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Finding Aid to the Leslie Spier Papers, 1924-1961
BANC MSS 79/7 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Scope and Content
  • Partial List of Correspondents

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Leslie Spier Papers
    Date (inclusive): 1924-1961
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 79/7 c
    Creator: Spier, Leslie, 1893-1961
    Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 1 carton, 2 card file boxes Linear ft.: 2.5
    Repository: The Bancroft Library.
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: Material relating primarily to American Indians, including correspondence on his research on Indian cradles; comparative notes on ethnography; field notebooks, mainly on the Plains and Klamath Indians; and material relating to Salish Indian weaving.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Leslie Spier papers, BANC MSS 79/7 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
    Spier, Leslie, 1893-1961--Archives
    Indian textile fabrics--North America
    Indians of North America
    Indians of North America--Music

    Administrative Information

    Processed by Bancroft staff.

    Scope and Content

    Leslie Spier, anthropologist, was born on December 13, 1893, in New York City where he grew up, graduating with an engineering degree from the College of the City of New York in 1915. After meeting Franz Boas, however, he went on to obtain a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University in 1920. While still a graduate student he was named Assistant Anthropologist at the American Museum of Natural History, a position he retained until 1920, when he came to Berkeley as lecturer and acting curator in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of California.
    Spier's first field trip, during his stay with the American Museum, took him to the Southwest, an area he was to explore in much greater depth during ensuing years. He also assisted in intensive field studies of the Plains Indian tribes, analyzing and summarizing the data of all the field workers.
    Upon leaving California where he stayed only one year, Spier went on to the Universities of Washington, Oklahoma, and Chicago and then to Yale, resigning from Yale in 1939 to accept a professorship at the University of New Mexico. After his retirement in 1955 he returned to Berkeley in 1960 as a research associate. He died of a heart attack on December 3, 1961.
    Spier wrote numerous carefully organized monographs, meticulously documented by extensive field trips. He also served as editor for many important anthropological publications.
    His papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Spier's son, Professor Robert F. G. Spier on July 19, 1978. They contain a small amount of correspondence, relating primarily to Spier's research on Indian cradles; comparative notes on ethnography; field notebooks mainly on the Plains and Klamath Indians; notes, text and illustrations for his work on Indian cradles, and materials relating to weaving of the Salish Indians.
    Cylinder recordings of Modoc and Klamath songs and phonograph discs transcribed from the cylinders have been transferred to the Department of Anthropology.
    Material relating to Spier's work on the Southwest was donated by his son to the University of Arizona at Flagstaff, and his extensive collection of books to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

    Partial List of Correspondents

    • American Museum of Natural History
      • 4 letters, 1961, by Harry L. Shapiro and Stanley A. Freed, re Indian cradles in the museum's collection.
    • Amoss, Harold Lindsay, 1918-
      • Letter, Sept. 6, 1947.

        See also his notes and a paper on Utes in Box 2.
    • Brew, John Otis, 1906-

      See: Harvard University. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
    • Colorado. State Historical Society
      • Letter, July 18, 1961, by Orian L. Lewis re cradles in the Society's collection.
    • Davis, Mary Aleen
      • 3 letters, 1924-1945.

        See also paper and notes by her relating to Indian weaving in Box 2.
    • De Laguna, Frederica
      • Letter, [Nov. 1961]
    • Ellis, Florence May (Hawley)
      • Letter, Aug. 9, 1959 re cradles.
    • Freed, Stanley Arthur

      See: American Museum of Natural History
    • Harvard University. Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology
      • 3 letters, 1961 re cradles in the museum collection. One letter by John O. Brew.
    • Idaho. State College, Pocatello. Museum
      • Letter, July 14, 1961 re cradles in the museum's collection.
    • Indiana. University
      • 2 letters, 1956 re Spier's collection of Klamath and Modoc music.
    • Kelley, Vincent Cooper, 1904-

      See: New Mexico. University.
    • La Barre, Weston, 1911-
      • Letter, July 7, 1936
    • Lasker, Gabriel Ward, 1912-
      • Letter, Oct. 17, 1961
    • Nettl, Bruno, 1930-
      • 6 letters, 1956 re his work with Spier on Klamath music.

        See also his paper on that subject in carton
    • New Mexico. University
      • Letter, Sept. 4, 1956, by Vincent C. Kelley.
    • Shapiro, Harry Lionel, 1902-

      See: American Museum of Natural History
    • Speck, Frank Gouldsmith, 1881-
      • 3 postcards, 1939 re cage traps.
    • Stern, Theodore
      • Letter, Feb. 20, 1952 re Klamath Indians. Three articles by him on Klamath Indians also included.
    • Thompson, Dorothy (Burr), 1900-
      • Letter, Dec. 7, 1961 re antique Greek cradles.
    • Utah. University. Dept. of Anthropology
      • 2 letters, 1961, by Gordon L. Grosscup, re cradles in the collection.
    • Vermeule, Cornelius Clarkson, 1925-
      • Postcard, [Nov. 15, 1961]