Speck (1931) Delaware Indian Big House Ceremony in Native Text – Volume 2 Anthropology


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Speck, Frank G.  A Study of the Delaware Indian Big House Ceremony in Native Text. (Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Historical Society, 1931) – Vol. 2

Octavo. [iv], 192 pages including 4 colored plates, b/w illustrations, line drawings, bibliography and index. Hardcover. Bound in blue cloth-covered boards stamped in blind and titled in gilt. About half is written in the Delaware language.

Condition: VG with a slight ripple on rear cover and presentation inscription dated June 1939. Corners are slightly bumped.

“Frank Gouldsmith Speck (November 8, 1881 – February 6, 1950) was an American anthropologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in the Algonquian and Iroquoian peoples among the Eastern Woodland Native Americans of the United States and First Nations peoples of eastern boreal Canada.

“Speck was unique among many anthropologists of his generation in choosing to study American Indians close to home, rather than people of more distant lands. The pressures of relocation, boarding schools, cultural assimilation, and economic marginalization had, however, caused many Native American people to lose traditional lands, material, and culture. Speck found that his work constituted, in effect, a “salvage operation” to try to capture ethnological material during a time of great stress for Indigenous people. He began his efforts among Native Americans in New England, and soon expanded to regions as far afield as Labrador and Ontario in Canada.

“Among his students at Penn, Speck nurtured a generation of prominent anthropologists, including: A. Irving Hallowell, Anthony F. C. Wallace, and Loren Eiseley, among many others. Speck also sponsored a few Native American students at Penn: his research assistant Gladys Tantaquidgeon and, for a brief time, Molly Spotted Elk. In 1924, Speck arranged to enroll Tantaquidgeon in Penn’s College Courses for Teachers. Over time, their positions evolved from teacher/student to intellectual colleagues, and he encouraged her to take charge of independent research projects among Delaware, Wampanoag, and Mohegan peoples.” – Wikipedia