Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2009


Published in Great Plains Research 19.2 (Fall 2009): 241-42.


Copyright 2009 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Used by permission.


This work presents a body of edited ethnographic field notes on the Comanches, the majority of it from the field notes of the 1933 Santa Fe Laboratory of Anthropology “Field Training Course in Anthropological Field Methods,” popularly known as the “Field Party.” This party consisted of five male graduate students (Waldo R. Wedel, E. Adamson Hoebel, Gustav G. Carlson, James Nixon Hadley, and Henry C. Lockett) and two female graduate students (F. Gore Hoebel and Martha Chapman), under Dr. Ralph Linton who conducted six weeks of ethnographic fieldwork with eighteen Comanche elders in June and July of 1933. The surviving sets of these notes (Wedel’s, Hoebel’s, Carlson’s) were compiled and edited by Thomas Kavanagh. Robert Lowie’s brief Comanche field notes collected in 1912 are also included.

Kavanagh offers background on the field school and its methods, biographical sketches and photos of the students and Comanche consultants, and an account of transcription methods. The latter task included photocopying typescripts of portions of the material, passing them through an optical character reader and comparing them with the original manuscripts, transcribing other sections by hand, and standardizing the various sets of notes through painstaking editing, with attention to linguistic aspects and context.