Cushing, Frank Hamilton

Cushing, Frank Hamilton,

1857–1900, American ethnologist, b. North East, Pa. He published his first scientific paper at the age of 17, and at 18 joined the American ethnology bureau at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1879 he was a member of a scientific expedition to the Zuñi pueblo in New Mexico, and he became one of the first anthropologists to live among the people he was studying as a participant observer (1879–84). In 1881 he was initiated into a sacred Zuni society, the Priesthood of the Bow. Cushing also led an archaeological expedition (1895–97) to Key Marco, Fla., which uncovered more than 1,000 prehistoric wooden artifacts. Among his many publications were Outlines of Zuñi Creation Myths (1896) and Zuni Folk Tales (1901).


See selected writings ed. by J. Green (1978), J. Green, ed., Cushing at Zuñi: The Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing (1990), and P. Kolianos and B. Weisman, ed., The Florida Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing (2005).

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Cushing, Frank Hamilton

(1857–1900) ethnologist; born in North East, Pa. A boyhood fascination with Indian artifacts was fulfilled with his appointment at the Bureau of American Ethnology (1879–1900). Regarded as a genius of interpretation, he made major contributions to the young field by living among the Zuni for five years (he was initiated into the tribe as Ténatsali) and excavating Hohokam and Seminole sites.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.