William Fenton


William Fenton

Selected Writings

William N. Fenton
Edited and with an introduction by William A. Starna and Jack Campisi

The Iroquoians and Their World Series

398 pages
10 illustrations, 1 map


December 2009


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

William N. Fenton’s contributions to the understanding of the cultures and histories of the Iroquois are formidable. Fenton grounded his studies in decades of fieldwork among the Senecas, an encyclopedic knowledge of pertinent historical accounts, a keen appreciation for interpretive theory and practice in ethnohistory and anthropology, and an enduring, generous character.
William Fenton: Selected Writings brings together for the first time Fenton’s most influential writings on the Iroquois and anthropology, written across nearly six decades. This volume includes Fenton’s classic studies of such key issues as Iroquois folklore, factionalism, and the repatriation of material culture; discussions of theory and practice and the methodology of “upstreaming”; obituaries of colleagues and reviews of other studies of the Iroquois; and summaries of the early Conferences on Iroquois Research. This collection reveals much about the world of the Iroquois, past and present, as well as the career and accomplishments of Fenton himself.

Author Bio

William N. Fenton (1908–2005) is the author and editor of numerous books, including The Great Law and the Longhouse: A Political History of the Iroquois Confederacy.
William A. Starna is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the State University of New York College at Oneonta. He is coeditor (with Jack Campisi) of William N. Fenton’s Iroquois Journey: An Anthropologist Remembers (Nebraska 2007) and is coeditor of Gideon’s People, a two-volume set (Nebraska 2009).
Jack Campisi is an independent consultant and coeditor of Extending the Rafters: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Iroquoian Studies.


"This must-read memoir provides valuable insights for those interested in the twentieth-century Iroquois, ethnographic field methods, or the history of anthropology."—Denis Foley, Journal of Anthropological Research

Table of Contents


Fenton Papers--Précis

General Works

Iroquois Indian Folklore (1947)

Letters to an Ethnologist's Children: From Simeon Gibson to the Children of William N. Fenton Who Took Them Down (1948)

The Training of Historical Ethnologists in America (1952)

Cultural Stability and Change in American Indian Societies (1953)

The Hyde de Neuville Portraits of New York Savages in 1807–1808 (1954)

"This Island, the World on the Turtle's Back" (1962)

"Anthropology and the University": An Inaugural Lecture (1969)

Return to the Longhouse (1972)

The Advancement of Material Culture Studies in Modern Anthropological Research (1974)

The Iroquois in the Grand Tradition of American Letters: The Works of Walter D. Edmonds, Carl Carmer, and Edmund Wilson (1981)

Return of Eleven Wampum Belts to the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy on Grand River, Canada (1989)

He-Lost-a-Bet (Howan<glottal>neyao) of the Seneca Hawk Clan (2001)

Book Reviews

The Wars of the Iroquois: A Study in Intertribal Trade Relations by George T. Hunt (1940)

Indian Affairs in Colonial New York: The Seventeenth Century by Allen W. Trelease (1961)

Conservatism among the Iroquois at the Six Nations Reserve by Annemarie Anrod Shimony (1963)

"Huronia: An Essay in Proper Ethnohistory," a review of The Children of Aataentsic: A History of the Huron People to 1660 by Bruce G. Trigger (1978)

The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization by Daniel K. Richter (1994)


Simeon Gibson: Iroquois Informant, 1889–1943 (1944)

Twí-yendagon' (Woodeater) Takes the Heavenly Path: On the Death of Henry Redeye (1864–1946), Speaker of the Coldspring Seneca Longhouse (1946)

John Reed Swanton, 1873–1958 (1959)

Howard Sky, 1900–1971: Cayuga Faith-Keeper, Gentleman, and Interpreter of Iroquois Culture (1972)

Conference on Iroquois Research

Conference on Iroquois Research (1947)

Fourth Conference on Iroquois Research (1948)

Seventh Conference on Iroquois Research (1952)

Iroquois Research (1956)

History and Purposes of the Conference on Iroquois Research (1967)

Iroquois Research Conference after 25 Years (1969)


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