J. P. Harrington
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John Peabody Harrington (April 29, 1884 – October 21, 1961) was an
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or A ...

American
linguist Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo ...

linguist
and
ethnologist Ethnology (from the grc-gre, ἔθνος, meaning 'nation') is an academic field that compares and analyzes the characteristics of different peoples A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that ...
and a specialist in the
indigenous peoples of California The indigenous peoples of California (known as Native Californians) are the indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California California is a state State may ref ...
. Harrington is noted for the massive volume of his documentary output, most of which has remained unpublished: the shelf space in the
National Anthropological Archives The National Anthropological Archives is a collection of historical and contemporary documents maintained by the Smithsonian Institution, which document the history of anthropology and the world's peoples and cultures. It is located in the Smi ...
dedicated to his work spans nearly 700 feet.


Early life and education

Born in
Waltham, Massachusetts Waltham ( ) is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, and was an early center for the labor movement as well as a major contributor to the Technological and industrial history of the United States, American Industrial Revolutio ...
, Harrington moved to California as a child. From 1902 to 1905, Harrington studied
anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, ...
and classical languages at
Stanford University Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Du ...

Stanford University
. While attending specialized classes at the
University of California, Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization ...

University of California, Berkeley
, he met anthropologist
Alfred L. Kroeber Alfred Louis Kroeber (June 11, 1876 – October 5, 1960) was an American cultural anthropologist. He received his PhD under Franz Boas Franz Uri Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942) was a German-born American anthropologist and a pioneer of ...

Alfred L. Kroeber
. Harrington became intensely interested in
Native American languages Over a thousand Indigenous languages An indigenous language or autochthonous language, is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign la ...
and
ethnography Ethnography (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is ap ...

ethnography
.


Linguistic legacy

Rather than completing his doctorate at the Universities of
Leipzig Leipzig (, ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. With a population of 605,407 inhabitants as of 2021 (1.1 million residents in the larger urban zone), it surpasses the Saxon c ...
and
Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inhabitants, as of 31 December 2019 makes it the List of cities in the European Union by ...
, Harrington became a high-school language teacher. For three years, he devoted his spare time to an intense examination of the few surviving
Chumash Chumash may refer to: *Chumash (Judaism), a Hebrew word for the Pentateuch, used in Judaism *Chumash people, a Native American people of southern California *Chumashan languages, indigenous languages of California See also

*Chumash tradition ...
people. His exhaustive work came to the attention of the
Smithsonian
Smithsonian
Museum's
Bureau of American Ethnology The Bureau of American Ethnology (or BAE, originally, Bureau of Ethnology) was established in 1879 by an act of Congress for the purpose of transferring archives, records and materials relating to the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indians of ...
. Harrington became a permanent field ethnologist for the bureau in 1915. He was to hold this position for 40 years, collecting and compiling several massive caches of raw data on native peoples, including the
Chumash Chumash may refer to: *Chumash (Judaism), a Hebrew word for the Pentateuch, used in Judaism *Chumash people, a Native American people of southern California *Chumashan languages, indigenous languages of California See also

*Chumash tradition ...
,
Mutsun Mutsun (also known as San Juan Bautista Costanoan) is a Utian language spoken in Northern California. It was the primary language of a division of the Ohlone people The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish meaning 'coast dwell ...
,
Rumsen Rumsen, Rumsien, or San Carlos Costanoan may refer to: * Rumsen people The Rumsen (also known as Rumsien, San Carlos Costanoan, and Carmeleno) are one of eight groups of the Ohlone The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish ''costeño ...
, Chochenyo,
Kiowa Kiowa () people are a Native Americans in the United States, Native American tribe and an indigenous people of the Great Plains of the United States. They migrated southward from western Montana into the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in the 17th an ...
, Chimariko,
Yokuts The Yokuts (previously known as MariposasPowell, 1891:90–91.) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has ce ...

Yokuts
,
Gabrielino The Tongva ( ) are an Indigenous peoples of California, indigenous people of California from the Los Angeles Basin and the Channel Islands of California, Southern Channel Islands, an area covering approximately . In the precolonial era, the peop ...
,
Salinan The Salinan are a Native American tribe whose ancestral territory is in the southern Salinas Valley The Salinas Valley is one of the major valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, which will ...
, Yuma, and
Mojave Mojave or Mohave most often refers to: *Mojave Desert *Mojave River *Mohave people Mojave or Mohave may also refer to: Places * Fort Mojave Indian Reservation * Mohave County, Arizona * Mohave Valley, a valley in Arizona * Mohave Valley, Arizona, ...
, among many others. Harrington also extended his work into traditional culture, particularly mythology and geography. His field collections include information on placenames and thousands of photographs. The massive collections were disorganized in the extreme, and contained not only linguistic manuscripts and recordings, but also objects and realia of every stripe; a later cataloger described how opening each box of his legacy was "an adventure in itself." He published very little of his work; many of his notes appear to have been deliberately hidden from his colleagues. After his death, Smithsonian curators discovered over six tons of boxes stored in warehouses, garages and even chicken coops throughout the West. Harrington is virtually the only recorder of some languages, such as Obispeño (Northern) Chumash,
Kitanemuk The Kitanemuk are an indigenous people of California The indigenous peoples of California (known as Native Californians) are the Native Americans in the United States, indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic a ...
, and Serrano. He gathered more than 1 million pages of phonetic notations on languages spoken by tribes from Alaska to South America. When the technology became available, he supplemented his written record with audio recordings - many recently digitized - first using wax cylinders, then aluminum disc

He is credited with gathering some of the first recordings of native languages, rituals, and songs, and perfecting the
phonetics Phonetics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lang ...

phonetics
of several different languages. Harrington's attention to detail, both linguistic and cultural, is well-illustrated in "Tobacco among the
Karuk The Karuk people are an indigenous people of California The indigenous peoples of California (known as Native Californians) are the indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries ...
Indians of California," one of his relatively few formally published works. A more complete listing of the languages he documented includes: *
Abenaki language Abenaki, or Abnaki, is an endangered Algonquian languages, Algonquian language of Quebec and the northern states of New England. The language has Eastern and Western forms which differ in vocabulary and phonology and are sometimes considered dist ...
*
Achumawi language The Achumawi language (also Achomawi or Pit River language) is the indigenous language spoken by the Pit River Tribe, Pit River people in the northeast corner of present-day California. The term Achumawi is an anglicization of the name of the Fall ...
* Applegate Athabaskan language *
Atsugewi language Atsugewi is a recently extinct Palaihnihan language of northeastern California spoken by the Atsugewi people of Hat Creek, California, Hat Creek and Dixie Valley. In 1962, there were four fluent speakers out of an ethnic group of 200, all elderly ...
*
Cahuilla language Cahuilla , or Ivilyuat (''ʔívil̃uʔat'' or ''Ivil̃uɂat'' ), is an endangered Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language, spoken by the various tribes of the Cahuilla Nation, living in the Coachella Valley, San Gorgonio Pass and San Jacinto M ...

Cahuilla language
*
Central Pomo language Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
* Central Sierra Miwok *
Chemehuevi language Colorado River Numic (also called Ute , Southern Paiute , Ute–Southern Paiute, or Ute-Chemehuevi ), of the Numic languages, Numic branch of the Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language family, is a dialect chain that stretches from southeaster ...
*
Chimariko language Chimariko is an extinct language, extinct language isolate formerly spoken in northern Trinity County, California, Trinity County, California, by the inhabitants of several independent communities. While the total area claimed by these communities ...
*
Chumash languages Chumashan is a family of languages that were spoken on the southern California West Coast of the United States, coast by Native Americans in the United States, Native American Chumash people, from the Coastal plains and valleys of San Luis Obis ...
*
Coast Miwok language Coast Miwok was one of the Miwok language, Miwok languages spoken in California, from San Francisco Bay to Bodega Bay. The Marin County, Marin and Bodega varieties may have been separate languages. All of the population has shifted to English langu ...
* Coast Yuki language *
Mutsun language Mutsun (also known as San Juan Bautista Costanoan) is a Utian language spoken in Northern California. It was the primary language of a division of the Ohlone people The Ohlone, formerly known as Costanoans (from Spanish meaning 'coast dwell ...
*
Cupeño language Cupeño is an language death, extinct Uto-Aztecan languages, Uto-Aztecan language, formerly spoken by the Cupeño people of Southern California, United States, who now speak English. Roscinda Nolasquez (d. 1987) was the last native speaker of Cupe ...

Cupeño language
* Diegueño language *
Esselen language Esselen was the language of the Esselen The Esselen are a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * N ...
* Fernandeño language *
Gabrielino language
Gabrielino language
* Galice Athabaskan language *
Hupa language Hupa ( native name: ''Na꞉tinixwe Mixine꞉wheʼ'', lit. "language of the Hoopa Valley people") is an Athabaskan language Athabaskan (also spelled ''Athabascan'', ''Athapaskan'' or ''Athapascan'', and also known as Dene) is a large family o ...
* Juaneño language *
Karuk language Karuk or Karok ( kyh, Araráhih or kyh, Ararahih'uripih) is the traditional language of the Karuk people in the region surrounding the Klamath River, in California, Northwestern California. The name ‘Karuk’ is derived from the Karuk word '' ...
*
Kato language Cahto (also spelled Kato) is an language death, extinct Athabaskan languages, Athabaskan language that was formerly spoken by the Kato (tribe), Kato people of the Laytonville and Branscomb area at the head of the South Fork Eel River, South Fork o ...
* Kiliwa Ute language *
Kitanemuk language Kitanemuk was a Northern Uto-Aztecan language Uto-Aztecan, Uto-Aztekan or (rarely) Uto-Nahuatl is a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affin ...
*
Klamath language Klamath (), also Klamath–Modoc () and historically Lutuamian (), is a Indigenous languages of the Americas, Native American language spoken around Upper Klamath Lake, Klamath Lake in what is now southern Oregon and northern California. It is th ...
*
Konomihu language Konomihu is an extinct Shastan languages, Shastan language formerly spoken in northern California. There may have been only a few speakers even before contact, and they self-identified as Shasta by the turn of the 20th century. Konomihu may have b ...
* Lake Miwok language *
Luiseño language The Luiseño language is a Uto-Aztecan language Uto-Aztecan, Uto-Aztekan or (rarely) Uto-Nahuatl is a family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or a ...

Luiseño language
*
Mattole language Mattole, or Mattole–Bear River, is an extinct Extinction is the termination of a kind of organism In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structur ...
*
Mojave language Mohave or Mojave is the native language A first language, native tongue, native language, or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1) is a language A language is a structured system of communication Com ...
*
Northern Pomo language Northern Pomo is a critically endangered Pomoan languages, Pomoan language indigenous to the state of California. The Pomo were a group of people who spoke what was documented as the Pomoan languages, and the speakers of Northern Pomo were those w ...
* Northern Sierra Miwok language *
Paipai language Paipai is the native language of the Paipai people, Paipai, spoken in the Baja California municipality of Ensenada Municipality, Ensenada (settlements of Arroyo de León (Ejido Kiliwas), Camalu, Cañón de la Parra, Comunidad Indígena de Santa C ...
* Paiute language * Rogue River Athabaskan language *
Salinan language Salinan was the indigenous language of the Salinan, Salinan people of the central coast of California. It has been extinct since the death of the last speaker in 1958. The language is attested to some extent in colonial sources such as Sitjar (1 ...
*
Serrano language The Serrano language (Serrano: ''Maarrênga'twich'') is a language in the Serran languages, Serran branch of the Uto-Aztecan family spoken by the Serrano (people), Serrano people of Southern California. The language is closely related to Tongva l ...

Serrano language
*
Shasta language The Shasta language is an extinct Shastan language formerly spoken from northern California into southwestern Oregon. It was spoken in a number of dialects, possibly including Okwanuchu The Okwanuchu were one of a number of small Shastan language ...
*
Shoshoni language Shoshoni, also written as Shoshoni-Gosiute and Shoshone (; Shoshoni: soni ta̲i̲kwappe'', ''newe ta̲i̲kwappe'' or ''neme ta̲i̲kwappeh'') is a Numic language of the Uto-Aztecan family, spoken in the Western United States by the Shoshone pe ...
*
Southeastern Pomo language Southeastern Pomo, also known by the dialect names Elem Pomo, Koi Nation Lower Lake Pomo and Sulfur Bank Pomo, is one of seven distinct languages comprising the Pomoan languages, Pomoan language family of Northern California. In the language's pr ...
*
Southern Pomo language Southern Pomo is one of seven mutually unintelligible Pomoan languages which were formerly spoken and is currently spoken by the Pomo people in Northern California along the Russian River, California, Russian River and Clear Lake (California), Cle ...
*
Takelma language Takelma was the language spoken by the Latgawa and Takelma people and Cow Creek band of Upper Umpqua. It was first extensively described by Edward Sapir in his graduate thesis, ''The Takelma Language of Southwestern Oregon''. The last fluent spe ...
* Tübatulabal language *
Upper Umpqua language Upper Umpqua is an extinct Athabaskan language Athabaskan (also spelled ''Athabascan'', ''Athapaskan'' or ''Athapascan'', and also known as Dene) is a large family of indigenous languages of North America North America is a contin ...
*
Wappo language Wappo is an extinct language, extinct language that was spoken by the Wappo tribe, Native Americans who lived in what is now known as the Alexander Valley north of San Francisco. The last fluent speaker, Laura Fish Somersal, died in 1990. The loss ...
*
Nisenan language Nisenan (or alternatively, Neeshenam, Nishinam, Pujuni, or Wapumni) is a nearly extinct Maiduan Maiduan (also Maidun, Pujunan) is a small endangered language, endangered language family of northeastern California. Family division The Maiduan ...
*
Wintu language Wintu is an extinct Wintuan languages, Wintuan language which was spoken by the Wintu people of Northern California. It was the northernmost member of the Wintun family of languages. The Wintuan family of languages was spoken in the Sacramento R ...
*
Yana language The Yana language (also Yanan) was formerly spoken by the Yana people, who lived in north-central California between the Feather River, Feather and Pit River, Pit rivers in what is now the Shasta County, California, Shasta and Tehama County, Teham ...
*
Yokuts language Yokuts, formerly known as Mariposa, is an endangered language spoken in the interior of Northern and Central California in and around the San Joaquin Valley by the Yokuts people. The speakers of Yokuts were severely affected by disease, mission ...
*
Yurok language Yurok (also Chillula, Mita, Pekwan, Rikwa, Sugon, Weitspek, Weitspekan) is an Algic language. It is the traditional language of the Yurok people of Del Norte County, California, Del Norte County and Humboldt County, California, Humboldt County ...


Personal life

Harrington was married to
Carobeth Laird Carobeth (Tucker) Laird (July 20, 1895 – August 5, 1983) was an American Ethnography, ethnographer and linguist, known for her memoirs and ethnographic studies of the Chemehuevi people in southeastern California and western Arizona. Her book, '' ...
(née Tucker) from 1916–1923, a relationship that Laird later chronicled in her 1975 memoir ''Encounter with an Angry God''. They had one daughter, Awona Harrington.Laird, Carobeth. 1975. ''Encounter with an Angry God: Recollections of my Life with John Peabody Harrington.'' Malki Museum Press, Banning, CA.


See also

*
Indigenous languages of California The indigenous peoples of California (known as Native Californians) are the Native Americans in the United States, indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California before ...
*
Traditional narratives (Native California) The traditional narratives of Native California are the folklore and mythology of the native peoples of California, native people of California. For many historic nations of California, there is only a fragmentary record of their traditions. Spa ...
*
Native American history of California Native may refer to: People * Jus soli, citizenship by right of birth * Indigenous peoples, peoples with a set of specific rights based on their historical ties to a particular territory ** Native Americans (disambiguation) In arts and entertai ...
*
Native Americans in California The indigenous peoples of California (known as Native Californians) are the Native Americans in the United States, indigenous inhabitants who have lived or currently live in the geographic area within the current boundaries of California before ...

Native Americans in California
*
Survey of California and Other Indian Languages The Survey of California and Other Indian Languages (originally the Survey of California Indian Languages) at the University of California at Berkeley The University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Cal, or California) is a publ ...


References


External links


J.P. Harrington Database Project

Victor Golla, California Indian Languages (UC Press, 2011)




() * ttp://keepersofindigenousways.org/id12.html Keepers of Indigenous Ways: J.P. Harrington Biography
"Reconstituting the Chumash: A Review Essay," Peter Nabokov, American Indian Quarterly, Vol. 13, No. 4, Special Issue: The California Indians. (Autumn, 1989), pp. 535-543.



John P. Harrington Papers 1907-1959 (some earlier)

''Los Angeles Times'' article and video
about Harrington's research amongst the Chumash

at the
National Anthropological Archives The National Anthropological Archives is a collection of historical and contemporary documents maintained by the Smithsonian Institution, which document the history of anthropology and the world's peoples and cultures. It is located in the Smi ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:Harrington, John Peabody American anthropologists American ethnologists Archaeologists of California Indigenous languages of California, 1884 births 1961 deaths People from Waltham, Massachusetts Writers from Massachusetts Stanford University alumni Smithsonian Institution people Linguists of Na-Dene languages Linguists of Uto-Aztecan languages Linguists of Yuman–Cochimí languages Linguists of Chumashan languages Linguists of Utian languages Linguists of Chimariko Linguists of indigenous languages of North America 20th-century anthropologists