Frank Gouldsmith Speck Cherokee Collection

Mss.572.97.Sp3L

Date: 1880-1948 | Size: 0.5 Linear feet

Abstract

From the 1920s through the 1940s, the University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Frank Gouldsmith Speck worked on Cherokee language and culture with his primary consultant, Will West Long. Raised in Big Cove, North Carolina, Long was a respected elder and spent much of his adult life attempting to record and preserve traditional Cherokee culture.

The Speck Cherokee Collection consists of diaries, accounts, and medicinal texts in Cherokee collected by Will West Long and Morgan Calhoun, accompanied by notes by Speck and John Witthoft. Among these are several diaries kept by Long (mostly 1904-1917), records of the Gadugi (a Cherokee mutual aid group), accounts, records of births and deaths at Big Cove, Cherokee-English vocabularies, and material collected on Cherokee botany collected by James Mooney in 1887. Several of the items contain information on Cherokee medicine, including formulae and curing charms.

Background note

The ethnographer Frank Gouldsmith Speck was unusual among the students of Franz Boas in choosing to study the Indian cultures of the eastern United States that he believed were in severe decline. As one of Boas' first graduate students at Columbia, Speck worked extensively in the state of Connecticut, attempting to "salvage" what remained of the native cultures, recording, for example, the Mohegan Pequot language from one of its last native speakers, Fidelia Hoscott Fielding. After completing his degree in 1908, Speck became Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, becoming one of the best know re his research among the Algonquian peoples of the northeast.

Beginning in the 1920s, Speck began to expand the scope of his research to include Indian piopulations in the mid-Atlantic states and the southeast. In his studies of the North Carolina Cherokee, Speck's primary consultant and collaborator was Will West Long. Born in Big Cove, N.C., on January 25, 1870, Long was raised in traditional Cherokee. At 25, he studied at Hampton Institute in Virginia, and spent five years after that working in Massachusetts before returning to Big Cove during the fall of 1904. For 28 years he was a member of the Cherokee tribal council, and served as clerk for an additional two, but Long played a key role in collecting and tramsitting information about traditional Cherokee culture to younger generations, passing on knowledge about Cherokee medicine, carving, music and dance, and language. Long, who died in 1947, was listed a co-author of Speck's and Leonard Bloom's on Cherokee Dance and Drama (Norman, Okla.: 1951).

Scope and content

The Frank Speck Cherokee Collection consists of diaries, accounts, and medicinal texts in Cherokee collected by Will West Long and Morgan Calhoun, accompanied by notes by Speck and John Witthoft. These include several diaries kept by Long (mostly 1904-1917), records of the Gadugi (a Cherokee mutual aid group), accounts, records of births and deaths at Big Cove, and material collected on Cherokee botany collected by James Mooney in 1887. Several of the items contain information on Cherokee medicine, including formulae and curing charms.

Digital objects note

This collection contains digital materials that are available in the APS Digital Library. Links to these materials are provided with context in the inventory of this finding aid. A general listing of digital objects may also be found here.

Collection Information

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access:

Some items in this collection have been designated as culturally sensitive and may not be reproduced, nor photographed in the Reading Room. The items subject to this restriction are designated as such in the Detailed Inventory section of this finding aid. Please consult a librarian for more information.

Provenance

Transferred from the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, June 1958 (accn. no. 1958-1400ms).

Preferred citation

Cite as: Frank Speck Cherokee Collection, American Philosophical Society.

Processing information

Catalogued rsc, April 2003.

Alternate formats available

The Speck Cherokee Collection has been microfilmed (Film 1429, reels 15 and 16).

Other finding aids

The Speck Collection is also indexed in the On-line guide to American Indian Manuscripts in the Collections of the APS.

Related material

Other material on Cherokee language and culture can be found indexed in the on-line guide to American Indian Manuscripts in the Collections of the APS.

The Frank Speck Papers (572.97 Sp3) contains a biographical sketch of Will West Long (17:4D7), and some correspondence with West Long (17:4D1).

Indexing Terms


Genre(s)

  • Diaries.

Personal Name(s)

  • Calhoun, Morgan
  • Mooney, James, 1861-1921
  • Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950
  • West Long, Will
  • Witthoft, John

Subject(s)

  • Cherokee Indians -- Medicine
  • Cherokee language


Detailed Inventory

Letters
1943-19442 items
1. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
TLS to Marion Godfrey
October 9, 19431p.box 1

Letter missing, 1990.

1. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
TLS to George
August 30, 19442p.box 1
Volumes
1880-194822 itemsbox 1
1. West Long, Will.
Medical curing forumlae in Cherokee syllabary
1900-19041 vol. (19p.)box 1

Written in canvas notebook labeled "Hampton, Va." In Cherokee syllabary, with 4p. of Speck's notes, running paraphrase in English. Speck's book no. 1a. Freeman and Smith 676.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

2. West Long, Will.
Curing charms and formulae, with a "prayer for unattractive man to attract women"
1912 (1926-27)1 vol.box 1

In book bound in black paper. Volume bought by Long from "old man Mink" (d. ca.1912) of Big Cove, copied in 1926-1927. Speck's book no. 2. Freeman and Smith 675.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

3. Calhoun, Morgan.
Curing formulae and charms
18831 vol. (72p.)box 1

Disbound. Calhoun, half-brother of Will West Long, was from Big Cove. In Cherokee. Speck's book no. 4. Freeman and Smith 646

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

4. Calhoun, Morgan.
Curing formulae, with drawing of frog inside cover
19191 vol. (44p.)box 1

Bound in paper notebook titled "Perfection." Mainly curing formulae, in Cherokee, with some personal accounts. Speck's book no. 3. Freeman and Smith 648.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

5. Unidentified.
Medicinal texts in Cherokee syllabary
1922-19251 vol. (23p.)box 1

Minute volume (2 x 3.5") bound in black paper, in Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 678.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

6. Mooney, James, 1861-1921. West Long, Will.
Account of payments; Cherokee-English vocabulary (syllabary); assorted Cherokee texts
1909-19151 vol. (120p.)box 1

Small notebook containing account of payments, vocabulary, and miscellaneous texts written in North Carolina in the Cherokee syllabary only, save for English translations in word list. Mainly written by Will West Long. Cherokee-English vocabulary in hand of James Mooney. Freeman and Smith 668.

Access digital object:
https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/

7. West Long, Will.
Diary, kept at Needham, Mass., and at Cherokee
1904-19051 vol. (385p.)box 1

In Cherokee and English. Freeman and Smith 671.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

8. West Long, Will.
I. Cherokee Diary
September 27, 1911-Apr. 15, 19131 vol. (140p.)box 1

In Cherokee. With a few curing formulae at the end. Freeman and Smith 669.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

9. West Long, Will.
II. Diary
Sept. 20, 1913-Aug. 17, 19151 vol. (140p.)box 1

In Cherokee, with death and birth records at center of book. Freeman and Smith 669.

Access digital object:
https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/text:215710

10. Wolf, James.
III. Notes and secretary's accounts of the Big Cove Gadugi, with curing formulae and charms.
n.d.1 vol. (4p.), 8 itemsbox 1

In Cherokee. Includes Speck's phonetic transcript and glosses for several pages. Freeman and Smith 688.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

11. West Long, Will.
IV. Curing charms and sacred formulae collected by Will West Long
April 1913-19191 vol. (19p.)box 1

In Cherokee. Includes some phonetic transcript and glosses for several pages. Freeman and Smith 670.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

12. West Long, Will.
Ledger in Cherokee syllabary, including vital statistics and personal notes; Big Cove
1897-19081 vol. (59p.)box 2

In Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 674.

Access digital object:
https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/text:261300

13. West Long, Will.
Diary and notes in Cherokee
1917-19281 vol. (134p.)box 2

In Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 672.

Access digital object:
https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/text:264335

14. West Long, Will.
Diary
Jan. 22, 1916-Oct. 19, 19161 vol. (122p.)box 2

In Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 672.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

15. West Long, Will.
Diary
Aug. 28-Sept. 12, 19112 vols. (32p. each)box 2

In Cherokee. Written sparsely in printed notebooks. Freeman and Smith 672.

Access digital object:
https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/islandora/object/text:261301

16. West Long, Will.
Diary, accounts, notes
1891-19175 vols. (48p. each)box 2

In Cherokee. Written sparsely in printed notebooks. Freeman and Smith 673.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

17. Calhoun, Morgan.
Curing texts concerning stomach pains, etc., caused by sorcery
ca.18801 vol. (10p.)box 2

In Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 647.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

18. Unidentified.
Curing charms and Cherokee syllabary
n.d.1 vol. (10p.)box 2

In Cherokee. Written on paper pad. Freeman and Smith 654.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

19. Unidentified.
Minutes of Gadugi meetings, Big Cove
19321 vol., loose sheetsbox 2

In Cherokee. Includes Speck's transcript and photostats of same. Freeman and Smith 680.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

20. Unidentified.
Cherokee-English vocabulary and curing charms
n.d.2 vol. (30p. total)box 2

In Cherokee. Freeman and Smith 650.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

21. Unidentified.
Medicinal charms and conjuring formulae
1948ca.50p.box 2

In Cherokee. Purchased by Speck from Allen Long, March 1, 1948. Freeman and Smith 677.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.

22. Mooney, James, 1861-1921.
Cherokee botany
before 18871 vol.box 2

In Cherokee. Includes bookplate of James Mooney inside front cover. Botanical material analyzed with informants Will West Long and Molly Sequoia. Referred to as Mooney Manuscript in Witthoft's Cherokee Ethnobotany; also includes accounts and birth and death records, medicinal formulae. The manuscript was apparently left by Mooney and ended up with Will West Long. Freeman and Smith 609.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive through consultation with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Reproduction, including by Reading Room photography, is restricted. Please consult the Curator of Native American Materials for more information.