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Finding aid to the Frank Hamilton Cushing Collection MS.6
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Acquisition
  • Custodial history
  • Location note
  • Administrative History note
  • Scope and contents
  • Processing history
  • Preferred citation
  • Access
  • Use
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical note

  • Title: Frank Hamilton Cushing Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.6
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 15.0 Linear feet (13 document boxes, 4 oversized boxes)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1848-1923
    Date (inclusive): 1848-1963
    Abstract: Frank Hamilton Cushing (1857-1900) was an early ethnographer working in the American Southwest during the late 19th Century. The items contained in this collection include correspondence, reports, unpublished manuscripts, diaries, Zuni vocabulary cards, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles. These documents focus on Cushing's stay at Zuni Pueblo from 1879-1884, the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition 1887-1889, and the Pepper Hearst Archeological Expedition 1896-1897. The bulk of the material in this collection was created between 1848 and 1923.
    creator: Cushing, Frank Hamilton, 1857-1900


    Purchased from Mrs. Gene Hodge, widow of Frederick Webb Hodge, circa 1963.

    Custodial history

    The Cushing and Hodge Collections were assembled between 1921 to 1963 through donations and purchases.
    Stewart Culin from the Brooklyn Museum gave Cushing material to Frederick Webb Hodge in 1921. Circa 1923, Hodge had an inventory created for this material as well as for his own personal papers.
    In addition, during Frederick Webb Hodge's tenure as Director of the Southwest Museum, 1932-1955, he donated some of his personal papers as well as correspondence and documents from Cushing to the Museum.
    In 1961, the Southwest Museum purchased more Cushing and Hodge papers from Frederick Webb Hodge's widow, Mrs. Gene Hodge.
    Earlier donations were added to the Cushing and Hodge Collections purchased in 1961 and were referred to as one collection. Although more material was added to the collections from 1932-1961, the original 1923 inventory Frederick Hodge created was never updated.
    Some time between the late 1960s and early 1970s, the two collections were reorganized into two categories: "correspondence" and "miscellaneous." In view of how many times the Cushing and Hodge Collections had been altered, a decision was made to reorganize the collections to make them more accessible to scholars.
    Prior to the reorganization, letters and discussions were held with Dr. Margaret Hardin, Dr. T.J.Ferguson, Dr. Curtis Hinsley and Mr. Edmund Ladd who were the project consultants. The Project Archivist used the 1923 inventory as a basis for the organization of the current Cushing Collection.
    The arrangement for the Frank Hamilton Cushing Collection, MS.6, and the Frederick Webb Hodge Collection, MS.7, was finalized by 2001.

    Location note

    Items from MS.6.BAE can be found in oversized box OS 2.
    Items from MS.6.HAE can be found in oversized box OS 1.
    Items from MS.6.PHE can be found in oversized box OS 3.
    Items from MS.6.ZLM can be found in oversized boxes OS 1 and OS 4.

    Administrative History note

    In 2001, funding was provided by the National Science Foundation through Systematic Anthropological Collections, Miss Anne Lloyd Crotty, and the Southwest Museum to preserve, arrange, describe and perform preservation microfilming of the Frank Hamitton Cushing and Frederick Webb Hodge Manuscript Collections. These two collections were selected for the project because they are valuable to the early history of American Anthropology and to the study of Zuni Indian culture and history. In addition, the Cushing Collection is in high demand by scholars worldwide. A third collection known as the Margaret Magill Manuscript Collection relates to the Hodge and Cushing Collection, but unfortunately was not microfilmed. Miss Magill was Cushing's sister-in-law and was with him at Zuni during the 1880s. The material in her collection relates to that time. She married Frederick Webb Hodge in the 1890s.
    The Cushing Collection is important nationally because it documents collections held by other institutions and relates to the various projects he was involved in throughout his short life. The Cushing Collection at the Southwest Museum provides documentation for the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition artifacts and illustrations, housed at the Peabody Museum of Ethnology and Archaeology, Harvard University, and to recently found correspondence and documents at the Huntington Free Library in Bronx, New York. In addition, the University of Pennsylvania Museum holds manuscripts and archeological material recovered during the Pepper-Hearst Archaeological Expedition to Florida. The National Anthropological Archives also has documents and correspondence from Cushing's tenure at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition, the Brooklyn Museum has many of ethnographic objects that Cushing collected while he was in Zuni.

    Scope and contents

    The items contained in this collection include correspondence, reports, unpublished manuscripts, diaries, Zuni vocabulary cards, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles. These documents focus on Cushing's stay at Zuni Pueblo from 1879-1884, the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition 1887-1889, and the Pepper Hearst Archeological Expedition 1896-1897. There are also three notebooks written in Pitman Shorthand by Frederick Webb Hodge, Director of the Southwest Museum from 1932-1955. This collection also consists of items that were dated after Cushing's death in 1900.

    Processing history

    Finding aid completed by Kim Walters, 2001. Revised by Anna Liza Posas, 2013. Final processing and publication of finding aid made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

    Preferred citation

    Frank Hamilton Cushing Collection, 1848-1963, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.6; [folder number].


    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. This collection has been cataloged at the folder level and are searchable on the Autry's online library catalog, http://autry.iii.com/. Contact library staff for further assistance.


    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.


    • MS.6.PP Pedro Pino series, 1848-1882
    • MS.6.S1 Smithsonian Institution series, 1874-1879
    • MS.6.ZUNI Zuni series, 1879-1884
    • MS.6.ZLM Zuni Language Material series, circa 1879-1884
    • MS.6.BOE Bureau of Ethnology series, 1884-1887
    • MS.6.HAE Hemenway Archaeological Expedition series, 1887-1889
    • MS.6.BAE Bureau of American Ethnology series, 1889-1900
    • MS.6.CM Cosmos Mindeleff series, 1890
    • MS.6.PHE Pepper Hearst Archaeological Expedition series, 1895-1896
    • MS.6.MISC Miscellaneous series, undated
    Description of subseries:
    Each series is divided into subseries according to format and document type. A series may not contain all of the subseries designations. Folders within each subseries have been arranged alphabetically and numbered.
    The first subseries (.1) consists of correspondence arranged alphabetically and includes memos, receipts, and bills.
    The second subseries (.2) consists of journals, diaries, and personal observations.
    The third subseries (.3) consists of notes, maps, business documents, and reports.
    The fourth subseries (.4) contains drafts of manuscripts, lectures, and book reviews by Frank H. Cushing- arranged alphabetically.
    The fifth subseries (.5) consists of reprints, prospectus, page proofs, and published book reviews by Cushing- arranged alphabetically.
    The sixth subseries (.6) contains published works, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, ephemera, photographs, and book reviews about works written by Cushing- arranged alphabetically.
    The seventh subseries (.7) consists of copies of items held in collections in other institutions.

    Biographical note

    Frank Hamilton Cushing was one of the pioneers of American anthropology and archaeology. Born in 1857, he was premature and as a result had a weak constitution which plagued him all of his life. Because of this, he received no formal education which allowed him time to wander the woods in Orleans County, New York, where his interest in anthropology developed. In 1875, Cushing decided against attending Cornell University in favor of accepting a position as assistant in ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution.
    In 1879, while at the Smithsonian, Cushing participated in an expedition to the Southwest led by Colonel James Stevenson. During this expedition, he made his initial contact with the Zuni Indians in 1879 September 19. Intrigued by what he saw, he left the expedition and remained in Zuni collecting ethnographic data from 1879 to 1884. During this period, Cushing regularly corresponded with his mentors at the Smithsonian, John Wesley Powell and Spencer F. Baird, providing many letter reports describing his research.
    Cushing was the first non-Zuni to be adopted into the Zuni Tribe. Cushing was also initiated into the Bow Priesthood Society, and given the name Tenatsali. In English, this name translated into “Medicine Flower.” The tribal elders urged him to take action to protect Zuni lands from encroachment by Navajos and white settlers. In 1882, Cushing arranged for six Zuni Indians to travel to Washington, DC and Boston. He felt that this introduction would strengthen his work at Zuni and in turn give the Zuni Indians an understanding of his work. As a result of his political activities in protecting Zuni lands, in 1884 March Cushing was recalled to Washington, DC where he resumed his duties at the Bureau of American Ethnology.
    On 1886 August 13, three Zuni Indians visited Cushing at Manchester-by-the-Sea. The Zuni Indians and Cushing were dinner guests of Boston socialite Mary Hemenway. As a result of this visit he was able to interest Mrs. Hemenway in funding an archaeological expedition to the Southwest. By 1886, Cushing had secured the funding from Mrs. Hemenway and launched the first privately funded archaeological expedition in the American Southwest. In 1887 January, the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition set off for the Salt River Valley in Arizona searching for the western extent of the Zuni's historic beginnings. Cushing was also attempting to prove that the “Seven Cities of Cibola” were the precursor to the pueblo cultures of New Mexico. During the initial year of the project, the expedition excavated numerous sites in Arizona and two sites on the Zuni Reservation. In 1889 June, Cushing was relieved of his duties on the Hemenway Expedition because of constant illness and allegations of financial mismanagement; he was replaced by Jesse Walter Fewkes. When Frank Cushing recovered from his illness, he returned to work at the Bureau of American Ethnology as an Assistant Ethnologist.
    During 1895-1896, Cushing participated in a joint archaeological project organized by the Smithsonian and the University of Pennsylvania to the gulf coast of Florida. Dr. William Pepper coordinated the project and when it was running short of funding, he was able to interest Mrs. Phoebe Apperson Hearst in supporting the field work. This project is known as the Pepper-Hearst Archaeological Expedition and was based around Key Marco, Florida. After the expedition, Cushing continued to work at the Bureau of American Ethnology. Cushing died 1900 April 10 while he was planning his new expedition to Maine.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Mindeleff, Cosmos, 1863-
    Pino, Pedro, circa 1800-1884
    Smithsonian Institution.
    Archaeological expeditions -- Southwest, New
    Ethnology -- America
    Excavations (Archaeology) -- Southwest, New
    Florida -- Antiquities
    Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition (1886-1894)
    Indians of North America -- Florida
    Indians of North America -- Southwest, New
    Pepper Hearst Archaeological Expedition
    Receipts (financial records)
    Zuni Indians
    Zuni language -- Glossaries, vocabularies, etc.
    Zuni Pueblo (N.M.)