Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

Illustrations

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p. ix

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xiii

While writing this book, I accumulated debts and obligations to many people. Some assisted me directly by reading and critically commenting on portions of earlier stages this work. Others provided invaluable reference and research services by locating or verifying fugitive sources. Still others helped indirectly by precept, example, and encouragement. Their efforts on my behalf have been conspicuous and indispensable. I am particularly indebted to Richard M. Jellison, professor emeritus at Miami University, who first sparked my interest in Squier and other early anthropologists and introduced me to an absorbing field of historical inquiry. Others have helped me along the way by encouraging me to continue my research on Squier or by offering their insights on his place in the history of American anthropology....

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Series Editors’ Introduction

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pp. xv-xvi

When Ephraim George Squier is remembered today, it is usually for his research on Ohio Valley prehistory. Yet Squier’s investigations encompassed much more. It is the breadth and duration of his career that make him the most important figure in the nineteenth-century establishment of American archaeology, long before the beginning of professional training and professional associations....

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Prologue: Ephraim George Squier and the History of American Anthropology

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pp. 1-12

The anthropological career of Ephraim George Squier is an intriguing mixture of exploration, adventure, and original scholarship. Whether investigating the prehistoric Indian mounds and earthen enclosures of Ohio and New York, the stone idols once worshiped by the indigenous groups of Nicaragua, the vocabularies and migrations of the Nahua-speaking peoples of Central America, or the ruins of ancient Peru, Squier pursued...

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1. Literary: Ambitions: The Genesis of an Anthropologist

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pp. 13-29

Ephraim George Squier came to the study of anthropology through earlier experiences as a schoolteacher, a student of civil engineering, a poet, and, most importantly, a journalist. Each of those undertakings greatly contributed to his later work as an archaeologist and ethnologist. His formative years from 1840 to 1845 chronicle his development as a writer, display his emerging organizational abilities,...

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2. In Search of the Mound Builders: The Squier-Davis Association

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pp. 30-50

Squier arrived at Chillicothe, Ohio, in the early spring of 1845 eager for new adventure as editor of the Scioto Gazette. The Gazette was Whig in persuasion, the oldest surviving newspaper in the state, and politically one of the most influential. Squier edited the paper until December 6, 1846, when the members of the Ohio House of Representatives elected him to a single term as the house clerk. His duties at the Gazette...

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3. Archaeology and the Smithsonian: Editing and Publishing the Squier-Davis Manuscript

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pp. 51-69

The Congress of the United States founded the Smithsonian Institution on August 10, 1846, based on an earlier bequest of $500,000 by the English benefactor James Smithson.1 The Smithson bequest provided for the founding at Washington of an establishment for “the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.” His motives for the endowment are not entirely clear, but as a result...

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4. Interpreting the Mound Builders: The Archaeology of Squier and Davis

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pp. 70-101

Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley is a remarkable synthesis of what was known about the prehistoric Indian mounds and earthworks of the United States at the time of its publication in 1848. It is reserved, cautious, and judicious in its generalizations and offers the most complete and comprehensive view of the subject that had yet appeared. Squier and Davis’s deductions are confined to what could be legitimately inferred from the supporting evidence...

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5. Revisiting the Mounds: The Iroquois and the Archaeology of Western New York

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pp. 102-117

No sooner had the results of the Squier-Davis investigations been put to press than Squier finalized arrangements to continue his search for the Mound Builders into the western counties of New York. He conducted those investigations under the joint auspices of the New-York Historical Society and the Smithsonian Institution with the combined support of two hundred dollars. That meager assistance...

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6. The Burden of Proof: American Indian Traditions and the Walam Olum

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pp. 118-149

Squier was one of several writers in the early and mid-nineteenth century to note the importance of the traditions of American Indians in the study of their origin, affinities, and presumed connections. His research initially resulted in the publication of three articles dealing with Algonquian legends and traditions that appeared in...

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7. Idols and Indians: The Archaeology and Ethnology of Nicaragua

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pp. 150-186

Squier could little have imagined at the beginning of 1849 that circumstances and the engine of personal ambition were about to take him to Nicaragua as a diplomatic agent of the United States. He resided in Nicaragua from June 1849 until June 1850, during which time he negotiated a treaty for the construction of an American canal, incessantly tweaked John Bull’s nose as he aggressively...

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8. The Mind of Man: The Serpent Symbol and the Reciprocal Principles of Nature

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pp. 187-213

The findings embodied in the comparatively obscure Serpent Symbol are critical in any assessment of Squier’s anthropological thought. His interest in the origin and development of religious ideas and symbols crystallized in stages between 1846 and the publication, in 1851, of The Serpent Symbol, and the Worship of the Reciprocal Principles of Nature in America – the first and last number of his self-styled American Archaeological Researches series.1 Squier noted the importance of this...

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9. Nahua Nations and Migrations: The Archaeology and Ethnology of Honduras and San Salvador

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pp. 214-243

Squier returned to Central America in 1853 in pursuit of a clearly defined agenda. His enthusiasm for building an interoceanic canal across Nicaragua fizzled due to the difficulties associated with the proposed route and the enormous cost that would be involved in its construction. Squier now turned his attention to building a railroad across part of Nicaragua and Honduras. For the remainder of the decade he...

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10. Ancient Peru: An Indigenous Civilization

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pp. 244-280

Squier made his final contribution to the development of American anthropology among the archaeological remains and native peoples of Peru and Bolivia. He served as a United States claims commissioner to Peru from 1863 to 1865, having once again sought a diplomatic post as a means of conducting archaeological fieldwork. Squier completed most of...

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11. The Science of Men and Nations: Ephraim George Squier and the American School of Ethnology

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pp. 281-316

Squier’s relationship with the American School of Ethnology began in 1846 and effectively continued until the end of his active days as a scholar. His association with Samuel George Morton, Josiah Clark Nott, and George Robins Gliddon has received considerable attention from historians, since each of them took a deep personal interest in Squier’s investigations, promoted them, and used Squier’s archaeological evidence to bolster his own racial theories. The...

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Epilogue: Insanity and the “Eclipse of Genius”

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pp. 317-332

The private sphere of Squier’s life, unlike the public one, is difficult to fathom. The richness and fullness of the latter overshadows the former almost entirely. His work was his life, whether it was journalism, the Honduras Interoceanic Railway, anthropological research, or his activities as an officer of the American Ethnological Society. As revealing as his writings are of most of his political and social views, Squier carefully guarded his personal life.....

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A Note on Archival Sources

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pp. 333-338

At the time of his death in 1888, Squier left a mass of correspondence and manuscripts in the possession of his brother and executor Frank Squier. The sheer volume and scope of these materials lends powerful testimony to his accomplishments in various endeavors. And yet they represent only the remains of a larger collection that existed before the sale of Squier’s library in 1876. His papers, manuscripts, photographs, and personal copies of his own books eventually...

Notes

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pp. 339-406

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Bibliography: The Anthropological Writings of Ephraim George Squier

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pp. 407-413

The following bibliography represents the works of Ephraim George Squier relating in whole or part to the subjects of American archaeology and ethnology. It includes both his major and minor writings. Squier wrote for both scholarly and popular audiences, a demarcation less clearly defined in his day than in ours, and some of his more popular works contain important information that is not available elsewhere. The relevant...

Index

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pp. 415-426