Isleta Pueblo Pair of Books on ISLETA PUEBLO
THE PUEBLO OF ISLETA
INDIAN CLASSICS SERIES (Vol 1 of 3 Volumes)
Elsie Clews Parsons
Published by Calvin Horn Publisher, Albuquerque
Originally published by Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington, DC (1932). In 1974, Calvin Horn Publisher of Albuquerque, in collaboration with The University of Albuquerque, undertook to reprint classic books on the Southwestern Indians. They printed three volumes - this is Volume One only.
Hardback with slip cover, first edition 1974 of a reprint of a portion of the 47th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology. This 1974 reprint of the Annual Report covers the section on Isleta Pueblo, pages 193-466 of the original report. It is reprinted in its entirely. Over 275 pages, illustrations, excellent condition
“In this first volume of a series of Southwest Indian Classics, Dr. Parsons offers a study of the culture, economy, religion, folkways and myths of the Indians of Isleta. This volume was chosen as No. 1 of the series because of its value as an aid to understanding New Mexico’s multi-culture.
“This report gives rise to a great deal of thought. It might seem that these people were unduly secretive and suspicious, but you must think back to the experience through which they had to live. They were the successful farmers with food and clothing and desirable skills. They struggled for generations to hold off the Apaches, Moquis, Comanches and all other surrounding nomadic tribes. It should be noted that in their language the word for enemy is ‘navajo.’ In those days, in this land, their survival was dependent upon their alertness, their defense posture and their internal security.”
Isleta Paintings with Introduction and Commentary by Elsie Clews Parsons
Smithsonian Institution, Washington
Hardback with slip cover, first edition 1962, 299 pages
“Isleta has been a baffling place to the student of the Pueblos. Isletans are particularly secretive, and what information was obtained from them contained contradictions. The only student who ever lived in the pueblo was Charles F. Lummis, and his interest in the life of the town has expressed itself scientifically only in a collection of folk tales. . . So that when in 1924 Esther Schiff Goldfrank undertook a study of the pueblo, and after much difficulty succeeded in securing an informant, there was matter for congratulation.
“In 1925, thanks to Mrs. Goldfrank’s introduction, I (Elsie Clews Parsons) was able to work with her informant where he and I were not subject to Pueblo inquisitorial pursuit. . . .Shrewd as he could be at times, he was also exceedingly credulous. . . . That a man of this mentality should not be accurate in description at large is not surprising.” Parsons 1974
For about 275 pages, Dr. Parsons provides the reader with an astonishing amount of information on Isleta Pueblo, its people, lifeways and ceremonials. In 1936, a copy of the BAE Report came to the attention of an Isletan resident. In a letter to the BAE, this person expressed his approval of the text, but criticized the lack of illustrations.
His letter stated: “I have read the magazine printed by Washington in 1932. The history is true and exact, but the pictures to complete it are missing. I have drawn some of them . . .These drawings you will never see anywhere because no one (else) could do them, it is too hard. They are afraid to die if they do them. I don’t want any soul to know as long as I live that I have drawn these pictures, I want good satisfaction because they are valuable and worth it. They (the subjects of the pictures) are most secret. No one can see them but Indians who believe. I have no way of making a living, no farm. . . If I had some way to get help in this world I would never have done this. I expect to get good help.”
He then offered, for a price, to remedy this deficiency. Dr. Parsons told him to go ahead and provide illustrations which, over the next 5 years, the artist provided over 100 watercolors of extraordinary interest and beauty.
This collection of paintings, to supplement the original BAE Report, was published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1960 in a hardback edition. Presumably the artist had passed away by then.
The publication of the paintings is Isleta Paintings with Introduction and Commentary by Elsie Clews Parsons.”