Collecting Diné culture in the 1880s: Two army physicians and their ethnographic approaches

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In the 1880s two army physicians, Robert W. Shufeldt and Washington Matthews, were stationed at Fort Wingate, New Mexico and studied Navajo culture. While similar in background each had a different orientation to collecting, representing two trends in 19th-century naturalist scholarship about Indians. Their approaches have influenced the development of Navajo studies in art, architecture and religious studies. While much has been written about Boasian-era collecting and ethnographic scholarship, less attention has been paid to the men and women who formed the foundation of American anthropology and whose small, individual collections are components of anthropology artifact and archival collections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-117
Number of pages23
JournalMuseum Anthropology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2006



  • Ethnographic collecting
  • History of anthropology
  • Methodology
  • Naturalists
  • Navajo (Diné)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Museology

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