Native American Sound Recordings
The collections of the American Philosophical Society include hundreds of audio recordings made over the past three quarters of a century, including interviews with scientists, oral histories, and linguistic studies. The richest part of the audio collections, however, is associated with the library's holdings in American Indian history, culture, and languages. Inventoried in the online Daythal Kendall Guide to Native American Collections, most were recorded by ethnographers, linguists, or ethnomusicologists during the course of their research, often funded by research grants provided by the APS. The resulting sound archives comprise one of the largest resources in North America for documenting American Indian languages, some of which remain robust, while others, like the Wampanoag dialect, are represented by few, if any native speakers.
The following listings are comprised of brief excerpts from a small number of sound recordings housed at the APS, accompanied by (unrelated) photographs drawn from various collections. Additional information on the audio and photographic collections may be obtained by contacting the curator of manuscripts (manuscripts [at] amphilsoc [dot] org).
Recordings are made available as mp3 sound files, remastered and digitized by Frank Margeson. Click on the recording number to download.
Recording 40 [Length: 3:55 (1605 kb)]
Collector: Gordon M. Day
Date: May 3 1961
Location: New Bedford, Mass
Speaker: Chief Wild Horse
Text: Lord's Prayer
Description: Recording of the last speaker of Wampanoag dialect, a medicine man of the Mashpee Division, Sagamore of the New England Federation of Indians, and a representative of the League of North American Indians.
Recording 49, 2 [Length: 0:44 (309 kb)]
Collector: Frank G. Speck
Speaker: Jaspar Blowsnake
Text: Flute song-Paint song
Description: "No words for song, but symbol is man puts on paint on face for good luck when he goes to make love to play contest games, to visit in hope of getting gift, to engage in war expedition."
Recording 49, 3 [Length: 2:26 (1005 kb)]
Collector: Frank G. Speck
Date: May, 1937
Musician: Jaspar Blowsnake (Thunder clan)
Description: Flute song
Recording 52 [Length: 4:03 (1671 kb)]
Collector: Paul Turner
Date:July 30, 1965
Location: San Matias Patecaltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico
Speaker: Clemente Zarate
Nation/language: Highland Chontal (Mountain Tesquistlateco, Hokan)
Text: Folkloric stories, "A turtle"
Recording 75, 2 [Length: 2:26 (1002 kb)]
Collector: Gertrude Kurath
Date: August 22 and 24, 1952
Location: Lac du Flambeau Reservation, Wisconsin
Singers: Fred Lacasse, John Martin, George Brown, and Sam Link
Text: "Powwow songs"