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American Indian Collection

Identifier: American Indian Collection

Scope and Contents

This composite collection consists of linguistic studies of various tribes and religious writings in indigenous languages in North America. It also includes correspondence, and other forms of official papers such as treaties and documents. It contains the original manuscript of one of the earliest dictionaries written by the French Jesuit missionary Jacques Gravier(1651-1708) in the Algonquin-Illinois language (ca. 1700), as well as liturgy, prayer books, and hymns in Abenaki, Mickman (Nova Scotia), and Seminole from the 18th and 19th centuries. The collection also consists of notebooks containing vocabularies related to the Menominee, Ojibwe, and Sioux-Dakota languages. James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897); a well-known Connecticut philologist who studied indigenous geographical names in Connecticut, collected and transcribed portions of this collection in the late 19th century. Materials were added to the collection related to additional supplemental materials in the Gravier Algonquin-Illinois Dictionary in 1996, as well as correspondence from the 1980s regarding the Gravier dictionary and Algonquin philology. It also includes a collection of manuscripts and correspondence regarding the study of the Kiowa language by Parker Paul McKenzie (1897-).


  • 1700 - 1998


Language of Materials

Collection material is in Abenaki, Algonquin-Illinois, Appalachian, English, Menominee, Mickman, Nahuatl, Ojibwe, Spanish, and Timuquan.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public and must be used in the John M.K. Davis Reading Room of the Watkinson Library, Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws when using this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with the duplication policy of the Watkinson Library.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information (e.g. social security numbers) in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Biographical / Historical

This collection began when James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897); a noted philologist, statesman, and President of the Connecticut Historical Society from 1863-1889, who began to collect and transcribe manuscripts related to linguistic studies of indigenous tribes in North America along with translated prayer books and hymns. Most notably, Trumbull acquired the original manuscript of missionary Jacques Gravier’s Dictionary of the Algonquin Illinois Language (ca. 1700). Trumbull went on to write The Composition of Indian Geographical Names (1870), and Indian Names of Places in Connecticut (1881).


2.5 Cubic Feet (7 flat boxes)


This collection of 18th and 19th century indigenous North American liturgical and linguistic studies was acquired and compiled by James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897); a noted philologist and statesman. The collection contains the original manuscript of French Jesuit missionary Jacques Gravier (1651-1708), entitled Dictionary of the Algonquin Illinois Language (ca. 1700). It also contains prayer books, liturgies, hymns, and vocabularies spanning the 18th and 19th century in Abenaki, Menominee, Mickman, Ojibwe, Seminole, and Sioux-Dakota. Included in the collection are correspondence related to supplemental revisions in Gravier’s dictionary, and the study of Kiowa during the 1980s-1990s.


Collection is arranged alphabetically by last name of creator. The Gravier dictionary, and all of its photocopies are housed separately from other materials.
Guide to the American Indian Collection
In Progress
Michelle C. Sigiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Watkinson Library Manuscripts Repository

Trinity College Library
300 Summit St.
Hartford Connecticut 06106