Guide to the Esther Schiff Goldfrank papers

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.1982-24
Creators:
Goldfrank, Esther Schiff
Dates:
1920-1980
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
7 Linear Feet
Repository:
The Esther Schiff Goldfrank papers, 1920-1980, document her professional life in anthropology. Much of the field material and reading notes relate to Goldfrank's work on the Pueblos, Navahos, Blood, and Teton Dakota. There is also considerable material of colleagues. Some of this seems to have been given to her directly. Other material, particularly that of Ruth Benedict's Blackfoot project, was acquired by Margaret Mead and then sent to Goldfrank. Included are field notes or manuscript articles concerning the Blackfoot Indians by Benedict, Harry D. Biele, Marjorie Lismer, Jane Richardson, and George D. Spindler. Most of the photographs in the collection concern Goldfrank's early travels with Franz Boas or Harvey Biele's work with the Bloods. Copies of illustrations used in her autobiography are also included.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
These papers document the professional life of anthropologist Esther Schiff Goldfrank (b. 1896) through correspondence, arranged both alphabetically and chronologically; correspondence specifically referencing the Isleta paintings; manuscripts by Goldfrank; field, reading and typescript notes; material from other anthropologists; miscellaneous printed material such as articles, reports, papers and invitations; transparencies of artwork from Isleta paintings; facsimiles of the Joe B. Lente letters; and, photographs, mostly concerning Goldfrank's early travels with Franz Boas and Harvey Biele's work with the Bloods. The collection dates from 1920 through 1980.
Among correspondents whose letters are included in the papers, are David F. ABERLE, John ADAIR, M. F. ASHLEY-MONTAGUE, Victor BARNOUW, Ruth F. BENEDICT, Franz BOAS, Charles E. BORDEN, Henry B. COLLINS, Carlton S. COON, George DEVEREUX, Rene d'HARNONCOURT, Edward P. DOZIER, Fred R. EGGAN, Ward H. GOODENOUGH, Alfred I. HALLOWELL, June HANKS, Byron HARVEY III, Florence M. HAWLEY, E. Adamson HOEBEL, Alfred V. KIDDER, Solon T. KIMBALL, Clyde KLUCKHOLN, R. Weston LABARRE, Oliver LAFARGE, Dorothea C. LEIGHTON, Oscar LEWIS, Edward M. LOEB, John P. LUCERO, Margaret MEAD, Robert MURPHY, Morris OPLER, Elsie Clews PARSONS, Herbert PARSONS, Jane RICHARDSON, M. Estellie SMITH, Frank G. SPECK, Leslie SPIER, Morris SWADESH, Sol TAX, Mischa TITIEV, Caroline TRUJILLO, Leslie A. WHITE, Nathalie F. S. WOODBURY, and Richard B. WOODBURY.
The bulk of the material concerns Goldfrank's work on the genesis and publication of the Isleta paintings and her research on and fieldwork with the Pueblo, Navaho, Blood and Teton Dakota. Additionally, there are field notes and manuscript articles by Ruth F. Benedict, Harry D. Biele, Marjorie Lismer, Jane Richardson, and George D. Spindler.
There is also a good deal of autobiographical material and information about her interaction with other anthropologists (Franz Boas and Ruth F. Benedict among others) in the various drafts of Goldfrank's privately published autobiography, "Notes on an Undirected Life" (1978).

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged into the following series: (1) Correspondence arranged by correspondent or subject; (2) Correspondence arranged in chronological order, 1922-1950; (3) Correspondence arranged in chronological order, 1951-1980; (4) Manuscripts by Goldfrank; (5) Isleta paintings, 1949-1976, undated; (6) Blackfoot and Blood Indians; (7) Navajo and Pueblo Indians; (8) Teton Dakota (Sioux) Indians; (9) Miscellany; (10) Photographs.

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Esther Schiff Goldfrank took an undergraduate course under Franz Boas when she was a student at Barnard College. This led to her becoming his secretary between 1919 and 1922 and, at the same time, taking graduate courses in anthropology at Columbia University. With the financial and intellectual assistance of Elsie Clews Parsons, she also traveled with Boas and his wife in the Southwest and carried out anthropological field work at Laguna and Cochiti Pueblos between 1920 and 1922. Out of this work came her Social and Ceremonial Organization of Chochiti, Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, number 23, 1927.
Although she married Walter Goldfrank in 1922 and became a homemaker, her interest in Pueblo life continued. In 1924, she carried out field work at Isleta for the Southwest Society under arrangements made by Parsons.
After her husband's death in 1935, Goldfrank worked for Caroline Zachry's Study of Adolescents for the Commission on Secondary School Curriculum of the Progressive Education Association and, later, became a nondegree graduate student in anthropology, again at Columbia University, In 1939, she took part in a program of field studies of four Blackfoot tribes that was directed Ruth Fulton Benedict. The purpose of the program was to determine differences in the effects of American and Canadian policies on similar cultures.
Goldfrank's work was among the Blood Indians of Canada, and she reported it in her Changing Configurations in the Social Organization of a Blackfoot Tribe during the Reserve Period, J. J. Austin, 1945.
In 1940, Goldfrank married Karl A. Wittfogel and, in 1943, became staff anthropologist for the Chinese History Project, which her husband directed. Shortly after her marriage, she undertook work on historical aspects of Teton Dakota culture through library studies. Her interest in Pueblo cultures continued, however, and she contributed two major publications concerning them. In 1962, under her editorship, Elsie Clews Parsons' Isleta Paintings was published as Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 181. In 1967, her own The Artist of "Isleta Paintings" in Pueblo Society was issued as Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, volume 3.
Under the influence of her husband, she also became interested in the implications for southwestern cultures of the need to control water.
Goldfrank was active with several anthropological organizations but especially with the American Ethnological Society. She served as its secretary-treasurer in 1945-1947 and its president in 1948. In the latter position, she was particularly concerned with the constitution of the society and, especially, its anomolous relationship with the American Anthropological Association. She was also the society's editor from 1952 to 1956.
Chronology
1896
Born
1918
Bachelor of Arts, Barnard College
1919-1922
Took graduate courses in anthropology at Columbia University
Became secretary to Franz Boas
Conducted field work with Franz Boas among the Indians at Laguna and Cochiti
1922
Married Walter S. Goldfrank
1924
Pursued field work at Isleta for the Southwest Society
1927
Published Monograph, "The Social and Ceremonial Organization of Cochiti," Memoirs of the American Anthropological Association, number 23, 1927
1935
Death of Walter S. Goldfrank
1939
Took part in a study of four Blackfoot tribes directed by Ruth F. Benedict
1940
Married Karl A. Wittfogel
1943
Became staff anthropologist for Wittfogel's Chinese HistoryProject
1944
Published Monograph, "Changing Configurations in the Social Organization of a Blackfoot Tribe During the Reserve Period," J. J. Austin, 1945
1945-1947
Served as Secretary-Treasurer of the American Ethnological Society
1948
Served as President of the American Ethnological Society
1952-1956
Publication of "Isleta Paintings,"Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 181, with Introduction and Commentary by Elsie ClewsParsons and edited by Esther S. Goldfrank
Served as editor for the American Ethnological Society
1967
Goldfrank's "Artist of 'Isleta Paintings' in Pueblo Society" was issued as Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, volume 3
1978
Publication of the Memoirs of Esther S. Goldfrank, entitled, "Notes on an Undirected Life," New York, Queens College, 1978
1988
Death of Karl A. Wittfogel
1997 April 23
Died

Administration
Processing Note
Processed by Anna Z. Thompson, 1998
Encoded by Jocelyn Baltz, July 2012
Author
Anna Z. Thompson
Provenance
The papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Esther Schiff Goldfrank in 1982. A small addition was made in 1984.

Using the Collection
Restrictions on Access
The Esther Schiff Goldfrank papers are open for research.
Restrictions on Use
Restrictions on the use of the material specify that living informants are not to be mentioned in publications; no material is to be used to defame any individual; and, transparencies of the Isleta Paintings and copies of Joe B. Lente's letters cannot be reproduced (copies should be obtained from the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia).
Preferred Citation
Esther Schiff Goldfrank papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Blackfoot -- Blood Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blackfeet Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lakota -- Teton Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Navajo Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Great Plains Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kainah Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Southwest, New Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Sihasapa Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Manuscripts Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Letters (correspondence) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746
naa@si.edu
http://www.anthropology.si.edu/naa/