Delaware Indian material

Mss.Rec.4

Date: 1928 | Size: 2 tape(s)

Abstract

Songs performed by Chief James Webber (Witapano'xwe,) May 10, 1928. Originally recorded on wax cylinders, dubbed to sound tape reels in 1950. Included are dance songs, peyote songs, women's social dance songs (with Shawnee and Iroquois versions), a speech, portions of a big house ceremony, and songs for First Day.

Background note

Anthropologist and ethnographer Frank Gouldsmith Speck was unique among Franz Boas' early graduate students at Columbia University. Unlike other ethnographers of his time who focused their studies on the Western Indian tribes, Speck chose to study the cultures of the Eastern Woodland Indians, primarily cultures speaking Algonquian or Iroquoian languages. Becoming the self-appointed salvage ethnographer for those tribes, Speck was regularly with the Indians he studied collecting information on all aspects of their culture that he knew to ask about.

Although he spent the majority of his career in the field, Speck did not come from a rural background. Born in Brooklyn, NY on November 8, 1881 Speck spent the first seven years of his life in the city, a fragile and sickly child. As was common at the time, Speck's parents felt that a rural environment would be better for their son's health, and in 1888 placed him in the care of family friend Fidelia Fielding, living in Connecticut. Fielding was a Mohegan, a widow, and the last speaker of the Mohegan language in New England. While with Fielding the seeds for many of Speck's professional interests were laid as she tutored him in nature, natural history, English literature, and Mohegan language and literature. At age fourteen Speck returned to his family, now living in Hackensack, NJ.

When Speck entered Columbia University at the turn of the century, he had not settled on a career - though he was leaning towards the ministry. That changed when he enrolled in a language course with the eminent linguist John Dyneley Prince. During the class Prince became fascinated by Speck's ability to provide first hand information on Native American languages long thought to be dead - particularly Pequot-Mohegan and Delaware-Mohican. Before graduating, Speck and Prince co-authored three articles. Prince also introduced Speck to anthropologist Franz Boas, who had begun his tenure at the helm of Columbia's anthropology department less then a decade earlier. Through Boas and Prince's encouragement Speck decided to pursue a career in anthropological linguistics, and after receiving his A.B. in 1904 started his graduate work under Boas. Speck was one of Boas' first graduate students and was one of a generation of anthropologists (along with Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Elsie Clews Parsons, Alfred Kroeber, and Paul Radin) to learn and promote the Boasian approach to anthropology. Under Boas, Speck began his fieldwork among the Yuchi Indians of Oklahoma in 1904, receiving his M.A. from Columbia a year later. Speck initially planned to continue with graduate studies at Columbia with Boas until he was awarded a George Leib Harrison Research Fellowship from the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania in 1907. Leaving Columbia for the University Museum, Speck received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1908 and remained in Philadelphia for the rest of his career.

When Speck first arrived at Penn he was appointed as an instructor and assistant in general ethnology, working and teaching out of the Museum. Since the University did not have an independent department of anthropology at that time, courses were taught either out of the University Museum or the Department of Religion. During these early years Speck continued with his field work, which eventually put him at odds with the Museum's director, George Byron Gordon. Gordon wanted Speck to focus less on fieldwork and more on public and social functions important to fundraising at the museum. The feud between Gordon and Speck led to a number of incidents, including the confiscation of Speck's Penobscot manuscript (which was eventually published in 1940 as Penobscot Man). Finally in 1911 Speck was fired from the University Museum, only to be hired by the University as an assistant professor to replace Daniel Garrison Brinton. Two years later Speck became acting chair of the new Department of Anthropology, and chair in 1925.

It was not long after arriving in Philadelphia that Speck began his study of the Algonkians of the Eastern Woodlands. Speck went on to study the Algonkians of Delaware, the tribes of tidewater Virginia, the Cherokee in the Southeast, and the Haudenosaunee ("Iroquois"), especially their ceremonialism. Speck's work among these communities reflects his efforts to record languages and cultures under strain from the dominant culture of the United States and Canada. In many regards Speck was ahead of his time with his efforts to document the ways of life for relatively acculturated tribes, an idea which many anthropologists disdained. The eastern tribes had been overrun by European settlers during the 17th and 18th centuries and were severely disrupted (and in some cases wholly destroyed) by war, famine, and disease. Those who had survived were pushed westward and were absorbed by other tribes. As a result the majority of information regarding these tribes was historical not ethnographic. However, Speck viewed ethnology as a fluid field that was unlimited, and not a fixed study of past cultures. Further, he was never overly concerned with high-level generalizations or interpretations of his subject but focused more on recording well-attested facts. During his research Speck looked for variations that would turn up as he collected empirical data, and then would modify his original concept. To that end, Speck was not satisfied with providing a generalized picture of a tribe. He studied a tribe's language, technology, decorative art, myths and tales, religious belief, ceremonialism, social organization, music, and hunting territories. Speck also chose to focus on a tribe's link to nature, with ethnobiology, material culture, and uses of the environment playing major themes in his work.

Another integral part of Speck's fieldwork was collecting material culture. His love for collecting artifacts in the field was motivated by the special problems in which he became interested from time to time. Occasionally, Speck's interest in arts and crafts drew him within the borders of archeology. He would also have replicas made by Indians of objects no longer in daily use. Speck kept a number of objects in his office at the University, but most of the artifacts were sold to public museums, arriving heavily annotated as to their context within their culture group. Among the institutions to receive artifacts from Speck were the Museum of the American Indian (now the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian), American Museum of Natural History, the Peabody-Essex Museum, Reading Public Museum and Art Gallery, Cranbrook Institute of Science, Denver Art Museum, National Museum of Canada, Royal Ontario Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum - University of Oxford, and the Danish National Museum.

What made Speck successful in his research was the method he used in the field. Speck was a "bedside ethnologist," staying with the people all day, eating with them, learning their language, and sleeping in the village. This sense of ease and intimate form of fieldwork allowed Speck to gain the trust of the tribes, facilitating his collection of data. In fact, Speck was much more at ease among Indians, who were as much a part of his private life as his professional life than among Philadelphia society. He was rarely away from Indians for more than a month, going off to conduct field work when the opportunity presented itself, often without notice.

During the later years of his career, Speck began to study Iroquois ceremonialism. He felt that despite the vast material written on the Haudenosaunee, very little was known about the diversity and characteristics of the cultures of the groups that made up the Six Nations. Also in his later years Speck was battling a failing heart and kidney disease, though this did not stop him from going into the field. It was during his trip to Red House, N.Y. in January 1950 to witness the Seneca perform their mid-winter rites that he became seriously ill. After returning to Philadelphia, Speck died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania on February 6 at the age of 68.

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

Physical description

2 sound tape reels (41 min.) : analog, 7 1/2 ips, 1 track, mono ; 7 in. The contents of this collection were originally recorded on wax cylinders by Frank G. Speck in 1928 and later copied to sound tape reels circa 1950.

2 sound tape reels (41 min.) : analog, 7 1/2 ips, 1 track, mono ; 7 in. The contents of this collection were originally recorded on wax cylinders by Frank G. Speck in 1928 and later copied to sound tape reels circa 1950.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access:

Some of the material in this collection has been designated as culturally sensitive. For these programs, remote access and reproduction are restricted. Programs subject to this restriction are noted below in the Detailed Inventory section. Please consult a librarian for details.

Provenance

Presented by Mrs. Frank G. Speck and accessioned, 1950.

Processing information

Collection digitized and cataloged by Brian Carpenter during the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded audio digitization project, 2008-2014.

General note

There are transcriptions available at the repository [497.3/Am4 #84].

Indexing Terms


Genre(s)

  • Sound recordings

Subject(s)

  • Delaware Indians -- Music
  • Delaware Indians -- Rites and ceremonies
  • Indians of North America


Detailed Inventory

Audio recordings
  
01-01. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Pleasure Dance #1
19281 .mp3; 00:01:27

Women's stomp dance. May be a women's side dance in which women dance while men sing. Possibly a Shawnee song sung in Delaware. Playback speed uneven due to condition of the original cylinder.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:27


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance; Stomp dance; Shawnee Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4167

01-02. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Pleasure Dance #2
19281 .mp3; 00:01:26

Women's stomp dance. May be a women's side dance in which women dance while men sing. Possibly a Seneca song sung in Delaware. Playback speed uneven due to condition of the original cylinder.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:26


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance; Stomp dance; Seneca Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4164

01-03. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Pleasure Dance #3
19281 .mp3; 00:01:15

Women's stomp dance. May be a women's side dance in which women dance while men sing. Playback speed uneven due to condition of the original cylinder.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:15


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware dance; Delaware Indians -- Music; Stomp dance

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4166

01-04. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Pleasure Dance #4
19281 .mp3; 00:01:33

Women's stomp dance. May be a song where women stop dancing and sing together with the men singers. Program ends with summary given by Frank Speck of this and the three preceding Pleasure Dance songs. Playback speed uneven due to condition of the original cylinder.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:33


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance; Stomp dance

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4158

01-05. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Delaware Peyote Song
19281 .mp3; 00:02:16

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:02:16


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Peyote songs

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4162

01-06. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Fragment of Big House vision recital, with song
19281 .mp3; 00:03:20

Program contains significant, sometimes loud sound distortions and skipping due to poor condition of original cylinder.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:03:20


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Peyote songs; Delaware Indians -- Rites and ceremonies; Big House Ceremony (Delaware rite)

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4153

01-07. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Woman's Dance Song used in Morning of Big House, describing her vision of a mermaid
19281 .mp3; 00:02:55

Identified by Ives Goddard (see Related Resource) as a woman's vision-recital song. According to Speck's documentation the song is "sung by J. Webber as his grandmother's song. She was Mawatdes 'Bundle in Good Shape' She died 1912, at age 109 years." Goddard alternately translates Mawatdes as of Munsee origin, meaning "One-Who-Has-No-Food." Speck's introduces the recording: "This is the song of Mawatdes, one of the oldest living women that the Delaware and Munsee tribes had. [She] died at the age of 109 years old, according to the scripture(?) as it was calculated from the place she gives of her birth. Her song follows." May contain some terms of Munsee origin.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:02:55


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4154

01-08. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Woman's Dance Song
19281 .mp3; 00:01:38

Women's stomp dance song. Words given by Speck as "cwahakwiyus... 'white man meat' or 'stale meat.'" Words given by Goddard (see Related Resource) as "šuwánakw wiyóshe," meaning "'whiteman is making meat'; better 'the whiteman has meat'?...or 'hunts meat'?"

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:38


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Stomp dance; Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4157

01-09. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Woman's Dance Song, ywietani-ke, "dancing nicely"
19281 .mp3; 00:01:48

Women's stomp dance song. Words possibly in Seneca. Song may be of Shawnee origin.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:48


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Stomp dance; Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance; Shawnee Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4152

01-10. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Witapanoxwe's Song
19281 .mp3; 00:00:47

Vision recital song, or atehomwin song, of James C. Webber, whose Delaware name is Witapano'xwe. Song may be of Seneca or Shawnee origin. Contains some Munsee terms.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:00:47


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Shawnee Indians -- Music; Seneca Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4151

01-11. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Atehomwin Song of Kanipaxoxwe
19281 .mp3; 00:01:02

Vision recital song, or atehomwin song, of Joe Washington, whose Delaware name is Kanipaxoxwe. Sung by James C. Webber.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:02


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4161

01-12. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Woman's Dance Songs (not used in Big House) - Delaware, Shawnee, and Iroquois versions
1928-05-101 .mp3; 00:03:17

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:03:17


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Iroquois dance; Shawnee dance; Delaware dance; Stomp dance; Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4155

01-13. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Short address by Chief Webber in Delaware (broken off)
1928-05-101 .mp3; 00:01:35

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:35


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- History; Speeches, addresses, etc., Delaware

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4159

02-01. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Short address in Delaware by Chief Webber
1928-05-101 .mp3; 00:03:01

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:03:01


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- History; Speeches, addresses, etc., Delaware

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4170

02-02. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Witapano'xwe's Big House vision recital and song
19281 .mp3; 00:02:05

Big House ceremony vision recital and song of James C. Webber, whose Delaware name is Witapano'xwe.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:02:05


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Rites and ceremonies; Peyote songs; Big House Ceremony (Delaware rite); Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4156

02-03. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Witapano'xwe's Big House vision recital and song
19281 .mp3; 00:03:53

Big House ceremony vision recital and song of James C. Webber, whose Delaware name is Witapano'xwe.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:03:53


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Rites and ceremonies; Peyote songs; Big House Ceremony (Delaware rite); Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4160

02-04. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Delaware Dance Songs (not used in Big House): a: Raccoon Dance
19281 .mp3; 00:01:22

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:22


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware dance; Stomp dance; Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4168

02-05. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Delaware Dance Songs (not used in Big House): c: Women's Dance
19281 .mp3; 00:01:12

Identified by Goddard (see Related Resource) as a Raccoon Dance, possibly Shawnee in origin.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:12


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Delaware Indians -- Music; Delaware dance; Stomp dance; Shawnee Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4163

02-06. Webber, James C.. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950.
Delaware Dance Songs (not used in Big House): d: Women's Dance
19281 .mp3; 00:01:13

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:01:13


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Stomp dance; Delaware dance; Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4165

02-07. Speck, Frank G. (Frank Gouldsmith), 1881-1950. Webber, James C..
Delaware Song A - song to go with Big House Ceremony, Song of Leader (Elkhair) as he opens the Ceremony the First Day
1928-03-101 .mp3; 00:03:34

Identified by Goddard (see Related Resource) as "Charley Elkhair's Big House vision recital and song" Program contains severe background noise due to poor condition of original cylinder.

Restrictions on Access: This item has been designated as culturally sensitive. Remote access and reproduction are restricted. Please consult a librarian for details.

Location of originals: This file is a compressed, digitized version of the original. The APS Library maintains the original format (Cylinder recording) as well as an uncompressed digitized version of this recording.

General physical description: 00:03:34


Geographic Name(s): Philadelphia (Pa.)

Subject(s): Peyote songs; Big House Ceremony (Delaware rite); Delaware Indians -- Rites and ceremonies; Delaware Indians -- Music

Access digital object:
http://diglib.amphilsoc.org/fedora/repository/audio:4169