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Native American Resources in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections

This guide provides a description and list of materials in the Booth Family Center comprised of grammars, vocabularies, cultural observations, photographs, and other items descriptive of historical Native American societies.

Native American Resources in Rare Books


Detail image of the masthead of the first issue of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper

Cherokee Phoenix. New Echota: Isaac H. Harris, 1828-1830. Edited by Elias Boudinot.

A very nearly complete set of the first two volumes of the first newspaper published by and for Native Americans, supplemented by less complete holdings of volumes 3, 4, and 5, at which time the Phoenix ceased publication. Bound in contemporary boards; spine perished, upper cover detached. From the library of John Gilmary Shea.

Image of the title page of Molina's Vocabulario, depicting Saint FrancisMolina’s Vocabulario

Vocabulario en lengua Castellana y Mexicana, compuesto por el muy Reverendo Padre Fray Alonso de Molina, de la Orden del bienaventurado nuestro Padre sant Francisco. … En Mexico, En Casa de Antonio de Spinosa. 1571.

First edition of the first Spanish-Nahuatl dictionary.  Although the present copy has the first title supplied in facsimile, the loss is more than compensated by the presence of an extensive commentary on virtually each entry in a third Native American language. 


Image of the title page of "Le grand voyage du pays des Hurons"Life and language in colonial Canada

Le grand voyage du pays des Hurons. . . . Avec un Dictionnaire de la langue huronne.

Sagard-Théodat, Gabriel.

Paris: Chez Denys Moreau, 1632.

First edition of this primary work on the civilization and language of the Hurons, the principal Native American tribe encountered by the French in Canada. Although the dictionary was set up in type separately, both works are covered by the same official permission to publish, and the two works are here bound together, as usual, in the original speckled sheepskin. With the ownership inscription of the American historian Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan. Purchase, 1892, with the library of John Gilmary Shea.

Image of prayers in the Conoy, or Piscataway, language, in the handwriting of Father Andrew White, S.J.Manuale sacerdotum hoc est, ritus administrandi sacramenta. 

Manuscript prayers in Piscataway

[White, Andrew, 1579-1656 (association)]

Douai: L. Kellam, 1610.

The printed text is that of a popular work on the administration of the sacraments. At the front, there are found five pages of manuscript prayers written between 1634 and 1640 in English, Latin, and Piscataway (Conoy), the language of the Native Americans living in the vicinity of present-day Washington, D.C., in the hand of Fr. Andrew White, S.J., the first Catholic missionary to the Maryland colony. Rebound in quarter sheep and paper boards, probably at Georgetown, in the 19th century. Brought from the Jesuit residence at Leonardtown, Maryland, to the University Archives in 1953.

Image of the title page of "Relacion del descrubimiento del Nuovo Mexico"Relacion del descrubimiento del Nuovo Mexico: Y de otras muchas Provincias, y Ciudades, halladas de nuevo; Venida de las Indias, à España, y de alli mandada à Roma.

New Mexico discovered

Montoya, Juan de, fl. 1602.

Rome: Por Bartholame Bonfadino, 1602.

First edition of this early account of the exploration of present-day New Mexico; one of only two recorded copies. Bound in the 19th century in three-quarter sheep and marbled paper boards. Acquired from an undetermined source prior to 1970, possibly with the library of John Gilmary Shea.


Image of the title page of the Eliot BibleThe Holy Bible, Containing the Old Testament and the New. Translated into the Indian Language...

[Eliot Bible]
John Eliot, translator
Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1661-1663

This missionary translation into the Massachusett language was the first complete Bible to be printed in the Western Hemisphere. Because of England’s strict monopoly on Bible printing, an English-language translation would not be printed in America until 1782. The Eliot Bible is a superb complement to the extensive holdings on Native American linguistics in the John Gilmary Shea collection. This magnificent gift fills one of the major gaps in Georgetown’s collection of historic Bibles.

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