Guide to the John Canfield Ewers Papers, 1945-1993

Summary
Collection ID:
NAA.1998-35
Creators:
Hanson, James A.
Conner, Stuart W.
Dempsey, Hugh A.
Ewers, John C. (John Canfield), 1909-1997
Brasser, Ted J.
DeMallie, Raymond
Schaeffer, Claude E.
Taylor, Colin F.
Dates:
1945-1993
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
97 Linear feet
Repository:

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The John Canfield Ewers Papers document his wide ranging anthropological interests from early White depictions of Native Americans to the material culture of the Plains tribes through correspondence, exhibit catalogs, field notes, illustrations, lectures, maps, photocopies of archival materials, photographs, and writings. The collection includes materials relating to his numerous research projects and publications such as his books on plains sculpture and Jean Louis Berlandier as well as his field research among the Assiniboin and Blackfoot tribes. Ewers' career as an ethnologist based in a museum is amply documented through correspondence, exhibit plans and scripts, notes, and reports showcasing his work for the National Park Service and his fifty plus years at the Smithsonian. The voluminous correspondence file highlights his close collaboration with individuals such as Stu Conner, Hugh Dempsey, Claude Schaeffer, and Colin Taylor. Ewers' graduate studies and his family are featured in Series XI. One special category of materials in this collection is Series XIV, the card files. Ewers pulled information from his field notes and other sources, classified them, and typed or wrote them up on 3x5 or 5x7 inch index cards. He then organized these files alphabetically by subject within large categories such as "Collecting Alpha by Collectors Name" or "Fur Trade and Trade Goods." The card files include correspondence and photographs and closely relate to materials throughout the rest of the collection. Though Ewers' papers are primarily textual in nature, there are graphic materials throughout his files. Series XIII features the graphic materials that Ewers kept separate from his files such as the contents of his slide cabinets. There is overlap within this series as Ewers kept multiple copies of his slides in various locations. This series also includes audiotapes of conferences and symposia at which Ewers spoke and three scrapbooks. Of note are original pencil and ink drawings from his book, The Horse in Blackfoot Culture, in Series XV. Transcripts of oral history interviews with John Canfield Ewers are also available at the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
This collection was organized into 15 series - Correspondence, Research & Subject Files, Research Projects, Trips and Presentations, Artists of the Old West, North American Indian Art, Plains Sculpture Book, Berlandier Project, Smithsonian Institution, National Park Service, Personal, Writings by Ewers, Audiovisual Materials, Card Files, and Art Work.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
John Canfield Ewers (1909-1997) earned a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1931 and an M.A. in Anthropology from Yale University in 1934. Ewers began his career in museums as a Field Curator for the National Park Service. He helped design exhibits at Vicksburg National Battlefield and Ocmulgee National Monument among others. In 1941, the Bureau of Indian Affairs hired Ewers to design and establish the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning, Montana. After a short stint in the Navy during World War II, Ewers joined the Department of Anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution. He worked at the Smithsonian for over fifty years in numerous capacities including Director of the National Museum of History and Technology (now called the National Museum of American History). Ewers' research dealt with the Plains Indians and the Blackfoot tribe in particular. Ewers wrote several books on a wide variety of topics including White artists depictions of Native Americans, Plains Indian sculpture, and the horse in Blackfoot Indian culture.

Administration
Processing Information
The John Canfield Ewers Papers came to the National Anthropological Archives in several installments. The archivist merged the multiple accessions into one collection and established 15 series. Original order and folder titles were retained when possible. All materials were refoldered some of the photographs were sleeved. The archivist photocopied the newspaper clippings and removed all staples and paperclips. When the archivist established new folder titles, she used []. The archivist separated out the oversize materials. Their new locations are marked in the box and folder listing. All film and videotapes were transferred to the Human Studies Film Archives.
Author
Susan McElrath

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
John Canfield Ewers papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access
The John Canfield Ewers papers are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact repository for terms of use.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Chippewa Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Great Plains Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ethnohistory Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Northeast Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Carving Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cree Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ojibwa Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Indians -- Plains Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Assiniboine Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists -- United States -- West -- Biography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kiowa Indians Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Subarctic Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Indians -- Clothing Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
American Indians -- arts and crafts Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- History -- Exhibitions Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museums -- Collection management Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Museum exhibits Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Repatriation Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Blackfoot Culture Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Artists Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of American History (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
National Museum of Natural History (U.S.) Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
United States. National Park Service Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Smithsonian Institution Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Catlin, George, 1796-1872 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Taylor, James E. ((Artist)) Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Denig, Edwin Thompson, 1812-1858 Personal Name 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/