North America

A Lakota War Book from the Little Big Horn: The Pictographic "Autobiography of Half Moon"
Castle McLaughlin. 12/13/2013. A Lakota War Book from the Little Big Horn: The Pictographic "Autobiography of Half Moon", Pp. 368. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Foreword by Chief Joseph Brings Plenty, Cheyenne River Sioux

Houghton Library Studies 4

Winner, Bookbuilders of Boston/New England Book Show (General Trade, Illustrated)

First Place, NEMA Awards (Books >$500k)

"Transformative." Candace Greene

The composite nineteenth-century document known as "The Pictorial Autobiography of Half Moon, an Uncpapa Sioux Chief" has at its core seventy-seven drawings made by Lakota warriors of the northern Plains. Found in a funerary tipi on the Little Bighorn battlefield after Custer's defeat in 1876, the drawings are from a captured ledger book that was later acquired by Chicago journalist James "Phocion" Howard. Howard added an illustrated introduction and leather binding and presented the document as the autobiographical work of a "chief" named Half Moon.

Anthropologist Castle McLaughlin probes the complex life history and cultural significance of the ledger and demonstrates that the dramatic drawings, mostly of war exploits, were created by at least six different warrior-artists. Examining how allied Lakota and Cheyenne warriors understood their graphic records of warfare as objects as well as images, McLaughlin introduces the concept of "war books"—documents that were captured and modified by Native warriors in order to appropriate the power of Euroamerican literacy. Together, the vivid first-person depictions in the ledger—now in the collection of Harvard's Houghton Library—make up a rare Native American record of historic events that likely occurred between 1866 and 1868 during Red Cloud's War along the Bozeman Trail.

A complete color facsimile of the Houghton ledger is reproduced in this ground-breaking volume.

Castle McLaughlin is Peabody Museum Curator of North American Ethnology.

"McLaughlin’s latest publication brings readers into the world of the real Crazy Horse. … As McLaughlin explains, these [ledger] drawings are as rich and informative as any Euro‐American literary text"

—Henry Adams, Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History at Case Western Reserve University, The Conversation

>> read the full review 

 

"...completely engrossing."—David Wilk, WritersCast: The Voice of Writing

>> read the full review and listen to an interview with Castle McLaughlin

 

Please request signed copies when ordering by email.

Co-published with Houghton Library.

Shell Gorgets: Styles of the Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric Southeast
Jeffrey P. Brain and Philip Phillips. 3/29/1996. Shell Gorgets: Styles of the Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric Southeast, Pp. 544. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Engraved shell gorgets are found throughout prehistoric southeastern North America. The artistic sophistication of these gorgets lends itself to the sensitive stylistic and chronological analysis offered here. In part one of this volume, the gorgets are classified into styles; in part two, described archaeological sites are analyzed for associations and chronology; and in part three, information about the gorgets is correlated with other artifactual evidence, and patterns of intersite distribution are examined for chronological insights and dynamic interpretations.

Dear Jeffie
12/1/2004. Dear Jeffie, Pp. 96. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

Jeffries Wyman (1814–74), a pioneer anthropologist of nineteenth-century America and one of its great comparative anatomists, was the Hersey Professor of Anatomy at Harvard University and, later, a trustee of the Peabody Museum and professor of American Archaeology and Ethnology.

Wyman wrote the 59 letters in this volume to his only son Jeffie. Dating from 1866, when Jeffie was two, until Wyman’s death in 1874, when Jeffie was ten, the letters reveal a great scientist trying to instill in his son the concepts of acute observation and wonder. Wyman’s charming, quizzical drawings embellish the text, which will be appreciated by children and adults alike.

Mecklenburg Collection, Part II: The Iron Age Cemetery of Magdalenska gora in Slovenia
Hugh Hencken. 6/1/1978. Mecklenburg Collection, Part II: The Iron Age Cemetery of Magdalenska gora in Slovenia, Pp. 330. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Peabody Museum Press. BUY THIS BOOKAbstract

These three volumes deal with the Iron Age grave materials from Magdalenska gora, excavated by the Duchess Paul Friedrich von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The Duchess of Mecklenburg, a member of an Austrian royal family with estates in Slovenia, conducted her excavations in the early years of the twentieth century. The materials from Magdalenska gora were purchased by the Peabody Museum in the 1930s.

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