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Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin papers

Identifier: Ayer-Modern-MS-Wheeler-Voegelin

Scope and Content of the Collection

Indian Claims Commission documents and research materials of anthropologist Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, 1945-1979.

Includes Indian Claims Commission case documents, research reports, docket materials, and case exhibits focusing on Great Lakes, Upper Mississippi Basin, and Pacific States tribes; notes from research projects; field notebooks from work with the Blackfoot, Delaware, Klamath-Modoc, Potawatomi, Shawnee, Tübatulabal, and Washita; survey and element lists for projects with the Shawnee and Ojibwa; drafts of chapters for an unfinished book on the Shawnee with notes; and photographs for Shawnee and Tübatulabal projects. There are also student papers, personal and business correspondence, personal photographs, and miscellaneous patterns of cultural items.


  • 1934-1985



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Digital Access

The digitized files of the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin papers are restricted to in library use or family use, as they contain personal identifying information.

Conditions Governing Access

The Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin papers are open for research; they are available one box at a time in the Special Collections reading room (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Literary rights of other authors, including copyright, may belong to them or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collections, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin

American anthropologist, ethnohistorian, and folklorist; founder of the American Society for Ethnohistory, editor of Ethnohistory (1954-1964), and director of the Great Lakes - Ohio Valley Research Project at Indiana University from 1956 to 1969.

Erminie Wheeler was born in Berkeley, California, on April 2, 1903. She attended the University of California at Berkeley, where she won recognition for poetry, and graduated in 1923. She began graduate work in anthropology at the University of California, and received a master's degree in 1930. She married fellow graduate student Charles F. (Carl) Voegelin. For the next two decades they worked on parallel projects, with Erminie handling the ethnological data collection and Carl conducting linguistic fieldwork. In 1939, Erminie was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in anthropology from Yale. Her studies were supported through the Indiana Fellowship, founded by Eli Lilly, at Yale.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Wheeler-Voegelin conducted fieldwork in a wide variety of North American locations, including California, Oklahoma, Alberta, Michigan, and Ontario. She taught at Indiana University, served as editor on various journals, and was published widely in the areas of anthropology, folklore, and ethnohistory. She and her husband both received Guggenheim Fellowships in 1947. She is best known for founding the American Society of Ethnohistory and for her work as director of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Research Project at Indiana University from 1956 to 1969. She died on July 10, 1988.


24.6 Linear Feet (45 boxes, 12 notecard boxes, and 2 oversize boxes)


Notes and draft materials for writings on Native Americans, and Indian Claims Commission case documents and research reports, created by anthropologist Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin. Also field notebooks, photographs and correspondence.


Materials are organized into six series:
Series 1: Indian Claims Commission Case Documents, 1953-1969
Boxes 1-28
Series 2: Research Materials and Writings, 1935-1974
Boxes 29-41
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1940-1983
Boxes 42-43
Series 4: Photographs, 1934-1983
Box 44
Series 5: Notecards, 1953-1985
Boxes 45-56
Series 6: Oversize, 1937-1969
Boxes 57-59

Collection Stack Location

3a 57 3-4


Gift of Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, November 12, 1985.

Separated Materials

The following materials were removed from the collection for individual cataloging:
  • Map of North American Indian languages compiled and drawn by C. F. Voegelin and E. W. Voegelin, 1941.
  • Map showing Indian reservations in the United States, U. S. Department of the Interior, 1941.
  • Processed by

    Shannon Thompson, 2003.
    Inventory of the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin papers, 1934-1985
    Shannon Thompson
    Language of description
    Script of description

    Repository Details

    Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts Repository

    60 West Walton Street
    Chicago Illinois 60610 United States