Current Filters
Click filter to remove
Displaying 1 - 1 of 1
Delaware | Nanticoke
Alternate forms: Lenape
Language(s): English
Date: 1792-1805
Type:Text
Extent: 10 items
Description: Correspondence relating to miscellaneous indigenous peoples and cultures. Seven letters are to John G. E. Heckewelder and three are to Thomas Pennant. Smith's letters to Heckewelder largely consist of questions about Native peoples, cultures, and languages, including a query about Indian names for a particular bird; the Indians' feelings and beliefs about the opossum; Heckewelder's opinion on the strength of body and age of Indians in comparison to whites; what Indian nations in Heckewelder's knowledge compress the heads of children and how it is done; and information on health, nursing, menstruation, etc. Smith also expounds at times, expressing his belief that some Indian nations formerly had a hieroglyphic writing system and asking Heckewelder's opinion, wondering whether Indian chiefs have more or less power now than formerly, and pursuing his inquiry into the relations of North American and Asiatic languages. He is also interested in accuracy of George Henry Loskiel's "History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America," which mentions the Moshkos Indians, of whom Barton had never heard before. Also mentions study of the Nanticoke. Smith's letters to Pennant revolve around the prospects for his work on antiquities and Indians and his hopes for a London edition to satisfy European market, and the possible Welsh origins of American Indians. Barton general disapproves it, but agrees that there is a case for the Welsh origin of the American Indians from physical appearance, while others had seen this as evidence for Jewish origin. He finds striking vocabulary evidence for Jews, Greeks, Scottish Highland, as well as Welsh. [Most of the letters to Heckewelder are from originals in the Gilbert Collection, College of Physicians, Philadelphia.]
Collection: Violetta Delafield-Benjamin Smith Barton Collection (Mss.B.B284d)