Synopses & Reviews
Natalie Curtis Burlin (1876and#8211;1921) was born to a wealthy New York City family and initially trained for a career as a classical concert pianist. But in 1903, she left her family and training behind to study, collect, and popularize the music of American Indians in the Southwest and African Americans at the Hampton Institute in the belief that the music of these groups could help forge a distinctive American identity in a time of dramatic social change.and#160;Michelle Wick Patterson examines the life, work, and legacy of Curtis at the turn of the century. The influence of increased industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and shaken social mores motivated Curtis to emphasize Native and African American contributions to the antimodernist discourse of this period. Additionally, Curtisand#8217;s work in the field and her actions with informants reflect the impact of the changing status of women in public life, marriage, and the professions as well as new ideas regarding race and culture.and#160;Many of the people who touched Curtisand#8217;s life were among the intellectual, political, and artistic leaders of their time, including Theodore Roosevelt, Charles Lummis, Franz Boas, George Foster Peabody, and others. This well-researched and richly textured portrait of Curtis illuminates the life and contributions of an important early ethnomusicologist, meticulously portraying her within the social, intellectual, and political developments of the day.
Over the first half of the twentieth century, scientist and scholar Frances Densmore (1867andndash;1957) visited thirty-five Native American tribes, recorded more than twenty-five hundred songs, amassed hundreds of artifacts and Native-crafted objects, and transcribed information about Native cultures. Her visits to indigenous groups included meetings with the Ojibwes, Lakotas, Dakotas, Northern Utes, Ho-chunks, Seminoles, and Makahs. A andldquo;New Womanandrdquo; and a self-trained anthropologist, she not only influenced government attitudes toward indigenous cultures but also helped mold the field of anthropology.and#160;and#160;Densmore remains an intriguing historical figure. Although researchers use her vast collections at the Smithsonian and Minnesota Historical Society, as well as her many publications, some scholars critique her methods of andldquo;salvage anthropologyandrdquo; and concepts of the andldquo;vanishingandrdquo; Native American. Travels with Frances Densmore is the first detailed study of her life and work. Through narrative descriptions of her life paired with critical essays about her work, this book is an essential guide for understanding how Densmore formed her collections and the lasting importance they have had for researchers in a variety of fields.
About the Author
Joan M. Jensen is a professor emerita of history at New Mexico State University. She is the author of several books, including Calling This Place Home: Women on the Wisconsin Frontier, 1850and#8211;1925. Michelle Wick Patterson is an associate professor of history at Mount St. Maryand#8217;s University. She is the author of Natalie Curtis Burlin: A Life in Native and African American Music (Nebraska, 2010).and#160;and#160;