Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923

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Alice Cunningham Fletcher was an American ethnologist, anthropologist, and social scientist who studied and documented Native American culture. She credited Frederic Ward Putnam for stimulating her interest in Native American culture.

From 1881, Fletcher was involved with the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, an Indian boarding school with a primary objective of assimilating Native American children and youth into Euro-American culture.

In 1881, Fletcher traveled to live with and study the Sioux on their reservation as a representative of the Peabody Museum. She was accompanied by Susette "Bright Eyes" La Flesche and during this time started a long-term professional collaboration with Susette's half-brother Francis La Flesche, who she would go on to have an informal mother-son relationship with. Fletcher was made assistant in ethnology at the Peabody Museum in 1882, and in 1891 received the Thaw fellowship, which was created for her.

In 1883 she was appointed special agent by the US to allot lands to the Miwok tribes and in 1886 she visited Indigenous people of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands on a mission from the commissioner of education. She worked with Frederic Ward Putnam in his research on Serpent Mound in Ohio and assisted in the efforts to raise funds to purchase the site in 1886.

In 1887 she was appointed United States special agent in the allotment of lands among the Winnebago and the Nez Perce under the Dawes Act. Fletcher helped write, lobby for, and administer the Dawes Act of 1887, which broke up reservations and distributed communal land in allotments for individual household ownership of land parcels. The Dawes Act was accountable for the inevitable breakup of all Indigenous reservations.

In 1888 Fletcher published Indian Education and Civilization, a special report of the Bureau of Education. She was a pioneer in the study of American Indian music, a field of research inaugurated by a paper she gave in 1893 before the Chicago Anthropological Conference. Fletcher was active in professional associations; she was elected president of the Anthropological Society of Washington and in 1905 was the first woman president of the American Folklore Society. In 1908 she led in founding the School of American Archaeology in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1911, with Francis La Flesche, she published The Omaha Tribe (altogether she wrote 46 monographs on ethnology).

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Beatrice Chauvenet Collection, 1918-1991 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
referencedIn Perison, Harry D. Harry Perison papers, 1881-1983 (bulk 1940-1978). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Register of Indian Families at the Nez Perce Agency, 1884-1909 University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives
creatorOf United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Index to Register of Families in the Nez Perce Agency, 1909?. University of Idaho Library
referencedIn Dorothea Lynde Dix papers, 1798-1893 (inclusive), 1827-1887 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Chauvenet, Beatrice. Beatrice Chauvenet collection, 1918-1991. Museum of New Mexico Library
referencedIn Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 1793 - 1999. Records Related to Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska Family Histories and Land Allotments
creatorOf Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923. Alice C. Fletcher collection of School of American Archaeology records, 1904-1911. Museum of New Mexico Library
creatorOf Perry, Belmont. Indians : [collection of journal articles]. The Claremont Colleges, Claremont University Consortium
referencedIn Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928. The Henry Gilbert papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Barrows family papers, 1861-1931. Houghton Library
referencedIn Century Company records, 1870-1924 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Records of the Saturday Morning Club, 1871-1983 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
referencedIn Papers, 1882-1951 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Beauregard, Donald. Rito de los Frijoles Gazette 1910-1911. Museum of New Mexico Library
creatorOf Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928. Lummis correspondence series papers, 1880-1928 / Chas. F. Lummis. Southwest Museum, Braun Research Library
referencedIn George G. Heye autograph collection, 1886-1928 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928. The Henry Gilbert papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Guide to MS 4558 Alice Cunningham Fletcher and Francis La Flesche papers, 1873-1939 National Anthropological Archives
referencedIn Rito De Los Frijoles Gazette, 1910-1911 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
referencedIn Putnam, Eben, l868-1933. Eben Putnam papers, 1752-1950 (bulk: 1890-1930) New England Historic Genealogical Society
creatorOf Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923. Ethnologic gleanings among the Nez Perces : typescript, [189-?] University of Idaho Library
creatorOf United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Nez Perce Indians land allotments register : manuscript, [189-] University of Idaho Library
referencedIn Lawyer, Mylie. Correspondence, 1893-1908 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn George G. Heye autograph collection, 1886-1928 Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.
referencedIn Radcliffe College Seminar on Women. Records, 1951-1959 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928. Lummis correspondence series papers, 1880-1928 / Chas. F. Lummis. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
creatorOf Smiley family. Papers, 1885-1930. Haverford College Library
referencedIn Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology photographic archives, 1845-1985 (inclusive). Harvard University, Tozzer Library
referencedIn Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.). Records, 1871-1983 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
referencedIn Dodge, Jane Gay, 1881-1963. Papers, 1861-1951 (inclusive). Harvard University, Schlesinger Library
creatorOf Alice C. Fletcher Collection, 1904-1911 Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.
referencedIn The Henry Gilbert Papers, 1821-1980 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
creatorOf Butler, Benjamin F. (Benjamin Franklin), 1795-1858. Autographs of United States statesmen, [ca. 1800-1950]. Brown University, John Hay Library
creatorOf Lummis, Charles, 1859-1928. Charles Fletcher Lummis Manuscript Collection 1879-1928 [manuscript materials] : at the Autry National Center / Charles Fletcher Lummis. Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum
referencedIn Henry L. Dawes Papers, 1833-1933, bulk 1833-1903 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Barrow family. Papers, 1861-1931. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Smith, Erminnie Adele Platt, 1836-1886. [Peabody Museum director records, Frederic W. Putnam (1839-1915), 1870-1923]. Harvard University, Tozzer Library
referencedIn Radcliffe College Seminar on Women Records, 1951-1959 Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute
creatorOf Fletcher, Alice C. (Alice Cunningham), 1838-1923. Correspondence to Daniel Garrison Brinton, 1895-1897. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Putnam, Frederic Ward. Frederic Ward Putnam Papers. 1855-1935. Peabody Museum Archives, Harvard University
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
leaderOf American Folklore Society. person
leaderOf Anthropological Society of Washington (Washington, D.C.) corporateBody
associatedWith Archaeological Institute of America. corporateBody
associatedWith Barrow family. family
correspondedWith Barrows family. family
associatedWith Bowditch, Charles P. (Charles Pickering), 1842-1921. person
correspondedWith Century Company corporateBody
associatedWith Chauvenet, Beatrice. person
correspondedWith Dawes, Henry L. (Henry Laurens), 1816-1903 person
correspondedWith Dellenbaugh, Frederick Samuel, 1853-1935 person
correspondedWith Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887 person
associatedWith Dodge, Jane Gay, 1881-1963. person
associatedWith Fewkes, Jesse Walter, 1850-1930. person
correspondedWith Frederic Ward Putnam, 1813-1915 person
associatedWith George G.(George Gustav), Heye 1874-1957. person
associatedWith Gilbert, Henry F. B. (Henry Franklin Belknap), 1868-1928 person
associatedWith Hewett, Edgar L. (Edgar Lee), 1865-1946. person
associatedWith Heye, George G. (George Gustav), 1874-1957. person
associatedWith JANE GAY DODGE, 1881-1963 person
associatedWith Kelsey, Francis W. (Francis Willey), b. 1858. person
associatedWith La Flesche, Francis, 1857-1932 person
associatedWith La Flesche, Susette, 1854-1903 person
associatedWith Lawyer, Mylie. person
associatedWith Lummis, Charles Fletcher, 1859-1928. person
associatedWith Museum of New Mexico. Fray Angélico Chávez History Library. corporateBody
employeeOf Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology corporateBody
correspondedWith Perison, Harry D. person
associatedWith Putnam, Eben, l868-1933. person
associatedWith Radcliffe College Seminar on Women. corporateBody
associatedWith Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
associatedWith Saturday Morning Club (Boston, Mass.) corporateBody
founderOf School of American Archaeology (Santa Fe, N.M.) corporateBody
associatedWith School of American Research (Santa Fe, N.M.) corporateBody
associatedWith School of American Research (Santa Fe, N.M.) corporateBody
associatedWith Smiley family. family
associatedWith United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. corporateBody
associatedWith United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith University of Idaho. Library. Special Collections Dept. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Havana 02 CU
Washington City DC US
Subject
Ojibwa Indians
Archaeology
Nez Percé Indians--Religion
Omaha Indians
Sioux Indians
Nez Percé Indians--Social life and customs
Arapaho Indians
Archaeology--New Mexico
Cheyenne Indians
Nez Percé Indians
Winnebago Indians
Archaeology--United States
Pawnee Indians
Nez Percé mythology
Oto Indians
Ponca Indians
Occupation
Collector
Anthropologists--United States
Writer
Ethnomusicologists
Function

Person

Birth 1838-03-15

Death 1923-04-06

Female

Americans

English

Information

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