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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Further on J.P. Harrington


Kathryn Klar in her redargution appearing in the last issue of the Journal seems to have gotten her dander up a bit over what she sees as my "bitterness" in some remarks I made about John Peabody Harrington, a man who I barely knew and who she knows only through the aggeration of his field records. My apologies to all readers for not acknowledging Tom Wolfe as a qualified judge of JPH as a genius and book sales promoter—I stand corrected on Wolfe and by Klar. Am I faulted for remembering only Harrington's unusual typewriter? But wait; I also recall a lot of gravy stains on his shirt, though this little intimacy is perhaps of even less interest. I am also cast, unfairly I think, in the role as an apologist for C. Hart Merriam who was admittedly as eccentric as JPH, though CHM carried a lot of weight with North American naturalists, was the founder of the U.S. Biological Survey, and was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. I think that CHM also had many of the faults of JPH, among these a suspicion of professional anthropologists, or perhaps better, anthropological linguists. And surely Merriam was no linguist at all, but rather an abecedarian word list collector.

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