Arthur C. Parker

American archaeologist

Arthur Caswell Parker (April 5, 1881 – January 1, 1955) was an American scholar. His research interests included archaeology, history, folklore and museums. He was an expert on Native American  culture. His family line was both from the Seneca and Scots-English. He was director of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences from 1924 to 1945. He was an honorary trustee of the New York State Historical Association. He was also first president of Society for American Archaeology.

Arthur C. Parker

Early Life and Education change

Arthur C. Parker was born in 1881 on the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation of New York. His father was Frederick Ely Parker. Frederick Parker was half Seneca. Parker's mother was Geneva Hortenese Griswold. She was a Scots-English-American and taught at the reservation.[1]

Parker became an honorary member of the Seneca tribe in 1903. He got the name Gawaso Wanneh (meaning "Big Snowsnake"). Parker grew up with his grandfather Nicholson Henry Parker. Nicholson was a Seneca leader and influenced Parker.[2] Parker learned Seneca beliefs and Christianity. Parker's great uncle was Ely S. Parker.

Parker studied on the reservation. He graduated from high school in 1897. He became an assistant archaeologist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York from 1901 to 1902.[3] Parker became friends with Frederic W. Putnam. His focus was anthropology.

Parker, however, studied at Dickinson Seminary in Williamsport, Pennsylvania from 1900 to 1903. These studies were for his ministry. He did not graduate and left beforehand. He went on to become a reporter for the New York Sun for a couple of months.

Career change

Parker was an apprentice in archaeology in New York under Mark Harrington. He was later an archaeologist at several museums. These museums included Peabody Museum and the New York State Museum. For a couple years, he was an ethnologist at the New York State Library. Parker later became director of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences.

Parker and Charles A. Eastman founded the Society of American Indians in 1911. They wanted to educate the public about American Indians. In a 1911 fire, Parker rescued many historical records from Native Americans.[4]

Parker was the editor of the American Indian Magazine from 1915 to 1920. He won the Cornplanter Medal in 1916. This award was named after Chief Cornplanter.[5]

He became the first President of the Society for American Archaeology in 1935. In 1944, Parker helped found the National Congress of American Indians. Parker retired from museum work in 1946.

Personal life and Death change

Arthur Parker married Beulah Tahamont (1887-1945) in 1904. They divorced in 1914.[6][7] His daughter, Bertha Parker, became an archeologist and ethnologist.

He died near Naples, New York on New Year's Day, 1955. He was 73 years old at his death.

Publications change

References change

  1. "Arthur Caswell Parker Papers: Manuscripts and Special Collections: NYS Library". Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  2. orter, Joy (2001). To Be Indian: The Life of Seneca-Iroquois Arthur Caswell Parker, 1881–1955. Norman, Oklahoma: Oklahoma University Press. ISBN 0-8061-3317-1, p. 14.
  3. Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Parker, Arthur Caswell" . Encyclopedia American
  4. "NY marks 100th anniversary of 1911 Capitol fire". NBC News. Retrieved 2022-08-22.
  5. Cope, E. D. (1904). The primary factors of organic evolution / by E. D. Cope. Chicago: Open Court. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.1357.
  6. Hayden, Julian D. (2011). Field Man: Life as a Desert Archaeologist. University of Arizona Press. p. 22. ISBN 9780816529056.
  7. Bruchac, Margaret (2005). "First Female Native Archaeologist". University of Pennsylvania ScholarlyCommons. Retrieved August 22, 2022.