PAUL RADIN PAPERS Provenance Biographical Note/Scope and Content

Papers and publications by and about Paul Radin, a pioneer American anthropologist. Included are original notes about folk literature and religion among African-Americans, Ottawa-Ojibwa Indians, Winnebago (Ho-Chunk) Indians, and other ethnic groups worldwide. Also included are uncommon publications, many with autographs and/or notations by the author as well as essays and an FBI file about Radin.

Gift in 1997 from the Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity, Helene E. Hagan, Executive Director, which was made possible by a grant from the Wenner Grenn Foundation. Subsequent additions include a file about Radin from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice, received from the Tazzla Institute, 1998; recordings from Richard P. Werbner, University of Manchester, United Kingdom, 2003; transcripts of the Werbner recordings from Lucretia Crawford, Lakeland College, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, 2003; and 4 cubic feet of papers from Stanford University, 2004. Separated from the collection in 1997 were Mrs. Radin's programs and playbills primarily from theatres, movies, and concerts in New York and California, 1919-1965.

Processed by Mark G. Thiel, CA (Certified Archivist), and students assistants, 1998-2003.


Mary Sacharoff-Fast Wolf compiled this collection between 1981 and 1991. She was a would-be biographer of Radin who had acquired original papers from her friend and Radin's widow, Doris Woodward Radin, as well as colleagues, associates, and relatives. Notable originals include two book-length manuscripts never published in their entirety -- The Nature of Primitive Religion and Souls Piled Like Timber: The Religious Experience of the Pre-War American Negro. The latter, however, has three chapters missing, which were separated from the Souls manuscript prior to Marquette's acquisition of this collection. Several folders of original notes and drafts on the Ottawa-Ojibwa, Winnebago, and others ethnic groups are also included along with some facsimiles from Radin papers acquired by Sacharoff-Fast Wolf from the American Philosophical Society.

Most of the correspondence consists of facsimiles from collections at other institutions. Included are copies from the papers of Felix Frankfurter, Harvard University and Library of Congress; Sheldon Glueck, Harvard University; Alfred L. Kroeber, Bancroft Library; Robert H. Lowie, Bancroft Library; Roscoe Pound, Harvard University; Thomas Reed Powell, Harvard University; Paul Radin, American Philosophical Society and National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution; and Paul Radin File, Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice.

Other institutions hold the bulk of Radin's original field manuscripts and sound recordings. These materials were transferred by Paul and/or Doris Radin to the American Philosophical Society, 1960, 1972-1984, and by Sacharoff-Fast Wolf to the Japanese American National Museum.

Links to information about other Radin collections and related websites:

American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, Winnebago, 1908-1912."The Paul Radin Collection," pp. 308-322 in The Federal Cylinder Project, A Guide to Filed Cylinder Collections in Federal Agencies, Volume 2: Northeastern Indian Catalog Southeastern Indian Catalog, edited by Judith A. Gray and Dorothy Sara Lee with Gregory Pontecorvo, 1985.

American Philosophical Society, Ottawa-Ojibwa, Winnebago, Zapotec, and other Native Americans, ca. 1912-1959, 12.5 feet. A guide to manuscripts relating to the American Indian in the library of the American Philosophical Society, compiled by John F. Freeman, E77 .F74 1965; see also Inventory to the Preservation Photocopies of the Paul Radin Papers,497.3 R114, 2005, 10 pp., which should be used in conjunction with the Freeman guide.

Encyclopedia of Hotcâk (Winnebago) Mythology,

Japanese American National Museum, Hirasaki National Resource Center, Japanese Americans in California, ca. .5 ft..

San Francisco Public Library, finding aid to Paul Radin Papers,

Social Science Institute, Fisk University, WPA Slave Narratives,

University of California-Los Angeles, finding aid to Paul Radin Papers,

Biographical Note

An anthropologist born in 1883 in Lodz, Poland (then part of the German Empire), who moved to Elmira, New York the next year. Radin graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1902 and earned his Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in 1911. He conducted field among the Winnebago (Ho-Chunk), Nebraska and Wisconsin, 1908-1912; Ojibwa and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1912-1917; Huave and Zapotec, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1912-1913, 1927-1929; Wiyot and Yurok, California, 1917-1918, 1930; and Ottawa, Michigan, 1925. Later he supervised student field research among African Americans, Nashville, Tennessee, 1927-1928; and various ethnic groups (Chinese, Greek, Irish, Italian, and Japanese), San Francisco, California, 1937-1940s.

Radin taught or lectured at many institutions, including Mills College, California, 1917-1918; University of California, 1918-1920, 1932; Cambridge University, England, 1920-1925; Jung Institute, Switzerland, 1925, 1953-1956; Fisk University 1927-1930; Black Mountain College, 1941-1942, 1944; Kenyon College, 1947, 1949-1952; and Brandeis University, 1957-1959. His numerous publications include The Winnebago Tribe, Primitive Man as Philosopher, The World of Primitive Man, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology, Social Anthropology, and Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian, one of the first self-told life histories of an American Indian viewed as a unique human being. Radin married Doris Woodward (1901-1991) in 1932. He died in 1959 in New York City.

At Fisk University, Radin's students collected autobiographies and religious conversion stories in Nashville from men and women who previously had been slaves in Virginia, South Carolina, and other areas of the South. Fisk published much of the material in 1945, 1978, and 1993 as God Struck Me Dead: Religious Conversion Experiences and Autobiographies of Negro Ex-slaves, BV4930 .G59 1993. However, Radin continued editing and analyzing these and other manuscripts until at least 1952, to which he added a commentary on slave-slave owner relationships and Christianity in the lives of slaves.

Scope and Content

Most of the unpublished documents pertain to lectures in Europe and the United States, various publications, incomplete works never published, or posthumous recollections by colleagues and informants. Included are several folders of notes and drafts on Crashing Thunder: The Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian, Primitive Man as Philosopher, and Primitive Literature. Also included are notes and drafts for "Souls Piled Like Timber, The Religious Experience of the Prewar Negro" an unfinished manuscript on African American spirituality, along with general notes on Native American religion and literature, and specific material relating to the Kiowa, Ottawa, and Winnebago.

Several languages are used throughout the collection in addition to English. Many of the notes from lectures in Europe were written in German whereas Spanish was used for a number of publications pertaining to Latin America. Furthermore, most of the texts about native languages were written bilingually using that language together with the corresponding national language, either English or Spanish.

Paul Radin Series 1, Correspondence: The bulk of the correspondence consists of facsimiles from collections at other institutions, which is detailed above under "Provenance." The correspondence pertains to Paul Radin, colleagues, associates, and family as well as the languages and cultures of a number of ethnic groups. After Radin's death in 1959, first his widow, Doris Radin, and then his would-be biographer, Mary Sacharoff-Fast Wolf, continued the Radin related correspondence. Not included in the index is the correspondence on microfiche (Canada); a bound appointment book; and a facsimile copy of the file regarding Radin from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI file documents Radin's global travels and activities pertaining to communism and black-white relations.

Subject index to ethnic groups noted in correspondence:

  • Siksika or Blackfeet Indians, Montana and Canada, 1901-1917
  • Ojibwa and Ottawa Indians, Michigan and Canada, 1911-1922
  • Towawa, Indonesia, 1941-1960
  • Winnebago or Ho Chunk Indians, Nebraska and Wisconsin, 1901-1960
  • Wiyot and Yurok Indians, California, 1913-1920
  • Zapotec Indians, Mexico, 1913-1930s

Index to correspondents:

  • Boas, Franz, 1901-1939
  • Cowell, Mrs. Sidney, 1982-1983
  • Darnell, Regna, 1983-1985
  • Diamond, Stanley, 1957-1983
  • Du Bois, Cora, 1981-1983
  • Frankfurter, Felix, 1925-1944
  • Glueck, Sheldon, 1933-1947
  • Halperin, Abe M., 1982-1984
  • Hultkrantz, Åke, Sweden, 1983-1989
  • Jung, Carl G., Switzerland, 1957
  • Kandert, Josef, Czechoslovakia, 1983
  • Kitayama, Kimiko, 1982-1983
  • Kroeber, Alfred L., 1901-1939
  • Kuppenheimer, Louis B., 1982-1984
  • LaMere, Williard E. (Winnebago), 1983-1984
  • Lathrop, Laurie, 1983-1984
  • Leons, Barbara, 1982-1983
  • Levi-Strauss, Claude, 1984-1989
  • Lowie, Robert H., 1909-1962
  • Lurie, Nancy O., 1982-1984
  • Lyman, Stanford N., 1982-1983
  • Martin, John, 1953-1982
  • Matthey, Piero, Italy, 1982-1985
  • McGuire, William, 1981-1991
  • Murra, John V., 1982-1984
  • Nyce, James M., 1984-1990
  • Oakes, Maud, 1981-1984
  • Phillips, Melba, 1981-1986
  • Pound, Roscoe, 1919-1933
  • Powell, Thomas Reed, 1938-1945
  • Radin, Anita, 1981-1985
  • Radin, Doris, 1959-1984
  • Radin, Max, 1921-1947
  • Radin, Paul, 1901-1958
  • Radin, Rhea, 1981
  • Ritsema, Rudolf, 1983-1989
  • Runis, Netherlands, 1952
  • Sacharoff-Fast Wolf, Mary, 1981-1991
  • Sapir, N. Edward, Canada, 1909-1939
  • Stacy, Stella (Winnebago), 1958
  • Stein, Maurice, 1981-1990
  • Stewart, Omer C., 1981-1982
  • Stocking, Jr., George W., 1983-1985
  • Vidich, Arthur J., 1982-1984
  • Werbner, Richard P., 1982-1989

Paul Radin Series 2-1, General Notes and Manuscripts and Paul Radin Series 2-2, Ethnographic Notes: Other institutions hold the bulk of Radin's original field manuscripts and sound recordings, which is detailed above under "Provenance." These writings include materials by Radin and others working with him, which includes some facsimile copies from other institutions, which is also detailed above under "Provenance."

The writings are divided topically into two sub-series: a general one focusing on broad anthropological topics and a second focusing on ethnic groups. Both are arranged alphabetically by topic or ethnic, national, or religious group with corresponding but unidentified materials at the end of each series. Most notable are two extensive manuscripts never published in their entirety: The Nature of Primitive Religion, in Series 2-1, and Souls Piled Like Timber: The Religious Experience of the Pre-War American Negro, in Series 2-2 under African Americans. Substantial Ottawa-Ojibwa and Winnebago documentation is also included in Series 2-2.

African or Black Americans: All documentation pertains to the unfinished manuscript, "Souls Piled Like Timber, The Religious Experience of the Prewar Negro." These papers are arranged first by materials intended for publication according to their final publication order. Within each folder drafts are arranged in chronological order with folder headings noting the number of drafts included, final page numbers, the total number of pages, and names of authors and interviewers, if known. 15 folders have revised names with original ones following. Missing from the manuscript are Chapters 1.The Past of the American Negro, 4. Slaves and Masters as Depicted in the Autobiographies, 5. The Adoption of Christianity by the American Negroes, and the Conclusion. Related items to be either included in an Appendix of 30 conversion experiences or not published at all follow at the end. This includes an analysis of the conversion experiences by Michael De Lazlo, a student of Radin's.

Ottawa-Ojibwa Indians: This documentation includes a substantial manuscript fragment on oral literature, beliefs, and practices; short stories; and sketches of warfare-related objects. Cited sources include publications and at least 30 informants from 12 communities: Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Harbor Springs, Mt. Pleasant, Petosky, St. Ignace, and Whitefish River in Michigan; Garden River, Sarnia, and Walpole Island in Ontario, Canada; and Hiawatha, Rice Lake, and unidentified areas in places unknown. Two manuscript fragments identified as possibly Ottawa-Ojibwa are included among the unidentified folk literature at the end of this series (Box 5).

Winnebago or Ho Chunk (Hocąk, or Hotcâk) Indians: This documentation includes a typescript of Sam Blowsnake's autobiography; short stories; various sketches; musical scores to traditional songs by George La Mere; facsimile copies of Winnebago and English texts in Radin papers at the American Philosophical Society; and writings by Richard P. Werbner, a student of Radin's who conducted research in Winnebago, Nebraska. The Blowsnake autobiography correspondes to Autobiography of a Winnebago Indian. The Werbner writings include transcripts by Lucretia Crawford of three autobiographical interviews (two women of Winnebago ancestry and a third of Fox [Mesquakie] ancestry) plus edited versions and other field notes. The Crawford transcripts correspond to the Werbner sound recordings in Series 2-3-1 and 2-3-2. Two manuscript items identified as possibly Winnebago are included among the unidentified folk literature at the end of Series 2-2 in Box 5.

Paul Radin Series 2-3-1, Sound Recordings (Reel to Reel) and Paul Radin Series 2-3-2, Sound Recordings (Cassettes): Besides the transcripts noted in Series 2-2, Werbner's sound recordings include a fourth autobiographical interview in Winnebago (a woman of Winnebago ancestry), and stories in Winnebago, both of which lack English translations. To facilitate public use, the originals, Series 2-3-1, Recordings (Reel to Reel), have been reformatted onto audio cassettes, Series 2-3-2, Recordings (Cassettes). Citations should acknowledge the interviewees and interviewer as well as quotations of more than 1,000 words require permission from Werbner or his heirs. Benefits derived from commercial reproduction of the recordings are consigned to the Winnebago Tribal Council, Winnebago, Nebraska. The series 2-3-2 sound recording of songs by Frank Beaver have been reformatted to wav files under G > Digital Projects.

Paul Radin Series 3-1, Books, Bulletins, and Pamphlets and Paul Radin Series 3-2, Journal Articles: These published writings constitute approximately two thirds of the collection, many of which are not readily available elsewhere. The arrangement is chronological and many items are autographed and/or include notations by the author. Major fields include language, literature, and religion among the Indians of the Americas, especially the Ojibwa and Winnebago of the Great Lakes region and the Mixe, Zapotec, and others of Mexico. Also included are writings pertaining to other ethnic groups in San Francisco, Mexico, and Africa. The "giants" described in the Winnebago Hero Cycles have been interpreted as Norse, ca. 1100-1300.

Paul Radin Series 4, Writings by Others, re: Related Anthropology and/or Anthropologists: These Items are about Radin, his colleagues, and their research topics, including native languages, oral literature, and religious beliefs among the Winnebago and others. The arrangement is alphabetical by author or title and includes articles, books, dissertations, notes and interviews. Included are several items by would-be Radin biographer Mary Sacharoff-Fast Wolf.

Paul Radin Series 0, Unprocessed Accessions: Additional papers by and about Paul and Doris Radin.

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