Showing posts with label American Indian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label American Indian. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Letter of the Day: April 24


Quiniault, W.T. April 24, 1888.

Dear Sir:-

Your letter dated February 29th, with one from Doctor John S. Billings, U.S.A. was handed me by Captain Willoughby, then agent at this place.

In answer to the same I am sorry to be compelled to state that, up to the present time, I have been unable to procure a single skeleton, or anything of the kind, and am of the opinion, owing to the great superstition entertained by the natives, and the sacredness with which they hold the memory of the departed spirit, that it will be impossible to secure anything of the kind except by clandestinely robbing the graves. I will continue in my efforts to accomodate Gen. Billings, and will report to you the same.

Very truly,
[signed] Geo. W. Haymi,
Physician, Agency.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Letter of the Day: April 7

Faria, Macias & Co.
Commisionn [sic] Merchants,
58, 60 & 62 Broadway & 21 New St.

New York April 7, 1897.

Surgeon General's Office, U.S. Army,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

Having been requested by my friend Mr. Faria owner of an anthopological [sic] collections of South American Indian objects, about 200000 articles, to negotiate with influential parties to dispose of the same under certain conditions; the specimens cannot be duplicated being all provided with certificate of authority, believing therefore it would be a great acquisition for any of the scientific Institutions of this country. The owners purpose is to make a donation of the same with the sole condition that he would be appointed Director, with a small yearly compensation; he has the capacity and knowledge, having devoted some years to the study of anthropology. If you believe something could be done I beg of you to let me have your valuable advice. Thanking you in advance I remain

Yours respectfully,
(Signed) A Macias.

Please address your answer to
Mr. A.J. Macias
102 West 90th Street
New York.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Letter of the Day: February 17

Fort Shaw, M.T.

February 17th 1868.




I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication dated M.D.A. Dep’t of Dakota January 22d, 1868 stating it is the wish of the Surgeon General to secure for preservation in the army medical museum specimens of Indian Crania and Indian weapons and utensils as far as they can be procured of the different Indian Tribes; and giving directions ho these specimens are to be collected and forwarded +c.


In reference to which I would respectfully state that I shall willing lend my aid as far as possible in collecting specimens from the different Indian Tribes in this Territory.


There are no Indians residing within a radius of forty or fifty miles of this Post, the Sun River country being looked upon as neutral ground. Occasional parties of Bloods, Piegans, Pend D’Oreilles, Black Feet and other Tribes on hunting or horse stealing expeditions transverse this section of country but make no delay en route and seldom visit this Post. Nevertheless I shall not fail to avail myself of any means of communication with these Tribes with a view to secure specimens.


Actg. Asst. Surgeon Hitz has been furnished with an official copy of your communication and expresses his willingness to cooperate in securing these specimens.


Very Respectfully

Your ob’t. Servant


F.L. Town

Bre’t Lieut. Col. + Surgeon, U.S.A.


Surgeon Jno. E. Summers U.S.A.

Medical Director, Dept. of Dakota

St. Paul, Minn.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 7

Ft. Concho, Texas
Nov. 7. 76.

My dear Sir-

I deferred replying to yr. last kind letter until some explorations, which I have undertaken, were concluded. I had discovered a number of ancient Indian graves 30 miles from Concho. I regret to say they proved to be too ancient. The remains having mostly crumbled away. After several days hard + dangerous work, I was only rewarded with a few fragmentary specimens which I will forward on a future occasion.

However, this is only one point. I have ascertained numerous localities, at no great distances, where I have little doubt of being more amply repaid for my exertions. It necessarily occupies time, having to leave the post for a day or two, which is not always feasible. Before Spring I trust you will concede I have done well. I know of several murderer’s and outlaws’ graves + propose sending some of their calvaria.

I wd [would] not have thus forwarded the Apache skeleton, but that it was so perfect. I dreaded an accident. Moreover any other method in Texas is slow and not remarkably safe.

More anon from,
Yrs. ever most truly,
J.H.T. King.

Surg. Geo. A. Otis. U.S.A.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 13

Fort Riley, Kansas.

August 13th 1874


Ass’t Surg. Geo. A. Otis U.S.A.


Dear Sir,


On the 27th day of June last, Major Compton 6th U.S. Cavalry engaged in a fight with a band of the Kiowa Indians about forty miles south from Fort Dodge. Several Indians were killed in the engagement. I succeeded in procuring the skulls and a greater portion of the skeletons of two noted warriors slain. One, in particular, known in the tribe as “Cunning Jim”, a most notorious horse thief and desperado generally.


Do you receive such specimens into the museum? And if so, shall I ship by express? I made a special trip, sometime ago, to what was once called “Sheridan” then the terminus of the K.P.R.R. and not far from Ft. Wallace to obtain the remaining cervical vertebrae of the body from which I obtained the double Axis I forwarded you over a year ago but was unable to find the grave by reason of the head boards having been burned and carried away by hunters for fuel.


Do you also receive into the Museum such specimens as I enclose samples of  - I mean fossil remains of any or all kinds of animals?  No. 688 Sec. VI


Doctor I have another matter to broach which, perhaps, might better be done in another communication but I trust you will pardon me if it is too unofficious or asking too much trouble at your hands.


The Hospital Steward on duty at the Post, John McKenzie, is anxious to return East on duty, on account of his wife’s rapidly failing health since their arrival at this Post. Mrs. McKenzie is certainly and surely declining – the cause is obscure. I cannot think that it is a disease of nostalgia – although she is constantly entreating to return to their eastern home. From a robust woman, the patient has become so emaciated as to excite the comments of all. I suspicion incipient phthisis [ie tuberculosis] as there is a slight “hacking” cough, a result, however, I imagine, of some other more serious difficulty. The Steward has been in the service over thirteen years, and as the request is made at my hands, solely on account of his family, I have determined to present the case to you – feeling that your influence might procure him the consideration asked for. He is, moreover, an invaluable man in the Corps, and unless the change can be made for him he will be forced – although loathe to do so – to resign his position. If you will lend your influence towards consummating the change of station requested, I will consider it most decidedly, a personal favor as I esteem the Steward highly.


With Respect,

Yours Sincerely,

M.M. Shearer

A.A. Surg. U.S.A.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 21



3200 A.G.O. 1884.


War Department,

Adjutant General’s Office,

Washington, July 21st, 1884.


The Surgeon General




Referring to your endorsement of the 17th instant, forwarding a communication from Acting Assistant Surgeon H.C. Yarrow submitting suggestions for an  expedition having for its object the collection of Indian skeletons, crania and other material for the Army Medical Museum; I have the honor to inform you that the proposed expedition is approved by the Secretary of War.


A copy of Dr. Yarrow’s letter will be furnished the Commanding General of the Division of the Missouri, with instructions to cause the requisite orders to be given for the necessary escort, transportation and outfit from Fort Douglas, as indicated therein.


I am Sir,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) C. McKeeever

Acting Adjutant General




Official copy respectfully furnished for file in the Army Medical Museum.

By order of the Surgeon General:

D.L. Huntington

Surgeon, U.S. Army.


Surgeon General’s Office,

July 23rd, 1884

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Letter of the Day: May 2 - Smithsonian crania collection

Smithsonian Institution
Washington May 2, 1868

Dear Sir:

In compliance with the desire expressed by you to acquire some of the duplicate crania of the Smithsonian collection for the Army Medical Museum, I take much pleasure in transmitting the specimens mentioned in the accompanying invoice, and hope they will be found to constitute an important addition to the collection under your charge.

Very respectfully
Your obt servt

Joseph Henry
Secy, S.I.

Dr. Otis
Army Med. Mus.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 9 (1 of 2)

Washington, DC
April 9 1870

Dr. George A. Otis
Bvt Col. USA


I sent by Hospital Steward Marshall one model of boat used by Indians in Alaska Territory, one waterproof bag from Alaska made of seal membrane, two beavers teeth, two walrus teeth. These articles I contribute as curiosities that may be acceptable to the Curator for presentation and as objects of illustration and information. They have been acknowledged as contributed by Mr Marshall himself. Will you please make the change rendered necessary by my omission and send a formal communication.

Very Respectfully & truly yours
Basil Norris
Surg U.S.A.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 5

Department of the Interior,
Washington April 5th 1872

Dear Sir,

This Department is desirous of procuring some Indian relics with a view to their presentation to the Japanese Embassy, who have made application for them.

Understanding that you have in your office some articles of this description referred to, which can be probably be procured for the purpose named, I would esteem it a favor to be informed if I have been correctly advised in this premise? If so when the articles can be obtained?

Very respectfully,
Your obt. Serv.
John Delano
Chief Clerk

To this officer, in charge,
“Medical Museum”
10th Street.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 17 (1 of 3)

Vicksburg, Miss

March 17th 1869

Dear Col:

I shall forward to you tomorrow a box of specimens from a mound near Jackson Miss and a few articles from the great Seltsentown [spelling?] mound. As soon as I hear from you I will also forward in the manner you shall direct the specimens of skulls with their retained earth in the condition of the two I have already sent to you, or I will clean and varnish them.

The matter will soon be sufficiently settled for me to renew explorations and to this end I desire again to call your attention to the rich fields unexplored in this and the adjoining states all around me. Prof. I. Jones has recently given me some very valuable information in regard to mounds in Tennessee and near Hickman, KY which contain skeletons implements etc. entombed in a kind of rude sarcophagi constructed of large flat stones. These, or but few of them have been ever disturbed. Should some one else be interested with this duty I will cheerfully furnish you all the information afforded me by Dr. Jones. I fully concur with him in the urgent necessity for these explorations. As the specimens are protected by stones the work of exhuming will be easy as well as rapid.

Some specimens of value await me at Shieldsborough and at a point above, or north, of Yazoo city.

Respectfully yours etc

Ebn Swift

Surg etc U.S.A.

To Bvt. Lt. Col. Otis

Curator Army Med. Museum

Washington D.C.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 9 makeup

The Wheeler survey last for years and generated a lot of data, including lovely Timothy O’Sullivan photographs.  Yarrow  worked directly for the Museum soon after this letter was written.


United States Engineer Office,

Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian,

Washington, D.C., Feb 9th, 1874


Bvt Lt. Col. G. Otis, USA


Dear Sir


Some time since we forwarded to the Army Med. Museum some fragments of Indian Crania collected by Lt. Wheeler’s expedition in 1873. Will you kindly inform us if such specimens were rec’d.


Very Resp.

Your obt. Svt.

H.C. Yarrow

Surg & Nat[uralist] to Exped[ition]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Letter of the day: January 24

Received wisdom has the Medical Museum collecting American Indian remains, and later transferring them to the Smithsonian, but this form letter shows that material went both ways.

Smithsonian Institution
U.S. National Museum
Washington City, Jan. 24, 1878


In accordance with the arrangement between the Smithsonian Institution and the Army Medical Museum, I have the honor to transmit the collections mentioned below,t he receipt of which please acknowledge.

Very respectfully, yours,

Spencer F. Baird
Asst. Secretary S.I.

Collection human bones from Indian graves in Santa Barbara Col, Col., gathered in 1875 by the expedition of Lt. Geo. M. Wheeler.