Scope and Contents
The Homer Garner Barnett papers, 1934-1973, contain papers, photographs, slides, maps, periodicals, field notes and copies of studies done by others. Dr. Barnett, an ethnologist, anthropologist, author and teacher spent his early professional years, 1934-1943, studying Northwest Coast Indians. After the second World War, her focused on Micronesia, especially Palau, and later Netherlands New Guinea, now known as West Irian. It was during this time that he observed at close hand and became an expert in cultural change.
Between 1947 and 1970, years of drastic change for natives of Oceania, Dr. Barnett made three long stays and many shorter ones in the islands. He used his research in writing, teaching, and consulting.
His early study of Yurok, Hupa, Karok, Nuqually, Oakville and Skopomish Indians is contained in research notebooks, field notebooks and photographs. There is an interesting section on Indian Shakerism (not related to the Shaker Movement of the East). One notebook records his experience while conducting a class at Berkeley in 1943 on inter-cultural exchange of information. The later field notebooks record his observations while on Palau and New Guinea. There are also approximately 900 slides that he used in class lectures.
Dr. Barnett amassed a large collection of scholarly papers and periodicals dealing with the South Pacific area, especially during the years 1952-1960. There are a few publications in Japanese reflecting the interests of the prior trustees of Palau. There are significant numbers of scientific papers in Dutch on natives of New Guinea. He also preserved interesting examples of literature in Palauan, pidgin English and Papuan.
There is no personal correspondence other than that pertaining to setting up a study of displaced communities in the South Pacific. This study was funded over a 5-year period by the National Science Foundation. The resulting papers are on deposit at the University of Oregon.
Dr. Barnett spent 2 years (1944-1946) as Senior Fellow in ethnogeography at the Bureau of American Ethnology (BAE). There are no papers in this collection dating from those years, but the BAE Correspondence files contain letters to and from Barnett during this period.
Please note that the contents of the collection and the language and terminology used reflect the context and culture of the time of its creation. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology and considered offensive today. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution or National Anthropological Archives, but is available in its original form to facilitate research.