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Lenape | Cherokee | Kickapoo | Kaw | Osage
Language(s): English
Date: 1781-1844
Type:Text
Extent: .5 linear feet
Description: A pioneer in ethnographic and linguistic studies of the American Indian and one of the most active members of the American Philosophical Society, Peter Stephen Du Ponceau helped to establish the American Philosophical Society's reputation as one of the world's foremost centers for the study of American Indians and their languages. The Peter Stephen Du Ponceau Collection consists of correspondence on legal matters, Indian linguistics, silk culture, maritime law, the American Philosophical Society, and various publications of the early nineteenth century. The collection also includes several essays by Du Ponceau, most of which deal with maritime law. Materials in this collection that relate explicitly to Native peoples include a letter from Du Ponceau to John Vaughan discussing the merits of John Heckewelder's "Account...of the Indian Nations" (1818); a letter from John Adams informing Du Ponceau that his and Heckewelder's studies on Native Americans have diminished certain prejudices he (Adams) had against them, and mentioning certain works which might be of interest in Du Ponceau's study of universal language (1819); another letter from Adams relative to lost languages in general and Adams' desire to see Heckewelder's account of his missionary labors with Indians (1819); a letter from Du Ponceau to Marc-Antione Jullien de Paris mentioning the imposture John Dunn Hunter, who claimed to have been captured by Kickapoo Indians and raised among the Kickapoo, Kansa (Kaw), and Osage (1826); another letter to Jullien de Paris mentioning a review of his Delaware grammar (1828); a letter from William Shorey Coodey (Cherokee) forwarding a book in the Cherokee language translated by S.A. Worcester and Elias Boudinot (1836); and a letter from William Hickling Prescott thanking Du Ponceau for his work on Indian languages and mentioning John Vaughan and John Pickering (1839). There are also two letters from linguist Albert Gallatin, one that informs Du Ponceau of his progress on the Indian vocabularies and another that includes a newspaper clipping defending Gallatin against those who assailed his reputation. See the finding aid for an itemized list of the collection.
Collection: Peter Stephen Du Ponceau Collection (Mss.B.D92p)