William Bartram traveled throughout the American Southeast from 1773-1776. He occupies a unique place as an American Enlightenment explorer, naturalist, writer, and artist whose work was widely admired in his time and thereafter. Coleridge, the Wordsworths, and other leading romantics found inspiration in his pages. Bartram's most famous work, Travels has remained in print since the first publication of the book in 1791. However, his writings on Indians have received less attention than they deserve.
This volume contains all of Bartram's known writings on Native Americans: a new version of "Observations on the Creek and Cherokee Indians," originally edited by E. G. Squier and first published in 1853; a previously unpublished essay, "Some Hints and Observations Concerning the Civilization of the Indians, or Aborigines of America"; and extensive excerpts from Travels. These documents are among the most valuable accounts we have of the Creeks and Seminoles in the last half of the eighteenth century. Several illustrations by Bartram are also included.
The editors provide information on the history of these documents and supply extensive annotations. The book opens with a biographical essay on Bartram and concludes with a thorough evaluation of his contributions to southeastern Indian ethnohistory, anthropology, and archaeology. The editors have identified and corrected a number of errors found in the extant literature concerning Bartram and his writings.
About the Author
Gregory A. Waselkov is a professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Archaeological Studies at the University of South Alabama. He is the author of Old Mobile Archaeology and the coeditor (with Bonnie L. Gums) of Plantation Archaeology at Rivière aux Chiens, Ca. 1725–1848.
Kathryn E. Holland Braund is an associate professor of history at Auburn University and the author of Deerskins and Duffels: The Creek Indian Trade with Anglo-America, 1685–1815 (Nebraska 1993).