collection is comprised of books, sound recordings, research and field notes, realia, artifacts, clippings, microfilm, negatives, slides, photographs, manuscripts, correspondence, memorandums, card files, exhibition catalogs, articles and bibliographies.
Cite as
William C. Sturtevant papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Repository Loc.
National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, Maryland
Data Source
National Anthropological Archives