Check out this fascinating trailer for a forthcoming documentary: Chasing Voices: The Story of John Peabody Harrington. Harrington was one of the most enigmatic and interesting anthropological linguists of the 20th century and a recorder of data on hundreds of California languages. Obviously most of us don’t do work quite like this anymore, collecting and documenting virtually for its own sake, but you can’t possibly dismiss its value. I will be interested to see how much his ex-wife, the anthropologist Carobeth Laird, whose memoir Encounter with an Angry God (1975) recounts much about their troubled marriage and Harrington’s own troubled personality, features in this new film. I know of Harrington’s work most directly not through his work on California, but from his ethnographic comments on modern Maya numeration (Harrington 1957), published late in his life. Martha Macri at UC Davis is the PI of an NSF-funded project on his life and work.
(H/T: Mr. Verb)
Harrington, John P. 1957. Valladolid Maya enumeration. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 164, no. 54, pp. 241-278. Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
Laird, Carobeth. 1975. Encounter with an Angry God: Recollections of My Life with John Peabody Harrington. Banning, CA: Malki Museum Press.