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Finding Aid to Alanson Skinner Papers, 1890-1926 MS.201
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Processing History

  • Title: Alanson Skinner Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.201
    Contributing Institution: Autry National Center, Braun Research Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 3.0 Linear feet (6 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1890-1926
    Abstract: This collection includes manuscripts, research and field notes, poems, artwork, correspondence, ephemera, scrapbooks, and personal papers of Alanson B. Skinner.
    creator: Grinnell, George Bird, 1849-1938
    creator: Harrington, M. R. (Mark Raymond), 1882-1971
    creator: Harris, William
    creator: Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957
    creator: Oneroad, Amos E. (Amos Enos), 1884-1937
    creator: Parker, Arthur Caswell, 1881-1955
    creator: Satterlee, John Valentine
    creator: Skinner, Alanson, 1886-1925


    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. An item-level inventory is available from library staff.


    Copyright has not been assigned to the Braun Research Library at the Autry National Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Library Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Braun Research Library as the owner 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.

    Preferred Citation

    Alanson Skinner Papers, 1890-1926, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.201; [folder number] [folder title][date].


    Gift of M. R. (Mark Raymond) Harrington, 1950.

    Scope and Contents

    This archive includes material collected and created by Skinner, as well as material about Alanson B. Skinner.
    The bulk of the archive includes biographical materials, personal materials, financial materials, manuscripts written and collected by Skinner, Skinner's obituary written by M. R. Harrington, lecture announcements, correspondence, research and field notes, scrapbooks, drawings, and other ephemera. Also included is an undated certificate of a degree of Doctor of Hebrew Literature from the Seminarii Theologici Judaico-Americani.


    201.1 Biographical materials; 201.2 Obituary by M. R. Harrington; 201.3 Lecture announcements; 201.4 Correspondence; 201.5 Non-fiction manuscripts; 201.6 Fiction and folklore manuscripts; 201.7 Poetry; 201.8 Fiction manuscripts collected by Alanson Skinner; 201.9 Costa Rica expedition materials; 201.10 Research and field notes; 201.11 Catalog of the Skinner Collection of Indian Relics; 201.12 Assorted ephemera; 201.13 Drawing; 201.14 Scrapbooks & loose items.

    Related Archival Materials

    Alanson B. Skinner: Eastern Indians, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MIMSY A63 & MIMSY A64.
    Alanson Skinner Papers, 1921-1924, Museum Library, Milwaukee Public Museum, Milwaukee, WI.
    Alanson Buck Skinner Photograph Collection, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Cultural Resources Center, Suitland, Maryland, MRC-541.
    Mark Raymond Harrington Collection, 1930-1961, Braun Research Library, Autry National Center, Los Angeles; MS.214.
    Museum of the American Indian/Heye Foundation records, 1890-1998, Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian Archives, Suitland, Maryland, NMAI.MC.001.
    Photographs by Alanson Skinner: Canada – Ojbway, 1908-1909, American Museum of Natural History Research Library, New York.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Alanson Buck Skinner was born on September 7, 1886 in Buffalo, New York. He became interested in archaeology, specifically related to Native Americans, at a very young age and started publishing notes on his findings before he was 18 years old. Through the American Museum of Natural History, Skinner accompanied Arthur C. Parker and M. R. (Mark Raymond) Harrington on his first fieldwork expedition near Shinnecock Hills, Long Island. As a result of this expedition, Skinner was published for the first time, and it was the start of a lifelong friendship between Harrington and Skinner.
    In addition to expeditions with the likes of Harrington, F. W. Putnam, George H. Pepper, and W. T. Davis, Skinner also attended Columbia University and Harvard. Skinner was Assistant Curator of Anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1907-1915, Assistant Curator and then Curator of Anthropology at the Public Museum of the City of Milwaukee from 1920-1922, and staff member of the Museum of the American Indian, Heye Foundation from 1915-1920 and again from 1922-1925.
    Skinner was prolific in his writings and was published widely in the areas of archaeology and ethnology. He was also noted for his admiration and sympathy for Native Americans and became so involved with the Menomini that they adopted him. Skinner was also involved in professional associations, and he was a Mason and a Shriner.
    Skinner was on an expedition with Wahpeton informant, Amos Oneroad, when they had a car accident that took Skinner’s life on August 17, 1925.

    Processing History

    Initial processing and finding aid completed by Jim Hofer in 1987. Completion of processing and finding aid performed by Holly Rose Larson, Project Archivist, funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in 2011.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Skinner, Alanson, 1886-1925
    Arctic peoples
    Art, American
    Costa Rica
    Costa Rica -- Antiquities
    Field notes
    Financial records
    Indians of North America
    Indians of North America -- California
    Indians of North America -- Fiction
    Indians of North America -- Folklore
    Indians of North America -- Great Plains
    Indians of North America -- Oregon