MICHELSON, Truman

MICHELSON, Truman. New Rochelle, NY 11.8.1879 — Washington, DC 26.7.1938. U.S. Ethnologist and Linguist, interested in MIA. Professor in Washington DC. Educated at Harvard: A.B. 1902, A.M. 1903, Ph.D. 1904. In 1904-05 further studies at Leipzig and Bonn, in 1909 studies of anthropology under Boas at Columbia. In 1904-05 Parker Fellow, Harvard. In 1905-06 Instructor of Latin at University of Missouri, in 1906-09 private scholar. From 1910 Ethnologist, later Director in Bureau of Ethnology, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 1917-32 Professor of Ethnology at George Washington University, in 1927-32 also Executive Officer of Department of Anthropology. In 1910-32 he spent every summer conducting fieldwork among Algonquins (especially Fox, now known as Meskwaki), in 1935 and 1936 among Eskimoes and Algonquins of Hudson Bay. Married 1903 Katherine Harrison.

As a student of Boas Michelson combined linguistics and ethnology. Among his achievements is the first classification of Algonquin languages and important collection of Fox languages and folklore. In Indology he was mainly interested in language, especially in Aśokan inscriptions.

Publications: Diss. A Study of Kālidāsa’s Lyric Poem, the Ṛtusaṃhāra. 44 p. 1903.

– “Linguistic Archaisms of the Rāmāyaṇa”, JAOS 25, 1904, 89-145; “On some Irregularities of me and te in Epic Sanskrit”, JRAS 1911, 169-177; “Vedic, Sanskrit and Middle Indic”, JAOS 33, 1913, 145-149; “A Note on the Linguistic Affinities of Ardhamāgadhī”, AJPh 41, 1920, 265-274.

– “The Indic ‘root’ khyā in Pāli and Prākrit”, IF 19, 1906, 210; “Pāli and Prākrit lexicographical notes”, IF 23, 1908-09, 127-131; “Notes on the Pillar-Edicts of Asoka”, IF 23, 1908-09, 219-271; “The Etymology of the Girnār word Peteṇika-”, IF 24, 1909, 52-55; “The alleged word adhigicya in the Bhabra Edict of Asoka”, IF 27, 1910, 194f.; “Note on Pāli brahmunā, rājūbhi”, IF 27, 1910, 296; “Note on Old Russian krьnuti, Pāli kiṇāti”, IF 28, 1911, 203f.; “The alleged Asokan word lukṣa-”, IF 28, 1911, 204; “The alleged change of Indo-European tst(h) to st(h)”, IF 29, 1911-12, 221-226; “Walleser on the Home of Pāli”, Language 4, 1928, 101-105.

– “The meaning and etymology of the Girnāṛ word sāmīpam”, AJPh 30, 1909, 183-187; “Linguistic notes on the Shāhbāzgarhi and Mansehra Redactions of Aśoka’s Fourteen Edicts”, AJPh 30, 1909, 284-297, 416-429 & 31, 1910, 55-65; “The Interrelation of the Dialects of the Fourteen-Edicts of Asoka”, JAOS 30, 1910, 77-93 & 31, 1911, 223-250; “Asokan Notes”, JAOS 36, 1917, 205-212; brief notes on OIA and MIA in AJPh & JAOS, more rarely in JRAS, ZDMG, etc.; reviews.

With W. Jones: Kickapoo Tales. 5+143 p. Leyden 1915.

The Autobiography of a Fox Indian Woman. 108 p. Washington 1925; Notes on Fox Mortuary Customs and Beliefs. Washington 1925; Contributions to Fox Ethnology. 1-2. 162+183 p. Bull. Smiths. Inst. 85, 95. Wash. 1927; Buffalo Head Dance of Thunder Gens of Fox Indians. 5+94 p. Bull. Smiths. Inst. 87. Wash. 1928; Thunder Head Dance of Bear Gens of Fox Indians. 5+73 p. Bull. Smiths. Inst. 89. Wash. 1929; Notes on the Fox Wâpanowiweni. 5+195 p. Bull. Smiths. Inst. 105. Wash. 1932; Fox miscellany. 5+124 p. Bull. Smiths. Inst. 114. Wash. 1937; further books and articles.

Sources: *I. Goddard, Lex. gramm. 1996, 636; Who Was Who in Am. 1, 1897–1942; bibliography by *F. Boas, Intern. Journal of American Linguistics 9, 1938, 113-116 (but ignoring the Indological side); Wikipedia with further references.

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