Native North America

  • Herbert Landar


It is challenging to consider the Emersonian dictum that an institution is the lengthened shadow of one man. I can think of two men immediately, at the beginning of native North American historiography: Duponceau and Gallatin. Peter S. Duponceau was a justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana; some of his linguistic materials were put into a docket book, now at the Library of the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Albert Gallatin, whose picture appears on a 1 1/4 ¢ stamp and whose statue stands outside the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., made his name as politician, diplomat and cabinet officer, retired from public life to become a bank president, and retired from income producing activities, at the end of his life, to be a scholar, president of learned societies, and as some have said the father of American linguistics. Some of the correspondence of the old men I have read in the Library just mentioned. They enjoyed trading information on the ravages of old age. Duponceau stayed with the American Philosophical Society; Gallatin helped to found the New York Historical Society, and the American Ethnological Society. I cannot see the shadow of the former living up to Emersonian expectations, though Duponceau as Secretary knew everybody in American colonial linguistic scholarship (or so I like to think he supposed); the shadow of the latter, however, gives one pause.


Indian Language Apply Linguistics Linguistic Data Indian Tribe American Philosophical Society 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

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  • Herbert Landar

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