Twenty-seventh Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 1905-'06

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Author: Holmes, William Henry (1846-1933) [editor]

Year: 1911

Publisher: Government Printing Office

Place: Washington, DC


672 pages with 65 plates,132 figures and index. Quarto (11 1/2" x 8 1/4") issued in olive green with gilt lettering to spine and pictorial to cover. Papers by Alice C Fletcher and Francis La Flesche The Omaha tribe. 1st edition.

W H Holmes was on of America's great archaeologists. A member of what might be called the early "Smithsonian Group" of anthropological scholars, which included the redoubtable scientific administrator, J W Powell, as well as other such notables as Cyrus Thomas, W J McGee and F W Hodge; Holmes was intellectual star of the group. While Holmes has bee some what forgotten in the emphasis on change and in the epistemological clamor of competing voices that has characterized American archaeology in the half century since his death, his achievements remain as very substantial ones. He laid down many of the guiding principles of the discipline in its professional beginnings in the Americas. He was an Ohio farm boy, born in 1846, the youngest of three sons. While his father and brothers were devoted to farm life, young William, wanted to be an artist. Equipped with only a modest education, and with little money, he went to Washington, D C, to study art. There he was attracted to the Smithsonian Institution, and it was while he was sketching ornithological specimens in the United States National Museum that he was discovered in this enterprise by one of the Museum's curators who offered him a position as an illustrator. From this Holmes went on to a job as an artist with the early governmental geological surveys of the American West which were being conducted by J W Powell during the late 1860s and the 1870s. He was one of those to participate in Powell's famous Grand Canyon Survey. In his work with the surveys, Holmes produced some majestic drawings - panoramas which have been described as "unrivaled works of art and science," ones which captured landscapes and the feeling of places without sacrificing accurate detail. In the course of all this, Holmes learned considerable geology, and eventually he was employed with the title of Assistant Geologist. At the same time, his early travels in the West took him to the Pueblo ruins of the Southwest that resulted in his even more devoted interests to archaeology. Through Powell's good offices, Holmes was given an honorary appointment in the United States National Museum which kept these archaeological interest alive, and they were furthered by a trip to Europe in 1879-1880, during which time he visited the great art and archaeological museums on the Continent. In 1884 he traveled to Mexico, where he made the famous panoramic drawings of the great Precolumbian city of Teotihuacan in the valley of Mexico. To this task he brought the skills which he had developed as a geological and landscape artist. The drawings were later published in the Bureau of American Ethnology where their accuracy continues to astound archaeologists who have explored the site in the years since. (Journal of Field Archaeology Volume 21, number 1, page 119)


Light rubbing to extremities else a better than very good copy.

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