Monday, February 27, 2012

Washington Matthews-Doctor,Linguist,Ethnographer

Dr. Washington Matthews enlisted in the Union Army after receiving his MD degree from the University of Iowa in 1864.   In the years folllowing the Civil War, he served as an Army surgeon at several Western outposts which included  an assignment to Fort Wingate near present day Gallup, New Mexico.   It was there he published Navajo Silversmiths, Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1880-1881.   His monologue stands as the only historical document from that formative era of Navajo smithcraft.   Click below on the plate copied from his work to go to the full text of his very interesting report.
19th Century Navajo Indian with Silver Ornaments