Letter from William Sturtevant to Louis Capron


Material Information

Letter from William Sturtevant to Louis Capron
Series Title:
Biographical Materials and Correspondence
Physical Description:
Capron, Louis Bishop, 1891-1971
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Correspondence-Sturtevant, William - 1952-1963


Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States -- Connecticut -- New Haven

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
sobekcm - AA00006388_00001
System ID:

Full Text
Dept. of Anthropology
Yale University
2114 Yale Station
New Haveni Conn.
June 4, 1954
Eir. Louis Capron
218 Westminster Rd.
:Test Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear Louis,
I was most pleased to get you news-filled letter. The news about
Ingraham's GCD commercialization was particularly surprising; did you
hear or see the radio or television show, or news photos? I can't
imagine that they've gone so far to pot that they let the public in
during Fasting Day.
I was in Washington myself during the hearings on the Seminole
withdrawal bills, so caught up somewhat on doings in Florida fAom the
Indians, and also learned a lot about political factions, their
memberships and.outlooks, that I didn't know before in any detail.
Ky sympathies Tfier largely with the group that Morton Silver "represents,"
altho I didn't get a chance to talk with any of them or with him (neither
did the other Seminoles except for a few words in the Senate Office Bldg.
halls -- Silver had them all hidden away except for the hearings and a
session with newspaper photographers). Of course they. r.. deluded; I'm
sure the committee conducting the hearings couldn't understand at all
what that group had come up for, nor what they thought or wanted. Silver
was talkative but didn't say anything and poor Buffalo was trying to
avoid being anything but "interpreter" (both literally and figuratively),
with Jimmie Billie (who pretended not to know English at all) sitting
beside him listening to every word he said. I had several long talks
with aike Osceola, and got to know him better than ever before. I disagree
with most of his political and social notions, but aa._dil o fpdlration
for his intelligence, shrewdness, and knowledge;'before I'd rather discounted
him, since it was (and still is) impossible to use him as an informant in
any sense -- I nevar net a person so close-mouthed abhut what he knows.
The most pathetic figure there wa- old George Osceola -- he told Jimmie
Cypress that Jimmie Billie came around one day and asked him to go on a
trip, so he went, but he didn't even know where he was going until they
arrived in Washington, much less what all the fuls was about. He was all
decked out in fake leggings and fake turban, plus "medicine-man's coat", his
usual long dress, and bare feet -- just an exhibit. The proceedings of
the hearings are supposed to be printed, but I've not received my copy
yet. You'll find them interesting reading if you get a copy from Smathers
or someone.
Spent a couple of days while in ;'ashington looking at Seminole
material in the NAtional Archives. The place is a gold-mine, and a delight
to work in. I'll have to spend a summer there some time.
I finally got around to doing the review of your Seminole paper for
the Fla. Anthropologist. Unfortunately, it turned into a long article
rather than a review; hope you won't take this amiss. It should be out
before long, and I'll send you some reprints of it. As you will see, we
disagree occasionally. I think mostly because of different informants -- i.e.,
probably neither of us is "wrong" (nor entirely "right") -- and I tried to
make that clear. W1hen you see it, I'll be delighted to receive severe
criticisms from you (and hope you may be able to clear up some of the

moot points). I'm curious as to how F. Densmore is doing; I'd heard she
was in Florida. As I may have told you, the ethnolog7 in her Mr on Seminole
Music in the Bureau of Amer. Ethnology is pretty bad. Do you know whether
Grady Drake is still doing field work at Brighton? I talked to him -.hen he
first arrived, and had a. letter from him after he started, but am waiting
to see whether he turns up anything of any interest or value.
Congratulations on your writing. I'.._ lo .:ing forward to seeing both
books. I've read Pratt's paper-back (but not the Vlay); frankly, I think
it's very bad, both as literature (which I'm not competent to judge), and
as history and ethnology. Hope your novels get kots of promotion end good
sales, to counteract trash like that to some extent. I do wish you'd turn
out some straight historical studies -- there's so much to be done on
Seminole history, and you've got such good control of the sources.
The thesis isn't done yet -- that's my job for this summer. I've
got a new job beginning in July; Instructor here in the dept. of anthropology,
and Asst. Curator of anthropology y at the Yale Peabody nI-useum. I hope this
means, among other things, that I'll be able to get back to Florida sooner
than would otherwise have been possible.
In doing ths t paper on Chakaika, I searched for i
TIarney's story of having been scalped.that you mentioned to me, but couldn't
find it. IM If I remember, you said you planned to write it up for
Harper s or the Atlantic (?); I'm waiting to see where you dug up the
story. A- usual, since finishing that article I've discovered some
additional data and a few errors in what I put down; I suppose such work
is never done. Have you heard any traditions re Chakaika from the Cow
Creek? I remember you mentioned a couple of MIY anecdotes involving
"Calusas," and for some locations and other details I wqs referred by
Josie Billie to the Cow Creek, but never managed tofind an opportunity to
inquire among them about the stuff.. The more I think about it, the tore
certain I feel that the "Spanish Indians" weren't C-lusa.
Guess that's abbut all for this time. Hope to hear from you again
before long. Theda sends her regards.



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