Friday, March 21st, 2014...9:30 am

“A Book Notable for its Breadth of Knowledge and its Stunning Presentation”

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The Houghton Library Studies series was established to provide a forum for the scholarly analysis of the wide-ranging materials in the collections of Houghton Library. The fourth and latest volume in the series is Castle McLaughlin’s A Lakota War Book from Little Bighorn: The Pictographic “Autobiography of Half Moon” which appeared in 2013. While earlier volumes in the Series have been well received and reviewed in the appropriate scholarly journals we are pleased that this latest volume has just been given a glowing review in the April 3rd issue of the New York Review of Books. Thomas Powers has written that this is “a book notable for its breadth of knowledge and its stunning presentation of the seventy-seven drawings long overlooked in Harvard’s Houghton Library.”

The vivid first-person depictions in the Houghton Library ledger, MS Am 2337, became an object of intense interest after it was rediscovered in the Houghton Library stacks by our late and much lamented colleague, Tom Ford, who brought it to Dr. McLaughlin’s attention in her role as Harvard University’s Curator of North American Ethnography at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.  Powers observes that “McLaughlin makes no broad claims for what she is up to, but A Lakota War Book ought to be in the collection of any serious student of the Northern Plains or the Little Bighorn. She is trying to tell us who was on the other side.”  Powers’ full review “The World from the Other Side” is available here. We think Tom Ford would be deservedly very proud that his excitement and continuing enthusiasm have borne such fruits.

Thanks to William P. Stoneman, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts, and Series Editor for Houghton Library Studies, for contributing this post.

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