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Adolph F.A. Bandelier (1840 – 1914)

Biography: Adolph Bandelier

April 28, 1975

History 37B

Yale University

For: Mr. Howard Lamar, Ms. Patricia Nelson

By: Henry E. Hooper


Table of Contents


Introduction                                            4

Early Years                                             4

Career Beginnings                                  7

Among the Indians                                11       

Finances                                                 20

Life in New Mexico                                21

The South American Scene                   25

Back to the United States                     31

Conclusion                                             33

Bibliography                                          39



Bandelier National Monument, NM


Index of People  

                                                                                 First Page Mentioned

Bancroft, Hubert H.                                                9

Bandelier, Emil Frederick (brother)                       5

Bandelier, Eugene (father)                                      3

Bandelier, Fanny Ritter (2nd wife)                        26                               

Bandelier, Josephine Huegy (1st wife)                    6

Bandelier, Marie Senn (mother)                              3

Bingham, Hiram                                                    39

Cather, Willa                                                          10

Catlin, George                                                          9

Cushing, Frank                                                        9

Ellis, Richard                                                          30

Goad, Edgar                                                            14

Hemenway, Mary Tileston                                     24

Hewett, Edgar                                                        18

Hodge, Frederick                                                    23

Huegy, Maurice (father-in-law)                               5

Icazbalceta, Garcia                                                 13

Lorillard-de Charney Expedition                           13

Lummis, Charles F.                                                30

Morgan, Lewis Henry                                             10

Muir, John                                                               40

Parkman, Francis                                                     9

Pope Leo XIII                                                          24

Powell, John Wesley                                               10

Prescott, William H.                                                 9

Putnam, Frederic W.                                               11

Rau, Charles C.                                                       10       

Ribera, Padre Jose                                                  12

Salpointe, Archbishop Jean-Baptiste                     24

Schoolcraft, Henry H.                                               9

Stevenson (James) Expedition                                20

Studer, Prof. Bernhard                                             5

Villard, Henry                                                          26

Villard Expedition                                                   26

Von Humboldt, Alexander                                        7

Waterman, TT                                                         35

Waters, Frank                                                         12

White, Leslie                                                           14



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Talus House, Bandelier National Monument, c.1956

Courtesy of the National Park Service Historic Photograph Collection



Witness Post: Adolph F.A. Bandelier, 1840-1914




Adolph Bandelier, archaeologist, archivist and historian, is remembered for his meticulous field research on the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest, Mexico and South America. His novel, The Delight Makers (1890), was written as a dramatic depiction of the American Indians long before such studies were popular. Throughout his work Bandelier realized the necessity of collecting all possible legendary data from surviving aborigines and of imbuing himself with the knowledge of the ways of life and habits of thought of the native people. Historians have said, “No American archaeologist has depended as did Bandelier upon historical sources; and no American historian has checked his work so fully by a study of archaeological materials.”[1] At the same time Bandelier may be better known for repudiating his feelings of the high intellect of the Native Americans, South Americans and Mexicans. Was he a dispassionate anthropologist and/or a racist Western European bigot?


This research paper is a biography of Adolph F.A. Bandelier. After reviewing his life, which holds a reserved, front-row seat in the American historical tradition, I will be questioning his place in the scientific tradition of our country. This discussion of merit may be an old debate, but I feel it is worthy of our reflection in light of its historical context and Bandelier’s late-in-life change of heart towards “White Supremacy” and away from the cultures he had dedicated his life to study.


Early Years


Adolph Francis Alphonse Bandelier was born on August 6, 1840, in Berne, Switzerland. His father, Eugene, was an officer in the Swiss Army and grew up in a distinguished Berne family. His mother, Marie Senn, was of Russian origin and her family was also well established in the social scene in Berne. The two were married in 1839 and Marie gave birth to Adolph, their first son, one year later.[2]


Trained as a lawyer as well as an army officer, Eugene Bandelier wanted to strike out on his own. He decided to leave Switzerland, his wife and his young son in search of his political and financial fortunes in Brazil. However, in short order Eugene became disappointed with the leadership he found in the native Brazilians and immigrant Portuguese. He left for the United States. In those days South America was an uncommon migration path to the US; however, Bandelier emigrated via boat and made his way to the States and then to the Great Plains. He finally settled in Illinois, some forty miles east of St. Louis, Missouri. Once grounded, Eugene Bandelier used his legal background and distinguished military career in the Swiss Army to help found a Swiss settlement, called “New Switzerland,” which he wanted to shape in the European tradition.[3] 


New Switzerland, Illinois, soon changed its name to Highland, and the community grew quickly. Within a few years the town grew to a population of approximately 500, 90% of whom were Swiss immigrants. In 1848 Eugene sent a telegram to his wife and son requesting that they join him on the Illinois prairies in this new land. One year later a second son, Emil Frederick, was born to the family and Marie insisted on hiring full-time maids and tutors to care for and educate the children. Marie found it very difficult to adjust to this new country and the new society. Over time she became despondent, suffering most days from melancholia, deep depression, and homesickness. Weak in spirit, Marie fell ill and died in 1855, leaving Eugene to care for the children (Adolph – 14 and Emil – 6) and his household employees as a single father.[4]


Already well-established as a banker at the Bank of Highland, one of the largest banks in southern Illinois, Eugene Bandelier was able to provide his family with a comfortable house on a forty-acre tract of land. Eugene was also known as a “man about town,” and upon frequent requests delivered speeches at civic gatherings and building dedications. He enjoyed the title of “Herr Professor” in Highland and during those years he was always well-liked in the community.[5]


Adolph and Emil were educated exclusively at home by their father and private tutors. In his early education Adolph became versed in the arts and sciences, well-beyond the levels that were offered in the public schools. He was also an ardent collector of butterflies, minerals, and botanical specimens, looking at almost everything through the lenses of a crude telescope.[6] As for his formal studies, documents vary by as much as two years as to when Adolph received his university education, but in about 1857 he traveled to Europe and began to study geology in Berne, Switzerland, under the tutelage of Professor Bernhard Studer.[7]



In 1862[8] on one of his return trips to Highland, Adolph married Josephine Huegy, the daughter of one of his father’s bank partners. Adolph returned to Berne with his wife and continued his studies at the University, where he followed in his father’s footsteps and attended the School of Law. He graduated as a distinguished student in 1867 and the young couple returned to Highland, Illinois, where he began his career watching and learning from his father.[9] 

Adolph’s only outside activities appeared in the form of meteorological articles published in the local newspaper. Leading what appeared to be a fairly sedate life in Highland, Adolph Bandelier’s fortunes began to change in the year 1870. It was in that year that he made the acquaintance of Lewis Henry Morgan, the noted anthropology scholar, who whetted the young man’s appetite in American Studies. 


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Lewis H. Morgan (1818 – 1881)


Morgan, who is often referred to as “The Father of American Anthropology,” was writing about the social structures of the American Indians. He was the first person to make a detailed and scientific study of the systems of government and the social structures of different American tribes. His work, League of the Iroquois (1851), was the source book for nearly all subsequent examinations into the American Indian cultures and tribal organizations. From his studies Morgan evolved and wrote about his theory that, in one form or another, a similar type of organization would be found not only among all American Indians, but also among all primitive people across the globe.

Image result for lewis morgan evolution theoryUniversal Evolutionary Patterns of Social Development

Morgan proposed that there are seven stages of human progress toward civility. He labeled the stages — lower savagery, middle savagery, upper savagery, lower barbarism, middle barbarism, upper barbarism, and civilization. The “natives,” Morgan theorized, were still in a low stage of development through which all mankind must have passed in the long, slow centuries of their evolution toward civilization. His proposed path to civilization, for example, progressed from polygamy to monogamy, hunter and gatherer to agriculture, public land to private real estate, and expanded tribes to nuclear families, as signs of movement toward advanced economic and social organizations.[10]  It was this theory of universal evolutionary patterns of social development that seems to have stimulated Adolph Bandelier’s own thinking and further interest in studying the American Indians. That said, Morgan’s theory, full of white European bias, was used as a fulcrum for extensive cultural stigmatization and skin-deep racism.


Career Beginnings


To pinpoint the precise moment or event which marks the starting point of a man’s career can be a difficult task, depending on the historical figure. From a brief background of Adolph Bandelier, it is clear that his scholarly interests began in the early social relationships fostered by his family and friends. Professionally he was mired in the boring business of banking in Highland and he seemed to need other intellectual outlets. If Adolph’s decision to pursue anthropology over banking were most heavily influenced by his family and his relationship with Lewis Morgan, many questions arise:

  • Q: Why did Bandelier start his anthropological studies in the American Southwest, more than a thousand miles away from his roots, and not in his home state? A: Morgan had written about the Iroquois, which were based in an area close to his upper New York state family roots. 
  • Q: Why hadn’t Bandelier taken a similar tact as Morgan? A: Central Illinois boasts the unique Cahokia Mounds, which were constructed in the region more than a thousand years ago. Those would have been akin to Morgan’s pursuits.
  • Q: Were these Illinois cultures and native people not interesting enough in their own rights to draw Bandelier? A: The theory “go west, young man,” may have had its truth.


Cahokia Mound Site, Illinois


One reason that Bandelier may have looked beyond his home state and set his sights towards the Southwest appears to lie in his fondness for Alexander von Humboldt, the natural historian. von Humboldt had explored and written extensively about the native tribes in Latin America. Another reason may have been because Bandelier was enthralled with Morgan’s lesser known work on “The Seven Cities of Cibola,” which was published in 1869. The vivid Spanish legends of gold and fortune may have played their part in his pursuit of “going Southwest” to seek fame and fortune.


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


Other reasons to leave Illinois could have been the “grass is greener” theory. There was certainly a lure of heading south and west into the territories. The natural beauty of Red Rocks and mystical canyons and gold-flecked villages were part of the enchantment. The railroads were advertising and promoting the magical color of New Mexico and the region: the Atchison-Topeka-Santa Fe line was developing marketing campaigns with gusto at the time. These reasons are points in favor of starting his research in the American Southwest. The real reason, however, may have lain in Bandelier’s desire to do a gentler anthropological work. Yes, he was open to some time outside in the wilderness, but Bandelier was a book worm at heart. And the Southwest was rich with vast journals, books, and monographs that were already well recorded in libraries and archives. If he chose the Southwest, Bandelier could do his research by translating and interpreting books and journals, with minimal time amidst the native tribes.


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Adolph Bandelier in his youth


The American Southwest, Mexico and South America had hundreds of thousands of articles written by the early Spaniards who carefully recounted the submission, conquest and annihilation of the primitive tribes who lived there. With these remarkably full accounts, Bandelier could scientifically examine the original historical and archaeological sources to recreate the lives of these vanishing tribes of Indians. In the Southwest Bandelier hoped to authoritatively prove Lewis Morgan’s theory of universal patterns of social development through actual contact with the native peoples in their countries.


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


Bandelier’s associations with Morgan and his admiration for von Humboldt led a gradual withdrawal from his Highland, Illinois friends and associates. From 1870 on, Bandelier had “only two ambitions, one of which he thought necessary in order to realize the other. He wanted to get rich so that he might, like his new-made acquaintance [Morgan], devote his time and attention solely to his beloved studies.”[11] Not to say that the “field of research was wide open” to newcomers at the time. There was a lot of competition for solid scientific study. The field was already populated with anthropologists such as William H Prescott, Frank Cushing, George Catlin, Francis Parkman, Hubert H. Bancroft and Henry H. Schoolcraft, to name a few. The body of work by these scientists and writers was enormous. These men were, at the time, the supreme authorities on early American Indian life, and all had studied the Indian cultures from one perspective or another, with astonishing depth and detail. Adolph Bandelier was entering into a tradition that was larger than he was, and he would have to work exceedingly hard to make a name for himself in this crowded field.[12] 


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


After months of library research into monographs about Mexico, Bandelier began to publish articles about the ethnology of the ancient Mexican tribes.[13] The articles were well-received by the newly organized Archaeological Institute of America AIA (1877) and were reviewed as follows:


Thoroughly equipped…and possessing a knowledge of several European languages, and a fondness for linguistic studies which qualified him for the acquisition of native dialects, he has also the advantage of an enthusiastic devotion to his favorite studies, a readiness to endure any hardship in their pursuit, and a capacity for adapting himself to any necessity.[14]


At the time of this glowing appraisal of Bandelier’s writings, he had never conducted a field investigation of any kind. Therefore, the summary of Bandelier by the Institute seems to be more of a character judgment and a prophecy than an actual evaluation of any field work. The fact that Lewis Morgan was a charter member of the Institute helps one understand that there may have been some strong inside influence from Morgan weighing in to buoy the AIA authors’ optimism. The mention of Bandelier’s “enthusiastic devotion” to his studies and “readiness to endure any hardship in their pursuit” proved to be accurate predictions of the future for Bandelier and his colleagues indeed.


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Southwestern Archaeologist or pot-hunter? (c. 1900)


In February 1880 Bandelier finally got the offer to start field work in New Mexico with Morgan. It was not until September 1880, however, that all of the financial, archival and personal details were resolved and the trip could begin. Bandelier spent several months in Washington, DC, discussing alternatives for the trip with Charles C. Rau and John Wesley Powell, while he corresponded by letter with Morgan. The major problems for Bandelier were his own zeal and naivety; these factors also hindered Bandelier on his first years of research. Initially Adolph had the philosophy of a librarian without the rigor of a field scientist. He wanted to pursue the “cause” of establishing a connective string of evidence “from Colorado to Guatemala, and then from Bogotá to Bolivia,” and unite the whole of the American Indian cultures into one neat anthropological package.[15] 



Among the Indians


On August 20, 1880 Bandelier left St. Louis for New Mexico by rail. He did not have to endure the long pack mule trips of his predecessors, but he did need to “go native.” He dove head long into the desire to understand the cultures and document the native people of the Southwest. 


The plans changed, however, when Lewis Morgan announced that he could not participate in the first expedition. Bandelier decided that he would go ahead without Morgan, though he had never been alone on such a trip. Bandelier and the rest of the research party departed as Santa Fe scheduled.


Bandelier must have felt that he had a strong Morgan model to follow. At the time Bandelier was devoted to Morgan’s cultural theories. Some have said that he was a “blind disciple” of Morgan in the early years, as Bandelier tried to simplify his findings to fit the model. The oversimplified unity of Bandelier’s thinking tended to connect many forms of American Indian architecture, philosophy and culture, but he was chasing a will-o-the-wisp.



Bandelier spent his first week in New Mexico talking with residents in the Pecos Wilderness of northeast New Mexico, examining ruins, taking photographs, measuring areas of the sites, collecting pot shards and specimens and making field notations.[16] One biographer has described his pattern of investigation as typifying this first trip westward:


Delighted as a child, he rushed here and there, exploring, collection pottery fragments, flint, and obsidian flakes, arrowheads and even samples of the adobe mud from between the stones of New Mexico ruins. These he shipped to Professor Putnam at Harvard with little rhyme or reason.[17]


Bandelier wrote two articles on the Pecos Wilderness and native tribes within one month of his arrival and thus began his long history of in situ work. (His ability to churn out papers and monographs with tremendous speed and enthusiasm has made him the envy of all college and grad students!) Because of his enthusiasm and his desire to bow at the altar of Lewis Morgan, Bandelier rushed his work and made several errors concerning the communalism of the Pueblo Indians, but his general reconstructions of the residents and other dwellings and his theses as to the possible building functionality were essentially correct. He tended to see things that fit Morgan’s social theory and miss many of the other ethnological evidence, while undertaking his short, rushed surveys. In a letter to Morgan on September 5, 1880, he wrote, “I am dirty, ragged & sunburnt, but the best cheer. My life’s work has at last begun.”[18] The same spirit and enthusiasm demonstrated in his Morgan letters not only led Adolph to initial mistakes, but also buoyed him over many rough experiences in his later life.


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


After his “shake down expedition” in the Pecos Wilderness area, Bandelier went to Santo Domingo Pueblo, accepting the invitation of the Padre Jose Ribera.[19] It should be noted that to this day the people of Santo Domingo have maintained a reputation of coolness to outsiders, which turns to outright hostility when one would investigate their customs and beliefs. Because of their disdain for “foreigners,” Frank Waters, the well-known author and Indian ethnographer, has described the Santo Domingo Pueblo as containing the epitome of American Indian ritual. Their annual corn dances “with perfect coordination and controlled intensity, reach their full expression in one of the truly great dances of America. Maskless, it is yet pure kachina.” [20] 

The Santo Domingo Pueblo has remained religiously intact by turning away anthropologist like Adolph Bandelier when they came to call on the tribe.[21] Crude in his questioning and rude in his imperial, European manner, Bandelier soon received “the silent treatment” from the Santo Domingo Indians, and finally they gave him “a declaration of war in the shape of a refusal to give [him] anything more to eat.”[22] Nothing like starvation to focus one’s attention on what mattered most. 


Stunned by his failure to make progress at Santo Domingo, Bandelier left the pueblo immediately and went to Cochiti, a neighboring pueblo a few miles away, with less defiance toward outside scrutiny. Received with more open arms by the Cochiti people, Bandelier made plans for an extended stay. The Cochiti visit was interrupted, however, by an invitation to go to central Mexico as a member of the Lorillard-de Charney Expedition. Bandelier accepted the invitation and quickly retreated from New Mexico for the wilds of Old Mexico. This trek south of the border, in 1881, was just six months after his first expedition to do field research in New Mexico.[23]


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The pueblo ruins at Bandelier National Monument


It was on the trip to Mexico that Bandelier met a man with whom he would write nearly as often as he wrote to Lewis Morgan, his name was Garcia Icazbalceta. Icazbalceta was a nineteenth century Mexican scholar who had spent much of his life collecting and publishing rare historical documents on the colonial history of Mexico.[24]  For the purposes of Bandelier, Icazbalceta was the perfect man to befriend in order to further his aboriginal studies and deepen his theses. For six months Bandelier and Icazbalceta worked side by side, and together they carefully recreated the Mexican Indian life and compared it with the architecture, culture and society of the New Mexican tribes. Few similarities were noted throughout the months of research and Bandelier was led to conclude that aside from their belonging to the same race, the Mexican Indians “have nothing in common with the pueblos of New Mexico.”[25]

Finding Faith 

On July 31, 1881 a most curious thing must have happened to Adolph Bandelier: he officially entered as a member of the Catholic Church. The treatment of this conversion by his biographers and by Bandelier himself is surprisingly curt, and the reasons for the religious epiphany can only be speculated. From the research by this reader, however, the authenticity of Bandelier’s conversion is seriously in doubt. Raised in a strongly Protestant family, it seems strange for Adolph to abandon this aspect of his cultural background and devote himself to the Papacy. 


Only hinted at by Leslie White in his letters of correspondence between Morgan and Bandelier,[26] there appear to be strong motivational reasons for Bandelier’s new-found attachment to Catholicism. First of all, nearly all of the white people in Mexico and New Mexico were Spanish speaking Catholics. Like Icazbalceta, who was a devout Catholic and who served as Bandelier’s baptismal sponsor, all of the influential men held strongly to their Catholic faith. Secondly, the clergy were very friendly to Bandelier and they often invited him into their homes and churches for conversations. Could it not have been at one of his church visits that Adolph had a true religious conversion? This reader thinks not; for it was at the churches that he was offered free access to all of the Spanish books and records on file. Several journal entries also point toward his scholarship and away from the ‘spiritual awakening’ aspects of the conversion: “Did not go to mass, owning to neglect and because I did not feel like it.  Still I must become different again.  This life of a Heathen won’t do in the long run,”[27] and later “Remained in bed ‘til 9 am – Did not attend mass therefore, I was too late or rather, to tell the truth, — I preferred to stay in bed.[28]


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Pueblo Mission Church


The Catholic Church, it seems, became a refuge for Bandelier where he could study, think and maintain intellectual conversations. It was not a place for the practice of his religious faith. As a political move, he chose the religion of the people with whom he would be most aided in his ethnological and archivist research.

Another possible reason for his choice of Catholicism may have been because the Catholic priests were highly intellectual and deeply ingrained in the lives of the people. The Padres were at the same time persuasive leaders who ruled with an iron fist, imposing access to the people through them. In many tribes the Indians were “exclusively under the control of the Roman Catholic priests.”[29]


Besides the shift to Catholicism several other things transpired during the 1881 Mexican visit: one was the end of Bandelier’s correspondence with Lewis Henry Morgan. During that summer, Morgan died. 


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Lewis H. Morgan (1818 – 1881)


The shock and emotional jolt of Morgan’s passing were followed by personal pain by all who were close friends and protégés of Morgan. For Bandelier, the grief was followed by a period of renewed strength and conviction. During that summer he wrote some of his finest prose and he expressed his feelings of self-quietude. As an example of his disposition one need only look in his Mexican journals. On one trip to ascend the volcano, Popocatepetl, an elevation of over 18,000 feet, he made a comment to some of his lofty friends, “I am consequently in a ‘very high’ neighborhood and I myself live and move in high circles.”[30]  Later in the trip, standing on an ominous ridge of the volcano’s crater, he wrote:


‘Leave all hope behind, ye who enter here,’ Dante wrote over the entrance to hell.  With this thought I strode through the gorge, on the slopes of which the wild horse leaped up along the narrow way. Rubble of lava rolled down into the depths from under the horse’s hoofs. Still it was not so much the considerable depth of the declivity which impressed the words of the poet on my soul as the picture of the gruesome solitude and loneliness which the volcano unfolded above me. The skeleton of gray lava formed by the mouth of ashes into a domelike structure and covered with ice is a monument of eternal death – the annihilation of everything which fire has produced and not what embalmed. The dead grass at the foot of the cones of ashes and the yellowish mass remind one of the sulphur of the crater, and significantly only carrion birds and crows circle about the highest peak.[31]


Later in the same journal entry he says:


I have seen the high mountain chain at its highest points and understood and felt the wonderful power which those masses exercise upon human beings. The great weirdness, the mysteriousness in its majestic aspects I have felt in my deepest soul, and that mystery has been disclosed to me in forms which solve the puzzle on its very face.[32]


The trip to Mexico appears to have been just the experience that Bandelier needed at this time in his career. It helped him broaden his perspective of the people he was trying to study and it shook him from some of his naïve, dogmatic views of the relationship between New Mexican and Mexican cultures. As Edgar Goad says, “He returned to New Mexico, in 1882, a wiser man and a riper scholar.[33]


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


Bandelier made two additional visits to New Mexico in 1882, the first one with his wife, Josephine, to the Laguna – Acoma – Grants area northwest of Albuquerque. The second visit was by himself in late October. In between these trips he sandwiched a lecture tour from St. Louis to Rochester in the summer months, which speaks to the popularity of his research topic in different cities in the US. The purpose of Bandelier’s second western trip was to attempt to trace a supposed ancient migration route from the Pueblo area of the Southwest to the valley of Mexico City. Adolph traveled with only one guide on this trip and they ambitiously wanted to cover the whole region in six months. Bandelier and his guide trekked in the corridor east of the Sandia-Manzano Mountain chains, then westward via the four pueblos of Isleta, Laguna, Acoma, and Zuni. From Zuni they sojourned through Fort Apache, Phoenix, Casa Grande and ultimately south through Tucson.[34]


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Zuni Pueblo, NM (1880)


Bandelier had his trips interrupted by a return junket to Highland for business matters (which he hated to attend to) and he was not able to return to Santa Fe until December of 1883. In January 1884, with the aid of an Indian guide, Bandelier headed south and west to the Rio Grande River Valley. His efforts to trace the Pueblo migration from New Mexico to the Central Valley of Mexico City stalled after six months: he had only been able to penetrate 150 miles into Mexico. The reason for his halt is not really known, but he didn’t totally abandon his project. Bandelier was able to combine data from his 1882-1884 trips into several volumes for publication.[35] 


In a book he co-authored with Edgar Hewett, entitled Indians of the Rio Grande Valley (which was republished in 1937), Bandelier combined most of his information about individual tribes of today with documentary histories of the ancient Pueblos. It is a fascinating collection of pictures and descriptions of the peoples indigenous to the Rio Grande River Valley.[36]


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Another series of articles are combined in Bandelier’s most famous anthropological works, The Final Report of Investigations among the Indians of the Southwestern United States (1890 – 1892), or The Final Report for short.[37] The Final Report is among a short list of the greatest books ever published on the American Southwest. Bandelier put into a single document many answers to questions that anthropologists had been asking for decades. He was able to dismiss the fanciful notions about the Aztec people had their origin from various Pueblo peoples who migrated from ruins in the Southwest. This work muted the ‘Montezuma myth’ among the Pueblo ethnologists. He was able to prove the age of the city of Santa Fe, solve the mystery of the Gran Quivire, establish the location of the Seven Cities of Cibola, and mark the routes of early Spanish explorers. In the report he was able to back-up all of his theories with broad scholarship and a wide variety of source materials.[38] It is also a pretty good read.


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Edgar Lee Hewett, co-author, “The Indians of the Rio Grande Valley.”


One criticism of Bandelier’s field investigations was that his work became superficial. He never stayed at a single pueblo for more than a few days, yet he dared to claim that he had spent many months of intense investigation in situ! Some ethnologists will exaggerate the danger of their work to add an element of drama, or stretch the truth to make a point, but in Bandelier’s case he went too far. Most of what he knew of actual Indian life had been gathered from the early Spanish chronicles. And, since his food-deprived stay among the Santo Domingo in their pueblo, he had had only limited direct exposure to the native tribes; therefore, it stands to reason that he made anthropological mistakes concerning Tribe clan ties and social relationships.


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Zuni Pueblo Indians & ethnologist Frank Cushing (foreground)


What is disturbing to note is that in The Final Report Bandelier speaks of “residence of over one year among the Queres,” whereas he could not have spent more than a total of ten (10) days among the Cochiti and twelve (12) days among the Santo Domingo – the only two Queres tribes among which he did field research. 


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Frank H. Cushing (1857 – 1900)


One can too harshly criticize Bandelier, though. His writing is extraordinary. It may be more fair to compare his work to that of Frank H. Cushing, another Southwestern anthropologist. Cushing was an explorer who spent months watching, measuring and reading everything he could get his hands on. He had the thorough mind of an historian, as did Bandelier, but Cushing also had the temperament to live among the Indians. He was patient, he concentrated intensely, and he developed empirical studies, all of which fit his academic background.[39] Trained in New York at Cornell for a time and employed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, Cushing was invited by John Wesley Powell to join the James Stevenson Expedition to New Mexico.[40] His work among the Zuni Indians is particularly noteworthy. Cushing traveled by rail to the end of the line at Las Vegas, New Mexico, then the Stevenson Expedition traveled by horse and on foot to the reclusive Zuni Pueblo in Northwestern New Mexico. Cushing “went Pueblo,” over the next few years by living with the Zuni tribe. He stayed with them from 1879 to 1884, becoming American anthropology’s first participant observer in the Indian clans and among the people.[41]


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Acoma Pueblo Runners

Finances & The Bank


In 1885, after a short visit to Europe, Adolph Bandelier returned to Highland to find himself in the midst of a family, community and country-wide financial crisis. The fiscal year of 1884 had been in a steadily declining trend for all U.S. businesses. The post-Civil War period had an initial boom, but it slid quickly and fell sharply into a financial bust of great proportion. Quite conveniently Eugene Bandelier (Adolph’s father) had left Highland, Illinois, for New Orleans and by boat to Cuba just two days before the “Terrible Crash” of the banking sector of the economy. Eugene’s departure left the financial matters of the Highland Bank to Adolph and his father-in-law, Maurice Huegy, to handle as best they could. The local authorities, when they discovered that the Highland Bank held liabilities in excess of assets of $290,767.22 and, listening to the deafening outcry’s for justice, sent out arrest warrants for Adolph Bandelier and Maurice Huegy, as two remaining named principals of the Highland Bank. Since the bank was insolvent, the men were immediately placed under arrest and put in jail.[42] Eight days later, and only a few hours before the public hearing, Huegy took his own life by suicide.


The whole banking business, which had been a source of Swiss pride, had become an incredibly ugly fiasco. Eugene Bandelier had fled the country, Maurice Huegy was dead, and Adolph Bandelier, the only one left standing, had a bulls-eye on his back. He was the sole man in Highland with ties to the bank, and the community wanted him to face judgment and appease their anger.


Fortunately for Adolph, he was not a legal partner of the bank. He had not been involved in day-to-day operations for many years, and although the citizens of Highland wanted someone to pay for their lost savings, they had no legal right to hold Adolph responsible as scapegoat. Their deposits quickly disappeared in bankruptcy and their anger was unrequited. The local judge released Adolph Bandelier from jail on bail shortly after Huegy’s death and his legal case never came to trial.[43]


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Highland Bank, pictured on right

Before, during and through “the Highland Bank episode” and other financial dealings, Bandelier developed a bitter attitude toward business in general and banking in particular. Yes, finances were important, but they were not everything. The banking incident put some metal in his spine to take a hard, professional turn forever in another direction. He chose to change his residency and to adopt the academic route. Adolph and Josephine Bandelier decided to move far away from Highland, Illinois, so that he could devote the rest of his life to “scholarly pursuits.” Bandelier esteemed his colleagues who were anthropologists and ethnologists, and he wanted to follow in their footsteps.  After settling his father-in-law’s estate and setting some financial arrangements in New York and Europe, the Bandeliers moved to New Mexico. They established a permanent residence in Santa Fe.[44]  In the Southwest Adolph Bandelier could be closer to his beloved research work and farther away from the financial powder keg of his business past. 


The Bandeliers left Highland for good on November 14, 1885.[45]


Life in New Mexico & The Delight Makers


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Jemez Pueblo, NM


It was in Santa Fe that Bandelier finally put together the many concentrated hours he needed to finish The Final Report (1892). He also changed his writing style for a brief fling at writing fiction. He started drafts of his new novel, The Delight Makers (1890).[46]  Begun a few years before the move to Santa Fe (in 1883) the novel had the strange title of Die Koshare. Bandelier had only two chapters completed in his first two years of toiling with his new prose style. Unpaid bills started mounting and the Bandelier family had trouble finding its financial equilibrium. Bandelier rededicated himself to his novel and wrote frantically for four and one half months to complete twenty-two chapters. He made two initial errors in the novel that are worth noting: the first error was the title, Die Koshare which obscurely refers to the Pueblo leaders of the Queres tribes; and the second error was the language — he decided to write in his native German. The book met with immediate failure in the US and Europe, as did a second revised edition. It was not until the book reemerged a third time in English with the new title, The Delight Makers, that there was any public response.[47] It may have all been about marketing!


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Bandelier believed that only by representing the results of his ethnological studies in the guise of fiction would his work be read and appreciated by layman. He was probably right: it stands to reason that a detailed book with sound anthropological standing, would be boring to other than other die-hard anthropologists. Bandelier decided to shift to fiction and to spin the family stories around the romantic circle of a loving couple. The Delight Makers suffers from terrible prose and even worse dialogue. Nevertheless, it is a readable and enjoyable story. The background he sets for the thriving social organizations and the prevailing customs are excellent dramatizations of life in the pueblo for young men, women, and their clans. 


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Ceramic Black on White Pot with handle


To paraphrase Frederick Hodge, author of The Enchanted Mesa and many other Native American books, Bandelier’s story revolves around the activities of the Koshare, the spiritual and authoritative leaders of the Indians. Bandelier weaves a “soap opera” type plot around a single Indian family located in what is now Bandelier National Monument: the father is a member of the Koshare; the mother is influenced by a tribal witch; the brother-in-law is a war hero; the grandfather is killed by an attacking tribe; the eldest son is in love with a girl who is the daughter of a rival family (very Shakespearean); and the other son is a lazy fool, unjustly spoiled. The lives of these people seem carefully intertwined to please the tastes of the early 1900’s reader.[48]


It is interesting to note that finances were always tight during the Santa Fe days. The Final Report, which Bandelier finished while he was writing The Delight Makers, was partially financed by Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Salpointe of Santa Fe.[49] Bandelier wisely kept his Catholic ties close enough to help pay for his magnum opus. The Archbishop commissioned Bandelier to include in the report a large section on the history of the Southwestern missions for presentation to Pope Leo XIII. With money coming from several sources now – his novel, the Archbishop, and a generous sponsorship of Mary Tileston Hemenway,[50] Bandelier was financially stable enough to plan for and start his next expeditions. This time around, however, instead of a many months away, he only made short trips from home to Mexico City, Taos Pueblo, San Juan Pueblo and El Paso, Texas, spending the remainder of his time with Josephine in Santa Fe.[51]


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Mesa Verde National Park, CO


Other means of support during these lean years (1889 – 1890) came in the form of a periodic payroll check from the Archaeological Institute of America. Bandelier always sent copies of his work to the AIA and they paid him a small stipend for his writings. During this period the Bandeliers made several trips to visit archives in Mexico City and to local churches in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Mexico. For nearly the whole year of 1891, Bandelier made small trips to Pueblos in the Santa Fe area, trying to tie together some migrational loose ends.  He visited the Pueblos in earnest this time, going on short, intense trips to Isleta, Cochiti, San Juan, Taos, Santa Clara, Peña Blanca, Jemez, Zia and Santa Ana.[52] Each of these sight visits helped Bandelier to reevaluate his original documents, refine his theses, and aide him in some revisionist’s thoughts.


These years tended to be stressful and socially uncomfortable for the Bandelier couple, but the times were not without their humorous side. When, for example, an Indian guide came with horses to begin a journey to a distant pueblo, it was not easy for the scientist to mount his assigned beast of burden. He is quoted as saying:


On whichever side [of the horse] I would place my foot in the stirrup, the weight of my body threatened to demolish the animal. To leap into the saddle from behind would have resulted in breaking its spinal column, for the individual vertebrae seemed to hang loosely from the beads of a rosary. Finally I leaned the animal against the wall and so succeeded in due time and with great care to climb into the saddle.[53]


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The South American Scene


The year was 1892, which brought about a radical change in the scenery for the Bandeliers. Under the auspices of Henry Villard, the owner of the New York Evening Post, Adolph and Josephine Bandelier went south of the Equator to Bolivia and Peru.[54] Villard, who was also the President of the Edison General Electric Company and a railroad financier, was fond of international journalism and business. Born in Bavaria (now Southern Germany), his birth name was Ferdinand Heinrich Gustav Hilgard, which he shortened to Henry Villard when he left his family and emigrated to the Chicago area. He apparently wanted his name to sound French to order to disguise his Germanic heritage. Bandelier and Villard both lived in Illinois, but they shared more than simply their US homes and native tongue.[55]


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Henry Villard (1835 – 1900)


Villard’s interest in sending aspiring ethnologists to South America coincided with his interests of the Archaeological Institute of America, which Bandelier frequented on trips to New York and Washington, DC. Bandelier’s writings for the Institute obviously caught Villard’s attention.


But Bandelier had not studied South America at this time. This dramatic change in geographical locations seems explainable only in terms of money: all other supporters of Bandelier’s work in North America had withdrawn their funds. The Villard Expedition must have offered the Bandeliers the financial security they felt they needed, even though that meant moving to an alien area of the globe. They traveled with Charles F. Lummis, Villard’s assigned newspaper man, and soon upon arrival met the Ritter family. Mrs. Ritter was a widow and the family members were fellow refugees from Switzerland in Peru, which gave the Bandelier’s some moral and social support.


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Charles Fletcher Lummis


Unfortunately for the Bandelier’s, Josephine suffered chronic health problems in Peru and her husband could accomplish very little. With the help of Fanny Ritter, one of the Ritter daughters, he cared for his ailing wife as best he could. Josephine’s health took a terrible turn for the worse and she died in Lima on December 14, 1892. They had been married for 31 years.[56]


Bandelier wrote in his journal: “I do owe the Ritter’s my friendship and assistance. I am too deeply indebted to that family for what they did for Joe. They acted like Angels.”  He did not mourn for very long, however, when to the surprise of everyone in the Swiss community in Peru, only eleven days after Josephine’s death, Bandelier proposed to the Ritter daughter, Fanny. Adolph described his decision as, “The girl is a lovely prize, worthy in every respect. Joe loved her, and shy, then, did she join our hands on her deathbed.”  Although that seems evidence it was Josephine’s death-bed request to marry Fanny, Joe must have known that her widowed husband needed a companion more than a wife. [57]


Adolph Bandelier remained in Lima for nine months after his wife’s funeral and he described his anthropology trips as “frightful.” It was many months before the quality of Bandelier’s research work reached its previous level of competency. Meanwhile, he continued his courtship of Fanny Ritter and over the seasons he came to learn more about Fanny. He described her as “loving and faithful, I am sure, but not as soft and sweet [as Joe].” On December 30, 1893 the couple was married in the Ritter home in Lima. Bandelier was fifty-three and Fanny Ritter was twenty-four.[58] 

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Fanny Ritter Bandelier


The daughter of Swiss immigrants and a one-time native of Zurich, Fanny Ritter was an amazing scholar in her own right. Despite her youth, she served Adolph as a most-able South American guide and linguistic counselor. Fanny was fluent in German, French, Spanish, Italian, and English. She also had learned to speak several dialects of the native Indians of South America.[59] Fanny shared her new husband’s joy in research and field study and became a life-long helpmate in every sense of the word. There are no mentions of romance between Fanny and Adolph, thus the relationship reads more like an agreement than a marriage.  Yet no one can deny that the new couple complemented each other superbly.


Remaining in Bolivia throughout 1893, Bandelier did field work at the ruins of Tiahuanaco, where many valuable collections were obtained and the structural details of ruins studied and plotted. In December, 1893 the Bandeliers visited the Island of Titicaca and the island of Koati, where they conducted similarly important work.[60]


In August of 1894 the Bandeliers moved to La Paz, Bolivia, where they remained studying natives Incan cultures for nine years before returning to the United States. He began a doleful period of mourning for his wife, Joe, and rethinking of his life’s work.


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Tiahuanaco, Bolivia


During the years, nearly a decade, in South America, Bandelier had a gradual, yet dramatic change of heart. At the core of his belief changes was the worthiness of the native tribes he researched. Personally he had little to nothing to do with the Indians. He began to consider them a low and degenerate form of humankind. Even after a life-time period of research, his personal experiences and attitudes seemed to turn him sour toward the Indians of his generation. In reference to these people several factors seemed to have led to Bandelier’s change of heart: bigotry, self-importance, traditions, and religion. 


Most of the scholars and upper class people viewed the Indians as peons, or servants, and over time Bandelier seemed to acquire these same feelings of his peers. Furthermore, he felt that the Indians had degenerated their race by interbreeding with the lower classes of the conquerors. Also the Indians maintained a rather “low level of social sophistication” and had only weak tribal and family structures. How far Bandelier’s feelings must have fallen! His sentiments condescended from the Romantic period and the notion of the “Noble Savage” to ignorant low-lifes.

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Bandelier’s manuscript, published in 1910

Looking with disdain upon the Indians as he did at the end of his life, it seems natural that Bandelier wanted to become a Roman Catholic. The Catholic priests had a similar disdain for the Indians, maintaining an attitude of “fatherly interest” toward a people they considered “lost pagan children.” The Padres had to watch out for the children, because they could not wisely look out for themselves. In his book, The Islands of Titicaca and Koati, Bandelier writes, “Cupidity, low cunning, and savage cruelty are unfortunate traits of these Indians’ character.” [61]


It is interesting to note that in 1884, twenty-six years before the publication of the book on Titicaca, Bandelier had made a plea for the Indians in much the same vein, that Richard Ellis did in his book, The Western American Indian.[62] The following questions were typical of the young Bandelier: “What has been the effect of European civilization with the aborigines up to the present time?” and “What does nature afford the Indian that he can live with it to gain sustenance and progress?” Bandelier revealed interest in the problems of acculturation and applied anthropology, two areas which did not receive any degree of profession-wide concern for at least another half century.[63]


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Zuni Elder (1900)


Adolph Bandelier wrote statements of his weak affinity, and ultimate disdain toward the Indians. He felt that the Indians needed to change and become like the rest the civilized world, when he observed:


The majority of writers of this day represent the Indians as a human being on the lowest scale of culture as to the arts to life, but endowed with the aspirations and moral principles sometimes in advance of those of actual society. Consequently, we should be entitled to treat this Indian according to the moral and mental principles pervading civilized communities of today. We are thus led to ask him to become as we are now. [64]


Later Bandelier stated the dilemma facing our treatment of Indians:


Our Indian policy has been kept vacillating between two extremes: the one treating the Indian as a mere savage and as an obstacle to civilization, only fit to be removed….[T]he other holding him like a child endowed with the highest qualifications for rapid progress. [65]


As a young historian Adolph Bandelier had sympathized with and revered the Indians as being a unique culture, an important group, separate but vital to society. He was respectful and paternalistic. In his later years he changed his mind and viewed them as “mere savages.” The flip flop is pure bigotry and racism.


Back in the United States


Adolph Bandelier returned to New York in 1903, at the age of sixty-three. For the rest of his life his research was confined to the library and archives. The years of field work and outdoor exploration were completed. He became officially connected with the American Museum of Natural History and undertook the task of recording his South American works for publication. In 1904, he was also given a lectureship in Spanish-American literature, in his connection with ethnology and archaeology, at Columbia University. Bandelier was a guest lecturer for two hours a week under his agreement; the appointment was for one year, but it is uncertain how long he served in this capacity.[66]


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


The years from 1903 to 1906 must have been unsettling for Bandelier, because he was descending from the acme of his career to a lower trajectory. He had never had to play a “second fiddle” role to anyone. He was a noted scholar and THE published authority in the field of Spanish-American Studies. At the same time, he appears to have gone through a period of self-doubt; whereby he was constantly questioning the quality of his own work.[67] 

The revisions to his work on the papers he wrote in South America were some of the finest manuscripts he ever published. The papers had corrected all of the errors he had made in connection with The Final Report, and he had limited his topic to the specific geographical areas in question. Consequently, he did not digress on wandering tangents, as he did in his earlier works, and he become more focused and professional.


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Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Monument, NM


In 1906 Bandelier resigned from the American Museum and moved to the Hispanic Society of America. In the new society Bandelier began again on work concerning South America. Hiram Bingham, the esteemed Yale archaeologist who also worked in Peru, described Bandelier’s work on The Islands of Titicaca and Koati as follows:


This book is typical of Bandelier’s life-long crusade against tradition and for the truth. In it he shows the falsity of many historical myths for which the Spanish chronicles and their followers are responsible.  [68]


Fanny Ritter Bandelier had been Adolph’s most avid supporter throughout his work in South America, but she had still remained in the background for the first 15 years of their marriage. The real value of his relationship with Fanny became evident in 1909, when Adolph lost his sight, due to cataracts. For the next few years Fanny became his eyes and hands, reading notes, translating manuscripts, editing books, and helping her quickly aging husband to complete his work. The book, Islands of Titicaca and Koati (1910) would have never been published without Fanny’s help and guidance. As far as is known, this was Bandelier’s last publication.[69]


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Lake Titicaca


After cataract surgery in 1911, Bandelier’s eyesight had improved enough to allow him to continue his work. He accepted an appointment as research associate in the Carnegie Institute in Washington, DC, so that he could conclude his studies of the Pueblo Indians. Given a grant for three years, Bandelier was to investigate the Spanish documentary history of the Indians through work in the archives of Spain.


Adolph, with the help of Fanny, went to Mexico City for several months of background research work, before departing for Spain in autumn of 1913. The Bandeliers continued their research in the archives of Madrid, Seville, and Simancas (central Spain). It was during these investigations that Adolph got terminally sick and breathed his last. He was engaged in his beloved research, when he contracted severe bronchitis. He died on March 18, 1914.[70]


Fanny Bandelier signed a ten-year lease on a burial plot in the San Fernando Cemetery in Seville, but had written to friends that she hoped at some point to move Adolph’s remains to Berne, Switzerland for permanent burial in his family’s plot. For the time being she wrote: “My life was simply all his and if I live now, it is only to do his work.” She forged on ahead.[71]


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


Fanny Bandelier continued Adolph’s academic cause long after his death; she worked for several decades to posthumously present much of his unpublished works to the public. She eventually produced a bound volume of about 500 pages, and a collection of unbound transcripts of 900 pages. These volumes included the seventy-two transcripts which the Bandeliers had written together in the Mexican archive.[72] As historian Charles Hackett emphasized in his book, Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, which contains Fanny’s documents: “Indeed the material is of such range that to understand it one must keep in mind the outlines of Spanish achievements in North America from the very beginning.”[73]


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 Bandelier National Monument, NM


Fanny returned to New York in 1915 and survived by her wits. She married once more, for a year, and then divorced. She continued her mission with her keen instincts and the generosity of friends. She made ends meet by teaching Spanish, and she performed some translating for the Smithsonian. On the side she volunteered for the Red Cross and received financial help from various New Mexico friends, including Charles Lummis and Frederick Hodge. She even struck a deal with the publishers of her late husband’s novel, The Delight Makers, and she earned some royalties starting in 1916, when the book was reissued in hardcover.[74]


The final stop in Fanny Bandelier’s much-traveled life was Nashville, Tennessee. In 1929 she was assistant to Dr. Paul Radin in the Anthropology Department at Fisk University. Fanny also taught French at Fisk and occasionally delivered lectures nearby on archaeology to students and faculty at Vanderbilt University.[75]


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Bandelier National Monument, NM


At the age of sixty-five she resigned from Fisk, and continued her long-endured efforts to publish Bandelier’s journals. Fanny also donated many of his books, personal documents, and photographs to the Museum of New Mexico, where they are now located in the History Library. On November 10, 1936 Fanny Ritter Bandelier died in Nashville. She was sixty-seven.[76]




In bringing together this sketch of Adolph Bandelier’s life, several comments are in order. It has been commented that “a complete and well-rounded story of the life of Bandelier is yet to be written.” [77] Unfortunately, most of the data surrounding certain episodes of Bandelier’s life, such as his conversion to Catholicism, his disdain for Indians of his day, and his reaction to his critics, will never be fully understood. A definitive study many not be possible. On the other hand, exhaustive work has been done by several noted biographers in efforts to draw together different aspects of the man, Adolph F.A. Bandelier. Upon some of these good works, I have made a careful reading and have tried to apply the lessons they learned.


Bandelier’s late-in-life change of heart and ultimate turn back to “White Supremacy,” while understandable for those times, repudiated his years of work and shifted his view of Native Americans. He went from esteem for Indians of North American, Mexico and South America to disdain. It seems a troubling epitaph. Early on Bandelier was a whimsical romantic, who fell in love with the notion of history and the images of aboriginal tribes living peacefully and evolving culturally to civilized Swiss standards. He embraced Rousseau’s ideal of the “noble savage.”


His famous book, The Delight Makers, must have depicted how he believed Indian life to be. At the same time, as a hard scientist, he wanted the Indians to fit nicely into a seamless evolutionary progression toward what he viewed as “present day” humanity. When face-to-face with the local tribesmen of his day, however, the native peoples from Pueblo after Pueblo seemed to disappoint him. They did not like him (e.g. Santo Domingo) and he came to disdain them. Over the years Bandelier seemed to find the Indians as less noble and more savage, stuck in a lower level of Morgan’s hierarchy.


The irony is that Bandelier could dig up a skull of a Pueblo Indian from a burial cist and write with imagination and zeal about the life he or she must have lived a long time ago, but he could not stomach working side-by-side with the Indian leaders he found “in the field.” Real live Indians must have “busted his theories,” and disappointed him profoundly. One explanation could be that Bandelier, as the son of a lawyer and army officer, had to have everything in a precise order. The messiness of Pueblo Indian lives did not fit his stereotypes. He found it easier to intellectualize with the Catholic priests about the past cultures, than to face the conditions he found in the present. The ever-modernizing Euro-Culture was not happening in his mind’s eye with the Indians of the Americas. He seemed to be agitated and completely demoralized as he predicted a fall into depravity for the American Indians of the future.


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Zuni Dancers at Bandelier National Monument, NM


The tremendous influence of Lewis Henry Morgan on Bandelier can hardly be over-emphasized. Morgan directed the trajectory of Bandelier’s life. Morgan offered encouragement in those early years, when Bandelier, if uninspired, might have abandoned his scholarly goals or settled for inferior work at the “family bank.” Again, it was Morgan who used his considerable influence to obtain for Bandelier access into the professional ethnology circles of that time in history.[78] 


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The large number of items in Bandelier’s biography stands as an enduring and respectful memorial to a scholar whose pioneering work in the ethnohistory of “New Spain” was unsurpassed for several decades. Much of the credit for these works, particularly in the compilation and final editing, goes to his second wife, Fanny Ritter Bandelier. We do not know if his wife, Josephine, had a similar influence on his early work, but she is not mentioned in his writings.


One has only to go to the card catalogue at a large university (Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library, for example) to see the voluminous works produced by this anthropologist-archivist-historian. It is a remarkable body of work.


Much of Bandelier’s work has been the subject of heated debate for what appeared to be superficialities and errors; and these must be recognized. However, most of the criticism comes from one man: Thomas T. Waterman, who was a professor at University of California, Berkeley, and studied the Indians of the Bay Area of California and the Puget Sound region of Washington State.[79] Waterman worked at the Bureau of American Ethnology and was a contemporary of Bandelier’s. His arguments involve the pre-suppositions and contradictions made by Bandelier in his early writings. Although this reader is not an expert in these matters, I found that all of Adolph Bandelier’s works to be lucid and simplified for the public. Unfortunately, I had no access to the early papers in question by Waterman.


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Petroglyphs at Bandelier National Monument, NM


Another area of consternation for Waterman concerned Bandelier’s use of footnotes. Apparently, Bandelier combined quotations from the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century literature without proper notation, preference or distinction. A common tactic even today, I must agree that it is misleading to juxtapose such diverse writings three centuries apart to make them appear to be contemporaneous and making the same points.[80]


Still, there are far more people who spoke eloquently in favor of Bandelier and his writings. One life-long friend of Bandelier, who wrote highly of him, was Charles F. Lummis. He accompanied Bandelier to South America and went on to become a famous Los Angeles “Spanish Romanticism” newspaper man and author. Lummis wrote:


[A scientist] with marvelous insight, judicial poise, and intellectual chastity is Bandelier. I cannot conceive of anything in the world which would have made him trim his sails as an historian or a student for any advantage here or hereafter…He has always reminded me of John Muir, the only man I have known intimately who was as insatiable a climber and inspiring a talker. But Bandelier had one advantage. He could find common ground with anyone. I have seen him with Presidents, diplomats, Irish section-hands, Mexican peons, Indians, authors, scientists and ‘society.’ Within an hour or so he was easily at the Center. Not unconscious of his power, he had an extraordinary and sensitive modesty, which handicapped him through life among those who had the ‘gift of push.’  He never put himself forward either in person or in his writing. But something about him fascinated all these far-apart classes of people, when he spoke….Among [all of the people I have known], I have never known such a student and such an explorer lodged in one tenement. [81]



Bandelier has been referred to as an anthropologist, archivist, archaeologist, ethnologist, explorer, geographer, historian, fiction writer, and scientist. His unique contributions have been a determined effort over a lifetime. Bandelier combined all of the skill sets and disciplines mentioned above to reconstruct the cultural history of a significant part of North America and South America’s past. This spirit of contribution has been effectively captured in the simple wording of the memorial plaque in the Headquarters Building patio at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico:


Adolph F.A. Bandelier

Archaeologist, Archivist, Historian

Born in Berne, Switzerland

August 6, 1840

Died in Seville, Spain

March 18, 1914

A Great American Scholar.[82]

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Adolph F.A. Bandelier



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Sunset View of San Miguel Mountains, west of Bandelier National Monument, NM


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Frijoles Canyon, leading to Bandelier National Monument, NM


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Entrance to Bandelier National Monument, NM




Bancroft, H., Native Races. Scribner & Sons; New York, 1874.


Bandelier, A.F.A., “On the Art of War and the Mode of Warfare.”  Tenth Annual Report Peabody Museum; Cambridge, 1877.


Bandelier, A.F.A., “On the Distribution and Tenure of Lands, and the Customs with Respect to Inheritance, among the Ancient Mexicans.”  Eleventh Annual Report Peabody Museum; Cambridge, 1878.


Bandelier, A.F.A., “On the Sources for Aboriginal History of Spanish-America.” Proceedings, American Association for the Advancement of Science; St. Louis Meeting, Salem, MA, 1879.


Bandelier, A.F.A., The Delight Makers. Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc.; New York, 1890.


Bandelier, A.F.A., Islands of Titicaca and Koati. Hispanic Society of America; New York, 1910.


Bandelier, A.F.A., The Final Report of Investigations among the Indians of the Southwestern United States (1890 – 1892). J.Wilson & Sons, Inc.; Cambridge, 1892.


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Hammond, G., Goad, E., A Scientist on the Trail. The Quivera Society; Berkeley, 1949.


Hewett, E., and Bandelier, A.F.A., Indians of the RioGrande Valley. University of New Mexico Press; Albuquerque, 1937.


Fewkes, J.W., The Journal of American Ethnology and Archaeology. Riverside Press; Cambridge, 1892.


Johnson, J., Editor, Dictionary of American Biography, Volume I. Charles Scribner & Sons; New York, 1928.


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Lange, C., Riley, C., The Southwestern Journals of A.F.A. Bandelier, 1880-1882. University of New Mexico Press; Albuquerque, 1966.


Radin, P., “…The unpublished letters of A.F. Bandelier…” C.P. Everitt; New York, 1942.


Schoolcraft, H.H., American Indians. Scribner & Sons; New York, 1857.


Waterman, T.T., “Bandelier’s Contribution to the Study of Ancient Mexican Social Organization,” In American Archaeology and Ethnology, Volume 12, Number 7, University of California Press; Berkeley, 1917.


White, L., Editor, Pioneers in American Anthropology: the Bandelier-Morgan Letters, 1873-1883. University of New Mexico Press; Albuquerque, 1940.


Obituaries:    Bingham, H., Nation, March 26, 1914.

                        Lummis, C.F., El Palacio. Santa Fe, April and May, 1914.

Band 23


[1] Alfred Vincent Kidder, J. Johnson, editors, Dictionary of American Biography, Volume I, Charles Scribner & Sons, New York, New York, 1928, page 572.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Charles Lange and Charles Riley, editors, The Southwestern Journals of A.F. Bandelier, 1880-1882, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1966, page 6.

F.W. Hodge, Biographical sketch of Adolph Bandelier in Hewett and Bandelier, Indians of the Rio Grande Valley, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1937, pages 247-254.

[4] Lange & Riley, op. cit. page 7.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Kidder, op. cit. page 571.

[7] Kidder, op. cit,, page 7; Lange & Riley, op. cit., pages 8-9.

[8] Other records, notably Kidder, op. cit., give the year of 1860 as the date of the marriage.

[9] Lange & Riley, op.cit., pages 9-10.

[10] Ibid, page 11.

[11] Edgar Goad, an unpublished biography of Bandelier (pages 37-38), quoted in Lange & Riley, op.cit., page 16.

[12] Henry H. Schoolcraft’s book, American Indians (1857), was the first comprehensive attempt to survey the actual conditions of the American Indian tribes; and Hubert H. Bancroft’s book, Native Races (1874) was also well researched, widely read and well received.

[13] The articles included the following: “On the Art of War and the Mode of Warfare,” Tenth Annual Report, Peabody Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1877, pages 95-161.

“On the Distribution and Tenure of Lands, and the Customs with Respect to Inheritance, among the Ancient Mexicans,” Eleventh Annular Report, Peabody Museum, Cambridge, 1878, pages 384-448.

“On the Sources of Aboriginal History of Spanish-America,” Proceeding’s, American Association for the Advancement of Science, St. Louis Meeting, 1878, Salem, Massachusetts, 1879, pages 315-337.

[14] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 17.

[15] Ibid, page 24.

[16] Ibid, pages 69-99.

[17] Goad, page 74, quoted in Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 27.  “Professor Putnam” is Frederic Ward Putnam, noted archaeologist and ethnologist at Harvard University, Peabody Museum, Cambridge, MA from 1874-1909.

[18] Leslie White, editor, Pioneers in American Anthropology: the Bandelier-Morgan letters 1873-1883, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1940, page 213.

[19] Padre Jose Romulo Ribera had been invited to the priesthood by Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy (made famous in the novel Death Comes to the Archbishop by Willa Cather.)

[20] Frank Waters, Masked Gods, Ballantine Books, Inc. New York, 1950, page 266.

[21] Gabriel Melendez, Spanish Language Newspapers of New Mexico 1834-1958, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1975, page 169. After the poor reception, Ribera suggested that Bandelier leave the Santo Domingo Pueblo and study the Cochiti, a tribe in a nearby pueblo, the leaders of which proved to be more receptive to Bandelier’s line of questioning.

[22] White, op. cit., page 214.

[23] Ibid, page 215.

It should be noted that in 1881, New Mexico had recently (1848) been part of Mexico. Taken after the Mexican/American War, it did not become a state until 1912. The trip with the Lorillard-de Charney Expedition to “Mexico” took Bandelier and his fellow anthropologists deeper into the prevailing cultures of Old Mexico of the era and away from Southwestern pueblo culture.

[24] Lange & Riley, a footnote, op. cit., page 32.

[25] White, op. cit., pages 234-244.

[26] Ibid, page 211.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] George Hammond and Edgar Goad, A Scientist on the Trail, The Quivira Society, Berkeley, CA, 1949. Page 84.

[31] Ibid, page 86.

[32] Ibid, page 88.

[33] Ibid, page 13.

[34] Lange & Riley, op. cit., pages 237-288.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Hewett & Bandelier, op. cit.

[37] Bandelier, The Final Report of Investigations of Indians in the Southwestern United States, 1890-1892, J. Wilson & Sons, Inc., Cambridge, MA, 1892.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Hammond and Goad, op. cit., pages 6-8.

[40] Col. James Stevenson led a Bureau of Ethnology expedition to Zuni, the first of several which were collecting pottery and other Zuni manufactured items. Frank H. Cushing was left at the Pueblo, where he would stay for nearly five years. He was adopted by the tribe and admitted into some of the Zuni religious organizations. His popular and anthropological writings made Zuni well-known throughout the US and encouraged other anthropologists to work at the Pueblo.

[41] Jesse Green, Sharon Weiner Green and Frank Hamilton Cushing, Cushing at Zuni: The Correspondence and Journals of Frank Hamilton Cushing, 1879-1884, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1990.

[42] Lange & Riley, op. cit., pages 45-49.

[43] Ibid.

[44] The Bandelier family traveled by train from St. Louis to Santa Fe on the Atchison-Topeka-Santa Fe line.

[45] Hewett & Bandelier., op. cit., page 250.

[46] Bandelier, The Delight Makers, Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc. New York, 1890.

[47] Paul Radin, editor and introduction, “…unpublished letters of A.F.A. Bandelier, concerning the writing and publication of the novel The Delight Makers,” C.P. Everitt, New York, 1942.

[48] F.W. Hodge, quoted in Hewett and Bandelier, op. cit., pages 248-249.

[49] Archbishop J-B Salpointe (1825-1898) succeeded Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy (1814-1888) , who is the main character in the Willa Cather famous novel, Death Comes to the Archbishop.

[50] Bandelier, The Final Report, op.cit., mentions Mrs. Hemenway in the acknowledgements, page xiv;

Lange & Riley, op. cit., pages 51-53.

Mary Tileston Hemenway commissioned Bandelier as her private “historian” for a few years.  She also sponsored the work of Frank Cushing, J. Walter Fewkes, and several other noted anthropologists and ethnologists.

[51] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 53.

[52] J. Walter Fewkes, editor, The Journal of American Ethnology and Archaeology, Riverside Press, Cambridge, MA 1892, pages 87-115.

[53] Hammond and Goad, op. cit., page 118.

[54] Kidder, op. cit., page 571.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Bandelier, Fanny Ritter, “Letters.” El Palacio 56, No.8 (August 1949), pages 241-251.

[57] Ibid.

[58] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 57;

F.W. Hodge as quoted in Hewett and Bandelier, op. cit., page 252.

[59] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 57; F.W. Hodge as quoted in Hewett and Bandelier, op. cit., page 252.

[60] Lange & Hodge, op. cit., page 252.

[61] Adolph Bandelier, Islands of Titicaca and Koati, Hispanic Society of America, New York, 1910, page 19.

[62] Richard Ellis, The Western American Indian, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 1972, page 94.

[63] Ibid.

[64] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 44.

[65] Ibid.

[66] F.W. Hodge as quoted in Hewett and Bandelier, op. cit., page 253.

[67] Bandelier often wrote to his publishers asking that his works, if inferior, not be published, but rather be returned to him for improvement and resubmission.

[68] Hiram Bingham, Nation, March 26, 1914, page 328. Hiram Bingham (1875-1956) is the American anthropologist who is credited with “discovering” Machu Picchu and other major Incan ruins in Peru (1911) and the Andies of South America.  He brought his spoils (40,000 artifacts, including mummies) back to the Peabody Museum at Yale in New Haven, CT.

[69] Kidder, op. cit., page 572.

[70] Hodge in Hewett and Bandelier, op. cit., page 253.

[71] Bandelier, Fanny Ritter, “Letters.” El Palacio 56, No.8 (August 1949), pages 241-251.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Charles Wilson Hackett. Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto. 2 volumes. Washington, DC: The Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1923.

[74] Bandelier, Fanny Ritter, op cit., pages 241-251.

[75] Biography of Fanny Ritter Bandelier, by Richard Flint & Shirley Cushing Flint, published on the New Mexico Office of the State Historian: http://www.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=21266

[76] Ibid.

[77] White, op. cit., page 122, footnote 1.

[78] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 65.

[79] Thomas Talbot Waterman wrote such works as T.T. Waterman, “The Yana Indians,” University of California Publications in American Archaeology and Ethnology 13 (1918):35-102.

T.T. Waterman, “Ishi, the Last Yahi Indian,” Southern Workman 46 (1917): 528-537.

[80] T.T. Waterman, “Bandelier’s Contribution to the Study of Ancient Mexican Social Organization,” In American Archaeology and Ethnology, Volume 12, Number 7, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1917.

[81] Charles F. Lummis, introduction to Adolph Bandelier, The Delight Makers, op. cit., pages xiii, xv, and xvi.

[82] Lange & Riley, op. cit., page 67.

3 thoughts on “Witness Post: Adolph Bandelier

  1. I’m enjoying your paper, but can’t follow your dates. You say in one paragraph that Bandelier left for New Mexico from St. Louis in Feb 1880; in the next paragraph, you say he left in Aug. 1889. Then, you say he went to Mexico six months later, in 1861. I suppose these are typos that can be easily fixed and I assume the above action occurred in 1880-1881.

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