Berendt-Brinton Collection

Dublin Core


Berendt-Brinton Collection


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.


Daniel Garrison Brinton
Carl Hermann Berendt

Collection Items

Interleaved manuscript translation in Otomi (?) language, by an unidentified author, bound into a printed copy of Juan de Gaona's Colloquios de la paz y tranquilidad christiana en lengua mexicana (con licencia, y priuilegio, en Mexico, e[n] casa…

 Las oraciones en lengua quiché de Rabinal con unos fragmentos en lengua cuechechi (cagchi) [manuscript]
A fragment of a manuscript in the Kekchi language, perhaps from the 17th century, of Catholic doctrine, including the Lord's prayer, Ave Maria, Apostles' creed, and some material in a catechism format. Its title page was added by the abbé Brasseur…

 Doctrina christiana en pocomchi [manuscript] / escrita por Fr. Hippolito de Aguilera, predicador, cura de este partido de el pocomchi
A late 19th-century copy of Aguilera's 1741 manuscript giving Pokonchi translations of various foundational Catholic texts, including El Persignarse, Pater noster, Ave Maria, El Credo, Salve Regina, Praecepta Decalogi, Praecepta Ecclesiae, Septem…

La passión de n[uest]ro Señor Jesuchristo [manuscript]
A manuscript of a passion play in the Nahuatl language, prefaced with a list of characters.

 Vocabulario de la lengua española y tzeldal [manuscript]
A copy, probably made in the 17th century, of an alphabetical list of Spanish names, words, and phrases, with translations in Tzeltal.

Diccionario de Motul [manuscript]

Volume 1 is C. Hermann Berendt's copy of the late 16th- or early 17th-century Maya-Spanish dictionary of Antonio de Ciudad Real, containing thousands of entries with extensive annotations by Berendt in blue ink, red ink, and pencil. Ciudad Real's…

 Vocabulary of the Huatuso Indians [manuscript]

Vocabulary list of 42 words in Guatuso (Huatuso) with English equivalent, originally collected and recorded by J. F. Bransford on 10 April 1876 at Castillo, Nicaragua. The present manuscript is in the form of a copy made by Dr. Earl Flint, who…

Facsimile of a vocabulary of approximately one thousand words in the language of the Cuna Indians of Panama, arranged in alphabetical order according to their Spanish equivalents.

C. Hermann Berendt's transcription, in a notebook of lined paper, of a dictionary of English and Garifuna (Karif), written by Alexander Henderson, documenting the Garifuna language as spoken in the coastal areas around the Gulf (Bay) of Honduras. The…
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