The Richard Erdoes Papers consist of correspondence, writings, audio and moving image recordings, photographs, subject files, and other materials related to Erdoes’s work with and about American Indian peoples, particularly the Rosebud Lakota. The papers span the years 1920 through 2008, with the bulk of the material dating from the 1960s through 1999. Though materials have been arranged primarily by format and function, subjects and topics represented in the collection transcend this organizational system. For instance, individuals who Erdoes recorded and filmed are frequently documented by images in the collection, and in Erdoes's correspondence or subject files.
The papers contain source materials—recordings, photographs, and subject files—which Erdoes used in his “as-told-to” autobiographies and other works about American Indians. Coupled with drafts of his works in Series II, these materials document Erdoes’s process of recording, transcribing, and compiling his books. The materials present in the collection are valuable not only as a resource for scholars interested in how Erdoes produced his most famous texts, but also for research about the subjects he documented. Erdoes’s relationship with several key figures in the American Indian Movement (AIM) and the Red Power movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s allowed him to document important moments in American Indian civil rights history, including the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973 and its aftermath. His papers include documents, photographs, posters and other materials related to the trials and imprisonment of Leonard Crow Dog and reveal Erdoes's advocacy efforts on behalf of Crow Dog and other AIM members. American Indian social and political issues are prominent themes in the papers, accompanied by Erdoes's documentation of both the daily life and spiritual practices of the communities and families with whom he worked. The papers are a source for research about twentieth century American Indian spiritual beliefs and traditions; the Native American Church; and American Indian cultural revilization efforts.
WA MSS S-2609
Erdoes, Richard, 1912-2008
1920 - 2008Majority of material found within 1965 - 1998
Conditions Governing Access:
The materials are open for research.
Box 317 (electronic disk): Restricted Fragile Material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Boxes 36-41 (color transparencies): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies are available. Consult Access Services for further information.
Boxes 99-173, 194-199 and 299-313 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.