King County Historical Bibliography, Part 02: Arthur C. Ballard's Bibliography on the Puget Sound Salish

  • By Charles Payton
  • Posted 11/23/2004
  • Essay 7143
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This bibliography of the work of anthropologist Arthur C. Ballard (1876-1962) on the Puget Sound Salish Indians includes a biography of Ballard. It was prepared as a community history resource by staff of the former King County Office of Cultural Resources, now 4Culture (King County Cultural Development Authority), and was last updated in August 1999.


Arthur C. Ballard was one of the most knowledgeable individuals on the first peoples of Western Washington in the twentieth century. The anthropologist Thomas Talbot Waterman, in the introduction to his book, Notes on the Ethnology of the Indians of Puget Sound (New York, 1973) held him in high esteem:

"A good deal of the fieldwork was done in company with Mr. Arthur C. Ballard, of Auburn, who had previously, on his own initiative, recorded a very considerable body of information concerning Indian life around Puget Sound. Mr. Ballard may be regarded as the leading authority on the Indians of the State of Washington. His acquaintance with them and their mode of life has extended over a long period and is extremely intimate. Certain information obtained by Mr. Ballard is embodied in the present paper, which to that extent, is a joint enterprise."

According to the White River Valley Historical Society, Ballard was a research assistant at the University of Washington Department of Anthropology and was associated there with scholars such as Erna Gunther and Herman Haeberlin. Ballard worked with other anthropologists, including June M. Collins and Marian W. Smith, who acknowledged his assistance in her book, The Puyallup-Nisqually (New York, 1940).

Arthur C. Ballard was the son of a pioneer family and was born at the family homestead along the White River on October 18, 1876. Ballard and his wife Jane were active in community affairs and donated land for the construction of the Auburn Carnegie Library and for a Methodist Church. Mr. Ballard wrote a number of articles in the Auburn Globe in the early decades of the twentieth century. He was a founder of the White River Valley Historical Society in Auburn. He died in 1962.


Some Tales of the Southern Puget Sound Salish, University of Washington Publications in Anthropology Vol. 2 No. 3, December, 1927, pp. 57-81.


Mythology of Southern Puget Sound, University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, Vol. 3 No. 2, December, 1929, pp. 31-150, reprinted, 1999, Snoqualmie Valley Historical Museum, with new material by Kenneth (Greg) Watson.


Southern Puget Sound Salish Kinship Terms, American Anthropologist, Vol 37, 1935, pp. 111-116.


Summary of Notes on Puget Sound Flora, Erna Gunther Papers 614-70-20, Box 10, University of Washington Libraries, Archives and Manuscripts Division, Seattle.


Calendric Terms of the Southern Puget Sound Salish, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 6 No. 1, Spring, 1950, pp. 77-99.


Depositions in the Puyallup Tribe v. the United States of America before the Indian Claims Commission Docket #203. Copy on file, University of Washington Libraries, Pacific Northwest Collection.


Notes on the Ferns of Western Washington, Erna Gunther Papers, 614-70-20, Box 10, University of Washington Libraries, Archives and Manuscripts Division, Seattle.


The Salmon Weir on Green River in Western Washington, Davidson Journal of Anthropology, Vol. 3 No. 1, Summer, 1957 pp. 37-54.


Reminiscences of the Old Slaughter School in School District No. 11 in Slaughter Precinct, King County, Washington Territory by one of its Pupils. 14pp., Copies on file, King County Library System, Bellevue Regional Library and Seattle Public Library

Other materials and field notes are known to exist in private hands, but have not been made available to the public at this writing. James C. Chatters, in his Archaeology of the Sbabadid Site 45KI51, King County Washington (1981, Office of Public Archaeology, University of Washington) gives a citation for a work of Ballard’s as follows: "n.d. Listen My Nephew. 2 vol. ms. owned by D. Berthol, Orting, Washington."

According to Kenneth (Greg) Watson’s introduction to the reprint of Mythology of Southern Puget Sound (Snoqualmie Valley Historical Society, North Bend, 1999), some of Ballard’s ethnographic and linguistic field notes are at the archives of the Royal Anthropological Society in London. Watson describes Ballard’s unpublished manuscript as follows: "At age 85, Ballard finished a book that promised to be his most important work -- Listen My Nephew: Myth, Tradition and History on Southern Puget Sound. The text was in the hands of the publishers when the author passed away on May 16, 1962 ... The decision of his family not to go forward with the publication has aroused curiosity and regret ever since."


King County Landmarks and Heritage Program, King County Office of Cultural Resources, 506 2nd Avenue, Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98104-2307.

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