Finding Aid to the Joseph Keppler, Jr. Papers MS.208

Finding aid prepared by Michele Anderson, Eloise Nelson, Anna Liza Posas
Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
234 Museum Drive
Los Angeles, CA, 90065-5030
323-221-2164
rroom@theautry.org
2013


Title: Joseph Keppler, Jr. Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MS.208
Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 3.0 Linear feet (84 folders in 3 document boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1899-1960
Abstract: Joseph Keppler Jr. was born Udo Keppler on 1872 April 4 in St Louis, Missouri. He was a writer, collector of Native American literature and artifacts, political cartoonist, and publisher. In 1898, Keppler was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Seneca tribe and in appreciation of his social and legislative efforts on behalf of American Indians in New York, he was made an honorary Chief of the Seneca tribe and given the name "Gy-ant-wa-ka." Keppler died 1956 July 4 in La Jolla, California. The Joseph Keppler, Jr. Papers contains newspaper and magazine clippings; ephemera; correspondence; photographic material; drawings; notes on Native American ceremonies and stories; and speeches created or collected by Keppler from 1899-1960. The bulk of the collection contains correspondence and letters from Keppler's family members and associates.
creator: Converse, Harriet Maxwell
creator: Cornplanter, Ed, Chief
creator: Johnson, Freeman, Chief
creator: Keppler, Joseph, Jr., 1872-1956
creator: Ninham, Fred
creator: Ninham, Gertrude

Access

Collection is open for research. Appointments to view materials are required. To make an appointment please visit http://theautry.org/research/research-rules-and-application or contact library staff at rroom@theautry.org. A folder level inventory is available from library staff.

Preferred citation

Joseph Keppler, Jr. Papers, 1899-1960, Braun Research Library Collection, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.208; [folder number] [folder title][date].

Processing history

Processed by Glenna Schroeder, circa 1977-1981. Preliminary finding aid created by Michele Anderson, 2009. Biographical note prepared by Eloise Nelson, Braun Research Library intern, 2011 June 20. Finding aid completed by Anna Liza Posas, 2013. Final processing of collection and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Biograpahical note

Joseph Keppler Jr. was born Udo Keppler on 1872 April 4 in St Louis, Missouri. He was a writer, collector of Native American literature and artifacts, political cartoonist, and publisher. He later changed his name to Joseph Keppler, Jr. in honor of his father.
His mother was Pauline Pfau and his father Udo Joseph Keppler, founded Puck magazine. Keppler, Jr. took over the publication after his father's death.
Keppler, Jr. had two sons, Udo Keppler III and George Keppler, with his first wife Louise. Louise died in December of 1944. He later married Vera, who survived him.
Keppler was also good friends with George Heye and assisted with the founding of the Heye Foundation’s Museum of the American Indian in 1916.
He became active in Indian affairs and spent a great deal of time with the Seneca Nation both as an activist and as a collector. Keppler worked with others to defeat or substantially modify proposed legislation concerning the New York State reservations. He also actively promoted Iroquois lacrosse teams and his connections with the railroad enabled him to procure discount railroad passes for New York Indians.
In 1898, Keppler was adopted into the Wolf Clan of the Seneca tribe in New York, through the sponsorship of Harriet Maxwell Converse, herself a third generation adoptee. In 1899, in appreciation of his social and legislative efforts on behalf of Native Americans in New York, he was made an honorary Chief of the Seneca tribe and given the name "Gy-ant-wa-ka."
Keppler died 1956 July 4 in La Jolla, California, where he had been living. His residences in Woodland, New York and La Jolla were both called "Tov-nis-gah."
References: Cornell University Library. “Guide to the Joseph Keppler Jr. Iroquois Papers, 1882-1944. Finding Aid.” http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/ead/htmldocs/RMM09184.html
New York Historical Society. “Guide to the Keppler Family Papers, 1840-1957. Finding Aid” http://dlib.nyu.edu/eadapp/transform?source=nyhs/keppler.xml&style=nyhs/nyhs.xsl&part=body
Hodge, F.W. “A Seneca Adoption” Masterkey 26 (1952): 94-96.
Reily, Nancy Hopkins and Lucille Enix. Joseph Imhof: Artist of the Pueblos. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 1998.
See also: Comments on Certain Iroquois Masks (1941) Heye Foundation V 12 No 4 (970.6711).

Scope and contents

The collection contains newspaper and magazine clippings; ephemera; correspondence; photographic material; drawings; notes on Native American ceremonies and stories; and speeches created or collected by Joseph Keppler.
The bulk of the collection contains correspondence and letters from Keppler's family members and associates, including Chief Ed Cornplanter, Chief Freeman Johnson, Fred and Gertrude Ninham, and Harriett Maxwell Converse. Clippings consist of obituaries and articles that relate to Native American athlete Jim Thorpe; Native American culture, art, health, and food; and the Navajo, Iroquois, and Seneca tribes. There are also articles related to the discovery of bones claiming to belong to "The Missing Link."

Use

Copyright has not been assigned to the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Autry Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Autry National Center as the custodian of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Acquisition

Donated by Mrs. Vera Keppler, 1958 March 27.

Arrangement

  • Published articles
  • Correspondence and photographs
  • Manuscripts and research material

Related collections

MS.876, English-Seneca Dictionary Notes, Autry National Center.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Gray Wolf, Sam
Thorpe, Jim, 1887-1953
Anthropology
Clippings
Correspondence
Drawings
Indian art
Indians of North America -- Food
Indians of North America -- Health
Indians of North America -- Social life and customs
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Indians
Obituaries
Photographs
Seneca Indians
Speeches