Fewkes, Jesse Walter

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Fewkes, Jesse Walter

Fewkes, Jesse Walter, pioneering American ethnologist; b. Newton, Mass., Nov. 14, 1850; d. Forest Glen, Md., May 31, 1930. He studied biology at Harvard Univ. (Ph.D., 1877), then did postgraduate work at Leipzig and at the Univ. of Ariz. He was field director of the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition (1889–94), on which he used a phonograph to preserve songs of the Passamaquoddy Indians of Maine (1890). These were followed by Zuni (1890) and Hopi (1891) Pueblo Indian recordings, which were analyzed by Benjamin Oilman. From 1895 he was an ethnologist at the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, D.C.; he became chief in 1918, retiring in 1928. He is important to ethnomusicology as the first researcher to record non-Western music for scientific study. His studies of the Pueblo Indians of Ariz., which include extensive observation of music along with relevant ritual, folklore, and language considerations, are still of value. He did extensive field work in ethnology, archeology, and zoology, and authored some 228 articles and publications. Among them are “On the Use of the Phono-graph in the Study of Languages of American Indians,”Science, XV (1890), “Additional Studies of Zuni Songs and Rituals with the Phonograph” American Naturalist, XXIV (1890), and “Tusayan Flute and Snake Ceremonies” Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, XIX (1900).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Fewkes, Jesse Walter

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