Carobeth Laird papers

Finding aid prepared by Julianna Gil, Student Processing Assistant.
Special Collections & University Archives
The UCR Library
P.O. Box 5900
University of California
Riverside, California 92517-5900
Phone: 951-827-3233
Fax: 951-827-4673
© 2018
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Carobeth Laird papers
Date (inclusive): 1927-1991
Collection Number: MS 109
Creator: Laird, Carobeth, 1895-1983
Extent: 8.04 linear feet (11 boxes, 2 flat file folders)
Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
Riverside, CA 92517-5900
Abstract: This collection contains manuscripts, press clippings, and other material regarding the research of Carobeth Laird, a noted anthropologist, linguistics specialist, and ethnographer who studied the Chemehuevi people of southeastern California and western Arizona. Materials regarding her first husband, American linguist and ethnologist John Peabody Harrington, are also included.
Languages: The collection is in English.


This collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright Unknown: Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction, and/or commercial use, of some materials may be restricted by gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing agreement(s), and/or trademark rights. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [date if possible]. Carobeth Laird papers (MS 109). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

Acquisition Information

Provenance unknown.

Processing History

Processed by Julianna Gil, Student Processing Assistant, 2018.
Processing of the Carobeth Laird papers was completed by undergraduate students from the University of California, Riverside as part of the Special Collections & University Archives Backlog Processing Project started in 2015. This project was funded by the UCR Library and administered by Jessica Geiser, Collections Management Librarian.

Biographical Note

Carobeth Laird was an accomplished anthropologist, linguistics specialist, and ethnographer who studied the Chemehuevi people of southeastern California and western Arizona.
Laird was born in Coleman, Texas on 20 July, 1895 and married noted linguist and ethnologist John Peabody Harrington in 1916. Together they conducted field work and ethnographic research on Native American tribes. Laird's experiences through six years of marriage to John Harrington led to her book Encounter with an Angry God, published in 1975.
After the dissolution of her marriage to Harrington, Carobeth married George Laird, her principal informant while studying the Chemehuevi tribe. Laird's work focused particularly on the language and mythology of the Chemehuevi, culminating in two books: The Chemehuevis (1976) and Mirror and Pattern (1984).
In her later years Laird lived in a nursing home and wrote a memoir, titled Limbo (1979), based on her experiences there and her view of time.
Carobeth Laird passed away on the fifth of August, 1983.

Collection Scope and Contents

This collection contains manuscripts, press clippings, and other material regarding the research of Carobeth Laird a noted anthropologist, linguistics specialist, and ethnographer who studied the Chemehuevi people of southeastern California and western Arizona. Material regarding her first husband, American linguist and ethnologist John Peabody Harrington, is also included.

Collection Arrangement

The collection is arranged into three series as follows:
  • Series 1: Literary works, 1970-1991; undated
  • Series 2: Lynn Laredo, 1976-1987
  • Series 3: Personal, 1927-1987

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


Harrington, John Peabody
Chemehuevi Indians

Genres and Forms of Materials

Clippings (information artifacts)


Series 1. Literary works 1970-1991, undated

Series Scope and Contents

This series consists of several literary works written by Carobeth Laird. The series includes manuscripts, galley proofs, publicity and correspondence, and graphic designs for the book's cover art.

Series Arrangement

The series is arranged into 7 sub-series as follows:
  • Sub-Series 1.1 Encounter with an Angry God, 1973-1984
  • Sub-Series 1.2 Limbo, 1978-1981; undated
  • Sub-Series 1.3 Mirror and Pattern, 1972-1984
  • Sub-Series 1.4 The Chemehuevis, 1970-1980; undated
  • Sub-Series 1.5 Short stories, 1973-1983; undated
  • Sub-Series 1.6 To Live a Thousand Years, undated
  • Sub-Series 1.7 Untitled manuscript, 1991

Sub-Series 1.1. Encounter with an Angry God 1973-1984

Box 1, Folder 1

Reproductions of materials from the Malki Museum Press 1977

Box 1, Folder 3

Correspondence regarding movie rights 1975-1981

Box 1, Folder 4, Flat-File-Folder 1

Galley proofs circa 1973

Box 1, Folder 5, Flat-File-Folder 2

Publicity 1975-1983

Box 1, Folder 6

Cover art and copies of pages 1975

Box 1, Folder 7 A & B

Manuscript 1973

Box 1, Folder 8

Original art and manuscript undated

Box 1, Folder 9

Page proof undated

Box 2, Folder 1

Literary Magazines featuring Encounter with an Angry God 1975-1976

Box 2, Folder 2

Proposal for Carobeth Laird interview with UCR about Encounter with an Angry God 1975

Box 2, Folder 3

Correspondence regarding development and publication 1975-1984

Box 2, Folder 4

Newspaper articles about Encounter with an Angry God 1975-1977


Sub-Series 1.2. Limbo 1978-1981; undated

Box 2, Folder 7

Correspondence regarding Limbo 1978-1981

Box 2, Folder 8

Manuscript pages 112-200, includes revision notes undated

Box 2, Folder 9

Manuscript pages I-XIII, and I-III undated


Sub-Series 1.3. Mirror and Pattern 1972-1984

Box 2, Folder 10

Galley proofs 1984

Box 2, Folder 11

Correspondence regarding Mirror and Pattern draft 1972-1983


Sub-Series 1.4. The Chemehuevis 1970-1980; undated

Box 3, Folder 2

Corrections undated

Box 3, Folder 3

Articles regarding The Chemehuevis 1976-1978

Box 3, Folder 4

Xeroxes: pages 191-324 circa 1976

Box 3, Folder 5

Xeroxes: pages 69-105 circa 1976

Box 3, Folder 6

Chapters 3-5 with corrections 1975

Box 3, Folder 7

Appendix and endnotes with corrections undated

Box 3, Folder 8

Manuscript and proofs of introduction undated

Box 3, Folder 9

Typescript proofs with corrections undated

Box 3, Folder 10

Early copies of glossary and a brief note on language 1975


Sub-Series 1.5. Short stories 1973-1983; undated

Box 3, Folder 11

The Journal of California Anthropology undated

Box 3, Folder 12

"Medicine Dance" for the Chemehuevi Newsletters undated

Box 3, Folder 13

"Chrome Dome and the Lion" short story undated

Box 3, Folder 14

"Myth, Ritual, Ethnic, Dogma" essay undated

Box 3, Folder 15

Proofs for "When Animals were People" 1983

Box 3, Folder 16

"The Linguist" draft, pages 1-2 and 147-194, and correspondence 1973; undated

Box 3, Folder 17

"Introduction: To Live a Thousand Years" original copy undated

Box 3, Folder 18

"Two Chemehuevi Teaching Myths" and "The Buffalo in Chemehuevi Folklore" undated

Box 3, Folder 19

"Duck Magic" myth and "Intimations of Unity" article undated

Box 3, Folder 20

Other works and general publishing 1975-1976; undated


Sub-Series 1.6. To Live a Thousand Years undated

Box 4, Folder 1

Carobeth Laird's second binder on pages 181-309 undated


Sub-Series 1.7. Untitled manuscript 1991

Box 4, Folder 2 A, B, & C

Parts I, II, and III (Anotated) 1991


Series 2. Lynn Laredo 1976-1987

Series Scope and Contents

The series contains notes, research material, and interview tapes related to Lynn Laredo's work on Carobeth's documentary. The series also includes personal notes and materials that pertained to her development and early research for the Carobeth documentary.

Series Arrangement

The series is arranged into two sub-series as follows:
  • Subseries 2.1. Carobeth Laird documentary, 1979-1987
  • Subseries 2.2. Personal materials, 1976-1985; undated

Sub-Series 2.1. Carobeth Laird documentary 1979-1987

Box 4, Folder 3

Notes regarding documentary 1982-1985

Box 4, Folder 4

Lynn Laredo notes 1981-1987; undated

Box 4, Folder 5

Lynn Laredo research material 1976-1983; undated

Box 4, Folder 6

Fact sheets about Carobeth Laird and her documentary 1982

Box 4, Folder 7

Receipts for materials used for the documentary 1979

Box 4, Folder 8

Correspondence regarding permission for audiovisual tapes 1983

Box 5, Folder 1

Correspondence regarding funds for documentary 1981-1982

Box 5, Folder 2

Release forms for documentary 1982

Box 7

Interview tapes 1982

Scope and Content

This file contains six cassette tapes: 1. "7-30-82 Meeting on focus re Carobeth, Lynn, John, Judy, Rennie, Dree Allison, Keely" 2. "Lyyn & Judy discuss Carobeth 5-4-82" 3. "Lynn & Judy discuss Carobeth 5-4-82" 4. "LAIRD" 5. "LAIRD; no pulses" 6. "Interviewer Ruth Miesser-B; Laird; 5-6-82"
Box 9

Lynn Laredo interview of Carobeth Laird 1983; undated

Scope and Content

Two KCS20BR video tapes under Unit IV title; third Unit IV tape is a Memorex T-120 model.

Sub-Series 2.2. Personal materials 1976-1985; undated

Box 5, Folder 3

Outline of visual tribute to Carobeth Laird undated

Box 5, Folder 4

Notes on documentary logistics 1983-1984; undated

Box 5, Folder 5

Outline of slides for Carobeth Laird project 1982-1985

Box 5, Folder 6

Advanced copies and distribution list 1976; undated

Box 5, Folder 7

John Rafter items 1982-1983

Scope and Contents

This file contains fylers, correspondence, photographs, and notes related to John Rafter, who worked along with Carobeth Laird in his research on analyzing a tortoise intaglio site located north of Highway 15, between Barstow and Yermo.
Box 5, Folder 8

News and correspondence regarding ancient "Sun Daggers" 1982-1983

Box 5, Folder 9

Lynn Laredo material 1977-1983

Scope and Contents

This file contains correspondence that was related to Carobeth Laird, as well as a certificate of appreciation.
Box 5, Folder 10

Phone and address lists undated


Series 3. Personal 1927-1987

Series Scope and Contents

This series contains personal materials related to events in Carobeth Laird's life. Such events include her memorial service, her ex-husband John Peabody Harrington, and award certificates.

Series Arrangement

The series is arranged into five sub-series as follows:
  • Subseries 3.1. Memorial, 1983
  • Subseries 3.2. Awards and recognition, 1982-1983
  • Subseries 3.3. Publicity, 1975-1984
  • Subseries 3.4. Life events, 1973-1987
  • Subseries 3.5. John Peabody Harrington, 1927-1978; undated

Sub-Series 3.1. Memorial 1983

Box 5, Folder 11

Flyers and materials for the memorial at Bernardo Winery 1983

Box 5, Folder 12

Tributes to Carobeth Laird in newspapers 1983

Box 5, Folder 13

Condolence letters 1983

Box 5, Folder 14

Memorial Symposium for Carobeth Laird at California State University, Hayward 1984

Box 6, Folder 1

Photographs from Carobeth Laird's funeral mass/reception undated

Box 6, Folder 2

Carobeth Laird's notice of death 1983

Box 6, Folder 3

Newspaper articles on Carobeth Laid's death 1983

Box 9

Carobeth Memorial Celebration video cassettes undated

Scope and Content

This file contains no. 2, 3, and 4 out of 5 Sony KCS20 video cassettes.
Box 9

Laird Symposium video cassettes 1984; undated

Scope and Content

This file contains 4 out of 4 Sony KCS20 video cassettes, one of them titled "'Pointing Here and There' 7 Minute Demo."
Box 11

Carobeth Memorial video cassettes 1983

Scope and Content

This file contains 7 Sony KCS20 BR video cassettes; cassettes no. 5 and 1 are dublicated.

Sub-Series 3.2. Awards and recognition 1982-1983

Box 6, Folder 4

Bulletins and newsletters about her honorary doctorate 1983

Box 6, Folder 5

Newspaper articles about Carobeth's honorary doctorate 1983

Box 6, Folder 6

Information for Northern Arizona University doctorate consideration undated

Box 6, Folder 7

Menu from NAU Honorary Doctorate Ceremony undated

Box 6, Folder 8

Carobeth Laird recognition in Pasadena, CA 1982


Sub-Series 3.3. Publicity 1975-1984

Box 6, Folder 9

Publicity for Carobeth book readings 1975-1982

Box 6, Folder 10

Malki Museum Press celebration 1975-1976

Box 6, Folder 11

Malki Museum Press winter publication list 1984


Sub-Series 3.4. Life events 1973-1987

Box 6, Folder 12

Georgia Laird Culp correspondence 1983-1987

Box 6, Folder 13

Newspaper articles about events in Carobeth Laid's life 1976-1983

Box 6, Folder 14

Photographs of Carobeth Laird undated

Box 6, Folder 15

Harry Lawton correspondence 1973-1986

Box 7

Carobeth Laird lecture at Southwestern Anthropological Assn. Annual Meeting 1982

Scope and Content

This file contains tapes 1, 3, and 4 out of 4; all three tapes are Scotch 3 millimeter, 209 audio recording.
Box 7

Untitled Carobeth Laid audio recording undated

Scope and Content

This file contains a 5" 1.0 millimeter audio recording tape.
Box 8

Small picture slides of Carobeth Laird undated

Box 10

Harry Lawton interview of Carobeth video cassettes 1982

Scope and Content

This file contains three Sony KCA60 video cassettes, titled: 1. "Harry Lawton interviewing Carobeth Laird" 2. "Malki Museum Fiesta" 3. "Carobeth interview finish"
Box 10

Malki Museum Fiesta video cassettes 1982

Scope and Content

This file contains 7 out of 7 Sony KCS20 video cassettes.
Box 11

Counsel Rocks (I & II) 1982

Scope and Content

This file contains three Sony KCS20 BR video cassettes, from Unit III A & B.

Sub-Series 3.5. John Peabody Harrington 1927-1978; undated

Box 6, Folder 16

Articles and photograph of John Peabody Harrington 1927-1978

Box 6, Folder 17

Biographical summaries on John P. Harrington 1961-1970; undated

Box 6, Folder 18

Blackborn thesis undated