National Anthropological Archives

Register to the Papers of Charles F. Hockett

Collection ID:
Hockett, Charles Francis
bulk 1940-1989
Some of Hockett's research material is in
. A small amount of other material in the collection is in
, and
Physical Description:
5.4 Linear feet
(10 document boxes) plus 2 record storage boxes of sound recordings
This collection contains the professional papers of linguist Charles F. Hockett. Included are research materials consisting of field notes and notebooks, correspondence, published and unpublished writings, annotated copies of other scholars' work, a few drawings, photographs, and sound recordings.

Scope and Content Note
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains the professional papers of linguist Charles F. Hockett. Included are research materials consisting of field notes and notebooks, correspondence, published and unpublished writings, annotated copies of other scholars' work, a few drawings, photographs, and sound recordings.
The materials in this collection document Hockett's career as a structural linguist, and provides glimpses into his military service and his passion for music. Hockett's writings and notes, which comprise the majority of the materials in the collection, demonstrate his contributions to the field of linguistics.

Collection is organized into 9 series: 1) Field Research, 1937-38, 1940; 2) Writings, 1940-2000; 3) Correspondence, 1945-2000; 4) Professional Activities, 1965-1970, 1989, 1993; 5) Teaching Files, 1993; 6) Biographical Files, 1934, 1942-1957-1965, 1974, 1984, 1988, 1999; 7) Notes and Drawings, 1964, 1970-1983, 1987-1988; 8) Photographs, 1944, 1960, 1978-1991, 1999; 9) Sound Recordings, 1952-1957, 1961, 1970-1976

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Charles Francis Hockett was a linguist best known for his contribution to structural linguistics. Strongly influenced by the work of Leonard Bloomfield, he was "widely considered Bloomfield's chief disciple, and the most prominent explicator and elaborator of Bloomfield's works" (Gair 7). While he primarily focused on Algonquian languages, Hockett also studied Chinese, Fijian, and English.
Hockett was born in Columbus, Ohio on January 17, 1916 to Homer and Amy Hockett. He matriculated at Ohio State University in 1932 and graduated in 1936 with a BA and MA in ancient history. He then went on to study at Yale where he received his PhD in 1939. Afterward, he completed two years of postdoctoral study and had the opportunity to work with Leonard Bloomfield directly.
Drafted into the US Army in 1942, Hockett prepared language-training materials, language guides, and dictionaries for military personnel. He was eventually promoted to Captain and left the military in 1946 when he became a professor of linguistics at Cornell University. In 1957 he joined the Department of Anthropology. Hockett stayed at Cornell until 1982 when he retired to emeritus status. He later served as an adjunct professor of linguistics at Rice University.
He died on November 3, 2000.
Sources Consulted
James W. Gair, "Charles F. Hockett," in
Biographical Memoirs volume 89
. Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press, 2007.
Born January 17 in Columbus, Ohio
Entered Ohio State University at 16
Graduated summa cum laude with BA & MA in ancient history
Summer of fieldwork in Kickapoo and autumn in Michoacán, Mexico
Received PhD in Anthropology from Yale; dissertation based on fieldwork in Potawatomi
2 years of postdoctoral study, including two quarters with Leonard Bloomfield at Chicago, followed by a stay at Michigan
Drafted into US Army
Dispatched to Tokyo as a first lieutenant to help train U.S. troops in Japanese
Began university teaching career as an assistant professor of linguistics in the Division of Modern Languages at Cornell where he was in charge of Chinese and continued to run the Chinese program for 15 years
Separated from the army with a terminal leave promotion to captain
Become a member of Cornell's Department of Anthropology (later named the Goldwin Smith Professor of Linguistics and Anthropology)
President of the Linguistic Society of America
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences
Retired from Cornell to emeritus status
Festschrift written (Agard et al., 1983)
Distinguished lecturer of the American Anthropological Association
Visiting professor, later adjunct professor of linguistics at Rice University
Died on November 3
Selected Bibliography
Potawatomi Syntax. Language 15: 235-248.
with Zhaoying Fang. Spoken Chinese: Basic Course. Military edition published (without authors' names) as a War Department Education Manual. Civilian Edition. New York: Holt.
Peiping phonology. Journal of the American Oriental Society 67: 253-267.
Implications of Bloomfield's Algonquian Studies. Language 24: 17-131.
A Manual of Phonology. Baltimore: Waverley Press.
How to Learn Martian. Astounding Science Fiction 55: 97-106.
A Course in Modern Linguistics. New York: Macmillan.
The Origin of Speech. Scientific American 203(3): 88-89.
A Leonard Bloomfield Anthology. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Man's Place in Nature. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Refurbishing our Foundations: Elementary Linguistics from an Advanced Point of View. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Approaches to Syntax. Lingua 100: 151-170.

Christy Fic
Digitization and preparation of these materials for online access has been funded through generous support from the Arcadia Fund.
Processing Note
The papers of Charles F. Hockett were partially organized and inventoried by Tammy L. Goss, a University of Wisconsin-Madison student, before deposited at the archives. Original folder titles were retained. Folder titles assigned by the archivist are indicated by square brackets. Files have been rehoused in acid free folders. The archivist kept existing groupings and organized the collection into nine series.
Processed by Christy Fic
Encoded by Jocelyn Baltz, June 2012
These papers were donated to the National Anthropological Archives by Charles Hockett's daughter, Rachel Hockett.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Charles F. Hockett Papers, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions on Use
Contact repository for terms of use.
Conditions Governing Access
The Charles F. Hockett Papers are open for research.

Related Collections
National Anthropological Archives Manuscript 7402. Letters to Charles Hockett regarding Algonquian linguistics 1937-1938.
National Anthropological Archives Manuscript 2009-15. May Mayko Ebihara conducted this oral history interview with Hockett on August 25, 1981 as part of a larger oral history project with anthropologists.
For additional Hockett correspondence, see: C. F. Voegelin Papers, American Philosophical Society. Henry Lee Smith Papers, 1935-1972 (bulk 1956-1972), University Archives, State University of New York at Buffalo.

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Fijians Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Anthropology Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Kickapoo language Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Linguistics, general and theoretical Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- Northeast Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
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Suitland, Maryland 20746