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Native American Collections at The Bancroft Library: Key Collections & Searching Tips

Highlights of the various Native American materials held at The Bancroft Library

Key Collections

University of California publications: American archaeology and ethnology
E51 .C15 
(index to publication available in Oskicat record)

Notable contributors to this publication include A. L. Kroeber, S. A. Barrett, and Robert H. Lowie.

Records of the Department of Anthropology

The bulk of this collection contains correspondence files maintained by the Department of Anthropology for the period of A. L. Kroeber's career. These files reflect the professional and research interests of the department. Included are material from individuals interested Indian groups in California as well as native informants.
Collection Finding Aid

Ethnological documents of the Department and Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
(microfilm use only, original documents restricted due to fragility)

The collection contains manuscripts, field notes, and other linguistic, ethnographic and ethnobotanical documents of Indian groups primarily of California and other western regions. Some of the data was gathered by Berkeley anthropology graduate students for the Culture Element Distribution Survey, under the direction of Alfred L. Kroeber.
Collection Finding Aid

A.L. Kroeber papers
(microfilm use only, original documents restricted due to fragility)

While this collection contains robust correspondence and publication files, of particular importance are Kroeber's field notebooks on Californian Indians. Kroeber took copious notes relating to linguistics, phonetics, mythology, ethnogeography, music, material culture, ethnography, and kinship, among many other topics. Among the best represented Indigenous groups are the Karok, Wiyot, Yurok, Yokuts, and Mohave of California, the Eskimo of Alaska, and the Zuni of New Mexico.
Collection Finding Aid

Samuel Alfred Barrett papers
BANC MSS 86/172

This collection contains extensive field notes, writings, and records relating to the American Indian Film Project, dating primarily from the early and late years of Barrett's working life. Field notes date from 1896 and reflect Barrett's work with the Pomoan peoples, the Cayapa Indians of Ecuador, the Hopi, Kwakiutl, and Sierra Miwok Indians, as well as information about the Chippewa, Menominee, Piute, Washo, Wintun, and Yuki Indians.
► Collection Finding Aid in process

C. Hart Merriam papers relating to work with California Indians
 (microfilm use only, original documents restricted due to fragility)

This collection contains field notes, vocabulary schedules, manuscripts, typescripts, notebooks, clippings, and printed matter relating to Merriam's work with California and other Indian tribes.  Please note that his anthropological photographic documentation of California tribes is filed separately under BANC PIC 1978.008--PIC.
► Collection finding aid

Margaret Langdon papers
BANC MSS 2005/238

The bulk of the collection contains research materials of Margaret Langdon along with other anthropologists, linguists, language consultants, and students. The research concentrates mainly on Native American languages such as Cocopa, Diegueño, Karuk, Kumeyaay, Mohave, Paipai, Yavapai, Yuman. Included is the research of James Crawford, Judy Crawford, Ted Couro, Leanne Hinton, Abraham Halpern, Judith Joel, and Pamela Munro.
► Collection finding aid

Catherine A. Callaghan papers
BANC MSS 2017/196

This collection documents Callaghan's scholarship on indigenous languages in California. The bulk consists of dictionaries, grammars, vocabularies, field notes, research files and writings, and teaching materials related to the following Native American languages and dialects: Bodega and Marin Miwok (Coast Miwok), Chochenyo, Lake Miwok, Mutsun, Northern Sierra Miwok, Plains Miwok, and Rumsen.
Collection Finding Aid

Robert Harry Lowie papers

This collection contains Lowie's professional writings, correspondence and papers relating to his career as professor of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, and field notes of his work on Indians and Indian linguistics.
Collection Finding Aid

Robert Fleming Heizer papers
(microfilm use only, original documents restricted due to fragility)

This collection contains Heizer's correspondence files, professional writings, archaeological excavation records, and his work on Indian Land Claims.
Collection Finding Aid

Searching Tips

Indigenous Peoples of California: Related Resources at The Bancroft Library Libguide

For researching linguistic material of Indigenous communities of present-day California, the best place to start is by visiting the Indigenous Peoples of California: Related Resources at The Bancroft Library LibGuide.  Please note that the material is organized by language family, not by tribe or geographic location.  Information on language families was retrieved from the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages, a research center in the Department of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, and the Handbook of North American Indians, published by the Smithsonian Institution.


To find anthropological collections, the following sample searches in the Advanced Keyword Search tab are a place to start.

Sample 1:
► In the first Any Field use the search term indian* 
► In the second Any Field use the search term anthropology
► In the Locations section, select Bancroft Library
► In the Material Types section, select Manuscripts

Sample 2:
► In the first Any Field use the search term indian* 
► In the second Any Field use the search term "field notes"
► In the Locations section, select Bancroft Library
► In the Material Types section, select Manuscripts

Searching for specific dictionaries and the like using tribal or language names may bring back skewed results as many have evolved over time.  Spelling and terminology in Oskicat records may be inconsistent with current practices.  If focusing on California, a helpful resource is California Indian Languages by Victor Golla.  To get a sense of how publications on Indigenous languages are represented in Oskicat, try experimenting with the following sample searches, utilizing the Any field search boxes on the Advanced Keyword Search tab.

indian* AND dictionar* AND language*
indian* AND grammar
indian* AND vocabular*
indian* AND linguistic*
Note: substituting the search term "native american" in place of indian* will bring back far less results, but will include items not present in the sample searches.

Online Archive of California

As in Oskicat, spelling and terminology of tribal and language names may be inconsistent with current practices.  Use of geographic place names and names of individuals in keyword searching may yield better results than in Oskicat.  Be sure to utilize both search capabilities of The Bancroft Library OAC page and the University Archives OAC page (University Archives is part of The Bancroft collections, but is categorized separately in OAC).