Overview

Title: Willard Z. Park Field Notes
Creator(s): Park, Willard Z., (Willard Zerbe), 1906-1965
Collection Number: 96-05
Dates (inclusive): 1926-1955
Physical Extent: 1.5 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Preferred Citation: Willard Z. Park field notes, 96-05. Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno.
Repository: University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department
Permanent Link: http://dewey.library.unr.edu/xtf/view?docId=ead/96-05-ead.xml

Biographical Note

Willard Zerbe Park was born in Silt, Colorado on Oct. 14, 1906. He received an A.B. degree in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley and did a year of graduate study there. It was at Berkeley that he met his wife, Susan Brandenstein, also a student in anthropology.

Park began his field research among the Northern Paiute of Nevada during the summer of 1933, following the suggestion of Berkeley Professor Robert H. Lowie. During that first field season, Park filled six field note books of data, mostly on general cultural description.

Park entered graduate school at Yale in the Fall of 1933 where he studied under Edward Sapir who had done substantial research among the Indians of the Great Basin. He also studied under Leslie Spier who influenced Park's studies. Park returned to Nevada during the summers of 1934, 1935, 1939, and 1940. In 1936 he completed his Ph.D dissertation of shamanism in western North America; that work was later published as Shamanism in Western North America: A Study in Cultural Relationships (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University, 1938). He also published in numerous professional journals on Northern Paiute and Great Basin anthropology.

Park taught anthropology at Northwestern University, 1935-1938 and at the University of Oklahoma, 1938-1942. During the summers of 1937 and 1941 he conducted field studies among the Kagaba in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in Columbia, South America. His data was published in the Handbook of South American Indians, 1946.

Park and his wife Susan moved to Washington D.C. during the years of World War II, where he worked in the office of Nelson A. Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. From 1944-1945 he served as Chief of the Coordination staff in the Foreign Economic Mission of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and as Chief of the UNRRA mission to Ethiopia (1945-1947). After the UNRRA dissolved he come back to Washington, D.C. but later returned to Ethiopia in 1955 as a lecturer at the University College of Addis Ababa. In 1963 the Parks came to Nevada where he was associated with the Desert Research Institute. He began an extensive ethnohistoric bibliography of the Northern Paiute and planned to edit his remaining Northern Paiute materials for publication. Unfortunately, he died suddenly in April, 1965 before his work was published.

Park's Northern Paiute ethnographic notes were compiled and edited by Catherine S. Fowler in 1989 as Willard Z. Park's Ethnographic Notes on the Northern Paiute of Western Nevada, 1933-1940, Volume 1 (Salt Lake City, Utah: University of Utah Anthropological Papers, no. 114, University of Utah Press, 1989). The biographical essay on Park by Fowler in that book formed the basis for this note on Willard Z. Park.

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Scope and Content

This collection of research notes compiled by Willard Z. Park was given to the Special Collections Department by Catherine S. Fowler of the Anthropology Department, University of Nevada, Reno. The collection, which consists of 1.5 cubic feet, dates from 1926-1955; there are no restrictions on its use.

The Willard Z. Park collection has been divided into three series. The first relates to Park's 1937 and 1941 trips to study the Kagaba of Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Included are records documenting his preparation for the two expeditions, conducted during his summer breaks from the University. These materials include letters of recommendation, correspondence regarding the proper first aid kit, and letters from colleagues in Columbia and Venezuela. Financial records and daily journey observations are contained in small notebooks, as are his field notes on the Kagaba. A few published articles about the region, a report to Park by Paul Meyn on "Indians in the Sierra de Perija" on the western edge of Lake Maricaibo, Venezuela, and some bibliography cards complete the series.

Series 2 contains field notes from Park's 1933, 1934, 1935, 1939, and 1940 observations of the Northern Paiute Indians of Nevada. The notebooks are arranged first by year, and then numerically by notebook number. They also include two notebooks compiled by Susan Brandenstein Park in 1934 and 1935. These notebooks of both Willard and Susan Park formed the basis for Willard Z. Park's Ethnographic Notes ... compiled by Catherine S. Fowler.

Series 3 is very small and consists of materials related to Park's appointment as chief of the UNRRA mission to Ethiopia (1945-1947). It includes his letter of appointment outlining his duties, his passport, and legal papers filed by Park against John Foster Dulles, U.S. Secretary of State for return of his passport and issuance of a new one.

Park's research notes are important for research among the Northern Paiute of Nevada, since his informants were a link with the then rapidly disappearing traditional Paiute culture and lifeways. They are an significant supplement to Fowler's published edition of Park's notes as they will continue to supply the raw data for new or differing interpretations of Park's observations on Paiute life.

Restrictions

Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Catherine S. Fowler of the Anthropology Department, University of Nevada; Reno, Nv.

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Arrangement

  • The field notes of Willard Z. Park have been arranged into the following series:
  • 1.Kagaba Notes 2.Northern Paiute Field Notes 3.UNRRA Ethiopia

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Index Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog of the University Libraries, University of Nevada, Reno. Researchers wishing to find related materials are encouraged to use the following index terms:

Organizations:

People:

Subjects:

Genres:

Field notes

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Administrative Information

Collection processed by Susan Searcy, July 2, 1996. Finding aid prepared by Susan Searcy, July 2, 1996. Finding aid revised by Jacquelyn Sundstrand, October 25, 2008. This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on July 15, 2016.

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Detailed Description of the Records

Series 1: Kagaba Notes, 1926-1942 0.5 cubic feet

This series documents Park's expeditions in 1937 and 1941 to an area of Columbia just west of Lake Maricaibo, on the border between Columbia and Venezuela. Park studied the Kagaba (or Kugaba, his writing is unclear) for two summers and published his findings in The Handbook of South American Indians. In addition to field notes, this series includes notes Park made during his travels, financial accounts, a map of Columbia, clippings, and some reference materials.

Administrative and reference materials are followed by research notebooks.

box
folder
Contents
1/S1
1
Columbia trip records (administrative). Some bibliography cards, 1937
1/S1
2
Columbia trip records (administrative), 1941-1942
1/S1
3
Report to Park by Paul Meyn on "Indians in the Sierra de Perija," on the western edge of Lake Maricaibo, August 31, 1941
1/S1
4
Clippings about Park adopting a father in Columbia, 1938
1/S1
5
Research notes/observations about Guajira, Columbia
1/S1
6
Journal articles about Santa Marta and Columbia, 1926-1939
1/S1
7
Map of Columbia, 1939
1/S1
8
Expense journal, Santa Marta. n.d. Also, "notes for changes in manuscript chapters on conclusions" [Great Basin subject].
1/S1
9
Diary and daily reminder, 1941
1/S1
10
Journals, June-August 1937
1/S1
11
Journal, June-August 1941
1/S1
12
Kagaba field notes, Undated

Series 2: Northern Paiute Field Notes, 1933-1940 1.0 cubic feet

This series contains research field notes compiled by Park and his wife, Susan Brandenstein Park during summer expeditions to northern Nevada in 1933, 1934, 1935, 1939, and 1940. They are organized by year, then numbered sequentially. The use of the term "Paviotso" below reflects Park's use of the term in his notebooks.

box
folder
Contents
1/S2
1-6
Paviotso field notes, vols. I-VI, 1933
1/S2
7-10
Paviotso field notes, vols. I-IV, 1934
box
folder
Contents
2/S2
11-14
Paviotso field notes, vols. V-VIII. Vol. VII contains notes by Susan Brandenstein [Park], 1934
2/S2
15-17
Paviotso field notes, vols. I-III. Vol. III contains notes by Susan B. Park, 1935
2/S2
18
Paviotso field notes, vol. I, August 1939
2/S2
19-20
Paviotso field notes, vols. I-II, 1940

Series 3: UNRRA Ethiopia, 1945-1955 (1 folder)

This series contains documentation concerning Park's appointment as Chief of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration mission to Ethiopia (1945-1947). It also holds documents related to a suit brought by Park against the U.S. Secretary of State to recover his passport so that he could travel to Ethiopia (1955). Arranged chronologically.

box
folder
Contents
2/S3
1
UNRRA mission to Ethiopia and passport suit, 1945-1955