This site provides a curated look at the manuscripts of the Berendt-Brinton collection held by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries.
First a professor of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Academy of Natural Sciences, then later Penn’s first Professor of Archaeology and Linguistics, Brinton (1837-1899) is considered one of the fathers of American anthropology. He built a substantial personal library of over 4000 items, mainly focused on the languages and culture of indigenous peoples of North and Central America; it included several early-modern manuscripts, modern transcriptions, and early printed books from the estate of ethnologist and linguistic scholar, Carl Hermann Berendt (1817-1878), and from the Mayanist, Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (1814-1874). After his death, Brinton’s library passed to the Penn Museum for the creation of the Museum Library in 1900.
The early manuscripts and transcriptions by Berendt and others have since been relocated to the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts, where they are housed as the Berendt-Brinton Linguistic Collection,1500-1890. Digitized versions of the manuscripts are available through Penn in Hand.
The exhibits on this site features a selection of items which represent major themes of the collection.
To get started browse our collection below:
First a professor of Ethnology and Anthropology at the Academy of Natural Sciences, then later Penn’s first Professor of Archaeology and Linguistics,…