Scope and Contents
Language of Material:
University of California, Davis General Library, Dept. of Special Collections
Title: Nancy Webb Papers
Webb, Nancy M.
Identifier/Call Number: D-020
5.4 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1925-1984
Date (bulk): 1964-1978
Abstract: This collection documents the work of linguistic anthropologist Nancy Matthews Webb (1922-1984). The collection includes materials
on her research and professional activities studying the native languages of California, specifically Pomo and other Hokan
group languages, and her broader work as a linguist. The collection includes glossaries and word lists of various central
Native Californian languages, research and personal reference files, materials related to Webb's education, publications,
language notecards, microfilm, and audio recordings of Webb's interviews with research subjects.
Physical Location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
Nancy Mathews Webb was born in Connecticut in 1922, and grew up in West Virginia until she moved to Berkeley, where Webb received
her BA in zoology in 1942. After her graduation, Webb moved to Davis to work to work as a Technician and Research Assistant
in the Zoology department. While at Davis, Webb met Albert Dinsmoor "Dinny" Webb, who she married in 1943. The couple moved
to Tennessee where her husband, a chemist, worked on the Manhattan Project. Meanwhile, Webb served as substitute teacher in
English and math rather than in the sciences because she refused to sign a certificate denying evolution, a practiced required
by the state of Tennessee as a result of the Scopes Trial.
The couple moved back to Davis in 1945, where they had two children. After both children went off to college, Nancy Webb enrolled
in the Anthropology Department at UC Davis. After receiving her Master's in with her thesis entitled "Phonology and Noun Morphology
of the Kindibu Dialect of Kikongo" in 1965, she continued with her education. Webb would go on to receive the first Ph.D.
awarded by the UC Davis Anthropology Department in 1969. Under the supervision of David L. Olmsted, Webb wrote her dissertation
entitled "A Statement of Some Phonological Correspondences Among the Pomo Languages." Her work involved field research on
the reconstruction of the Pomo language, but would later encompass the Hokan language group of California. Webb stayed on
as Research Associate for the Anthropology department.
Webb travelled significantly, often accompanying her husband, a distinguished faculty member of the Department of Viticulture
and Enology, who left on sabbaticals to research wine aromas and flavors. Webb used these sabbaticals as an opportunity to
remain engaged in the field of linguistics by studying the Bantu languages in South Africa and Finno-Ugric languages in Helsinki.
The Hokan languages, however, remained her primary research topic.
Nancy Webb passed away in 1984 after succumbing to breast cancer. The Linguistics Department at UC Davis currently offers
an endowed scholarship in her honor.
Scope and Contents
This collection documents the work of linguistic anthropologist Nancy Matthews Webb (1922-1984). The collection spans the
years 1925-1984, with the bulk of the materials falling between 1964 and 1978. The materials cover her research and professional
activities studying the native languages of California, specifically Pomo and other Hokan group languages, and her broader
work as a linguist. The collection includes glossaries and word lists of various central Native Californian languages, research
and personal reference files, materials related to Webb's education, publications, language notecards, microfilm, and audio
recordings of Webb's interviews with research subjects.
The collection is arranged into six series: 1. Glossaries and Word Lists; 2. Research and Reference Files; 3. Education; 4.
Professional Activities; 5. Notecards; and 6. Audio Visual Materials.
Collection is open for research.
This collection was processed by archives intern Brenda Medina-Hernandez with help from student assistant Julie Jeon. Liz
Phillips encoded the finding aid.
[Identification of item], Nancy Webb Papers, D-020, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California,
All applicable copyrights for the collection are protected under chapter 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code. Requests for permission
to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication
is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items. It is not intended to
include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Pomo languages -- Phonology
Webb, Nancy M. -- Archives
University of California, Davis. Department of Anthropology
University of California, Davis -- Faculty -- Archives