Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


Resources for American Studies: Issue 57, January 2004


Resources for American Studies: Issue 57, January 2004


  1. BAAS Library and Resources Sub-Committee Meeting September 2003
  2. Chicago Historical Society
  3. Early Americas Digital Archive
  4. The Ethnography of Lewis and Clark: Native American Objects and the American Quest for Commerce and Science
  5. Institute for the Study of the Americas
  6. Reviews
  7. Obituary
  8. Forthcoming events
  9. Publications Offer

BAAS Library and Resources Sub-Committee Meeting September 2003

Minutes of the Committee Meeting held at the British Library, St. Pancras, London,
3 September 2003.

Mr R J Bennett (British Library, Boston Spa), Secretary
Mr D Forster, (American Studies Centre, Liverpool John Moores University)
Dr K Halliwell (National Library of Scotland)
Mr D G Heyes (British Library, London)
Ms J Hoare (Cambridge University Library) Treasurer
Ms J Kemble (Eccles Centre)
Mr I Ralston (Liverpool John Moores University) Chair

1. Apologies
Prof. P Davies (BAAS)
Mr J Pinfold (Rothermere Institute)

Mr Bennett had received an email from Dr Wallace, wishing the committee success in its deliberations. Mr Ralston asked Mr Bennett to convey the committee’s best wishes to him. ACTION RB

2. Minutes of the previous meeting
The last sentence of agendum 6 should read: “Mr Ralston thanked….”
The minutes were signed as a correct record.

3. Matters arising
(5): Newspaper Database: Mr Ralston said that he would be seeing Graham Thompson and would ask him to flag the Newspaper database more clearly on the BAAS website. ACTION IR
Ms Kemble reported that the Eccles Centre had now put up a link to the Newspaper database and the British Library Newspaper Library.
Press release from the Embassy: Mr Ralston asked Dr Halliwell to write the press release for Sue Wedlake at the US Embassy. ACTION KH
Mr Ralston undertook to ask Dick Ellis to give the full URL on BAAS mailshots, asking institutions to post it. ACTION IR
Dr Halliwell was pleased to report that the database was now complete – all JRULM holdings had been added, following conversion. In addition he had added the University of Reading information as well as the TUC holdings at the University of North London.
Mr Ralston enquired as to whether any other institutions’ holdings should be included. Dr Halliwell suggested that the LIS-LINK email discussion list could be used. Mr Bennett agreed to investigate ACTION RB
Dr Halliwell queried whether the updating of the database could be done direct to Graham Thompson. It was agreed that it should be kept to the Committee.
Mr Ralston asked for the committee’s thanks to Dr Halliwell for all his work to be recorded.

(7): IUSS Project. Mr Ralston had received an update from Victoria Robson. She had stated that the project should be up and running by the end of September. Liverpool JMU have included a flyer in their magazine, and it is hoped that BAAS will do the same.

4. Treasurer’s report
Ms Hoare had submitted a written report. It was agreed that the accounts were in a healthy state and the committee’s thanks were conveyed to Ms Hoare.

Ms Hoare had issued all remaining outstanding invoices to advertisers.
In view of the generous support that Thompson Henry had given the committee in the past, it was agreed to write off the outstanding invoices to them.
Ms Hoare was still waiting to hear from Blackwells and Coutts, and Mr Bennett has also chased the latter.
(Secretary’ note: Since the meeting, both Blackwells and Coutts have paid their outstanding invoices, but it appears that only Coutts are likely to continue advertising in the Newsletter.)
The status of the Committee’s “Reserved Fund”, allocated by BAAS, was raised. Mr Ralston agreed to clarify this with Nick Selby, BAAS Treasurer. ACTION IR

5. Projects and future activities

A. Seminar 2004
It was agreed that the Rothermere Institute would be an ideal venue. As an initial step, Mr Bennett was asked to contact Mr Pinfold and ask him about: the best date/time of year; costs of venue; costs of lunch; costs of equipment; availability of exhibition space and its costs. The committee would then make a decision based on this information. ACTION RB/JP
Mr Ralston suggested a theme around general ethnicity and American identity, including the use of artefacts. Four areas and possible speakers were identified:

Native Americans: Speaker from Aberdeen University: Dr Halliwell to contact
OR Speaker from Horniman Museum: Ms Kemble to contact
OR Speaker from Pitt Rivers Institute: Mr Pinfold to contact
Slavery: Speaker from Liverpool Maritime Museum: Mr Ralston to contact
Election Material: Speaker: Professor Davies
Emigration: Speaker: Jenny Calder (retired Museum of Scotland): Dr Halliwell to contact
Mr Ralston suggested that Restitution could be a thread running through some of these papers.
It was agreed that 40 minutes should be allowed for each presentation, followed by a Q&A session with all speakers, open to the floor.
Costs would be defrayed by inviting suppliers, publishers, etc. to have exhibition space, or give short presentations or include delegates’ packs.
Mr Ralston agreed to approach the Embassy and seek sponsorship. ACTION IR
Publicity would be done via websites such as: The American Studies Centre; The Eccles Centre; BAAS’s and BLARS’s Newsletters; LIS-LINK; Transatlantic Studies list; as well as hard-copy mailings.

B. BAAS 50th Anniversary conference, Cambridge, Easter 2005
Mr Ralston suggested that, although there is still some considerable time before the conference, the Committee should come up with a “significant” contribution. Dr Halliwell suggested an exhibition showing how resources have changed over 50 years; to include eg microforms, ‘Banda’ machines, recordings from the BL Sound Archive, etc, and with possibly a link to a local museum in Cambridge. In addition, a speaker could talk on the possible future – OR – the past/present/future of document delivery – OR – obsolescence.
Mr Ralston proposed to raise this with the BAAS Executive and make contact with the conference organisers. ACTION IR

6. Newsletter
Mr Heyes reported that the next issue had been forwarded to Mr Bennett for printing, but it was agreed to defer this until all the issues surrounding advertising had been resolved. Mr Heyes thanked Mr Forster for book reviews and Dr Halliwell for the review of the Alexander Street Press.
Mr Heyes issued a plea for further articles. Mr Ralston suggested that Mr Heyes and Mr Forster work closely together, and could consider re-using relevant articles.
Mr Ralston reported that he had spoken to Pam Wonsek at Hunter College, City University of New York about contributing an article.
Ms Kemble mentioned that she would be updating information on the Eccles Centre’s pamphlets and would be contributing a piece on Lady Eccles, who had died earlier in the week.
Dr Halliwell agreed to contribute a short update on the Newspaper Database to describe recent additions. He also mentioned that he had emailed YBP about possible advertising.
Dr Wallace thanked Mr Heyes for his continuing editorial work on the Newsletter.
Mr Ralston raised the issue of the cover of the Newsletter and suggested that it might be “jazzed up”. He added that he had access to images that could be used which were free of copyright. He proposed that Mr Forster come up with some designs. This was agreed. ACTION DF

7. Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be held at 2:00pm on 4 February 2004, at the Rothermere Institute, Oxford.

8. Any other business
Mr Heyes said that The British Library had sets of US Censuses and Statistical series for disposal. These were not complete sets. Those interested were asked to contact Mr Heyes direct.

The British Library was thanked for its hospitality.

Richard J Bennett
The British Library
29 September, 2003


Chicago Historical Society

The collections of the Chicago Historical Society (est. 1856) provide a rich source of materials for the study of Chicago’s history, and many aspects of American history. The collections number an estimated 20 million items, including photographs and drawings, diaries and letters, costumes and textiles, sound recordings and films, books and newspapers, furniture and manufactured objects, architectural fragments and renderings, and many other artefacts.

The Chicago Historical Society encourages the use of these materials for the exploration and understanding of the past, and provides access to them through its Research Center and on-line resources.

Books and other published materials

The Historical Society’s collection of published materials is available for study in the Research Center. These holdings include: more than 66,000 books and pamphlets; 14,000 volumes of periodicals; 3,500 volumes of newspapers; 1,500 scrapbooks composed newspaper clippings; 10,000 maps and atlases; 5,700 pieces of sheet music; and 11,000 reels of microfilm that include the major Chicago daily newspapers, city and telephone directories, and dissertations.

In addition, the Research Center houses a substantial collection of items considered ephemeral, including trade cards; theatre, music, dance, and sport programmes; and miscellaneous pieces such as announcements of coming events, menus, and invitations. The Research Center also maintains a newspaper clipping file that was begun in the 1930s and continues through the 1990s. Articles were clipped from the daily papers, photocopied onto acid-free paper and assigned subject headings. Access is by surname in the biography file and by topic in the subject file.

Current collection development in the Research Center focuses on acquiring Chicago materials. The holdings grow daily, primarily through donations from individuals and organisations. In addition, limited funds are available to purchase published materials.

The majority of the published holdings are stored in a four-level, temperature and humidity controlled closed-stack area. Materials are brought from the stacks by staff to researchers in the Research Center. A portion of the newspaper collection has not been microfilmed and is stored off-site. Use of these materials requires prior arrangement. A total of ten per cent of published materials are catalogued in the online catalogue “Archie” which can be consulted at:

Archives and Manuscripts

The Historical Society’s archives and manuscript collection includes the written, typewritten, and electronic records produced by individuals, businesses, and organisations in the Chicago metropolitan area. These collections comprise nearly eighteen million items, including letters, account books, diaries, journals, certificates, genealogical charts, licenses, log books, membership lists, memoirs, memoranda, minutes, muster rolls, research notes, scrapbooks, scripts, sermons, speeches, subscription lists, and even telegrams.

The collection documents many aspects of life in Chicago from its earliest days to the present and has been used by countless researchers for their work on books, dissertations, theses, college and high school papers, media productions, and various other scholarly and personal studies. The collection is particularly informative on U.S. history through the Civil War era, especially the Chicago area’s early history, Chicago-area social conditions and problems, 20th-century neighbourhood life, community organisations, African American history, ethnic history, women’s history, civil liberties and civil rights, politics, religious-centred social action, labour unions, environmental concerns, teachers, and school reformers.

Major Collections:

Large collections include office files from:
Claude A. Barnett, director of the Associated Negro Press, 1918-67
Board of Lady Managers of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893
Chicago Division of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, 1925-69
Alderman Leon M. Despres, 1929-82
Senator Paul H. Douglas, 1932-71
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, 1893-1986
Sterling Morton and the Morton Family, 1814-1953
Northwest Community Organization, 1962-94
Open Lands Project, 1961-75
District 31 of the United Steelworkers of America, 1934-79
University of Chicago Settlement and Mary McDowell, 1894-1968
Wieboldt Stores, Inc., and Mandel Brothers, 1892-1958
Young Men’s Christian Association of Chicago, 1853-1978

Sound Collections

The collection also includes a large number of sound recordings of radio programmes, oral history interviews, speeches, and proceedings. These include:
Oral History Archives of Chicago Polonia interviews done in the mid-1970s
Interviews of Chicago-area journalists by students in Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, 1975-present
“Problems of the City” radio programs, 1970-91
Bill Cameron’s “The Reporters” radio shows, 1978-93

The record of American life and achievement exists in many media, including film, video, and audio. Chicago figured prominently in the early history of American film and television, and was the home of Studs Terkel, a pioneer in American oral history and spoken word radio. Some of the major CHS collections in these media are described below.

The Studs Terkel / WFMT Oral History Archives

The archives include audio-recordings of interviews, readings and musical programmes created by Studs Terkel, CHS’ distinguished scholar-in-residence, and aired during his tenure at WFMT Radio from the early 1950s through 1999. During a radio career spanning five decades, Terkel interviewed individuals from every walk of life – from public figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., and U.S. president Jimmy Carter to the proverbial “man on the street”. As a result, the archives include a wide range of discussions that narrate the cultural, literary, and political history of Chicago and the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

Discussion topics reflect the interests, passions and political leanings of the interviewer. The archives are especially rich in interviews with and performances by jazz, opera and folk musicians, singers, lyricists and composers. Mahalia Jackson, Louis Armstrong, Judy Collins, and many other artists performed on Terkel’s programme. The list of authors and poets represented in the collection reads like a “Who’s Who” of twentieth-century literature. James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Nadine Gordimer, Toni Morrison, Dorothy Parker, Carl Sandburg, and, of course, Chicagoans Nelson Algren and Mike Royko, are just a few of the authors who read from their works and discussed their craft with Terkel.

Terkel and his guests discussed such diverse topics as nuclear disarmament, the American peace movement, psychology, race relations, ecology and environmental pollution, violence against women, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and labour activism.

Listening copies are available for only a portion of the collection, and these can be consulted in the CHS Research Center only. Excerpts from many tapes can be accessed at In addition, excerpts of some of the most outstanding Studs Terkel materials are available on Voices of Our Time: Five Decades of Studs Terkel Interviews, a set of six cassettes containing 7-1/2 hours of interviews, issued by the HighBridge Company in 1999, and available at the CHS museum store (shop online at ).

Oral History Archives of the Chicago Polonia Project

The project archives include recorded life histories of 140 Chicago-area Polish-Americans, many of whom emigrated to the United States from Austria, German Poland, and elsewhere in Eastern Europe between 1880 and 1930. The interviews were taken in the mid-1970s and provide firsthand accounts of adjustment to American culture, work and business enterprises, family life, and other experiences. The project was directed by Mary Cygan, and was underwritten by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

WGN Newsfilm Collection

This collection includes aircuts and outtakes from WGN television newscasts from about 1948 to 1977. Chicago news includes accidents, disasters, fires; education; public, cultural, and sports events; the Chicago Transit Authority, mass transit, and O’Hare International Airport; public housing, Mayor Richard J. Daley, politics and government; the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King, Jr. National news includes NASA and the space programme, primarily related to the Apollo missions. The collection also includes Chicagoland Newsreels from the 1950s and some United Press International (UPI) news footage that is not related to Chicago.

Most of the archives and manuscripts collections may be consulted by researchers, without an appointment, during the Research Center’s regular public hours. The CHS Research Center is open Tuesdays to Saturdays; admittance is free. Access to a few collections is restricted until specified dates according to their donors’ requests. Access to many sound and moving picture collections requires advance arrangements and a fee for the production of a viewing or listening copy.

For more information, please visit:

Text courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society.

Early Americas Digital Archive

The Early Americas Digital Archive (EADA) is a collection of electronic texts and links to texts originally written in or about the Americas from 1492 to approximately 1820. Open to the public for research and teaching purposes, EADA is published and supported by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) under the general editorship of Professor Ralph Bauer, at the University of Maryland at College Park. Intended as a long-term and inter-disciplinary project in progress committed to exploring the intersections between traditional humanities research and digital technologies, it invites scholars from all disciplines to submit their editions of early American texts for publication on this site. Texts may be submitted with or without introductions and annotations, as fully marked-up XML documents or as “plain-text” files. Full credit will be given to contributing guest editors for their work.

The EADA Database and the “Gateway to Early American Authors on the WEB”

EADA consists of two basic components: a) the EADA Database and b) the “Gateway to Early American Authors on the WEB”.

a) In the EADA Database, you can find texts that are housed at EADA itself and that have been encoded using Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI), which makes it possible for you to search for specific terms, such as author, title, and subject, within and across the texts. EADA vouches for the accuracy of the header information as well as for the authenticity and quality of the texts contained in its database, which is continually and gradually expanding. If you do not find the early American text you are looking for in the EADA database, you may also consult the

b) “Gateway to Early American Authors on the Web”, which allows you to browse a list of early American authors whose texts are available both on sites that others have posted on the World Wide Web as well as texts from this site, the Early Americas Digital Archive. Texts external to the EADA database cannot be searched with the EADA Search Engine; nor can EADA vouch for the authenticity or quality of any of the texts external to its database and referred to in the Gateway.


In May of 2002, the Society of Early Americanists launched its initiative in Teaching Early Ibero/Anglo American Studies by hosting the first “Early Ibero/Anglo Americanist Summit” in Tucson, Arizona. This event gathered roughly one hundred scholars from various fields and languages in order to use new research examining early American literatures from a hemispheric perspective, to develop a collection of texts, model curricula, and teaching materials that embody a hemispheric approach to the study of the early Americas, and to generate professional and intellectual exchanges among scholars from various fields. For the purpose of this event, the Program Committee constructed an electronic anthology as an archival basis for discussion and granted restricted access to Summit Participant. The Maryland Institute of Technology in the Humanities (MITH) generously provided the technological equipment and the server space necessary for the construction of this anthology. This Summit Anthology became the foundation for the present Early Americas Digital Archive. However, unlike the password protected Summit Anthology, EADA is accessible to the general public for teaching and research purposes.

Why an electronic archive of early American texts?

The foremost advantages of a digital archive are cost efficiency and accessibility. To date, only a fraction of early American texts is readily available in inexpensive paperback editions. Typically, those early American texts easily available in print have been selected for canonicity from the point of view of the various later literary-historical narratives that have emerged during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. In order to consult texts not readily available in commercial print media, scholars must physically visit archives and libraries or order items through interlibrary loan. Being less dependent on the economic pressures of commercial publishing in print, an on-line archive such as EADA can thus provide the foundation for truly multiple literary-historical narratives. Unlike several digital archives of early American texts already existing on the internet, EADA is offered as a public service free of charge. For this reason, EADA must limit itself to the electronic publication of printed editions that are in the public domain and, thus, available to EADA free of charge. Although in many cases more recent editions of a given text exist in print than the one published digitally at EADA, first priority has been given to keeping EADA free of charge.

The second advantage is searchability. Texts included in EADA have been encoded in Extensible Markup Language (XML), following the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines (TEI), “an international and interdisciplinary standard that helps libraries, museums, publishers, and individual scholars represent all kinds of literary and linguistic texts for online research and teaching, using an encoding scheme that is maximally expressive and minimally obsolescent.” The TEI provides for very detailed textual encoding to facilitate multi-faceted document retrieval. For example, not only can documents be searched via plain text, but they can be retrieved through a rich scheme of meta-information contained in the headers of each text. Through EADA’s search page texts can be accessed according to genre type (prose, poetry, drama), format (chronicle, diary, etc.), mode (satire, pastoral, etc.), historical period (by 50-year intervals), geographic location (New England, New Spain, Virginia, etc.), as well as by author, title, and subject headings. For example, one might search for “Georgic” “Poetry” about the “Caribbean” published “1750-1800;” for poems written by “Bradstreet, Anne;” or for texts about “Native Americans”.

Why XML?

Most web pages are created using an encoding language known as HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) which allows viewers to read formatted text using a web browsers. However, all documents in EADA are encoded using XML (Extensible Generalised Markup Language). XML offers opportunities and advantages over both print publication and HTML-encoded text to distribute and store information rich in complexity and ambiguity. The encoding features of the language records information about the content of the text rather than its layout or format. Linguistic features, such as personal and organisational names, titles, and place names are encoded or marked so that they can be easily retrieved by a search engine. XML has proved to be the best long-term media in which to preserve textual material in digital form. It is non-proprietary, in other words, it is not owned by an individual or corporation, so those working in XML have no fear that one day it might be economically out of the reach of the individual user. It provides for unparalleled textual search, navigation and retrieval facilities. And last, but not least, it is possible to display XML-encoded text over the Internet through HTML, albeit with a loss of considerable functionality. XML, which many feel will replace HTML, will create ideal conditions for the publication of highly structured information on the World Wide Web.

EADA Policy Statement

All texts encoded and published by EADA have either been scanned from sources in the public domain or obtained in digital version as plain text by permission from other internet sites, which are given credit in the header. Subsequently, all texts have been proofed against the original source and marked up in XML. Line and paragraph numbers contained in the source text are retained. In cases where the source text displays no numbers, numbers are automatically generated to assist the user’s orientation in the text. In the header, personal names have been regularised according to the Library of Congress authority files as “Last Name, First Name” for the REG attribute and “First Name Last Name” for the element value. Names have not been regularised in the body of the text. For specifics with regard to individual texts, see the colophon information included in the headers. If texts have been included for which no source could be found in the public domain, permission to publish has been obtained from the copyright owner. Contributing guest editors are fully credited for their work on our “List of Guest editors page,” which contains their name, a paragraph of biographical information, and a link to their works on EADA, as well as in the header of the individual text, which makes their names searchable via the EADA search engine.

For more information please visit

Text Courtesy of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH).

The Ethnography of Lewis and Clark: Native American Objects and the American Quest for Commerce and Science

By Rubie S. Watson and Castle McLaughlin

On May 22, 1804, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and members of the Corps of North West Discovery left St. Louis for what was to become an arduous journey to the Pacific Ocean. They went in search of a water passage that they believed would link the eastern coast of the fledgling American republic to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. In a written communication to Lewis on June 20, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson set forth the primary goals of the Corps: “The object of your mission is to explore the Missouri river, & such principal streams of it, as, by it’s course and communication with the waters of the Pacific ocean…may offer the most direct & practicable water communication across this continent for the purposes of commerce.” Although commerce was central to the expedition, Jefferson had in mind something more than an exploratory trade mission. The expedition was to be a quest for both commercial advantage and scientific knowledge.

During their two year expedition, Lewis and Clark collected, described, packed and sent east plant, animal, and mineral specimens. They made maps, charted hazardous terrain, and described Indian languages. Implements, food, clothing, and housing were studied. Objects of Indian manufacture were obtained from the tribes along their route. Jefferson cautioned Lewis and Clark to “treat [the Indians] in the most friendly and conciliatory manner which their own conduct will admit” and further urged them to invite Indian leaders to visit him in Washington. Lewis and Clark complied with this request. While they were still in the field, a delegation of invited chiefs representing 11 Indian nations toured Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston. Later, the Mandan leader Sheheke (Big White) and trader Rene Jusseaume, along with their families, returned east with the Corps of Discovery, arriving in Washington during December, 1806. These parties were among the first Indian delegations from the Plains area to visit the nation’s capitol.

At least three large shipments of objects collected during the expedition and several smaller ones were packed and sent to Jefferson via St. Louis. Specimens were painstakingly gathered, described, and preserved for their journey east. Many ethnographic objects were included in these shipments. Hide clothing, woven hats, buffalo robes, calumets, feather badges, baskets, bows and arrows, and ornaments, like the natural history specimens, were carefully prepared and loaded on horses, boats, and human backs to make the journey to the nation’s capitol.
Throughout their expedition but especially during their first winter at Fort Mandan (in present-day North Dakota), Lewis and Clark wrote in some detail about the Indians they met. Following Jefferson’s instructions, they made vocabulary lists (fourteen in total, unfortunately no longer extant); described, sketched, and in some cases obtained objects from their hosts; spent hours discussing and directly questioning Indian leaders about tribal political organisation and inter-tribal relations; and made direct observations of everything from important rituals to food preparation.

Throughout their journals one finds many entries describing the material cultures of the tribes located along their route. For example, Lewis wrote in some detail about the battle-axes he saw among the Mandan, and Clark described a variety of Indian implements. Sketches of infant cradles and careful observations of the protocol of meetings with tribal leaders appear throughout their journals. Clark was fascinated by the importance of tobacco in these meetings. “Ceremonial smoking, proper seating, and formal placing of buffalo robes around the shoulders of honored guests were central to tribal diplomacy”, Clark wrote.

The exchange of gifts was also a central ritual in intercultural diplomacy. During formal diplomatic encounters, Lewis and Clark presented tribal leaders with peace medals, wampum, military clothing, and American flags. In return, chiefs and leading men gave the expedition leaders customary diplomatic gifts, such as pipes, robes, and military regalia. Members of the Lewis and Clark party also exchanged gifts and traded with Indian peoples in more informal contexts, offering English cloth, tobacco, metal tools and glass beads for horses, food, moccasins, robes, and services such as horse care. On a number of occasions, Lewis and Clark even commissioned Indian women to make clothing and hats for themselves and crew members. Exchange was crucial to the success of the expedition, enabling the Lewis and Clark party to obtain necessities such as food and horses and to meet Jefferson’s charge that they establish political relations with western tribes.

Many of the objects Lewis and Clark acquired during their expedition were directly transferred to Jefferson in Washington, D.C. or to Charles Willson Peale in Philadelphia, whose museum, often described as the oldest public museum in the United States, served as a national repository before the creation of the Smithsonian Institution. Jefferson transferred some of the expedition materials to the Peale museum, retaining others at his home, Monticello. At Monticello, artifacts from the Corps of Discovery were displayed in Jefferson’s “Indian Hall,” along with other objects given to or collected by Jefferson. After Jefferson’s death, more of these objects may have been transferred to Peale. In 1828 the C.J. Hutter family donated a number of ethnographic objects to the Peale Museum that were collected by Lt. George C. Hutter while he was stationed with the Sixth Infantry in St. Louis. Several of those early Plains objects also survive today in the Peabody Museum Collections.

During 1849-50, the descendants of Charles Willson Peale sold a portion of their ethnographic collection to P. T. Barnum and Moses Kimball. Barnum and Kimball divided the collection and each installed their purchase in their own museums. Fires in Philadelphia and New York destroyed Barnum’s museums, and in 1899 a fire damaged Kimball’s Boston Museum. Members of the Kimball family gave Charles Willoughby, then Assistant Director of Harvard’s Peabody Museum, first pick of the Boston Museum’s ethnographic collection. Willoughby chose 1400 objects that were transferred directly to the Peabody. Among these were, according to Willoughby (1905), “several” Native American objects attributed to Lewis and Clark.

Recent research at the Peabody Museum has identified some sixty objects from the Boston Museum accession that may be linked to the Lewis and Clark expedition. These include six objects that are firmly associated with the expedition, six that were donated to Peale by Hutter, five that were probably collected by either Lewis and Clark or Hutter, and many others that may have been obtained by the Corps, but now lack documentation. These pieces are both rare and extremely important, as few other ethnographic materials from the expedition have survived. They provide valuable evidence of the material culture of many Native American tribal groups. They also provide a tremendously valuable lens from which to investigate the history of early ethnographic collecting, display, and museum building in the United States.

In anticipation of the impending Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, the Peabody Museum initiated new research on the history and formal properties of these materials. The complete result of that research will be presented in a forthcoming book, Arts of Diplomacy: Lewis and Clark’s Indian Collection, and in an exhibit that the Peabody will stage throughout 2003-2005.

For more information please visit:

Article reproduced courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University.

Institute for the Study of the Americas

The Council of the University of London has approved the merger of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) and the Institute of United States Studies (IUSS) to form an Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA). The new Institute will be established with effect from 1 August 2004, under the direction of Professor James Dunkerley, currently ILAS Director. ISA will be a member of the federal University’s School of Advanced Study, established in 1994.

Commenting on the merger, Vice-Chancellor, Sir Graeme Davies, said: ‘The combination of free-standing and comparative postgraduate teaching and research on all sections of the hemisphere within a single institution is unique in Europe. It represents a major commitment to American studies by the University. The University has committed new resources to enhance the staffing complement in United States.’

A strong intellectual argument for a new Americas-wide approach has recently been made by Professor Felipe Fernández-Armesto of Queen Mary, University of London. In his recent book The Americas: A History of the Hemisphere, Professor Fernández-Armesto argues that it is impossible to understand the history of North, Central and South America in isolation. ‘From the emergence of the first human civilizations through the arrival of Europeans and up to today, the land mass has been bound together in a complex web of inter-relationships – from migration and trade to religion, slavery, warfare, culture, food and the spread of political ideas.’ The fact that nearly 40 million US citizens are of Hispanic background and culture, the establishment of NAFTA in 1994, and the plan to set up a Free Trade Area of the Americas in the coming period all underline the importance of a regional as well as sectional perspective on the Americas.

Assad Shoman, former Foreign Minister of Belize and current Ambassador to Cuba, welcomed the news: ‘To appreciate how Latin America and the Caribbean are evolving, it is imperative to understand the USA. Studying the USA from a hemispheric perspective is indispensable for gaining a holistic vision of development and security, the interrelationship of which is increasingly being recognised. I applaud the University for taking this bold step, which will greatly enrich the study of our hemisphere’.

Carol Madison Graham, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission, also welcomed the Council’s decision: `The new Institute will safeguard the teaching of US studies in London, and that is vitally important. But it will also provide a fresh new perspective to supplement – and sometimes to challenge – the established view of America and the Americans as a whole. That also is to be welcomed, and we hope to work closely with the ISA to build a durable and exciting program,’

Professor James Dunkerley, said he was honoured to be appointed as ISA Director: ‘Most importantly, I would seek to ensure the ISA will be energetically inclusive, seeking to involve North Americanist and Caribbeanist scholars throughout the UK in much the same way as ILAS has played a leading role in promoting Latin American studies nation-wide. The aim will be to serve and to strengthen national networks of US scholars. I will actively seek to build close ties with organisations such as the British Association for American Studies, the Eccles Centre at the British Library, and the British Museum, in addition to the American business community in London and the Embassies and High Commissions of the states of the western hemisphere.’ Existing collegial ties with the ISA’s sister Institute of Commonwealth Studies will be expanded to enhance the studies of Canada and the Caribbean in both Institutes.

For more information please see:
School of Advanced Study:
Institute of Latin American Studies:
Institute of United States Studies:


The Human Tradition in America: 1865 to the Present. Edited by Charles W. Calhoun. ISBN: 0-8420-5129-5. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 2003, 334pp.

Reviewed by Jean Petrovic, Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library.

The Human Tradition in America: 1865 to the Present is part of Scholarly Resources’ The Human Tradition in America series – a series that also includes volumes on the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, America between the Wars, World War II and the Vietnam Era.

In his foreword to this volume, series editor Charles W. Calhoun recalls Thomas Carlyle’s description of history as “the essence of innumerable biographies”, and explains that: “In this conception of the past, Carlyle came closer to modern notions that see the lives of all kinds of people, high and low, powerful and weak, known and unknown, as part of the mosaic of human history…”

It is this idea of ‘biography as history’ that forms the foundation for this series. Each volume contains ‘mini-biographies’ of people whose lives shed light on a particular topic or period. Well-known figures are not altogether absent; however, the chapters more often explore individuals “who may be less conspicuous but whose stories, nonetheless, offer us a window on some aspect of the nation’s past.”

According to the publisher, The Human Tradition in America: 1865 to the Present is designed as “a text for the second half of the U.S. history survey course” – a course that features not only on every college campus in the United States, but also in American Studies programmes throughout the United Kingdom. Given its function as a supporting set-text, it is perhaps not surprising that this volume is not a completely new work but rather contains nineteen of the best biographical essays from other works in the series.

Calhoun’s introduction to the volume provides a skilful overview of each person’s background, their life, and their contribution to American society. The biographical essays that follow are written by historians from across the United States – several of whom are working on, or have completed, full-length biographies of the subjects. These subjects include: the wife of a Confederate General, LaSalle Corbell Pickett; the Populist Mary Lease; the Hara family, who were interned during World War II; the ‘mentor’ for the children at the centre of the Little Rock school crisis, Daisy Bates; Bill Weber, a soldier killed during the Vietnam War; feminist activist and author, Alix Kates Shulman; and gay rights activist, Harvey Milk.

For a work aimed at first-year college students, the essays seem uniformly well-pitched: they have enough context to ensure that the subject is familiar, yet enough biographical detail to provide both a new level of understanding and an engaging means of presentation. Indeed, several of the essays are so compelling that one is left astonished that the subject’s courage, commitment or achievements has not rendered them better-known. For example, Annelise Orleck’s essay on Pauline Newman, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, powerfully evokes the world of radical union activism in early twentieth century New York. Dubbed the ‘East Side Joan of Arc’ by the New York Times the teenage Newman was instrumental in both the rent strikes of 1908 and the women garment workers’ strike of 1909-1910. Following the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911, she was appointed an inspector on New York’s Factory Investigating Commission – a move which would eventually lead to appointments on the United Nations Subcommittee on the Status of Women and the International Labor Organization’s Subcommittee on the Status of Domestic Laborers. Honoured in 1974 by the Coalition of Labor Union Women as a foremother of the women’s liberation movement, Newman remained active in the International Women’s Garment Workers’ Union until her death in 1986 at the age of ninety-six. Her death evoked a deep sense of loss in the ILGWU and among women trade unionists. As Orleck writes: “Standing with one foot in the male-dominated labor movement and the other in the cross-class group of women reformers…her contributions as an organizer, a legislative expert, a writer, and a mentor to younger women activists were profound and wide-ranging. Indeed, her historical significance far exceeds any official title she had.” As with all the essays in this volume, Orleck’s contribution is well-referenced and she provides a list of further reading.

Given the diversity of topics in this volume – Reconstruction, the Kansas Exodus, the birth control movement, the rise of labour unions, the Japanese internment camps during World War II, the African American movement for civil rights, American involvement in Vietnam, women’s liberation, the American Indian Movement and the movement for gay rights, among others – and the extraordinarily inspiring stories that are revealed here, there can be no doubt that this work could provide solid support to any course surveying American history since the Civil War. It is also highly recommended to the general reader.

The End of Cinema as we Know it: American Film in the Nineties. by Jon Lewis. Pluto Press, 2002. ISBN hardback 0745318800, paperback 0745318797. pp 424.
List price: Hardback: £50, paperback £16.99.

Reviewed by Yannis Tzioumakis, Lecturer in Screen Studies, Liverpool John Moores University.

In the last 10 years Jon Lewis’s name has become synonymous with critical explorations of what film historians have called “The New Hollywood”. From his (1995) book-length study of Coppola’s “Zoetrope years” and his position within contemporary Hollywood to his influential collection of essays on The New American Cinema (1998) and his monograph Hollywood vs Hardcore: How the Struggle Over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry (2000) Lewis has generously contributed to a heated debate and has significantly enhanced our understanding of, among others things, the problems involved in any attempt towards a periodisation of American Cinema. In this respect, a brand new edited volume consisting of thirty-four (mostly original) essays and focusing on American cinema in the 1990s is unquestionably a welcomed addition, especially since a host of key names in the field (including Thomas Elsaesser, Justin Wyatt, Robert Sklar, Dana Polan, Thomas Doherty, Hilary Radner, James Schamus and Murray Smith) feature among the contributors and, more interestingly, because the collection’s title seems to forcefully imply new changes in the massive institution we call American Cinema.

In a rather unusual manner, the structure of The End of Cinema As We Know It has been organised according to the interests of its contributors, who, upon Lewis’s invitation, took “one quick shot at the decade past”(p 4). Thus, unlike the majority of edited collections, which are products of conferences on specific topics or structured along strict thematic sections and concerns, The End of Cinema As We Know It begs to differ, particularly since some of the essays included, bridge the academic discourse with more popular (and therefore more accessible) film criticism. This explains the reasons behind the inclusion of such a large number of essays and the fact that they are rather loosely grouped under nine different sections (Movies Money and History; Things American (Sort Of); Four Key Films; Pictures and Politics; The End of Masculinity As We Know It; Bodies At Rest and In Motion; Independents; Not Films Exactly and Endgames). Such structure and format allow for potential explorations of themes and topics that would otherwise rarely feature within mainstream academic film criticism but, significantly, also imply a lack of a central thesis or an overarching argument that is normally expected from an academic anthology of such proportions, even when its rationale does not involve a presentation of “a comprehensive tour through the decade” (p 4). Still though, the recurring thread of ‘change’ is forcefully conveyed and the overall merits of the collection far outweigh its relative structural weakness.

Apart from the “usual suspects” one would expect rounded up for such a collection (Elsaesser on the blockbuster, Lewis on censorship, Wyatt on marketing, Schamus on independent cinema and Sharrett on narrative), this anthology offers a large number of short essays on topics that have either been under-researched or consistently ignored by academic criticism. Essays such as ‘The Hollywood History Business’ (pp 33-42) and ‘The Man Who Wanted to Go Back’ (pp 43-49) afford the reader a rare opportunity to look into the business of preserving film history on both a corporate and personal level by exploring the drive behind the preservation practices on those two different levels of engagement with Hollywood history. Keil’s ‘American Cinema in the 1990s and Beyond: Whose Country’s Filmmaking Is It Anyway?’ (pp 53-60) advances a very persuasive argument about the problems of speaking of American Cinema when so many film (and television) productions take place in Canada, when IMAX and Cineplex ODEON are Canada-based companies and when, one could add, the “domestic” box-office gross presented weekly by trade publications such as Variety and Hollywood Reporter includes takings of films from the Canadian screens.

The section on Pictures and Politics (pp 139-181) (which follows on from the rather arbitrary Four Key Films: The Matrix, Fight Club, The Blair Witch Project and Saving Private Ryan – all chosen films were released in the last two years of the 1990s and therefore do not convincingly stand for the whole decade) is particularly interesting in terms of the diversity of political issues that are explored. Dana Polan’s piece in particular, entitled ‘The Confusions of Warren Beatty’ (pp 141-149), throws the critical spotlight to the work of one of the most significant figures in The New Hollywood, a filmmaker and star who has nevertheless been consistently ignored by academic criticism. Polan’s discussion of Bulworth (1999), one of the most progressive political films of the last decade, revises a long standing argument that sees auteurism as incompatible with a political approach to film, and counter-argues that “individual creativity can [indeed] be put forward as a political act” (p 142), at least in the case of certain directors. On the other hand, Chon A. Noriega’s essay on John Sayles’ ‘Men With Guns’ (pp 168-174) convincingly downplays the film’s political rigour by addressing the problem in the filmmaker’s decision to deny the film’s narrative a concrete historical context (and to opt, instead, for a fabular framework) despite Sayles’ unquestionable level of political commitment in his body of work. Like Polan, Noriega places particular emphasis on narrative concerns and the implications of the film’s authorial signature, though the latter critic moves towards a larger argument that explores the problematic relationship between fiction and history, allegory and specificity.

Finally I would like to briefly mention two other essays that address under-researched topics. Jerry Mosher’s ‘Having Their Cake and Eating It Too: Fat Acceptance Films and the Production of Meaning'(pp 237-249) examines a series of films (released between 1995 and 1996), which feature over-sized central characters, and explores differences and contradictions in the films’ reception by mainstream, alternative and ‘fat acceptance’ publications in order to demonstrate the different ways that specific audiences consume these films. Central to Mosher’s argument is the fundamental difference in reception between the first and the third type of publications whereby, mainstream reviews relegate questions of fatness to the periphery, opting instead to see the characters as ‘outsiders’ or ‘underdogs’ trying to fit in, whilst fat acceptance publications address the subject directly and therefore push narrative and generic concerns out of the picture.

If Mosher’s work represents research on a topic that is rarely addressed in film journals and other relevant publications, Heather Hendershot’s ‘Waiting for the End of the World: Christian Apocalyptic Media at the Turn of the Century’ (pp 332-341) tackles a subject previously untouched by mainstream film criticism. Largely based on primary research material, the author offers a comprehensive account of the crossover success of ‘The Omega Code’, a religious action-adventure film that was produced and distributed by Christian media organisations, and provides an informative insight to the world of Christian media and film with a strong emphasis on distribution business and practices, which, as she argues, are geared towards capitalising on the increasingly growing evangelical audience.

The above brief examples of topics covered in Lewis’s new anthology is, I believe, indicative of the scope of the book. It seems that the New American Cinema has given way to the New American Cinemas, which only loosely share common elements and characteristics. If this is the case then, The End of the Cinema As We Know It is not just ‘a quick shot at the decade past’. Rather, it is a brief glance to the future of American (sort of) cinema.


Mary, Viscountess Eccles died at her home, Four Oaks Farm, New Jersey, on 26th August 2003. She was 91 year old. Mary was a bibliophile and an Anglophile, so it is perhaps not surprising that she gravitated towards the British Library. Through her interest in the Library she met David Eccles, who she married in 1984. David and Mary endowed the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the Library in 1991.

Mary Eccles was a book lover and collector whose interest was underpinned by scholarship. Her Columbia PhD developed into her first book, Playwriting for Elizabethans (1949), and stimulated her initial forays into collecting. Her interests shifted thereafter to the 18th century, and especially to the work of Dr Samuel Johnson. Reputed to contain 80 per cent of the known surviving letters from Johnson, her collection of materials pertaining to the lexicographer is unrivalled. Her collection of Boswell materials is almost equally strong, and she also brought together a remarkable range of items relating to Oscar Wilde. Her purpose-built library contains many other treasures, including such items as individual letters from Jane Austen, Peter the Great of Russia, George Washington, Horatio Nelson, and Elizabeth I.

She maintained a very active interest in the British Library, and in the Eccles Centre. In July 2002 the Library hosted a celebration of her 90th birthday, and 2003 was the first time that failing health prevented her from attending the Eccles Centre’s Bryant Lecture. On 16th August Philip Davies, Director of the Centre, visited the Viscountess to discuss the Centre’s activities. Lady Eccles was clearly pleased, but not content to dwell on existing success: ‘Now, we must consider what we are going to do next!’ The Centre will endeavour to continue that commitment.

Philip John Davies
Director, Eccles Centre for American Studies, The British Library, London
Professor of American Studies, De Montfort University, Leicester
Chair, British Association for American Studies

Forthcoming events



Conference and Recital
Prokofiev in America
In collaboration with Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmiths
With Barbara Nissman
Saturday 8 May 2004, Chancellor’s Hall

Churchill and America Conference
In collaboration with the Churchill Archives at Churchill College, Cambridge and the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library
Keynote address: Professor David Cannadine, Institute of Historical Research
Tuesday 8 June 2004, British Library Conference Centre

Institute of English Studies Conference
Wallace Stevens
Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 July 2004, Senate House. Email for registration details.


Harry Allen Memorial Lecture
Professor Hugh Brogan, University of Essex
Date tbc (February 2004)

Caroline Robbins Lecture
Professor A.E. Dick Howard, University of Virginia
Thursday 17 June 2004, Senate Room


Seminars on American Foreign Policy
convened by Dr Robert McGeehan

American Foreign Policies and International Order: Is the Super-Power above the Law?
Professor Colleen Graffy, Director, Pepperdine University School of Law London Programme
Monday 15 March 2004, 6pm, Room 248, Senate House

Prospects for an Independent Palestine: the Evolution of United States Foreign Policy under President George W. Bush
His Excellency Afif Safieh, Palestinian General Delegate to the United Kingdom
Monday 17 May 2004, 6pm, Room 329, Senate House

Seminar on American Law and Politics
Convened by Dr Johnathan O’Neill

Pursuing Happiness within the Bounds of Natural Law: the American Understanding of Rights During the Imperial Crisis, 1763-1774
Dr Roland Marden, University of Sussex
Tuesday 20 January 2004, 5pm, Room 248, Senate House

John Adams and the Republic of Laws
Dr Richard Samuelson, National University of Ireland, Galway
Thursday 4 March 2004, 5pm, Room 350, Senate House

To register for any of the above events please telephone the Institute on 020 7862 8693, or email (a registration fee will apply for conferences).

BAAS Annual Conference 2004

The British Association of American Studies Conference 2004 will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on the 15-18 April 2004. The annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for librarians to communicate with scholars and postgraduates and keep abreast of developments in the field. For more information please contact Dr Sarah MacLachlan, Department of English, Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoffrey Manton Building, Rosamond Street West, Manchester M15 6LL. Tel: 0161-247 1755, email

Publications Offer

The School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University has surplus copies of a number of official serials. The titles include Canada. Statistical abstract and record; The Canada year book; The Statistical year book of Canada; Statistical abstract of the United States and items from various US Censuses.

For full details of available issues please contact:

Mrs L. Atkinson,
School of Geography and the Environment
Tel: 01865 271911