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Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin (April 2, 1903 – July 10, 1988) was an anthropologist, folklorist, and ethnohistorian. Erminie was the child of Erminie Brooke Wheeler and Roscoe Wheeler. She went to Technical High School in Oakland, California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1923, and returned there after working for a newspaper in Florida, to pursue a master's degree in anthropology (1930). Her master's thesis was entitled "Mythological Elements common to the Kowa and Five Other Plains Tribes." She married linguistic anthropologist Charles F. Voegelin, with whom she jointly conducted fieldwork among Native American tribes. In 1938, fieldwork among the Tübatulabal people
Tübatulabal people
of northern California led to her first book, Tübatulabal Ethnography published by the University of California Press
University of California Press
in 1938. In 1933 Eli Lilly, president of the prominent pharmaceutical company in Indiana, created a graduate fellowship at Yale University, to honor Native American history in southern Indiana. Charles Voegelin was the first recipient for the fellowship but it was then given to Erminie. The research she conducted during the fellowship inspired her dissertation. She holds the distinction of being the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in anthropology from Yale University
Yale University
when she received her degree in 1939 with a dissertation entitled "Shawnee Mortuary Customs," published five years later by the Indiana Historical Society. In the 1940s, she worked in the upper Great Lakes conducting linguistic and ethnographic fieldwork among the Ottawas
Ottawas
and Ojibwe
Ojibwe
living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A specialist in Native American folklore, she founded the American Society for Ethnohistory in 1954 and was its first editor of the journal Ethnohistory until 1964. In 1982, the Society created its Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize for best book-length work in the field of ethnohistory. She taught in anthropology, history, and folklore at Indiana University, Bloomington, beginning in the fall of 1943. There she also directed the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Research Project from 1956 to 1969, the date of her retirement. The research reports on tribes of the region are now housed as the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Archive in the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology
Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology
at Indiana University. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1947 to pursue comparative studies of the folklore and mythology of American Indians and Eskimos. In 1948, she became president of the American Folklore
Folklore
Society, and from 1949 to 1951, she served as secretary for the American Anthropological Association. She edited the Journal of American Folklore
Folklore
from 1941 to 1946. She was one of the original inductees into the Fellows of the American Folklore
Folklore
Society in 1960. Upon retirement, she moved to Great Falls, Virginia, to live with her daughter and son-in-law. In the fall of 1985 she gave her Shawnee
Shawnee
field notes and remaining professional books and papers to the Newberry Library
Newberry Library
in Chicago. She died of cardiac arrest on July 10, 1988. Books[edit]

Tubatulabal Ethnography, 1938. Berkeley: University of California Press. Shawnee
Shawnee
Traditions: C.C. Trowbridge's Account, 1939, (with Vernon Kinietz) . Ann Arbor: University of Michigan
Michigan
Press Map of North American Indian Languages, 1941, (with C.F. Voegelin). American Ethnological Society. Culture Element Distributions 20: Northeast California, 1942. Berkeley: University of California Press. Mortuary Customs of the Shawnee
Shawnee
and Other Eastern Tribes, 1944. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. WorldCat

References[edit]

Tanner, Helen Hornbeck. 1991. " Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin (1903-1988), Founder of the American Society for Ethnohistory." Ethnohistory 38 (1991): 58-72.

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 109971521 LCCN: n50014500 ISNI: 0000 0000 8297 4191 GND: 1047965089 SUDOC: 154886203 BIBSYS: 14037330 NLA: 41568

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