Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck, a Narragansett Indian

Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck, a  Narragansett Indian. Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Indian Melodies by Thomas Commuck, a Narragansett Indian. Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

The Western Americana Collection recently acquired a work often described as the first published music written by a Native American author: Thomas Commuck’s Indian Melodies, harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. (New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845). Commuck, an Indian of Narragansett ancestry, was born in 1805 in Rhode Island and lived for several years at Brotherton, New York.  After marrying Hannah Abigail, a Pequot Indian, in 1831, the pair headed West, eventually settling in Brotherton, Wisconsin where Commuck wrote his hymnal.

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Though Pequot author William Apess published Son of the Forest in 1831, a milestone in Native American print culture, Thomas Commuck’s preface to Indian Melodies speaks of the adversities Native American writers still faced in 1845 in gaining acceptance as legitimate authors:

The author of the following original tunes wished to get some person better educated than himself to write a preface or introduction to his little work; but on reflection it occurred to him that he could tell the public all about it as well as anyone else; so he concluded to make the attempt. He is, however, fully aware of the difficulties attendant upon an attempt to appear successfully as an author before a scrutinizing and discerning public, especially when unaided by the influence of wealth, or a long list of influential friends…. Add to this circumstance of having been born, not only in obscurity, but being descended from that unfortunate and proscribed people, the Indians, with whose name a considerable portion of the enlightened American people are unwilling to associate even the shadow of anything like talent, virtue, or genius, and as being wholly incapable of any improvement, either moral, mental, or physical, and wonder will cease to be a wonder. (Commuck, iii)

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Indian Melodies contains 120 Christian hymns, to which Commuck assigned names of Indian chiefs, tribes, and places (which bear no relation to the lyrics), forming a complex archive of Native American history:

As the tunes in this book are the work of an Indian, it has been thought proper by the author to have it all of a piece. The tunes therefore will be found to assume the names of noted Indian chiefs, Indian females, Indian names of place, &c. This has been done merely as a tribute of respect to the memory of some tribes that are now nearly if not quite extinct; also a mark of courtesy to some tribes with whom the author is acquainted. (Commuck, vi)

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

Thomas Commuck, Indian Melodies, Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, 1845.

The entire preface is provided in the following gallery.

Bibliography:

Commuck, Thomas. Indian Melodies. Harmonized by Thomas Hastings, Esq. New York: G. Lane & C. B. Tippett, for the Methodist Epicopal Church, 200 Mulberry-Street. James Collord, Printer, 1845.

Fisher, Linford. The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native American Cultures in Early America. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Round, Philip. Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Robert Stevenson. “Commuck, Thomas.” Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/06197 (accessed August 9, 2013).

David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations

David Cusick's Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations... Tuscarera Village: Lewiston, Niagara co., 1828.

David Cusick, Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations… Tuscarora Village: Lewiston, Niagara co., 1828.

David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations, first published in 1826 or 1827, is likely the earliest account of Native American folklore to be written and published in English by a Native American author. The work was registered for copyright in the Southern District of New York on January 3, 1826, in which “DAVID Cusick, of the said District hath deposited in this office the title of a Book, the right whereof he claims as Author.” As Phillip Round states in Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880, Cusick’s history thus marks the “the first Native-authored, Native-printed, and Native-copyrighted text.” (Round, 150) The library recently acquired a copy of the rare second edition of 1828, which Cusick expanded and embellished with four illustrations (shown below).

The sketches provide “a written account of the Iroquois oral traditions during the creating of the universe, the foundation of North America, the early settlement of the continent, and the origin of the Five Nations (later six).” (Kalter, 13)    A brief preface to the edition notes Cusick’s desire for a published account of the history of the Six Nations and the troubles he encountered in undertaking the work:

I have been long waiting in hopes that some of my people, who have received an English eduction, would have undertaken the work as to give a sketch of the Ancient History of the Six Nations; but found no one seemed to concur in the matter, after some hesitation I determined to commence the work; but found the history involved with fables; and besides, examine myself, finding so small educated that it was impossible for me to compose the work without much difficulty.  After various reasons I abandoned the idea: I however, took up a resolution to continue the work, which I have taken much pains procuring the materials, and translating it into English language.  I have endeavored to throw some light on the history of the original population of the county, which I believe never have been recorded.  I hope this little work will be acceptable to the public. David Cusick. Tuscarora Village, June 10, 1825.

Bibliography:

Cusick, David. Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations: Comprising First–A Tale of the Foundation of the Great Island, (Now North America) the Two Infants Born, and the Creation of the Universe. Second–A Real Account of the Early Settlers of North America, and Their Dissentions. Third–Origin of the Kingdom of the Five Nations, which Was Called a Long House: the Wars, Fierce Animals, &c. Tuscarora Village: Lewiston, Niagara, Co., 1828. Call Number: 2013–In Processing.

Kalter, Susan. “Finding a Place for David Cusick in Native American Literary History.” MELUS 27.3 (2002): 9-42.

Round, Philip. Removable Type: Histories of the Book in Indian Country, 1663-1880. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

Royster, Paul (ed.). David Cusick’s Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations (1828). Faculty Publications, UNL Libraries. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=libraryscience (accessed November 24, 2013).

Salt Lake City: Picturesque and Descriptive

Salt Lake City

Pratt, George. B. Salt Lake City: Picturesque and Descriptive. Sold Only by Subscription. Neenah, WI: Art Publishing Company, 1889. 2013 – In Processing.

The Princeton Collections of Western Americana recently acquired a complete, nine-part set of Salt Lake City: Picturesque and Descriptive, published by the Art Publishing Company in 1889.  The view books present sixty-four black and white photographs and are notable for their inclusion of unusual views of local establishments and factories along side the more common views of architectural monuments and city streets. Accompanying the picturesque views of the Salt Lake Temple, the Utah Exposition Building, and the Grand Opera House, one finds several descriptive interior views, such as the Retail Dry Goods Department of the Zion’s Co-operative Mercantile or the Cutting and Fitting Room of the  Z. C. M. I. Shoe Factory.  Below is a select gallery of images from various parts.

Rand McNally Pocket Maps

Rand McNally Pocket Maps, 2013-In Processing.

Rand McNally Pocket Maps, 2013-In Processing.

The Princeton Collections of Western Americana recently acquired 36 nineteenth and twentieth-century folding pocket maps of the American West (primarily published by Rand McNally). With the exception of Texas and Hawaii, every state West of the Mississippi is represented, including Alaska, and the dates range from 1891-1930.

Rand McNally Indexed Pocket Map & Tourists' and Shipper's Guide, ca. 1923.

Rand McNally Indexed Pocket Map & Tourists’ and Shipper’s Guide, ca. 1923.

The pocket books contain indexes of counties, cities, towns, and villages, as well as post offices, railroads, electrical lines, and telegraph and mail services.

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The Santa Fe Southwest Enchanted Land

Along with the maps and indexes, the pocket books also have advertisements for tourists, such as The Santa Fe Southwest Enchanted Land advertisement shown above, and multiple advertisements for products targeting the weary traveler (and likely the traveling salesman).

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Revive: Clothes shiny and greasy? Take a Shine-Off cake wherever you go. It won’t spill!

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Refresh: Chances are your face is sore and tender, but “Don’t Blame Your Razor.”

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Recover: Mentholatum, a healing cream that also quickly soothes tired, throbbing feet.

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Transcend: The Master Key, “a message of such transcendental importance that every reader of this map, whether man, woman or child, should answer it immediately.”

To find these and other Rand McNally holdings in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, see: Rand McNally and Co. 

Drake Bros. Studio Photograph Collection

A recent addition to Princeton’s Manuscripts Division and Collections of West­ern Amer­i­cana, the Drake Bros. Studio Photograph Collection contains photographs and related manuscript material that provides a visual record of Silverton, Oregon, and surrounding areas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collection contains nearly nine hundred photographs from the Drake Bros. Studio, most with the studio stamp on the back along with detailed manuscript notes by June D. Drake (1880-1969), including dates, identification of individuals, and the names of buildings and streets (many of which no longer exist in Silverton).  Photographs dated before 1900 are primarily copies of images taken by William L. Jones and other noted Oregon photographers. The collection may be the working files for Drake’s unpublished history of Silverton and environs.  Manuscript material includes notes and newspaper clippings on the history of Silverton and Silver Falls State Park, as well as the Drake and Schoenfeld families.

About June D. Drake and Drake Bros. Studio

Photographers June D. Drake and his brother Emory Roy Drake founded Drake Bros. Studio in 1900 in Silverton, Oregon. Four years later the brothers bought out the business of W. L. Jones, a noted 19th-century Oregon pioneer photographer, and added his negatives to their inventory. The brothers operated together until 1908, when a fire destroyed their studio; very few images were salvaged. June Drake continued to photograph in a new studio until his retirement in 1960.  June was also a local historian interested in documenting Silverton history through his images as well as written essays.  Several of his local history pieces were published in the Silvertonian and Silverton-Appeal newspapers.

Silverton Falls State Park

Drake was also a vocal advocate for the preservation of Oregon’s natural beauty, and perhaps his greatest achievement was his contribution to the establishment of Silver Falls State Park.  Drake photographed all ten of the park’s falls from as early as 1902 and created many travel brochures, pamphlets, and postcards to raise awareness around Oregon and the Pacific Northwest of the need to protect this area from logging. Now covering more than 9,000 acres, Silver Falls is the largest state park in Oregon, and one of the most popular trails for photographers visiting the park is the Trail of Ten Falls.

A detailed description of the Drake Studios Photograph Archive can be accessed via the Princeton University Finding Aids site: Drake Bros. Studio Photograph Collection.

Biographical and descriptive text throughout is adapted from the inventory description provided by Kol Shaver and edited by Valerie Addonizio.  Finding Aid and folder inventory written by Jameson Creager, Class of ’2015.