Iroquois Journey


Iroquois Journey

An Anthropologist Remembers

William N. Fenton
Edited and introduced by Jack Campisi and William A. Starna

The Iroquoians and Their World Series

224 pages
26 photographs, index


July 2009


$24.95 Add to Cart

November 2007


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

November 2007


$24.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Iroquois Journey is the warm and illuminating memoir of William N. Fenton (1908–2005), a leading scholar who shaped Iroquois studies and modern anthropology in America. The memoir reveals the ambitions and struggles of the man and the many accomplishments of the anthropologist, the complex and sometimes volatile milieu of Native-white relations in upstate New York in the twentieth century, and key theoretical and methodological developments in American anthropology.
Fenton’s memoir, completed shortly before his death, takes us from his ancestors’ lives in the Conewango Valley in western New York to his education at Yale. It affords valuable insights into the decades of his celebrated fieldwork among the Senecas, his distinguished scholarship at the Bureau of American Ethnology in Washington, DC, and his research at the New York State Museum in Albany. Offering portraits of  legendary scholars he encountered and enriched through wonderful personal anecdotes, Fenton’s memoir is a testament to the importance of anthropology and a reminder of how much the field has changed over the years.

Author Bio

Jack Campisi is a former associate professor of anthropology at Wellesley College and is now an independent consultant. He is coeditor of Extending the Rafters: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Iroquoian Studies and The Oneida Indian Experience: Two Perspectives. William A. Starna is a professor emeritus of anthropology at State University of New York College at Oneonta. He is coeditor of In Mohawk Country: Early Narratives about a Native People and Iroquois Land Claims.


“Fenton's memoir is so readable that I nearly finished it in a single sitting. Those who knew Fenton appreciated his talent for telling a story, whether as a comment to a large audience in response to a scholarly paper or in a small gathering over drinks or dinner. Fenton has always written in the same style as these oral presentations and he holds the same rapt attention from the reader that he invariably received from those fortunate enough to have heard him reminisce.”—Thomas Abler, author of Chainbreaker: The Revolutionary War Memoirs of Governor Blacksnake

Table of Contents

Introduction (Jack Campisi and William A. Starna)

  1. Upstaters in Suburbia and at Home
  2. At Yale and among the Senecas
  3. From Teaching to the BAE
  4. The War and Postwar Years
  5. The National Research Council
  6. The New York State Museum
  7. Research Professorship at Albany
  8. Life after University


Bibliography of the Publications of William N. Fenton

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