Originally published in 1925, this monograph is a representative work of Alfred L. Kroeber’s (1876-1960) contributions to American Indian ethnology. It also illustrates why Kroeber, a noted American anthropologist and founder of the anthropology department at the University of California at Berkeley, is considered to be the father of California Indian studies. Kroeber’s handbook provides a comprehensive look at the Indians of California and offers a foundation for the ethnographical study of California’s Native American cultures.
In addition to the vast amount of textual information presented by Kroeber, the handbook offers a wide range of additional resources to enhance the reading and research experience. There are a number of tables as well as a variety of illustrations, including photographs, text figures, and maps. The bibliography and indexes are designed to facilitate further discovery of information. Kroeber’s work remains to this day as a classic cultural documentation of the Indians of California.
Kroeber’s monograph endeavors to provide not only the most recent body of knowledge available at the time of its publication, but it also dedicates a chapter to the topic of prehistory. The Handbook of the Indians of California is one of many titles published as a series of bulletins by the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology. A physical copy of this publication, officially released as Bulletin 78, is part of the William Smith Mason Collection of Western Americana, which resides in the Honnold/Mudd Library Special Collections at the Claremont Colleges.
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